Fashion 10 Fashion Tricks Princess Diana Used to Make Old Clothes New Again We're still taking notes from this well-dressed royal. By Samantha Sutton Samantha Sutton Instagram Samantha is InStyle's senior fashion editor. She joined the brand in 2019 and oversees the site's fashion coverage, including trend reporting, fashion exclusives, celebrity style interviews, and Fashion Week coverage. InStyle's editorial guidelines Updated on January 18, 2023 @ 11:48AM Pin Share Tweet Email It can easily be argued that, out of all the royals, Princess Diana had the best style. Even to this day, her '80s and '90s outfits serve as a source of inspiration, with Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle frequently channeling their late mother-in-law in similar pieces. (Even Hailey Bieber takes fashion pointers from the iconic royal.) Part of what made Diana's dresses, peplum tops, and even pants suits so spectacular is that they were often rewears — with a little twist. Instead of pulling out the same exact look, she'd mix things up, choosing to pair a skirt from a set with a sweater, or remaking a headband into a necklace. Considering the push toward sustainability in fashion we're seeing today, she was downright prescient in her outfit choices: Her style seemed to ask, why buy a million new items when you can freshen up the ones you've got already? A Look Back Kate Middleton's Style Through the Years In fact, Princess Diana was pretty much the queen of cool, sustainable styling tricks. Here are a few great ways she reinvented her wardrobe, which might come in handy if you're hoping to make old clothes look new again. The Original: A Printed, Peplum Top With a Belt Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images Diana elevated the piece with a poufy black skirt and a pearl necklace. The Trick: Tucking It In Anwar Hussein/Getty Images When she wanted to make it work for a polo match, she simply tucked in her shirt and chose a white skirt instead, making it seem a lot more casual. The Original: Shirt as Cardigan Tim Graham/Getty Images In 1981, Diana draped her top over a coordinating dress to create an easy, effortless ensemble. Sydney Sweeney Is Bringing Back This Major '90s Trend From 'Clueless' The Trick: Buttoning It Up Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images Two years later, the piece popped up again, this time fully fastened and paired with a hat. The Original: Polka-Dot Dress With Peplum Tim Graham/Getty Images Diana went all out for a 1986 derby, completing her fancy look with a wide-brim hat and white tights. The Trick: Removing a Layer Tim Graham/Getty Images A little alteration made all the difference, and the piece suddenly seemed sleek and brand new. These Are the Best Places to Buy Dresses Online for Any Occasion The Original: Pants Suit Antony Jones/Getty Images For lunch with her stepmother, Diana chose an eye-catching gray blazer and matching, pleated trousers. The Trick: Swapping With a Skirt Antony Jones/Getty Images Sure, it was a minor change, but it gave things a whole new vibe for a visit to St. Mary's Hospital. This Grandma-Approved Fashion Trend Is Finally Popular Again The Original: Jeweled Headband John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images While in Japan, the royal showed us a very '80s way to wear these stones from the Saudi Suite. The Trick: Reworn as a Choker Anwar Hussein/Getty Images It's something anyone can try with an old ribbon or a scarf, both of which can easily pull double duty. Kate Middleton Wore a Rented Dress with Princess Diana's Emerald Choker to the Earthshot Awards The Original: A Pink, Polka-Dot Dress With Ruffles Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images The Catherine Walker design looked like something straight out of a fairytale during a concert in Melbourne. The Trick: Updating With Modern Details John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images Three years later — and thanks to a tailor — Diana's dress looked very different with puff sleeves and a drop waist. Tapered Puff Sleeves Are the Easy, Romantic Fashion Trend That Will Make You Feel Like Royalty The Original: Printed Top With a Shiny Purple Skirt Tim Graham/Getty Images The full, ruched bottom made the princess look truly regal at a Claridges banquet. The Trick: Pairing It With Something Slim-Fitting Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images A few years later, it was fit for the '90s after being styled with a column skirt. 30 Times Sweden's Princess Sofia Had Us Convinced That She Was the World's Best-Dressed Royal The Original: A Patterned Scarf Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images That striped scarf (and netted hat!) ensured that Diana's Moschino outfit made quite the statement. Kate Middleton Wore a Blue Houndstooth Dress During a Solo Outing at Harvard The Trick: Going With a Solid Color Tim Graham/Getty Images The royal toned things down the next year, replacing that detail with something basic and black. The Original: Blue Dress With Puff Sleeves Julian Parker/Getty Images In 1987, Diana had a glamourous Dynasty moment while visiting Lisbon, Portugal. The Trick: Turning It Into a Strapless Number Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images By 1989, the dress had been altered into something slightly sexier and a lot more classic. The Original: Full Floral Suit PA Images/Getty Images Prior to becoming a princess, Diana was seen at the 1981 Wimbledon finals wearing a printed two-piece set. The Trick: Wearing the Skirt By Itself Tim Graham/Getty Images Four years later, she was still getting good use out of these staples, pairing the skirt with a white top and a red sweater for a polo match. The Evolution of the Preppy Fashion Trend and How to Wear It Today We're shining a spotlight on sustainability in fashion to help spread the word: Reusing, re-purposing, and re-styling is never a bad look.