10 Fashion Tricks Princess Diana Used to Make Old Clothes New Again

We're still taking notes from this well-dressed royal.

Princess Diana with a voluminous feathered crop

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?

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 in a belted black and white peplum top
Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Diana elevated the piece with a poufy black skirt and a pearl necklace.

The Trick: Tucking It In

Princess Diana in a black and white printed blouse
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

Princess Diana in striped lavender separates
Tim Graham/Getty Images

In 1981, Diana draped her top over a coordinating dress to create an easy, effortless ensemble.

The Trick: Buttoning It Up

Princess Diana in a striped lavender shirt and skirt
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

Princess Diana in a black and white polka dot peplum dress
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

Princess Diana in a black and white polka dot dress
Tim Graham/Getty Images

A little alteration made all the difference, and the piece suddenly seemed sleek and brand new.

The Original: Pants Suit

Princess Diana in a gray 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

Princess Diana in a gray skirt suit
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.

The Original: Jeweled Headband

Princess Diana wearing a jewled 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

Princess Diana wearing a choker necklace
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.

The Original: A Pink, Polka-Dot Dress With Ruffles

Princess Diana wearing a pink ruffled gown
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

Princess Diana wearing a pink puff-sleeved gown
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.

The Original: Printed Top With a Shiny Purple Skirt

Princess Diana wearing a printed shirt with 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 wearing a printed top and slim purple skirt
Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

A few years later, it was fit for the '90s after being styled with a column skirt.

The Original: A Patterned Scarf

Princess Diana wearing a houndstooth jacket and hat
Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

That striped scarf (and netted hat!) ensured that Diana's Moschino outfit made quite the statement.

The Trick: Going With a Solid Color

Princess Diana wearing a red and white houndstooth jacket
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

Princess Diana wearing a 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 wearing a strapless blue gown
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

Princess Diana in a 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

Princess Diana in a white shirt, red sweater, and floral bottoms
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.

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.

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