I also have no royal reputation to uphold.

By Tara Gonzalez
Updated May 29, 2020 @ 5:30 pm
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Princess Diana Archive/Getty

The item I have worn the most during quarantine is the one I didn’t even know I had. It’s a white American Apparel tennis skirt I ordered off Amazon a month before lockdown for under $50. After I ordered it, I did exactly what everyone else who impulsively buys something off Amazon at three in the morning does: I forgot about it almost immediately. Then, one night during quarantine, I found myself digging it out after another early morning internet black hole involving Princess Diana’s most controversial fashion moments.

Celebrity gossip and scandals are hard to come by these days. Mostly because everyone is staying indoors, which leads to some messy Instagram notes app posts, but not much else. Typically I have low tolerance for any kind of celebrity gossip, but when I’m panicking in my bed about, you know, a deadly pandemic and all of the other terrible things happening in the world right now, I can’t help but want to consume something other than a headline that makes me cry. But there are only so many photos of Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas one girl can possibly endure. So that’s how I ended up on the fifth page of search results for a random Google inquiry about Princess Diana. In it, she was wearing my skirt.

Well, it wasn’t from American Apparel, but it was still a white tennis skirt. Apparently at the time this caused a stir because these skirts hit right above her thigh, which is quite short by all standards but especially royal reputation standards. Thankfully, I don’t have a royal reputation to uphold, and I ran over to my closet and immediately put the forgotten skirt on. I’ve barely taken it off since.

The long pleated skirt trend that has persisted for years was never really my thing, but shorter tennis skirts have always had a special place in my heart. They’re the only reason I would even consider taking up tennis, although I think their real appeal lies in how they look off the court. I’ve always loved the way style icons like Chloë Sevigny and Alexa Chung would wear theirs with lug-sole boots and ripped vintage t-shirts. Or the way they were styled at Prada and Miu Miu, worn with sheer black knee-high stocking socks and padded headbands. Honestly, that’s more controversial than Princess Diana wearing them with a blazer to play the sport they were intended for but I digress.

Ironically, I purchased mine because I figured this would be the summer of tennis skirts. They had been showing up all over my Instagram feed for weeks and still are. Whenever I wear mine inside and post on Instagram, I get a ton of virtual compliments. And I’m starting to think it’s actually the best thing I could have bought myself for this specific instance in time. Not just because it apparently makes me channel a scandalized Princess Diana, but because it also calls to mind another time entirely of pre-pandemic impulse summer shopping. Wearing it makes me feel like I’m going somewhere, even if that somewhere is to my bed to Google controversial royal fashion choices at three in the morning for no reason at all.

Shop the controversial Princess Diana tennis skirt trend that’s everywhere right now for under $50 below.

American Apparel Women's Gabardine Tennis Skirt

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Shop now: $29–$48; amazon.com