All The Unexpected Style Lessons You’ve Learnt From King Charles Without Even Realising It

Polo necks, trench coats - and a pair of shoes he's owned for 50 years.

Prince Charles

by Natalie Hammond |
Updated on

The Queen taught us many style lessons during her reign. Never be afraid of neon-bright colours. Find a favourite handbag. Always match your hat to your coat to your umbrella. But what about King Charles? Did he inherit if not her sense of style exactly then an innate flair when it comes to getting dressed? The answer appears to be yes. He doesn't need to worry about weighing down the hemline of his dresses, of course, but that doesn't mean he hasn't developed his own personal foibles when it comes to fashion.

He is, for example, an avid rewearer of clothes - perhaps even more so than his sister, Princess Anne, and daughter-in-law, Kate Middleton. According to an interview with Australia's Financial Review, which was quoted in the Daily Mail, he's a big believer in making things last. 'I have always believed in trying to keep as many of my clothes and shoes going for as long as possible (some go back to 1971 and one jacket to 1969) - through patches and repairs - and in this way I tend to be in fashion once every 25 years,' he quipped at the time. (The shoes in question are most likely from John Lobb, who is known to be his cobbler of choice, while the jacket could be his double-breasted tweed coat from Anderson & Sheppard.)

'It is extraordinary how fashions change and, speaking as someone who, on the whole, hates throwing away things without finding another use for them or mending them, I couldn't be more delighted if, at last, there is a growing awareness of the urgent need to get away from the 'throwaway society' and to move towards a more 'circular economy'.'

As a well-known environmental advocate, King Charles is an active campaigner for wool (a 100% biodegradable material) and even collaborated on a fashion collection made from nettle plants, harvested from Highgrove House, with Vin + Omi. In 2020, he also put his name to his first fashion line. A partnership between YOOX Net-a-Porter, the online retailer, and his charity, The Prince's Foundation, it was an 18-piece womenswear and menswear collection with sustainable credentials at its heart.

What fashion trends will define the reign of King Charles? None at all if he has anything to do with it.


SEE: The Style Lessons You've Learnt From King Charles

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The Polo Neck

He doesn't do off-duty often, but back in 1970, the 21 year-old heir to the throne was on first name terms with chunky polo necks. He, and his sister Princess Anne, were photographed in the grounds of Sandringham, Norfolk, wearing their leisure clothes in a rare candid moment.

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The Riding Boot

Pictured here at a cross country event at 1978, King Charles was often photographed wearing polo kit or countryside attire. But his riding boots have a slightly cowboyish silhouette that is very now. He wore them with close-fitting jodhpurs; we wear them under midi dresses.

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The Trench Coat

Taken in 1987, the future king proved that the trench coat can be a sharp piece of outerwear on a visit to Portugal.

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The Beige Tailoring

It takes a well-assured man to pull off a beige trouser suit. Navy, grey and black are more traditional, but beige requires a certain attitude. King Charles, pictured here in 1986, is a natural (he even coordinated his socks.

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The Flat Cap

Think the flat cap belongs to David Beckham? Think again! King Charles is a long-time fan. Pictured here in 2002, he wore it to watch Tetbury's National Hedgelaying Championships.

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The Shades

Party In The Park is perhaps not the most likely setting for royalty. King Charles, however, was undeterred in 2003, making an appearance wearing a rather dapper set of shades.

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The Kilt

In August 1987, King Charles visited Glen Nevis' Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, dressing the part in a red jumper and a grey kilt. He owns several of the traditional skirt and always tends to wear them when he's north of the border.

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The Holiday Shirt

That same summer, King Charles took the family to Majorca - and packed the classic holiday outfit of a short-sleeved printed shirt and comfortable slacks.

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