Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor
Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee turned Duchess of Windsor has been a pop-culture phenomenon for the best part of a century. Since she wasn’t exactly one of history’s best loved figures we can put this down to a mixture of curiosity about the woman who prompted King Edward VIII to abdicate, and, in certain circles at least, an admiration for her immaculate sense of style.
After passing over being King in favour of marrying a domineering, twice divorced American, Edward found himself out of favour with the British population and so after he and Wallis tied the knot and became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, they spent most of their time abroad, which allowed Wallis to become quite the expert at Summer chic dressing. And since they remained favourites with the paparazzi, her sartorial legacy has lived on.
Wallis was hardly what anyone would consider to be a traditional beauty, but she was so perfectly put together you can barely tell, a theory that well and truly holds up in the recently released on DVD film W.E
, which as you’d expect from a Madonna directed feature is terrible but also terribly attractive when it comes to sets and costumes. Wallis was born 116 years ago today, on 19th June 1896, so we thought it the perfect time to take a look at someone who took holiday style to a new level…
Wallis was enviably slim but what made her look so well put together was how neatly fitted her clothes were, everything was tailored perfectly to her frame, giving her an expensive looking silhouette. Hair was always coiffed and if it didn't come up to scratch she hid it with a silk scarf rather than exposing it to the world.
Jewellery was a huge part of the Wallis look – even if the rest of her outfit was plain and demure she liked to accentuate it with jewels, some of which were so striking they eventually made their way into Elizabeth Taylor’s collection. Earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings – so long as they were all tasteful and elegant Wallis didn’t shy away from layering them on.
Smart daywear was another Wallis speciality, favouring classic colours and clean, fitted shapes. She used accessories to personalise classic items like shirt dresses and blazers, adding a brooch or a belt to make the look her own.
Even when she got older Wallis never let up with the glamour, and her style never seemed to change. Because she always wore demure, buttoned up dresses and skirts of a modest length, she didn’t have to alter it as she got older, giving them impression that her style never wavered throughout her lifetime.