The Duke of Windsor may be the most controversial royalty to become a king in the 20-th century. Him being a Nazi supporter didn’t help as well. Even more, he was wearing blazers at events that demanded a lot more than a tuxedo.
It might not seem like big of a deal today, but 70 years ago wearing something else than the formal uniforms royalty was supposed to wear, was unthinkable.
However, to this day Kind Edward VIII was, and still is, a style icon, that contributed to men’s style and menswear a lot more than you think.
Edward VIII – Royally Stylish
Admittedly, Edward wasn’t a great King. And he wasn’t a skilful politician by any means. The man, however, knew his strong sides. That’s why the Duke abdicated the throne in just 326 days of ruling.
In an interview in his later years, when told that he didn’t have a vision for the country as a king he answered back:
Oh, I did had a vision for the country and a lot of ideas, I just kept them for myself.
Despite his controversial ruling, and the abdicating in order to marry the love of his life, The Duchess of Windsor Wallis Simpson, we aren’t here to discuss his political career. We are here to break down the style of King Edward VIII.
The Style of King Edward VIII
Most of us, who have googled to see how the Duke dressed, never imagined how much colour he incorporated into his outfits. Seeing the black and white photos made his style look normal, maybe a bit modern, but nothing extraordinary.
Some archives show that the Duke loved to play with crazy colour combinations and loved to experiment with different checks and stripes. This is also one of the reasons why he was never taken as a serious king material. He made his father angry by refusing to wear the traditional uniform dress, that was mandatory to be worn on special occasions.
One of the other things that he loved was to wear trousers with cuffs. His father wasn’t a huge fan of this choice of his.
The Style Do’s and Don’ts of The King
When it comes to style there is all this talk about basic rules. Well, that doesn’t matter a whole lot with the Duke because not only he loved to break the rules of style, he broke the rules of every dress etiquette.
1. Black tie dress code can be fun (But be careful.)
The Duke is the godfather of modern menswear. He defined the modern black tie dress code by ditching the top hat and tails with the now well-accepted soft collared button-ups and double-breasted dinner jacket.
2. Give the ascot a shot
The ascot is a very underutilized garment. It can be a very stylish add-on to an outfit. It gives off a casual vibe, while still maintaining the dress of it.
3. Know when to follow the rules
As tempting as it is, know the boundaries of style. If you are going to a black-tie event make sure you stick to the basic principles.
4. Boldness is key for an awesome outfit
The short Duke definitely knew how to pull off a nice checked suit, something that can be risky. According to him being completely sure of the things that you are wearing is mandatory in order to rock every single outfit you put on!
5. Basics first
Although King Edward VIII definitely knew how to wear a more dandy outfit, he had tramendous understanding of the basics of menswear. Make sure to master how to properly wear a white shirt first and then jump to the bold patterns.
The Heritage of Prince Edward VIII
King Edward VIII lived most of his life in France. However, he loved to wear British suits and was often seen incorporating tweed in his outfits. Just as any well-dressed man, the Duke always used the services of the same tailor – Scholte of Savile Row. He had many strange desires when it came to the cut of his clothes. It’s lesser known that the Duke of Windsor had his left pocket made wider so his cigarette case could fit. He wasn’t a big fan of suspenders so he prefered his trousers outfitted with an elastic band.
The duke was clearly a person who loved fashion. In the 60’s an inventory of his wardrobe showed that Edward owned at least 100 pairs of shoes! His collection sported massive 55 suits and additional 15 evening suits!
During his lifetime the Duke went through a lot of controversies. Bold outfits, great diversity and amazing quality were among his style traits. King Edward VIII is often mentioned as one of the men in history that transitioned the world of strict menswear to a more relaxed and comfortable style.
Though Duke Edward VIII was clearly a man who loved to dress up and experiment during his lifetime, he never gave vocality of this side of his character. Instead, he left his style to speak for itself. If there is one thing you should take from him is that last one. The only thing he ever said about his style was in an interview stating:
I was in fact produced as a leader of fashion, with the clothiers as my showmen and the world as my audience.