September 18, 2000 12:00 PM

SAY WHAT YOU will about the British monarchy–it’s outdated, out of touch and oh so stodgy–but when it comes to matters of apparel, our judges have crowned Prince William the King of Cool. The 18-year-old titled teen idol “has a great sense of style,” says designer Dana Buchman. “He doesn’t try to change timeless fashion, yet he manages to make it his own.” By jazzing up traditional Savile Row suits (including his veddy proper Eton College uniform) with a whimsical waistcoat or casual sweater, and then sporting such schoolboy mainstays as sneakers and a baseball cap on weekends, the fresh prince “nails a bunch of different styles,” says singer Sisqé. “He looks like a reject from ‘N Sync, but that’s cool. He knows what he’s doing.” In other words, this 6’2″ royal rules.

The letters on his waistcoat spell out “Groovy Baby,” and that’s exactly what our judges thought of the playful (but patriotic) layer William added to his Eton College uniform for a portrait commemorating his 18th birthday. “It’s jaunty,” says Dana Buchman. Sisqé adds that the white bow tie “neutralizes the wild vest. It shows that the outfit may not look conservative, but it’s still high-class,” Also this year, a uniformed Wills chose a more sedate waistcoat (below); Buchman again finds him “completely put together.”

Attending a July service to celebrate the 100th birthday of his great-grandmother the Queen Mum, William wore a morning suit our judges deem fit for a king. “He looks just as he should,” quiz show host Ben Stein says approvingly. Sisqé too is royally impressed. “He’s giving you the ‘I am the prince’ thing here,” says the singer. “And he’s rockin’ it!”

On an April ski vacation in Klosters, Switzerland, with his dad and brother Harry, Wills hit the slopes in Oakley shades, a Tenson jacket and pants by Columbia. “This outfit is beautiful,” says Dana Buchman. “It’s modern, clean, hip, together, not at all glitzy. And it suits his physique and bone structure.” Model Mia Tyler is equally enamored. “He looks so young and hot and tall,” she says. “He makes skiing look pretty good.”

Like his fashion-conscious mother, the late Princess Diana, Wills chooses his own clothes. To attend a Christmas party for Prince Charles’s staff, he wore what Dana Buchman calls “a timeless look that’s been around for decades–a simple camel-colored sweater with just a peek of tie. He carries it off beautifully.” Adds an admiring Mia Tyler: “He looks so respectable.” The ensemble even inspires enthusiasm from Ben Stein, who declares, in his trademark monotone, “I like this outfit very, very much.”

Practicing his swing on the sidelines of a July charity match while dad Charles played, William has “a great sporty look,” says Mia Tyler. Ben Stein agrees that “he looks great and he’s having fun.” Fashion designer Elie Tahari, however, thinks the prince is so perfect he could go pro. Says Tahari: “He should be in the Ralph Lauren Polo ads.”

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