May 01, 1988 12:00 PM

In Britain, everyone from the humblest pensioner to the haughtiest peer dishes incorrigibly about Di’s frocks, which are daily booed and cheered in the press. There was an awful brouhaha the day her stockings bagged around the knees, and there is a nationwide outcry whenever she looks a bit silly. Yet most of the time she seems to get things right. Take a look at her best showings, then turn the page for a gander at a few she might like to forget.

Here’s a no-nonsense, I-mean-business outfit that Diana probably wears when she wants to be taken seriously.

How can Charles overlook the dress with everything? It’s flattering, elegant, feminine, bright, sexy and perfect.

“Striking, formal…ideal,” gushed one British fashion critic about this Bruce Old-field that debuted in Rome. With a Philip Somerville saucer hat, it’s impeccable.

This eye-catching gown had the critics bickering, but most agreed with the fashion pro who said, “It’s a wow.”

The color matched her eyes, the top showed off her shoulders, the skirt her legs. What more could she want?

“She looks great in suits that have a bit of interest, like the [white-on-red] lapels,” says a fan. Hear! Hear!

For a small party one night, Diana nipped one of her husband’s tuxes and added a colorful tie and cummerbund.

Di flashed some royal gam when she showed up in this Catherine Walker gown and dazzled the Aussies.

The dress was a success on its own, but Diana’s mismatched gloves showed off her fashion know-how.

…And the Beastlies

“Waiter, waiter!” jeered Italian spectators at busboy Di in 1985. The suit was never seen again.

This ponderous Tudor gown might be ideal for a beheading but not for a royal night out.

This extravaganza may have been inspired by the rage for balloon curtains.

Diana lost her shirt here, plus a shred or two of her dignity.

It could happen to you, but it shouldn’t happen to her.

Don’t sit down, darling, and you’ll be just fine.

Perhaps inspired by Amadeus (the men’s costumes, unfortunately), this one hit a sour note.

The pros at a British Fashion Week ball could only gasp.

Threatened with dress loss, Diana had to keep her shoulders high in this ill-fitting fairy-tale number.

“So loud you could hardly hear the band,” hooted one British fashion editor of Diana’s “bumblebee” outfit.

This satin-and-chiffon mistake had the added horror of dreadful shoes and stockings.

This number got spotty reviews but started a (very) brief run on polka-dot socks in Britain.

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