Princess Diana's Style: From Conservative to Chic

See how the Princess transformed over the years through style

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THE CONSERVATIVE YEARS: 1980-1985

THE CONSERVATIVE YEARS: 1980-1985
Tim Graham/Getty

The future Princess first appeared to the public in 1980 as a 19-year-old kindergarten teacher, modestly dressed in preppy pastels.

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THE CONSERVATIVE YEARS: 1980-1985

THE CONSERVATIVE YEARS: 1980-1985
Tim Graham/AP

Diane stepped out in a coordinated hat (one of her style signatures) and pale pink suit in 1981 at the Ascot Racecourse.

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THE CONSERVATIVE YEARS: 1980-1985

THE CONSERVATIVE YEARS: 1980-1985
Tim Graham/AP

The Princess looked regal in her Victorian-influenced lace-and-navy velvet gown at a 1981 British Film Institute dinner.

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THE CONSERVATIVE YEARS: 1980-1985

THE CONSERVATIVE YEARS: 1980-1985
Tim Graham/Getty

Showing her support for the British designers, Diana sported a pink Donald Campbell dress with a hat by John Boyd as she visited a hospital in Australia in 1983.

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THE CONSERVATIVE YEARS: 1980-1985

THE CONSERVATIVE YEARS: 1980-1985
Tim Graham/Getty

Conjuring images of a fairy-tale princess, Diana was demure in a chiffon Bellville Sassoon evening gown at the 1984 Royal Variety Performance.

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THE CONSERVATIVE YEARS: 1980-1985

THE CONSERVATIVE YEARS: 1980-1985
Tim Graham/AP

The Princess paid homage to the Scots by wearing a tartan plaid dress while disembarking from the royal yacht into Aberdeen with Prince William in 1985.

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THE CONFIDENT YEARS: 1986-1992

THE CONFIDENT YEARS: 1986-1992
Tim Graham/AP

Diana embraced a major '80s trend in a big way in 1986, turning up in bold polka dots (down to her socks!) at events in England and Japan.

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THE CONFIDENT YEARS: 1986-1992

THE CONFIDENT YEARS: 1986-1992
Tim Graham/AP

Stepping up her fashion quotient, Diana showed off the year's big runway hit, the pouf skirt, at the Cannes Film Festival in 1987.

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THE CONFIDENT YEARS: 1986-1992

THE CONFIDENT YEARS: 1986-1992
Tim Graham/AP

The charity-minded Princess made her British Lung Foundation sweatshirt look casually chic, pairing it with tall boots and a structured blazer at a polo match in 1988.

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THE CONFIDENT YEARS: 1986-1992

THE CONFIDENT YEARS: 1986-1992
Tim Graham/AP

Wearing her signature pearl-and-sapphire choker, Diana showed off her toned arms and a floral gown with an oversized sash at a 1989 film premiere in London.

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THE CONFIDENT YEARS: 1986-1992

THE CONFIDENT YEARS: 1986-1992
Tim Graham/Corbis

Diana gave a glimpse of the '90s style she would embrace (bold colors, body-conscious silhouettes and shorter locks) at a 1990 event in Hungary.

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THE CONFIDENT YEARS: 1986-1992

THE CONFIDENT YEARS: 1986-1992
Tim Graham/AP

Always appropriate for the occasion, the Princess gave a nod to naval chic in her double-breasted jacket at the Royal Air Force station in Scampton in 1991.

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THE CHIC YEARS: 1992-1997

THE CHIC YEARS: 1992-1997
PA Photos/Landov

Wearing a distinctive halter gown, Diana dared to be bold with color at a 1992 Royal Opera performance.

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THE CHIC YEARS: 1992-1997

THE CHIC YEARS: 1992-1997
Tim Graham/AP

As Diana's self-assurance grew, her hemlines rose. She showed off her long legs in a short pink suit during a 1993 Manchester appearance.

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THE CHIC YEARS: 1992-1997

THE CHIC YEARS: 1992-1997
Jayne Fincher/Getty

In 1994 Diana cemented a memorable style moment when she entered the Serpentine Gallery in a sexy asymmetrical frock by Greek designer Christina Stambolian – on the same night Prince Charles confessed on TV that he had cheated. It was the first time as a royal that she had worn black to a public event.

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THE CHIC YEARS: 1992-1997

THE CHIC YEARS: 1992-1997
Jayne Fincher/Getty

The mid-'90s saw a sexier, more relaxed Diana, in dresses like this beaded Catherine Walker halter worn to the Serpentine Gallery in 1995.

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THE CHIC YEARS: 1992-1997

THE CHIC YEARS: 1992-1997
Tim Graham/Corbis

Diana charmed America on her first official visit since her divorce, attending a charity event in Washington, D.C., in an elegant cream lace gown.

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THE CHIC YEARS: 1992-1997

THE CHIC YEARS: 1992-1997
Tim Rooke/Rex USA

Setting off her fit physique and dazzling blue eyes, Diana stunned at a 1997 London performance of Swan Lake in a turquoise sheath by Jacques Azagury.

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