A former king, but not uncrowned King of fashion

The Duke of Windsor - first as Prince of Wales and later while living in exile because of his sympathies for Hitler and his marriage to Wallies Simpson - loved to experiment, although the military uniforms perfectly matched his somewhat decadent face. I won't forget his breeches and boots during one walk with the Japanese princess through the gardens of Balmoral castle.

A former king, but not uncrowned King of fashion

Thus in the 30s, the Duke gave a royal matter to the Dinner jacket with a shawl collar. Also he was the first who got the idea to wish a tuxedo in a very dark blue, rather than black, because this color, in artificial light, looks blacker than black. Today we call this color Evening blue.

Edward together with his shirt-maker has created today's tuxedo-shirt with a soft broken collar, double cuff and pleated plastron that came to replace the rigid tailcoat shirt. This signature fits his general dislike of any formality and his desire to throw off his jacket and roll up his shirt sleeves at first chance.

He has created a new model in the sport style, too - in 1922 as captain of the Ancient and Royal Golf Clubs in St. Andrews he wore a colorful Fair Isle Sweatwer. Later he wrote: 'I suppose the most showy of all my garments was the multicoloured Fair Isle Sweatwer with its jigsaw of patterns'.

During his world tour, which he took before his crowning, he was often wearing gray double-breasted, off-white striped suits, which become popular thanks to him. Of course this popularity is due to the wonderful photographs that the courtier photographer, Cecil Beaton, dedicated to Edward VIII.

Thanks to the Duke, today a blue suit can be worn with brown shoes made of rough skin - an always interesting Look that he has personally introduced.

The fact that Glencheck in the English speaking world is called Prince-of-Wales-Check, however, should not lead us to the thought that Edward VIII often brought this motif as heir of the throne. This sporty pattern in more likely named after his grandfather, King Edward VII, who as the Prince of Wales often chose this typical checks for his sport suits. Typical for the Duke of Windsor is his ability to mix motifs when choosing sporty outfits, as well as suits, shirts and ties. For example, he wore striped socks with bi-colored shoes, fortress fabric pants and striped shirt, or striped socks with Madras Check trousers - the whole pleasant Anglophile cacophony which leads the contemporary menswear.

In fact, his style - compared to other members of the British royal family - can sometimes be described as eccentric. The tussle of stripes, squares and dots in the atmosphere of an acute conservatism can be considered something like The Great French Revolution.

From today's perspective, his philosophy can be rather called avant-garde, knowing that big part of his ideas are leading for the modern men's fashion. Definitely he influenced the style of Madame Simpson and maybe even the suits of the Führer...

Photo: The Duke of Windsor in 1945
Photographer: Abbie Rowe (1905-1967)

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Tags:mens fashion, style, fashion trends, Duke of Windsor, King Edward, United Kingdom, royal

About the Author


Dandy is a writer and fashion critic. He is the perfect connoisseur of the Dandy style and the fashion ambassador of Be Global Fashion Network. He has his own column called "Fashion Police" in which he comments on the style of men.

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