The Queen Comes to America: A Fashion Report

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Queen Elizabeth arriving in Richmond, Virginia; at the Kentucky Derby; arriving at the White House; at the British Embassy; and entering last night's state dinner. Photo: Photos: Getty Images (Richmond, arriving at White House, entering dinner); AFP/Getty Images (Kentucky Derby, British Embassy)


A visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II may be a state occasion, but it's not exactly a fashion event. After all, she’s been wearing boxy suits, major hats, and skirts of that curious Hasid-chick length for as long as anyone can remember. How'd she do on her just-winding-up American tour? Here's a blow by blow.

The Queen arrived in Richmond, Virginia, Thursday to start her trip in a boxy lavender suit with coral trim, a hat that reversed the combination, and some standard pearls: It was a demure, if classically Elizabethan, beginning. By the time she made it to Churchill Downs, on Saturday, she had little to worry about. After all, what's the Kentucky Derby but a bunch of drunken Americans trying very hard to dress like a bunch of drunken Englishmen? We give her points for choosing a suit in mint — as in julep — but a demerit for those glasses. Hasn't Lasik jumped the pond yet? As she arrived at the White House yesterday morning, there was a brief moment when, with eyes squinted, her black-and-white, lace-trimmed suit could’ve passed for Chanel, or for Theyskens at Rochas. But it wouldn’t really pass as either one in the end, as it was rectangular in shape. Her clothes are always rectangular in shape. But still, the lace was nice. She picked it up in fuchsia that afternoon at the British Embassy, and we were glad to see that she pulled out a flashy brooch for the event. You’re the queen! Bring it! (At least a little bit.) Finally, for her big party last night, she wore a tiara — or, atop a queen's head, is that a crown? — and we've got to say we loved the headgear. But the only excuse we can come up with for the strange purse (why no clutch? Why?) is that she’s packing. Also: The dress was alarmingly similar in shade to her skin tone, which is never fantastic. Not so majestic for the big night, Your Majesty. —Amy Larocca