Sure, she has a degree in political science; her illustrations were used for the Danish edition of The Lord of the Rings under the pseudonym Ingahild Grathmer after she sent them to J.R.R. Tolkien himself; she holds private audiences with seven of her subjects every fortnight during winter, giving her visitors the opportunity to discuss any subject they wish to raise; and she smokes like a chimney – but BOY can the woman dress!
Known for her bold and bright outfit choices as well as her numerous academic and creative accomplishments, what better way to celebrate her birthday than to take a look through a life spent stylishly.
In honor of Queen Margrethe II’s 80th birthday, we’re sharing her best looks from the past 8 decades:
Holiday style fit for Instagram royalty
We see your Instagram saves and Pinterest boards full of Italian market squares and stills from The Talented Mr. Ripley, all citrus fruits and white table linens drenched in golden hour sunlight. Go to them, delete them all: this is the only summer inspiration you need now.
Power and pattern clashing
The 80s gave us a lot: perms, MTV, laissez-faire capitalism. But the trend with the most longevity is probably power dressing – an attitude as much as a way of dressing, it’s still evoked on runways today, often dressed up as “empowerment.” It was born out of a need for women to assert themselves in industries traditionally dominated by men, as the decade gave rise to the “career woman,” redefining the role of women in the workplace. It’s associated with suits and exaggerated shoulder pads, but I put to you that this jumper is, in fact, power dressing.
Is there anything more powerful than a Queen delivering a New Year’s speech wearing a Maximalist, pattern-clashing jumper and a string of pearls? This sums up Scandinavian business-casual better than a million think pieces ever could…
Take me to the water!
Pure joy, embodied in a coat. The garish print and oversized patch pockets are a masterclass in camp, while the matching rainhat provides a finishing touch worthy of a Moschino runway.
Frida Kahlo in technicolor
When youth fades, you are left with style. Do you shy away from the bold, scared to take up space because society has fetishized youth and downplayed the value of women? Or do you unapologetically wear the brightest fuschia you can find and pull focus from nature itself? There is a liberation in growing old and away from gendered expectations. This is the uniform of women brave enough to embrace it; of women totally at ease with themselves: hot pinks, matching lipsticks, and oversized earrings.
Gild the lily
A toast! To this is impossibly perfect outfit. From the gilded champagne glasses to the string of pearls, glamour and high society radiate from this – just as the luster of the dress’s Duchess satin radiates light.
Grey gardens greatness
Queen Margrethe is a rarity in the way that she has a few key items in her wardrobe that she returns to. In this case, it’s her 1940s-style fur coat. It may seem like nothing, but given the pressure put on women in the public eye to never be photographed in the same outfit twice, it feels like a radical act that she would continue to wear the same fur coat throughout winter.
The boxy cut and velvety-brown color are telltale signs of vintage – it’s a coat you’re likely to find at a flea market or in your grandmother’s closet, smelling of mothballs and with a random bus ticket from the 70s in the pocket. Does it go with the outfit? Probably not, no. But in continuing to wear it, Queen Margrethe displays a sartorial dilemma many of us face during winter: the coat isn’t quite right for the ensemble but it’s minus degrees outside and cold is never cute. In the words of Little Edie, whom this outfit evokes so well, “this is the best thing to wear for today, you understand.”
Queen of hearts
Red PVC artfully layered over a suit with waistbelt, the silhouette of this outfit takes me back to a happier time, one where Phoebe Philo was still at the helm of Celine. Topped off with a Viviene Westwood style hat, this is Haute couture for Haute cuisine.
A New year’s speech with plenty to say
Dear Gucci this is exquisite. Pussy bows have taken some heat in recent years after Melania Trump’s potentially coded hot pink version that was worn two days after Trump’s infamous “Grab ’em by the pussy” remark was leaked. So what’s the message here? It could be that Queen Margrethe is trolling the president, given that this outfit was worn to mark the end of a year in which Trump threatened to buy Greenland then canceled his trip to Denmark when it was made clear this wasn’t an option
This isn’t the first time the two have failed to connect, as Queen Margrethe refused to meet with the then businessman during a 1991 stay in one of his hotels. As told by Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, the foreign minister at the time: “He came asking me and wanted to meet the Queen so he could be photographed with her. I got a discreet hint from Her Majesty that she did not think that this was an excellent idea, so I had to do it. I ended up in a meeting room with Trump and his male assistant. [Trump was] stupid and not interested in anything.”
I live in hope that this pussy bow is at least a “discreet hint” to the way the queen feels about Trump. Given its exaggerated size, I’m guessing its along the lines of “fuck you, you incompetent moron.” Just a guess.
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