When it comes to memorable outfits, few can match the impact of the Nazi uniform Prince Harry wore to a fancy-dress party in 2005. Not to mention the full-frontal nudity revealed to the world seven years later, after a game of strip billiards in Las Vegas ended up on a gossip site – “A classic case of me being too much army and not enough prince,” he said of the incident.
Usually, however, Harry wears classic royal garb. There’s the blue-and-burgundy tie of his regiment, the Blues and Royals; his medals; and his single-breasted suit, chinos and blazer, all of which tend to be blue, like his blood. Then there’s the polo kit (like many royals, Harry looks most at home on a horse) and some undeniably impressive uniforms, such as the Blues and Royals’ tropical dress: in eye-popping Persil white, it confirms that Harry may be the best wearer of medals, a gold sash and thickly-braided epaulettes since Michael Jackson circa Dangerous.
Off duty, however, Harry’s flair for style is far less certain. Despite their appearance in various fawning best-dressed lists, neither Harry nor William have that crucial sixth sartorial sense. When they’ve got a day off, they favour baggy shirts and khakis, sometimes accessorised with that modern curse, the gap-year bracelet (he is wearing an unforgivable seven in one shot). Yet that was the BM era – before Meghan.
There’s no doubt that Harry has started looking sharper since La Markle came on the scene. His shirts have got crisper, his suits better-fitting, his car coats more luxurious. Even those endless blue garments have started exhibiting a bit of variation: a cobalt Everlane cashmere jumper in Wales, a cornflower coat at Christmas in King’s Lynn, a midnight-blue knitted tie with a paler blue Gieves & Hawkes suit when announcing his engagement.
None of this is going to frighten those polo horses – and that’s exactly the way Harry intends it. The royals stand for continuity, tradition and security, not waiting for the latest Vetements drop at Dover Street Market.
Gert Jonkers, editor-in-chief of men’s fashion magazine Fantastic Man, is a fan of Harry’s muted style. “Prince Harry is, of course, pretty ridiculously handsome,” he says, “so I’d say everything suits him well, including the perfectly understated clothes he’s always been drawn to. He dresses a bit like a royal press release: considered and nothing to be offended by. Navy blue suits him very well, as do combinations of blue, grey and white, but I guess that’s what you do when you’re in the company of your future spouse and with the assurance that there’ll be a billion photographers awaiting you. One thing I noticed is that on a recent joint appearance, the prince wore a muted-army-green jacket, which isn’t a very lifting colour for redheads. That’s all!”
Yet what if Harry had more leave to experiment in his new married life? As we demonstrate here, he could still be an ambassador for Britain in Burberry – in fact, by wearing the rainbow flag-infused check of Christopher Bailey’s final collection, he can wink to his newfound wokeness. He can still wear the classics, but why not a remixed version by Stella McCartney, whose new menswear line has all the green credentials of her womenswear? Rather than shrieking at clingfilm like his dad, he can prove his modernity by embracing the sports tech trend in a Burberry cagoule, a definite upgrade from the rain jacket he wore last October at Brockholes nature reserve in Preston. And while his grandfather sleeps in the nip (according to The Crown), Harry can indulge in some statement sleepwear by Desmond & Dempsey.
Finally, away from the paparazzi, Harry can ditch the button-downs and billowing linen shirts, and embrace his inner party animal with a Paul Smith Hawaiian shirt. He doesn’t even need to lose the bracelet – but please, Harry, confine it to just the one. And don’t even think about an armband.
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