20 May 2011

Flashback Friday: Zara's Style

Máxima wasn't the only birthday girl this week: Zara Phillips (daughter of Princess Anne) turned 30 on May 15th. It's a big year for Zara, you know. She's marrying her longtime rugby-playing boyfriend Mike Tindall on July 30 in Edinburgh, and I, for one, can't wait to see what her bridal style will be. Zara's in an interesting position: she has no title, she isn't a princess, yet the Queen's her granny. She makes her own way in the world (she's a competitive equestrian with sponsorship deals - she even has her own clothing line), but she's still 13th in line for the throne.

If her life has two sides (regular and royal), so does her style. As an athlete and a country girl, she spends most of her time in clothes fit for mucking about the stables. Just look at what she chose for the quick photocall she and Mike held outside their home after their engagement was announced:
(One quick comparison to other notable royal engagement outfits will let you in on just the sort of girl we're talking about here, in case you still weren't sure.)

On the royal side, Zara has plenty of occasions to dress up for. And when she does, she brings a particular sort of panache to the table; it's like royal style with a dose of risk taking thrown in for good measure. Like a proper royal, she loves a crazy hat:
I noted it at the royal wedding, and I'll note it again: this is a lady that can pull off some fierce millinery. Hey, it's in the royal blood. (She can also pull off a fierce shoe, which you know is the only non-diamond way to my heart. So bear that soft spot in mind as we roll on.)

Sometimes she leaves her ferociousness at home, and brings a more traditional look to the table. Something one might expect from a royal.
But honestly, that's kind of boring. She's better when she lets her two worlds collide and throws a little Zara style in to the mix.

Sometimes she only brings a little bit:
Like a poncho, a cloche hat, or a military coat.

My favorite, though, is when she brings a little bit more. Even if the results aren't 100% picture perfect:
It's Zara! Who else would wear a cute mod miniskirt to Christmas at Sandringham? She actually has a personal style that isn't made from buying from a particular designer or from wearing what her friends might wear. At the end of the day, she doesn't have a princess title to reconcile her wardrobe with; she should have a bit of fun.

I even like it when she takes the fun a bit too far.
On their own, these outfits range from unflattering to inappropriate (that major slit was worn at Ascot, and that too-casual print dress with club-going fedora was her choice for Charles and Camilla's wedding, for heaven's sake). The clothes are a no, but the attitude is still a yes.

See, this is really what I love about Zara's style: I don't think she cares one lick what anybody else thinks. I don't think she's trying to be fashion-forward, I think she's just wearing what she likes. And bonus points are always awarded for that.

What do you think: do you feel my affection for Zara and her slightly nutty style? Or are you too busy shaking your head about those last few pictures?

Photos: UK Press/Rex Features/PA/BigPicturesPhoto.com/Daily Mail/Getty/Reuters/Daylife