Period pieces are notoriously expensive to make, given that vintage clothing, furniture, and cars need to be sourced. Make that a period piece about the British royals and – well, it’s no wonder “The Crown” is the most expensive TV show ever produced.
The wardrobe team does an excellent job working from real-life inspirations of what Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the Windsors wore in the 1950s, using clothing as an important tool to tell the narrative. Here are 28 of the best and most significant looks in the series to date.
This blue summer dress Elizabeth wears on the commonwealth tour in 1.2 is breezy but prim.
The white belt, hat, gloves, pearls, and purse over this robin’s egg blue dress with dotted chiffon at the shoulders looks summery but opulent, illustrating the uncomfortable relationship between the colonised nations and the colonial power the royals represent.
Even queens wear jeans when in nature.
Also on the commonwealth tour in 1.2, the fictionalized Elizabeth and Philip go on a safari in Kenya and have some car trouble on the way back into town. The be-denimed, bespectacled queen-to-be is practically a cool everygirl when she fixes the car, reminding everyone she used to be a mechanic, in this casual set.
Princess Margaret looks regal in this dress.
In 1.3 we see her indulging in her ill-fated affair with Peter Townsend, and fittingly, wearing this soft pink off-the-shoulder dress. Her strong romantic streak often shines through in dramatic pieces like this one.
As her coronation nears, we see Elizabeth dressing more and more regally.
When she and Philip attend the ballet in 1.5, Elizabeth dons a grand tiara with jewellery to match and a white fur stole around her blue gown. Earlier in the episode we see her practicing walking with the unfamiliar weight of the imperial crown on her head, so we might read this accessory choice as a visualisation of her growing into her new role.
Margaret pairs a bronze, one-shoulder dress with a bold lip.
It’s only fitting that she would wear something romantic and daring to ask her sister, the Queen’s permission to marry Peter in 1.6. And that necklace is to die for as well.
Elizabeth looks all the part of a queen in this snowy ball gown.
The tiara, the jewellery, the gloves, the sash – all of it adds up to a look befitting the most powerful woman in the world, as seen in 1.6. But still, her decorations are overshadowed by the gossip surround Margaret and Peter’s relationship.
This black and white dress is fresh and bright.
Elizabeth wears this detailed, black and white printed dress on a visit to Bermuda in 1.8. It reflects the sunlight and crystal blue waters surrounding her.
Princess Margaret lives for the spotlight, and it shows in her wardrobe.
The shiny, almost metallic silken gown worn in 1.8 features glimmering accents, and she wears it with a sizable tiara and necklace. Margaret may not like the restrictions of royal life, but she sure wears the glamour of it with glee.
Elizabeth and Philip’s stable clothes are charmingly relaxed.
It’s always a treat to see how “The Crown” imagines royals to dress during their downtime. When visiting a star horse’s breeding session in 1.9, Philip wears a silk windbreaker over a sweater, and Elizabeth wears a belted brown jacket over a muted teal sweater with a delicate collar and plaid skirt.
Princess Margaret looks like a dream wrapped in gold.
Another of her signature off-shoulder dresses – Margaret is as glamorous as a party girl could be in this chiffon dress painted with metallic gold, worn in 1.10.
Prime Minister Eden wears a matching jacket and vest.
The subtle stripes are a great look, featured on both his suit jacket and vest, with a crisp white shirt for contrast. Even if this scene wasn’t the happiest, his outfit was on point.
Prince Philip deviates just slightly from the usual colour palette.
Given that Prince Philip is so often in uniform, it’s interesting to see how “The Crown” depicts him outside of formal occasions. It’s still reserved and regal, but the pairing of this silver suit with a deep red tie in 2.2 is unexpected and fashionable.
Philip, a true navy man at heart, becomes one with the sea.
With the cosy knit sweater and the beard he grows after months at sea in 2.2, Prince Philip could be a rural fisherman. We see that he’s perhaps been enjoying his time away from the palace a bit too much.
Elizabeth’s mint jacket and skirt set is all (royal) business.
Many of the queen’s non-formal outfits are very conservative sweater sets in plain colours. This outfit sets itself apart in 2.3 for being a full matching set with some textural contrast between the smooth jacket and the pleated skirt, all in a frosty spearmint colour.
When their marriage is at its rockiest, Philip wears a heart-print tie.
Later in 2.3, when the royal couple reunites after time apart, Philip wears the cutesy, romantic tie as a sort of ironic cover-up to the bubbling rumours of trouble in the royal marriage.
Princess Margaret meets her new flame while dressed up for a wedding.
The mysterious photographer captures Margaret, in 2.4, while she’s wrapped in this dramatic rose gold coat and classic tiny hat. When we see her at the reception later, we get a view of the dress, also rose gold with sharp gathers at the waist and embellished gloves.
Princess Margaret sits for her portrait in a butterfly-embellished gown.
This gown, worn in 2.4, while off-the-shoulder, is much frothier than Margaret’s usual silhouettes. The butterflies are a fun, if somewhat juvenile touch (based on the dress the real-life Margaret wore in her actual portrait) that speak to the pull between who Margaret is and who she has to be.
This stylish teal dress is more her regular speed.
The dress in which she’s supposed to announce her engagement – and ends up reaming out her would-be fiance in 2.4 – has a sweetheart neckline, brocade bodice, a slit up the leg and feathered train.
Antony Armstrong-Jones is a modern man and dresses like one.
The mysterious photographer, Armstrong-Jones, is a breath of fresh air for Margaret – he’s gossipy, scandalous, and treats her differently than everyone else who moves around Buckingham Palace. Appropriately, he wears a looser shirt and thinner tie in 2.4 than the “mustaches” as well.
Margaret’s streetwear is dramatic and fashionable.
OK, episode 2.4, “Beryl,” had a lot of hits in the wardrobe department – but that’s because our resident royal fashion plate, Margaret, had so much screen time. This fuzzy patterned coat is another of her stylish pieces.
The Queen wears a champagne-coloured dress for a televised Christmas message.
While she bemoans being made to feel like a showgirl, Elizabeth grins and bears it as she gives way to slightly more modern style for her TV appearance in 2.5. The dress is still appropriate for her station, but more approachable and in a lovely colour.
Elizabeth’s and the Queen Mother’s churchgoing outfits are everything you might hope for.
Both the Queen and Queen Mother wear uncharacteristically light, cheery colours to Billy Graham’s sermon when he comes to preach in London in 2.6.
Margaret wears another coat with a dramatic, tall collar.
The fabric of this coat, which she wears in 2.7, appears to be embroidered intricately and is topped with a stark black collar that complements her winged eyeliner.
Princess Margaret wears a gorgeous pink gown to celebrate her engagement.
At the party Elizabeth throws for Margaret and Tony, she wears a powder pink ballgown with silver accents and a gorgeous gather at the back in 2.7. She looks all the part of a princess without losing her fashionable edge.
The show faithfully replicated what the real Elizabeth wore to meet Jackie Kennedy.
The fluffy blue dress is notable for being so similar to its real-life inspiration(and Jackie’s dress wasn’t too far off, either), as depicted in 2.8. The pile of chiffon, with its high, rounded neckline, looks gauche next to Kennedy’s sleek, stylish dress.
Philip and Elizabeth both wear deep green sweaters for their big reconciliation scene.
In 2.10, the marital troubles with Elizabeth and Philip come to a head at the hands of a scandal, and the two have a conversation in Scotland which seems to promise a turning point in their relationship. Beautifully, both are wearing deep green sweaters, an excellent visualisation of their finally coming together after two seasons of tension and separation.
Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.