Why nothing divides opinion like a wide-legged jumpsuit…

Why nothing divides opinion like a wide-legged jumpsuit… As Queen Camilla strides out in her signature bright blue at 75

  • Camilla’s cobalt-blue jumpsuit by Anna Valentine is not what might be expected

On Sunday Queen Camilla hosted her inaugural Queen’s Reading Room Literary Festival at Hampton Court Palace wearing her signature bright blue — no surprise there — but was it a maxi dress? Was it wide-leg trousers and a matching top? Or was it — good heavens, it was — a jumpsuit!

The cobalt-blue jumpsuit by Anna Valentine has divided opinion for many reasons, starting with the main one, which is we’re not 100 per cent confident that a jumpsuit — a statement, ultra-wide leg, floaty wool crepe all-in-one — is quite what we were expecting on the Queen at an official engagement.

While we are pretty far down the road of jumpsuit appreciation, and fully expect Amanda Holden and Amal Clooney to wear them out and about, the Queen in a jumpsuit is still slightly incongruous.

It’s a bit like the Theresa May leather-trousers-on-a-prime-minister moment: there’s nothing wrong with the idea in principle but, here and now, it doesn’t quite work.

You won’t find a bigger jumpsuit fan than me but still I was taken aback when I saw the pictures. You can wear a jumpsuit anywhere these days but the question is, should you.

On Sunday Queen Camilla hosted her inaugural Queen’s Reading Room Literary Festival at Hampton Court Palace wearing her signature bright blue 

All white: Amal Clooney in Stella McCartney for her civil marriage ceremony in 2014

Spot on: Jodie Comer wearing a Valentino all-in-one in New York last month

A step ahead: Amanda Holden in Me+Em earlier this month

I’d rather have seen Camilla in another of those drawstring-waist dresses in that striking blue that she and Kate are so fond of, partly because an ankle-grazing, sporty dress might have suited the occasion better, but mainly because she would have looked more herself. Less swamped.

It’s not that I think 75-year-old Camilla’s too old to wear a jumpsuit. That’s not it. I can see her walking the dogs in a navy boiler suit and trainers. I can see her rustling up supper for her children on a Sunday night in the kitchen at Highgrove wearing a Marks & Spencer viscose khaki all-in-one with some comfy wedge flip-flops.

But a dressy jumpsuit like the Anna Valentine one she was wearing is, on the scale of wearable jumpsuits, right up in the high-risk, red-lights-flashing, know- your-limits-and-check-with-a-very-good-friend zone.

There are jumpsuits you pull on and go and jumpsuits intended for making entrances, and the Anna Valentine number is the latter and therefore to be approached with caution.

We all know what Camilla was thinking. Why don’t I wear something more relaxed, something less dressy than a dress? Wouldn’t it put people at ease? Wouldn’t I be more comfortable? Probably, she stood in front of a long mirror and decided: ‘This looks like a long dress but less formal.’

Daring: Camilla in Anna Valentine on Sunday, left, and, above, last year

Plain: Charlene of Monaco in Terrence Bray last year

Billowing: The Countess of Wessex wears Emilia Wickstead for Royal Ascot in 2019 

Very likely, she thought ‘I’ve scored a hit with this sort of thing before [more of which in a moment] so why not again?’ But what she may not have bargained for — and the part that only the most seasoned jumpsuit wearer is hyper-sensitive to — is the stepping out effect.

With trousers, you spin around and check does my bum look big in this. With jumpsuits like this one you must also check the striding forwards look — what happens when you step out, put one foot in front of the other, and what was previously a simple column becomes an all in one with swishing, swaying, voluminous legs. You can look swamped in a jumpsuit, not to put too fine a point on it, and sometimes it’s less about the cut than the colour.

Camilla has form when it comes to wearing smart jumpsuits. Back in 2019 she wore a navy blue one with white piped sleeves, also by Anna Valentine, on a royal tour of New Zealand. She wore it again in the summer of last year for the opening of the Commonwealth Games.

On both occasions she looked as good as she has ever looked — which is very good — and you can see why she was tempted to try out the style again.

But — all-in-one fans take note — in dark navy this tailored jumpsuit, with its deep vent in front, looks like a narrow kaftan-style dress worn open over an underskirt.

You’re not aware of the swaggery legs beneath — it all blends into one elegant, slimline look.

In the bright blue, however, there’s no hiding place, and a dress-cum-jumpsuit becomes instantly less flattering and silhouette-narrowing — as Princess Charlene at last year’s Monaco grand prix and the Countess of Wessex at Ascot in 2019 found to their cost.

It’s one of the reasons why the midlife woman’s best friend — especially when it comes to trying something a bit different, or bold, or revealing — is navy.

Can’t wait to see Camilla back in the navy one now.

Ignore the doubters, she looks terrific!

By Dinah van Tulleken, Daily Mail Fashion Editor

A flared-leg, tailored jumpsuit in vivid cobalt blue would be a bold choice for an ‘influencer’ in her 20s — so it’s not surprising there was a sharp intake of breath when Camilla strode forth in her show-stopping outfit.

I might be an outlier here, but I thought she looked terrific.

Fashion often gives the impression that trends are for the young and that there are styles that women ‘over a certain age’ shouldn’t go near. For me, Camilla — at 75 — proves you can wear whatever you want, whenever you want.

Regal: Princess Victoria of Sweden

Elegant: Queen Mathilde of Belgium

That bright blue all-in-one was a refreshing choice, considerably more exciting than a predictable summer midi, especially on a woman who isn’t usually thought of as someone who we look to for style inspiration.

Camilla doesn’t often make a grab for the limelight, but this time she definitely wanted to draw attention to herself.

Perhaps this was because the creation of The Queen’s Reading Room — a charity set up to promote literacy in children and adults — is her first major, solo achievement as Queen.

That bright blue all-in-one was a refreshing choice, considerably more exciting than a predictable summer midi 

She went for practical, but it’s also enjoyable and frivolous — which is exactly what fashion should be. And it was sensible to avoid anything clingy. No danger of confusing this elegant crepe design with a catsuit: when it comes to all-in-ones, it’s essential to steer clear of anything you may have worn in the 1980s.

The fabulous, exaggerated flared leg elevates the look, while also being flattering. The cleverly placed darts accentuate her waist. The sleeve length is perfect (not always easy with an all-in-one). Notice the satin trim cuffs, a gloriously understated flourish. The zip collar is a fun, youthful touch.

A jumpsuit bridges the gap between dressy and casual — but this one is also, very definitely, a statement look.

It’s one the European royals have long championed — from Queen Maxima of the Netherlands to Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Queen Mathilde of Belgium.

And, if I’m honest, Camilla was probably the last of the royals I expected to look to for fashion inspiration, but I’ll be keeping an eye on her from now on.

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