Post-breakup or divorce, we women may find ourselves taking to drinking to drown our sorrows, or sometimes binge-Netflixing (Fleabag helps), or then ranting to empathetic girl friends, putting all our focus into our work, or making ambitious hiking plans. In case of a tragic breakup, we somehow want our lost self-esteem, that shiny confidence back. We want to send out a loud and clear message, ‘We won’t put up with your behaviour anymore.’ We want a silent and impactful reformation – we want the power back and this all pulling-ourselves-back can at times, begin with clothes.

The reason we are talking about clothes and breakup is because July 1 is the late Princess Diana’s birthday, and Lady Diana’s divorce with Prince Charles had been one of the most talked-about in the world. Post her divorce, Lady Diana emerged as one of the strongest feminist icons. She not only courageously talked about her heartbreak but also could portray her feelings through her clothes. Yes, Diana had always been a style icon but after her divorce, her clothes changed too. Her post-divorce ensembles reflected a break from the tight royal protocols. She ditched the fancy royal hats for free-spirited bandanas and sassy caps. She did wear a very Jackie Onassis hat on one of the occasions, which was designed by Gianni Versace, but then that pink hat of hers was modern and a departure from the frills and fancies of the past.

However, not only with her caps and headgears, Diana also showed us strength with her powerful dress game. In fact, it was after her famous 1994 black dress that the word or concept ‘Revenge Dress’ came into forefront. She wore this strapless, plunging neckline Christina Stambolian dress on the same night Prince Charles confessed to his affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles. Hence, this dress came to be called as a ‘Revenge Dress’. It was a bold dress and Diana pulled it off with rare confidence. This dress of hers was powerful in a very sexy way. Post her breakup, Princess Diana wore a lot of bodycon dresses, which she normally didn’t sport during her royal days. In other words, with her dresses, she showed us that she has moved on a big time.

Princess Diana’s post-separation fashion is more fascinating and inspirational as it showed her true fashion sensibilities. She didn’t have to follow the royal rules in terms of ensembles after her separation and that made a lot of difference. Moreover, Diana popularised androgynous fashion and athleisure. Since, she was one of the most papped public figures, she was spotted a lot in loose T-shirts or oversized sweaters paired with shorts. There was a very ‘I-don’t-give-a-damn’ touch to her off-duty casual looks. It is worth noticing that people’s princess had a very fuss-free side to her fashion, which is so relatable even today. Diana’s power-dressing game was not limited. Her style was quite gender-fluid. Post her royal life, she donned pantsuits as much as she wore dresses. There was a fresh outlook and energy that she had put to her dressing. She totally gave us boss lady vibes with her pants. For instance, Diana’s elephant-printed Escada tie clearly won us over.

She also made a strong case for animal prints and sported a lot of slogan tees to articulate her feelings. Post her separation, Diana wore more fun swimwear too. She redefined power and elegance successfully after her separation. With her fashion, Princess Diana has inspired women particularly to wear their heart out and not slip into some dark and dreary cocoon. On her birthday, we celebrate Lady Diana as a fashion icon, we will always remember especially on the days we need motivation to stay strong.