Belfast Telegraph

Royal visit to Northern Ireland: The Queen dresses to impress

By Frances Burscough

If there's one thing that royal fashion watchers know, it is that if the Queen is on walkabout she wears an outfit with matching hat in a strong identifiable colour.

This is intentional, so that she stands out clearly and can "be seen to be believed", as she describes it.

The style, shape and fabric change according to the country, season and terrain.

So far in this tour she has worn two such outfits – immaculate three-piece suits with matching hats.

The first was a vivid royal blue shantung silk coat suit with large covered buttons and a matching toque style hat with a satin band, ruched to one side and finished with a floral twist. Under this she wore a matching long-sleeved dress with satin stripe cuff detail.

Her second, another coat suit, combined a fine wool tweed in a refreshing lemon with silver and black slub threads running through it. The hat in the same fabric was an oversized pill-box shape, finished with a zesty confection of starched silk.

The effect was as refreshing and delightful as a slice of fresh lemon meringue. In a slight change from routine, this coat was removed to reveal a dramatic printed dress featuring a large and distinctive poppy design in bright yellow, black and white, both designed by her own personal dressmaker Angela Kelly.

The Queen's accessories rarely change. Her favourite combination is a pair of white cotton Dents gloves with black shoes and handbag.

The shoes are handmade for her (of course they are!) by David Hyatt, formerly of royal shoemakers Rayne. The standard is the court shoe, shown here, in black calf leather with a 2in heel and a twisted brass clasp.

As for the signature black handbag, it is hand-crafted by Gerald Bodner at Launer.

Our new Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon took this golden opportunity to show just how well she scrubs up. That cobalt blue figure-hugging dress with three quarter sleeves and a cowl neckline suited her perfectly and was as elegant and appropriate as anything the Duchess of Cambridge might wear. As much as I liked her predecessor Mairtin O Muilleoir, there's no way he could have pulled off the look.

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