How to pull off Prince Philip’s panache

Prince Philip: impeccably dressed for every occasion
Image: Wikipedia Commons

Despite having retired from public life, Netflix’s hit series, The Crown, has put Prince Philip right back in the limelight. The series which paints a raffish portrait of the aged royal as a young man now runs to twenty episodes, with more to come.

Whatever you think of the irascible old Duke, he continues to exhibit a certain sartorial elegance. Here we take a look at the wardrobe staples that give the prince his panache, and discover what there is to learn from Philip the Greek’s remarkable dress sense.

The suit

Prince Philip’s suit keeps perfect form when seated – a sure sign of a good fit
Image: Netflix / Shutterstock

“We don’t come here for our health. We can think of other ways of enjoying ourselves.” Canada 1976

Playing his royal highness in his younger days, Matt Smith cuts a dash in period double breasted suits and blazers. But never one to get stuck in his ways – unless you count insulting the inhabitants of the former colonies – the real-life prince has moved with the times.

At six foot, Prince Philip is tall and trim for a man of his vintage, but the double-breasted look would swamp his elderly frame – which is why he looks good in single breasted jackets and coats. Choose a jacket or blazer that suits your actual shape, rather than the way you wish you looked.

The safari shirt

Matt Smith as Prince Philip, dressed to impress during a Commonwealth tour
Image: Netflix

“It’s not a very big one, but at least it’s dead and it took an awful lot of killing!” Speaking of the crocodile he shot in Gambia in 1957

Back in his heyday, Prince Philip enjoyed adventure by land sea and air, and was no stranger to venturing to foreign lands. The royal couple were at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya when the Queen learned of the death of her father George VI.

If there’s one thing you can say about the gaff-ridden prince, it’s that he always knows how to dress for the occasion. From safari shirt to full dress uniform with adorning tassels and gongs, Prince Philip looks the part whether he’s laying a wreath at the Cenotaph or shooting grouse at Balmoral. There’s never an excuse for being inappropriately dressed.

The fisherman’s sweater

A fisherman’s jumper is a must-have at sea
Image: Netflix

“I’d much rather have stayed in the Navy, frankly.” 1992

The series, The Crown makes much of Prince Philip’s dissatisfaction with being forced to leave his naval career soon after he was promoted to Commander, or as he once put it, just as it was getting interesting.

But ever the nautical man, Philip enjoyed his club sailing, racing a variety of boats of varying sizes over the years, including dragons and flying fifteens  – fast, exciting small keelboats. The best clothing advice for anyone venturing out to sea is that no matter how cold you think it’ll be, it’ll be colder. You wouldn’t catch the Gordonstoun survivor without his woollies – royal or not, a fisherman’s jumper comes in handy.

Sleeveless sweater

A sleeveless sweater can be dressed up or down with ease
Image: Netflix

“I would like to go to Russia very much – although the bastards murdered half my family.” 1967

The self-confessed expert at plaque unveiling knows a thing or two about standing around in the whistling wind and lashing rain, while his subjects perform ceremonial jerks for his amusement – the Prince’s rictus of a smile says it all.

What kind of fool attends an outdoor engagement without the appropriate under or over clothing? If there’s one thing we can learn from the star of the series about his own rather strange life of privilege and gilded imprisonment, it’s to slip on a tank top under your sports jacket, or risk catching a chill.


Prince Philip spends hours on his feet meeting and greeting as part of his royal duties
Image: Wikipedia Commons

“Any bloody fool can lay a wreath at the thingamy.” Prince Philip discussing his role at the remembrance parade.

There’s no doubt, the Prince in his younger days, railed against spending his days standing to one side of and slightly behind the Queen. But though it would be unrealistic to suggest that the years have mellowed the views of the plain-talking prince, he did, by stoically undertaking his royal duties, earn himself a special place in the heart of the nation.

All that standing to attention, walkabouts, and interminable garden parties must be hell on your feet – which is why you’ll never see Prince Philip in less than the best of handmade shoes from John Lobb. We can’t all afford aristocratic prices, but we can master the look with some handmade shoes from Samuel Windsor. Never step outside without the appropriate, well-polished footwear.

If you’re looking to add some princely panache to the way you dress or just in the market for some timeless (and sufficiently monochromatic) wardrobe staples, then you would do well to take note from Prince Philip, the leading man himself.

Posted in Men's Style Inspiration.