Queen Elizabeth rewears her scarves, purses & gloves for decades

Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II arriving at the Coram to officially open The Queen Elizabeth II Centre

For the Duchess of Cambridge and Duchess of Sussex, everyone makes a big deal about when, where and how they repeat their clothes or accessories. I genuinely think it’s perfectly healthy to have an interest in fashion, so I don’t mind that Meghan and Kate’s fashion choices make headlines, even if the interest in those choices is – at times – way overblown. But we don’t talk enough about the Queen and how much she rewears things. Obviously, Her Maj has one of the greatest brooch collections of all time. But she does not have an extensive handbag collection, because she apparently has been using the same handbag for… FIFTY YEARS. And while she has an extensive scarf collection, she’s been using the same scarves for decades too. Rewear goals.

The Queen has been reusing her favourite bags, shoes and accessories for over half a century, MailOnline can reveal. The 92-year-old monarch entrusts a select few suppliers with making her clothes, some of whom she has been visiting for more than 70 years. Her busy schedule of public duties often demands several outfit changes a day, which means gloves and shoes must be made from the highest quality materials.

Among her hardest-working pieces is a patent handbag from British label Launer, a piece she has been wearing for nearly 50 years. Spotted on her arm for the first time in 1970, during a meeting with President Nixon at Chequers, the monarch was seen wearing it again in 2017 while reviewing the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery. Known for its iconic ‘twisted rope’ emblem, Launer was established in 1941 and awarded a Royal Warrant after supplying with Queen with leather good since 1968.

Similarly, the Queen, who is famed for her love of silk headscarves – her collection is thought to be in the hundreds – wore the same vibrant green number while riding in Sandringham in 1970, and on her 79th birthday at Windsor in 2005 – some 35 years later.

When it comes to gloves – a staple of any monarch’s wardrobe – the Queen has been using Cornelia James for a staggering 72 years. Her long-standing relationship with the East Sussex supplier began in 1947, when her wedding dress designer Norman Hartnell ordered a pair of plain white cotton gloves for her going-away outfit. Royal glovemaker Genevieve Lawson has previously revealed that Her Majesty tries to extend the quality of her gloves by reusing them and sending them back for repairs instead of buying new ones.

The Queen has also worn the same style of shoe for the past 50 years, handmade for her by Anello & Davide of Kensington, west London, from the finest calf leather – usually in black patent with a brass clasp or a small bow. She has worked her way through hundreds of almost identical pairs over the years but circulates about ten pairs at any one time — including plain black leather, black patent, white leather and beige leather, and three designs of evening shoe in satin, silver and gold.

[From The Daily Mail]

She “circulates about ten pairs at any one time…” I think this is what she does with handbags too – it’s not that she only has one humble black leather purse which she uses every day, it’s that she has about six mostly identical black leather purses which she cycles through at any given time, and she sticks with the same style when she orders new ones. She probably has several duplicates of the exact same purse too, same with shoes and maybe even scarves and gloves. It’s all part of her regal uniform, complete with the Mad Hatter hats. Damn, though. Now I want to see her scarf collection AND her brooch collection and I want to study the subtle differences between the black purses.

Queen arrival KL

The Queen visits The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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34 Responses to “Queen Elizabeth rewears her scarves, purses & gloves for decades”

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  1. Rapunzel says:

    Good quality products can last for decades with proper care. I have a couple good wool overcoats from my late grandma that are almost 45-50 yrs. old. You would not guess their age.

    • jan90067 says:

      Let’s not forget, too, that her things hardly have normal wear and tear like us peasants. She is never having to shove kids’ toys, extra clothes, or tablets/laptops in her purse, she is not having to tug open doors, etc., wearing her gloves, and she’s always covered and not “exposed” like we are to the elements (except when she’s at Balmoral). Also, all of her things are expertly cared for ALL the time. So yes, you’d expect her things to last a LONG time.

      That said, I’d DIE for a chance just to *see* her brooch collection! I LOVE brooches (my grandmother had some great costume jewelry ones that she wore ALL the time; wish I still had all of them. They got lost in a move years ago 😢).

      • BeanieBean says:

        I totally agree with everything you said, but I noticed a water drip on the top of that lovely Burberry scarf she’s wearing. I’d love to see all the brooches, too, plus the entire art collection. Can you imagine?!

  2. Beth says:

    For over 20 years, I’ve worn my dads pea coat
    from when he was in the navy 50 years ago, and I still wear a leather jacket I’ve had for 20 years. Both are high quality and I take good care of them so I’ll have them forever

    • Florida says:

      I’m sorry but does anyone know how to properly care for these things? Is there a website that outlines all of it? I’m kind of dumb on that stuff and I want to learn and I’d love for there to be a site that explains it all to grimy bums like me 😂

      • jan90067 says:

        Yes, there are websites. You can Google how to care for just about everything. As long as you clean/condition/and repair as you go, good quality things will last decades.

        I have a couple of coats that my mom wore in the 60s that I still use. I keep them covered in linen dress bags when not in use, and I clean them once a season if I used them that year. EVERYTHING comes back in fashion! lol

      • Florida says:

        Thank you Jan.

  3. LadyMTL says:

    When I was a kid my mom had a long mink coat that used to belong to her grandmother (so my great-gran) and it was in great shape. Eventually she stopped wearing it and got rid of it at some point too, but I distinctly remember how it really didn’t look ratty at all, considering that it probably dated from the 1930’s or 40’s.

    • jan90067 says:

      I have my grandmother’s mink stole, and my mom’s dark, ranch mink jacket. I love them. They are in perfect condition; I feel funny about wearing them, but I just can’t bring myself to donate them. I may just make them into throw pillows, just to keep them near 😊. For now, they’re in a special closet in my home.

    • Tigerlily says:

      My late auntie had a gorgeous mink coat she bought in the 1970’s but rarely wore. I ended up wearing it a lot in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s. Only issue was that it was a bit short. I have never been so warm in my life. I live in north/central Alberta, Canada & at that time I lived in an apartment and my parking stall was outside (with a plug in for block heater) but I drove on some not-busy country roads to get to work. I was always glad I had that coat in case my car crapped out on the way to work in -30C weather. Unfortunately I have “outgrown” the coat. I would never shade anyone for wearing fur in this climate.

      • Betsy says:

        Vogue (I think?) had an article in the last year or so about fur refashioning – if you’ve “outgrown” the coat but would like to wear it again, there are people who will refashion it and can add the odd length of coordinating fabric or fur.

  4. Lightpurple says:

    I really would love to explore her closets.

  5. Eric says:

    The official BOSS handbook states the following:

    I can rewear all my gear until I’m dead. Now piss off.

    • Good GRrrrrl says:

      I’m not conservative, I’d say ecclectic and have vintage coats from HIGH SCHOOL. Wow. I wear shizzle 100yo + & not shabby, ever.

    • Megan says:

      I love ya, Liz, but it is time to up your shoe game.

  6. Nicegirl says:

    I wonder how much she really carries in her purses. Probably not full of regular person stuff, like receipts and wrappers and pens from the dentist office, the lining all ripped or marked with makeup smears.

    • original_kellybean says:

      You know she probably has butterscotch candies in there. She is a grandmother and great-grandmother, after all.

    • Liz says:

      My guess – lipstick, compact, small hairbrush, handkerchiefs, breath mints. Possibly a cell phone.

  7. Rosie says:

    This is what worries me about Meghan. She has probably spent more on handbags in a year than the Queen has during most of her life. How many little handbags does she need and how many of them will look dated in 10 years time? Maybe Kate is as bad and I’ve just not noticed it with her.

  8. minx says:

    I’m sure she owns the best, so of course they will be timeless and beautiful.

  9. Marjorie says:

    All I want to know is what’s inside.

    • girl_ninja says:

      Right?! What does the Queen carry around? That would be an outstanding What’s in my bag 🙂

  10. smee says:

    It always makes me a little peeved when I see a headline about a Royal “recycling” an outfit they’ve worn before….what should they do – wear it once and burn it?

    Good quality plus a legion of servants to care for these items – they should last a lifetime.

  11. Malificent says:

    I have cotton bedsheets that were a wedding gift for my parents in 1956. My mom used them regularly through the years and I do too. They look like new and haven’t worn through at all. They don’t make ’em like they used to….

    • Florida says:

      My 97 year old grandmother has dishes and tons of stuff that are way older than me! She gave me two Pyrex dishes from the 70’s, I still use them every day! The older stuff really seems to last. I got four revere ware pots at a yard sale for $20 and I still cannot believe anyone got rid of them! They’re wonderful!

      I’m pretty sure my grandmother has sheets that old too. Some of them are so faded and soft and I remember them from my childhood in the 80’s.

      • Skwinkee says:

        I love old things. We had guests so I hauled out the silver. Several pieces are from 1847.

        I love being connected to the past.

        And I definitely need to know what HM has in her bag.

    • Princessk says:

      That is the point, things then were made to last, today it’s the opposite because they want us to throw things out and buy more.

  12. JRenee says:

    I would love to see the brooch and tiara collection. I know it would offend many, but I would love to see those.

  13. Livvers says:

    This news is no surprise to me. It’s simply the Sam Vines “Boots” theory of socioeconomic injustice in action. “A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.”

  14. Rathernotthanx says:

    I have a coat I bought when I was 21 that is wool and still wearable, shoulder pads could go down a size or two. I still have boots from 1979, that I wear in winter, not often I will admit as they are tan so I wear them with jeans. Some skirts I still wear are about 20 years old. I have hand knit jumpers and cardigans that are at least 30 years old. I have always bought classic cuts and fabrics. Launder promptly and store carefully. I am often complimented on my clothes and I can honestly say “ what this old thing”. Lol (I am 55.)