The Princess and the rented dress

Sissi Malva de Moura
3 min readDec 26, 2022

The Princess of Wales recently sported a rented gown for an event- encouraging the public to follow sustainable fashion practices. Could she go royally vintage next?

(Originally published at

Frugality despite the grandeur has been the modus operandi of aristocracy and royalty for centuries: we can say that royals, aristocrats and traditional families, in general, were doing sustainable fashion before it was cool. The disdain for ostentation is usually one of the first tell-tale signs of old money (and most of all, breeding) versus flashy nouveau riche arrivistes and Holywood celebrities.

Sensible spending, quality versus quantity, preservation, reusing favourite pieces, and the practice of high-low fashion (mixing luxury items with high street ones) are usual style moves for both aristocratic clans who live in relative anonymity and working members of reigning royal families in the public eye.

Obviously, for the latter this sensibility is especially important since not only their representation expenses are usually a public issue, but working royals are expected to be a role model and set standards, to be an upgraded version of ordinary people. A little more sophisticated and polished, sure, but far from Hollywood artificial perfection.

That´s why we may see royals with elegant clothes, fashion-wise, and minor retouches and non-invasive procedures when it comes to beauty enhancements, but exorbitant spending and obvious cosmetic surgeries are a no-no: when people imitate you, and everything you wear sells like hot cakes, the last thing you want to do is giving away an image of prodigality.

For an earth-friendly themed event in the US, the Princess followed the dress code of sustainable fashion, which required guests not to purchase new gowns for the occasion.

While there are different ways to achieve this (shopping one´s wardrobe, reusing outfits, borrowing from a friend, buying second-hand or vintage, thrifting and so…