Prince George Is My Style Icon
01.08.18

I know I’m the girl who cried style icon (Tracy, Diane, SZA, Moonlin, Mary, Louise, Chessy), but to say I merely enjoy the aesthetic of Prince George of Cambridge (full name George Alexander Louis, son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and grandson of the preeminent style icon Princess Diana of Wales), would simply be untrue. In fact, I’m drawn to it on a cellular level. When I see it I immediately doubt pants as a concept, and wonder why I’m a 28-year-old Bushwick rat-lover instead of 4-year-old British royalty.

As a generally cranky person and fan of democracy, I’m no royal family fanatic. For instance, I don’t understand if Louis is George’s last name or his third first name, nor do I understand even broadly what a Duke is. I think Meghan and Kate are cool, but I’d sooner be lured in by Fiona clickbait. Also, I had to tab over to Wikipedia four times just to write the above paragraph; I learned so much. What I do know though, and have always known, is what constitutes a great pair of shorts, and boy does Prince George know his way around some shorts.

Did I feel creepy writing that? Yes. Did I plan to spend several hours discussing my conspiracy theories as to why the toddler Prince is addicted to shorts (such as long pants constrict him artistically) only to find out the answer via Google in two seconds? Absolutely. “Etiquette expert and MailOnline columnist, William Hanson, claims that shorts on young boys are, in fact, a silent British class marker and trousers are deemed ‘suburban’, which no self-respecting royal would want to be regarded as,” reports important royal coverage publication Daily Mail.

Photo by Don MacKinnon/AFP via Getty Images.

I’m distraught the shorts are a signifier of elitism, as that runs quite contrary to my most popular theory, which is that they are a tiny act of resistance against the monarchy. That said, I’m cheered by the idea of very basic shorts depicting wealth instead of extravagant silk robes or something. It begs the question: Was the royal fam ironic before it was cool?

Only time will tell. As for now, here are the five things I would hope to communicate to the world if I dressed like Prince George, as I obviously would in my parallel smaller-bodied life:

“My neck is expensive.”

Prince George, a.k.a. PG, always wears a collared shirt buttoned all the way up, signaling his gullet is valuable and/or he’s taking styles cues from Brooklyn circa 2013 (which was his birth year if you’re in the mood for an existential crisis). He also always tucks his shirt in to close off neck access from the bottom, giving him an overall appearance of corporal security that I support and care to emulate.

“I enjoy upscale playgrounds.”

As mentioned, PG never dons pants, the garment most typically paired with everything else he wears: button-downs, sweaters, matching belts and loafers. Instead, he only wears mid-thigh length chinos, an unexpected move that makes him appear distinctly counterculture and playground-after-church chic, a look I hope to adopt come spring, but in a secular sense.

Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty Images.

“The British flag is my aesthetic.”

PG wears red, blue and white almost exclusively. I believe that’s called a patriotic capsule wardrobe but don’t fact-check that. This means if you squint, his Google Image search results look like a Monet painting of the British flag, a subtle but arresting personal brand decision.

“I have weak ankles.”

So you love a crew sock that peeks out of your loafers? To that PG says: big deal. Why not up the ante with knee-highs a la Carrie Bradshaw, paired with brogues a la Spongebob Squarepants? PG pulls this daring move off seamlessly and often, hinting that he either appreciates a warm calf (but not a warm knee) or simply has sensitive, bird-like ankles, which is adorable.

“What is a week-‘end‘?”

Above all, PG’s casual but put-together style says, “But what is a week-‘end‘?” Which, as we all learned from the Dowager Countess Maggie Smith, is more so a smug declaration of one’s life of leisure than an actual question. And it’s true: I doubt he grumbles on Mondays and cheers on Fridays. No such cycle burdens a year-round shorts-wearer. He’s free to be grouchy at all times; it’s the ultimate power move.

Photo by Chris Jackson via Getty Images.
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  • Imaiya Ravichandran

    george (we’re on a first name basis) seems like such a DIVA. luvs it. i want him and blue ivy to chill in a room for a bit and someone (me) to document the magic that ensues.

  • Freya Parr

    This is the best article about the Royal Family I’ve read all year.

  • mapillski

    Cut to me looking up winter pics of PG. Is he one of those people whose legs never get cold? I hate those people

    • Ashley Roxanne

      Yes this is what I’ve been wondering! Even in winter?!

    • stinevincent

      I think it’s more just an old-school etiquette sort of deal than fashion or style-oriented. JFK Junior was famously in shorts during JFK’s appearances (there’s that great shot of him in robin’s egg shorts and matching pea coat). There are references in many books to young men finally getting to put on “long pants” to signal growing up. So I don’t think it’s really a decision that anyone’s making, apart probably from Queen Elizabeth or some etiquette folks encouraging the next crown prince to follow old school fashion rules.

      • wagnerj8

        Look at old photographs from the nineteenth and early to mid twentieth centuries. Starting at about five or six, all little boys wore short pants with half boots and black stockings (by the 1920s, the stockings were replaced by knee socks). When they were around thirteen, boys began to wear long pants. It was the norm, whether the family was poor or rich.

  • Autumn

    Anytime I read “Prince George” I replace it with “Boy George”, which totally changed the tone of the piece but made it sillier in my head.

  • European toddlers wearing shorts and knee socks are my favorite thing. It’s a different look on my 28-yo legs, but I’m still gonna rock it this spring.

  • Julia

    This article was everything I needed and more. Should we also talk about Princess Charlotte’s portraits released this morning? Did you ask Kate when she was releasing them to help decide when to publish this article?

  • Ashley S

    I’m an American history grad student who’s spent some time in Britain and a royal family lover in general and feel that I can answer your questions in a non-pretentious way.

    Britain is a constitutional monarchy which means that QEII is technically head of state. However, parliament is a completely separate body from the monarchy and operates as so. The queen’s designation as head of state is thoroughly symbolic, and she is to act as an exemplar and active definer of what the nation is. (Compare to our head of state changing every four years and the necessary but nonetheless divisive chaos and existential reckoning that can commence.)

    To the bit about George’s name, ha!!! I love it. Louis IS his third first name. All of the royals have the surname Windsor, a decision made by Queen Elizabeth in the 1950s despite, her husband, Prince Phillip’s disapproval. He wanted the children’s last name to be his British surname, Mountbatten, considering he’d lost everything (family, title, Greek citizenship) to marry Elizabeth and become truly British. Elizabeth wanted her children, George’s grandfather and great aunt, Charles and Anne, to be Windsors because of the tradition associated with the name. She wanted them to be associated with not only her father George VI, the wartime king, but his popular wife and Elizabeth’s mom, the Queen Mother. (Side note: The royals actually don’t have a drop of British blood and changed their original German surname during WWI for obvious PR reasons.)

    As far as what a duke is, here goes nothing. First of all, a duke in the UK is going to be different than a duke somewhere else. All UK dukedoms are heredity with the exception of two. Moreover, not every member of the British nobility is royal. For instance, Prince William is a royal duke and will of course have the signifier “HRH.” Someone like Edward Fitzalan-Howard is a duke but not a royal.

    I’m from the American South, and I always find it interesting how confused we Americans can be by all of the pageantry and tradition of Britain, inside and out of the royal family. In other news, I have been to St. George’s and cannot wait to see Harry and Meghan’s wedding. Looking forward to MR’s coverage!

    • Diana

      I thought their last name was Mountbatten Windsor in deference to Phillip

      • Ashley S

        Privately, they are known as Mountbatten-Windsor. You are absolutely right!!! Publicly, however, they remain the house of Windsor.

        • Diana

          Thanks for the info Ashley – the Royals are endlessly fascinating. Maybe they will scratch the “Mountbatten” altogether (after Phillip shuffles off this mortal coil, of course)

          • Amanda Roussel

            after watching The Crown, I am fiercely anti-Phillip

    • Olivia Lauren Hawk Moore

      you dear wonderful person! I am also from the American south and adore all things having to do with the British monarchy. Please tell me everything you/send me all of your grad school homework/research papers because I would truly delight in reading them.

      • Ashley S

        I love MR so much for this reason!!! My research is on American history, but I adore the royal family and research them as if it were my own work! My email is ashleylsteenson@gmail.com. Looking forward to lovely convos!

  • Andrea Raymer

    Ive been trying so hard to make knee socks happen and clearly with PG’s celebrity endorsement I have succeeded.

  • I choked at “brogues a la Spongebob Squarepants” and I’d also like to add that this kid reminds me of: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/db5c05109fdf039ed6993a3a74d7fca9c94db5d23cabf2267ea4eee8e7db9ea6.jpg

  • Bmo

    “Why not up the ante with knee-highs a la Carrie Bradshaw, paired with brogues a la Spongebob Squarepants?”

    Haley have you been waiting your entire life to write this sentence? Because I’ve been waiting my entire life to read it.

  • Emily Crittenden

    My poor commoner sons! I, because I am insane, refuse to let them wear shorts until they can move about the world without falling down and skinning their knees every couple seconds. I can’t bear it. They spend summers in linen pants and beads of sweat.

    So all I can think of, looking at these adorable pictures, is, how the heck does Prince George have such unmarred little knees!?!

  • Emily M

    Shorts as a tiny act of resistance against the monarchy. omg. Sad now that this isn’t true.

  • garnishmywages

    Shorts with a belt, no less. Not sure that I have ever done that, but I like how that looks.

  • Laura Guarraci

    Apparently the shorts are a class distinction thing (but a darn cute one). Poor guy wouldn’t be so happy about being royalty if he were in NYC this winter, brrrrrrr
    https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2016/10/why-prince-george-wears-shorts

  • silla

    This is truly fucking hilarious

  • Cee

    I never expected to read this article, but now I have I can’t imagine life without it.

    Also, I could never see enough references to Fiona even if I lived a thousand lives. #teamfiona

  • This article got all the LOLs!

    http://www.shessobright.com

  • Amanita Muscaria

    It’s more than a class marker. Royal boys are forced to wear shorts until they’re 8

  • TinySoprano

    I wish I too were free to be grouchy at all times.

  • Pia Bergman

    Prince George is the BEST living royal and I totally understand the beguiling magnetism of his tiny self, knee socks and all. But some of the best shorts/knee socks style vibes come from school boys in French films. Au Revoir les Enfants is full of inspo.

  • I kept waiting for the picture of Prince George meeting President obama in his fluffy bathrobe and old man pajamas! That’s my aesthetic.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c28e035cc9c46a585b3aa548054f2b305b78e159e53a1284c7e7cb78a640453e.jpg

  • BarbieBush

    what about in the winter???