Our verdict on Sophie, Countess of Wessex's best ever fashion moments

Sophie, Countess of Wessex's style has got better and better over the years

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, wearing Emilia Wickstead at Ascot in June 2019
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, wearing Emilia Wickstead at Ascot in June 2019

In a new series, our fashion editors revisit their favourite outfits ever worn by members of the British Royal family. So far, we have reviewed the choices made by the Duchess of Cambridge, The Queen, Princess Diana and Princess Anne, charting just some of the outfits which have seen them become national, and international, style icons.

This week, our team turn their attention to Sophie, Countess of Wessex. The wife of Prince Edward, the Queen's youngest son, Sophie is perhaps one of the most underrated Royal fashion players. Prior to her marriage in 1999, she was Sophie Rhys-Jones, a 1990s Sloane It girl with her own PR company. However over the years her style choices have often taken a battering in the press, as the tabloids dubbed her 'frumpy'.

Now 55, Sophie's style has sharpened up and she has figured out what suits her. She is undoubtedly having the best fashion run of her life, trialing new London Fashion Week labels like Emilia Wickstead and Erdem, but finding the most flattering, polished-looking cuts within their collections. Here our editors shine a spotlight on some of her best ever looks...

Wearing Emilia Wickstead at Ascot, June 2018

As chosen by Tamara Abraham

Sophie is often overlooked as a royal fashion taste maker, and unfairly so, as she’s really raised her style game over the past few years. This was most clear at Royal Ascot in 2018, when the powers that be relaxed the notoriously strict dress codes to allow for women to wear jumpsuits in the Royal Enclosure. Sophie the first Royal family member off the mark, opting for a pale turquoise Emilia Wickstead jumpsuit with flowing, pleated, culotte-style legs. Sure, it could have passed as a dress, but it demonstrates just how expertly Sophie treads the line between royal protocol and having fun with fashion. She makes it look easy, but as many of the other women who have married into The Firm would likely attest, it’s no mean feat.

Wearing Suzannah in Westminster, March 2020

As chosen by Bethan Holt

How chic does Sophie look here? Like the Duchess of Cambridge, she’s taken measures to modernise her wardrobe in recent years and now she consistently looks luxuriously elegant. This was her look for the Commonwealth Service in March - a day fraught with royal tension as it was Harry and Meghan’s last public appearance together. Her white and navy Suzannah dress is striking and sleek, recycled from last year’s Royal Ascot while the pillbox hat with netting has serious Jackie Kennedy vibes. It’s a polished but optimistic look for an historic day and epitomises why Sophie deserves more fashion praise than she ever really gets. 

Wearing bold prints at Ascot, July 1995

As chosen by Sophie Tobin

In her pre-Royal life, Sophie was more daring, wearing colour blocked florals to an Ascot Charity Race Day in aid of the Duke of Edinburgh's award scheme in 1995. With criss-cross straps and a shorter hemline, the mashed-up floral and zebra print is a far cry from the cool pastels she prefers today, but the Countess tones down the look with a cropped black jacket and pearl earrings. It's a look which could appear on the mood boards at a label like Rixo now.

Wearing red, April 1994

As chosen by Hikmat Mohammed

The Countess of Wessex’s style from afar generally tends to look quite conservative- sometimes even dull. She loves her neutral colours and wash-out pastels. However, this look from 1994, worn to attend Lord Ivor Mountbatten’s wedding, is quite unorthodox for the Countess. It’s more daring in that she’s wearing a Mandarin-collar jacket in an unmissable shade of red (statement-making for a royal who wants to be seen, but also a colour we’ve seen her deploy again recently) paired with a thigh-split skirt. 

Wearing Emilia Wickstead at Ascot, June 2019

As chosen by Caroline Leaper 

Another recent Ascot appearance, another exceptional bespoke outfit by the London Fashion Week-showing label Emilia Wickstead. It has taken decades in the spotlight for Sophie to find a designer whose work suits her figure and taste as well as Wickstead's does and now that she's onto a good thing, she's right to stick with it. Both the Duchess of Cambridge and Sussex have pieces by the New Zealand-born, London-based Wickstead in their wardrobes. For Sophie, she brings the perfectly-structured, expensive-looking, grown-up silhouettes she needs, matched with contemporary and fun colours and prints which keep her look modern. What I love about this outfit in particular is that the under-side of the brim of Sophie's hat is rendered in the same bouquet print as the dress.

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