At 50, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands is offering joyful lessons in midlife dressing

·5-min read
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands in Lisse last week
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands in Lisse last week

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands has never been afraid to have fun with fashion. Her wardrobe is full of vivid colours, exuberant details and some of the most OTT hats you’ll see on any modern royal.

In recent days, Maxima has been peacocking more than ever. She turns 50 on Monday, and celebrations were already in full swing a week prior with a birthday concert and musical performances to honour her milestone birthday.

Embracing the opportunity to dress up after a year with few evening occasions, the Queen wore a spectacular Iris van Herpen illusion gown with intricate line decoration and a pair of Jimmy Choo heels to the concert, accompanied by her three daughters in their own maximalist eveningwear.

Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander with their daughters (l-r) Princess Arianne, Princess Alexia and Princess Amalia, and the King's mother, the former queen Beatrix - Wireimage
Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander with their daughters (l-r) Princess Arianne, Princess Alexia and Princess Amalia, and the King's mother, the former queen Beatrix - Wireimage

For her birthday portraits, meanwhile, Maxima adopted a more relaxed-luxe vibe, wearing a cream Massimo Dutti knit with a giant, cosy funnel neck, a houndstooth Saint Laurent cape and Zara earrings, proving she’s as au fait with high-low dressing as the Duchess of Cambridge is in the UK, or Queen Letizia is in Spain.

Queen Maxima's 50th birthday portraits - Twitter @koninklijkhuis
Queen Maxima's 50th birthday portraits - Twitter @koninklijkhuis

Despite being married to the king of a country known for its pared-back style preferences, Buenos Aires-born Queen Maxima is bucking the trend with her joyfully stylish, cheering midlife looks. Here are a few more, and the style lessons we can all take from them…

Bring on the beige

Queen Maxima wearing head-to-toe beige - Getty
Queen Maxima wearing head-to-toe beige - Getty

Maxima is usually a fan of vibrant hues like red, orange (a patriotic but tricky to wear shade she’s managed to make work on numerous occasions) or turquoise, but posing against the backdrop of a huge bed of multicoloured tulips last week, she decided to let her backdrop bring the colour.

Instead, she deployed one of her favourite sartorial tricks of wearing an ensemble of pieces all in the same shade - this time she veered away from brights in favour of a soft pinky-beige, adding her signature dash of fun with a floral headband and delicately jewelled check pattern on the skirt.

If bright colours aren’t your thing, try this warm, complexion-complementing shade instead of colder neutrals.

The dress with a (literal) twist

Queen Maxima wears a dress by Claes Iverson - Getty
Queen Maxima wears a dress by Claes Iverson - Getty

A dress with what appears to be an armful of bangles to rival Cleopatra is not for the faint-hearted. But it’s the more understated details on this dress by Claes Iversen, one of the Queen’s favourite Dutch designers, which really shine.

Worn on May 10, the khaki silk dress has clever gathering at the waist to create a soft yet flatteringly chic effect proving that sometimes it’s subtlest tricks which deliver maximum impact.

The statement coat

Queen Maxima wearing an Oscar de la Renta coat - Getty
Queen Maxima wearing an Oscar de la Renta coat - Getty

One of the most important sections of Queen Maxima’s wardrobe is her vast collection of striking coats. With cameras trained on royals from the moment they arrive at an engagement, a great coat is essential in bringing a look together.

In April, Maxima wore this floral brocade style by Oscar de la Renta for the third time in just over a year and it’s easy to see why; the boxy cut and just-below-the-knee length create a sleek silhouette while the beautiful pattern includes several colours which could be picked out in the rest of the look to switch up the coat each time it's worn.

Here, Maxima has opted for head-to-toe claret (even down to the gloves) which is one of her favourite shades and stops the outfit looking too fussy.

The leopard dress

Queen Maxima wearing a leopard print dress by Notan at The Hague - Getty
Queen Maxima wearing a leopard print dress by Notan at The Hague - Getty

Pairing red with leopard print is a brave move, but the perfect way for Maxima to be as striking as possible during public appearances - and this outfit consists of two versatile pieces which pack a punch.

The coat and dress are both by another of Maxima’s go-tos, the Belgian brand Natan, but a great red coat and leopard print dress are staples you can find across many labels and price points - seek out unusual element like the gathered collar on the coat here or the just-visible balloon sleeves on the dress. Note how the Queen is shoulder-robing her coat to show off the dress to its maximum potential whilst keeping the pop of colour - this is also an instant route to make an outfit look expensive.

The wide-legged trousers

Queen Maxima wearing an elegant pair of grey trousers - Getty
Queen Maxima wearing an elegant pair of grey trousers - Getty

Maxima is part of a sophisticated new generation of royal women who are regularly turning to trousers as much as more traditional skirts and dresses. As well as an arsenal of elegant trouser suits, Maxima also has plenty of sharp separates, like these wide-legged grey trousers, in her repertoire.

The perfect foil to sharp shirts and trophy tops, a pair of tailored trousers like Maxima’s could be the key to doing smart dressing with minimal effort as we emerge from lockdown. Take inspiration from her choice of soft grey instead of harsh black. Naturally, it helps when you have a Chanel bag to match.

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