THE PRINCESS DIARIES
One writer tries to casually pull off being a grown-up in a tiara
I didn’t know I needed a diamanté crown until I saw Hedi Slimane’s grunge prom queens on the Spring 2016 Saint Laurent runway: The tousled waves, slinky slip dresses and old school wellies gave off a Hole-“Live Through This”-meetsKate-Moss- at- Glastonbury vibe. Then came Gigi Hadid in Tommy Hilfiger’s Fall 2016 show ( left), working a prim frock and a mini-crown. Moschino followed suit with signature quirk, while Dolce & Gabbana offered regal headpieces. Call it a royal meeting of Frozen, Kate Middleton and ’90s fashion hysteria: Tiaras are having a moment.
My last tiara-as-accessory phase was roughly 24 years ago and was, admittedly, more age-appropriate. For a girl obsessed with high heels and lipstick, an ornate diamond topper on a Tuesday afternoon was normal. Now that I’m all grown up, could I still embrace princess culture without looking like a sad Disney reject? The Hilfiger look—all Peter Pan collars and cute mini-crowns—felt costumey, but the girls at Moschino, who are more likely to reach for a septum ring than for sequins, appealed to me. Since I rarely let a trend exclude me, I set out to find my crown—and some texturizing spray to rough up my blowout (self-blown, of course: What do you think I am, a princess?).
I strode into tween accessory mecca Claire’s and asked the clerk for the, ahem, adult tiaras (she pointed them out, unfazed). As I tried on various rhinestone monstrosities, I happened upon a sweet tiara that was, dare I say, tasteful— a far cry from the oversized crowns you’d expect to find at a big fat wedding. As I gazed at my face adorned by a diamanté halo, something happened. I felt edgy. I was the people’s princess, neither an overly made-up tot nor an infantilized adult.
The first time I wore my bejewelled head accoutrement out for a drink, I paired it with high-waisted denim, a tee and matte cerise lips—after all, Slimane said a tiny crown goes “with everything.” I got immediate attention, albeit more of the “girl at her bachelorette” variety than the “nonchalant fashion girl” type. Still, I accepted the free rum and coke from the bar manager after he proclaimed that they’d “never had a real princess here before!”
What followed over the next week were grins at my local bakery, smiles on sidewalks and an unexpectedly courtly reception at a hipster café. I got the best table because, I assume, the power of the tiara simply demanded it.
During my short reign, the jewel-encrusted headwear gave me surprising confidence. But I realized that people weren’t nicer because they thought I was royalty (or royally bonkers)— they were picking up what my tiara and I were putting out there: an exhilarating self-assuredness and liberating joie de vivre born of a decision to not care whether I was naturally “edgy” enough for my new fave accessory.
The power of the tiara, I learned, isn’t really how it makes you look but how it makes you feel: stately and commanding. Slimane was right: That really does go with everything.
Clockwise from top: Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton.