The Reason Princess Diana Called Her Purses 'Cleavage Bags'

Before Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle were royal style icons in their own right, Princess Diana was the reigning monarch of fashion. And like any savvy dresser, she had a few sartorial tricks up her own (shoulder-padded) sleeves.

One of our favorites: Princess Diana's "cleavage bags," named for their added utility of maintaining her modesty and covering her décolletage when exiting a vehicle in full-view of photographers and press. Especially in a low-cut or plunging neckline dress, the Princess of Wales was an expert at using her evening bags to keep from showing off any extra skin.

princess diana cleavage clutch blue dress
Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

Designer Anya Hindmarch, the British designer who began working with Diana in 1993 and was a favorite of the princess's, told The Telegraph about the Diana's nickname for these handbags.

princess diana cleavage clutch black dress
Tim Graham/Getty Images

“She was a very loyal customer and a lot of fun,” Hindmarch told the British paper in 2009. “She would come and see us with no bodyguards or any fuss. We used to laugh when we designed what she called her ‘cleavage bags,’ little satin clutches which she would cover her cleavage with when she stepped out of cars.”

princess diana cleavage clutch
Tim Graham/Getty Images

Yep, those perfectly coordinated clutches weren't just for show, but a strategic weapon to battle any immodest paparazzi shots. (Although, royal commentator and etiquette expert Myka Meier knows those clutches are always, always supposed to be in the royals' left hand.)

princess diana cleavage clutch navy dress
Getty Images

As soon as we can wear fancy dresses again, we're totally stealing this Princess Diana fashion hack.


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