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Woman & Home
Woman & Home
Emma Shacklock

Princess Diana's clever trick to avoid embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions you've probably spotted in photos

Composite of three images of Princess Diana holding her clutch bag as she exits cars in June 1997, February 1997 and July 1997.

Princess Diana’s clever trick to avoid embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions is definitely worth trying and it’s so simple.

The late Princess Diana was known for her style with many of her outfits still considered some of the most iconic royal looks to this day. Her handbags were every bit as special as her clothes and when it comes to special events, the senior royal was rarely seen without a clutch. The clutch bag is a classic for a reason and luxury options are some of the best designer bags under £1000, though Princess Diana wore hers in a rather unusual way. 

The Princess's clutches were reportedly her go-to accessory to help her avoid a wardrobe malfunction in front of the world. You might never have noticed it before, but when Princess Diana exited cars she often held a clutch bag over her chest. 

(Image credit: Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

This was a clever move as it helped to preserve her modesty and prevent any potential cleavage-focused photographs being taken. Over the years, it’s also been suggested that Princess Diana even gave her signature car-exiting move a brilliant nickname. According to The Mirror, handbag designer Anya Hindmarch once alleged to The Telegraph that Princess Diana called her clutches “cleavage bags”.

Shop Clutch Bags like Princess Diana's

"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," she reportedly claimed.

Whether or not Princess Diana dubbed her clutches her "cleavage bag[s]" she certainly put them to good use when getting out of cars, as well as enjoying pairing them with her outfits for special events.

Princess Diana's clutch bags were beautiful, often crafted from satin and always impeccably matched to her evening dresses for a polished, sophisticated look.

(Image credit: Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

The Princess was a particular fan of the “Maud” clutch by Anya Hindmarch which is still sold by the brand today in a few variations, including the £475 'bespoke' clutch which comes in a range of fabulous colours. If being Princess Diana’s go-to clutch wasn’t enough of a hint at how special the Maud bags are, they’re also made-to-order and can be personalised with initials on the front. 

Anya Hindmarch describes the current Maud clutch as "boasting slightly bigger dimensions than its predecessors". It can fit all the essentials and even has a "traditional dance card" tucked away in the suede-lined interior of the bag.

Shop More Classic Clutch Bags

The style has stood the test of time since the days when it was Princess Diana’s "cleavage bag" and has been carried by the Princess of Wales and her mother Carole Middleton in recent years too.

Keeping her clutch close to her chest when getting out of the car isn’t the only trick Princess Diana used to avoid any potentially awkward or revealing photographs being taken. In snaps taken of her leaving cars to attend events, she can be seen with her legs together, helping to move elegantly and modestly out of the vehicles.

(Image credit: Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Her clutch bag technique is perhaps her most memorable, though, and Princess Diana consistently showcased how successful this can be if you want to protect your modesty. She might well have also inspired some people to try this themselves the next time they arrive at a special event with their go-to clutch bag.

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