Statement sweaters, millennial pink, and western wear? Unlikely fashion icon King Charles beat us all to the trends decades ago

King Charles’ decades-old looks could be right off the 2023 runways

King Charles is an unexpected but undeniable fashion icon
(Image credit: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

King Charles might always cut a familiar figure in his style today – opting for well-tailored suits and the occasional kilt – but these old photos caught our eye based on how notably on trend the royal looked decades ago. Proving that he wasn’t afraid of a strong ensemble, Charles was a pioneer in the bold layering and colorful outerwear which has dominated the red carpet and runways today.

Everyone from Adidas to Gucci, Ralph Lauren to Burberry sent cozy but colorful layers down the runways in Autumn-Winter 2022. The trend was quickly picked up by fashion’s favorite men, like Spider-Man’s Tom Holland, David Beckham and pop singer Harry Styles.

But we cannot get enough of these decades old photos that prove one man beat them all to the trend – King Charles.

Back when the now monarch was just a young and spritely Prince of Wales, he wasn’t afraid of experimenting with more vibrant and fashion-forward ensembles.

Charles is seen sporting a very on-trend statement sweater and cool layering - back in the 1970s

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

In one shot, which looks like it could’ve been taken from the Instagram profile of a trendy influencer today, a young Charles sports a yellow Happy Hermes sweater, worn over a complimentary pale blue shirt.

He finishes the look with a pair of white jeans – also a more modern aesthetic and one that might have been considered more daring back in the day.

This is the kind of look that you’d expect someone like Harry Styles to wear today – and in fact, with a slight change to the colors, he did wear a preppy looking statement sweater over a crisp shirt on the red carpet.

There's no denying the aesthetic is similar to what Charles was sporting five decades ago

(Image credit: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

The photo was taken at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor, Berkshire back in 1977.

Another example of a fashion-forward look from Charles includes a prominent logo sweater with a monochromatic finishing.

King Charles rocks a statement logo sweater back in the 1970s

(Image credit: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

The navy blue logo sweater with a paler blue shirt underneath is a statement making style repeated by people on the high street and in high fashion today.

And when you think of the likes of Lil Nas and Diplo, you might not think King Charles shares much, if anything, in common with them. But way before they tried their hand at modernizing the western look, Charles proved he was the quickest draw in town.

King Charles rocked the western wear decades before the influencers and pop stars of today

(Image credit: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

For a tour of Canada, Charles wore a western suit (in a jazzy shade of millennial pink, no less!) with a check shirt, a bolo tie and a quartz-hued ten-gallon hat.

While he’s still effortlessly stylish – with his signature Prince of Wales check a firm favorite amongst the Saville Row crowd – seeing a young Charles wear these colorful, layered looks proves he wasn’t afraid of trying something different.

This isn’t the only time Charles has proven himself to be an unlikely fashion inspiration.

The Prince of Wales print, which he didn’t create but he helped re-popularize, has popped up on unexpected stars like James Bond’s Daniel Craig and even Julia Roberts.

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.