As Meryl Streep takes on the role of Margaret Thatcher in the blockbuster hit The Iron Lady, critics are now hailing the Baroness as a fashion icon for females across the world. Style writer Katie Richardson takes a look back at the style of the eighties icon, and shows us how we can emulate this powerful look.

Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first and only female Prime Minister will always lead the way in terms of politics and, rather unexpectedly, fashion too. Her love of powder blue suits and her Salvatore Ferragamo bag would not only distinguish her signature style but also become her weapon in ruling a male dominated parliament.

Thatcher’s distinctive style has been reincarnated in Streep’s recent portrayal in The Iron Lady, where costume designer Consolata Boyle successfully restores the power of the pussybow blouse and, of course, the infamous pearls. The film has become an instant success, with Thatcher’s daring style being described by former Conservative Minister Edwina Currie as "glossy dominatrix".

Yet Streep’s performance takes us back to Thatcher as a young university girl, where we are all able to relate to her struggles growing up. During her time at Oxford, we see Thatcher as a student, where Currie suggests that she “wasn’t the sexy one, or the popular one or the sporty one.”

Whilst sharing these vulnerabilities that all young women experience today, Maggie fought back by unleashing her own bold and individual style. Never one to back down, Thatcher’s infamous line, "The pearls are non-negotiable,” proves how she was never one to conform to society’s expectations. A clear fashion icon, director Phyllida Lloyd suggests that, "Thatcher understood the power of mixing femininity and masculinity," a trend that has dominated the catwalks over the past seasons.

Although I’m not suggesting that the staple item in every female’s wardrobe has now miraculously become the navy pleated skirt, Streep’s performance has rather re-awakened Thatcher as a role model for young women, as a fashionista of the eighties, who never surrendered her individualistic style.

Thatcher is renowned for her "power dressing," mixing both bold colours with softer and more girlish shapes. Always seen wearing royal blue, Thatcher would often team up her suit jacket with a plain or printed blouse to add a more feminine touch.

Thatcher completely understood the power of accessorizing. Maggie was rarely seen without her statement Asprey style handbag and always mixed a longer hemline with sophisticated black court shoes.

Although I wouldn’t say Maggie’s style is one to emulate at the next FND, I do believe that girls can incorporate this powerful look into their everyday wardrobe.

By adding a smarter suit jacket or blazer to a pair of jeans and comfy flats, girls will instantly create a certain edge to their look. The blouse is a necessity for every girl’s wardrobe, and can easily be teamed up with your favourite statement heels for cocktails with the girls.

Pearls can always reinvent an outfit, so try adding a bracelet to the pastel summer dresses that have dominated the spring/summer catwalks. 

Being a student herself, Maggie definitely understood that times were hard. Thatcher never deviated from her favourite handbag, so possibly try investing and get your money’s worth out of the bag you love.

Thatcher definitely made a powerful woman sexy, and by replicating some of her smallest tips, girls can make the transition to sophisticated student.

Girls take note, “The Lady was not for turning,” and you too should not turn your backs on what you believe style is.


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