Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Power dressing invented


I was not a fan, to put it mildly, but here is a somewhat interesting piece on Mrs T's clothes, claiming that she pioneered power dressing. It's interesting to speculate on what she would have worn had she been PM in a later or earlier decade


Marianne Abrahams, then design director of Aquascutum, which made most of her clothes, said at the time: "She knows precisely what she wants and she's particular about the fit of the shoulders."

Those "power shoulders" typified her style as much as the omnipresent pearls and round-toed Ferragamo court shoes with stout 3cm heels. The tailored jacket and skirt was often in navy or sapphire - her favourite, "my party's colour". But she liked to vary the diet with forays into fuchsia or cerise.

Her suits were in good, serviceable British cloth, checked tweed or a gleaming brocade; indeed, any fabric was welcome as long as it did not wrinkle, because of the amount she travelled. She once said she found suits more practical than ball-gowns.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

How would you define 'to pioneer a look'? To be a pioneer suggests to me being the first one to do it, to lead the way, etc. I don't think anything Aquascutum designed or Thatcher wore could ever be considered pioneering. I think she brought to the public eye the Conservative woman's look because she was in the public eye. I don't think Mrs Thatcher's shoulder pads were any bigger than Glynis Kinnock's. Vivienne Westwood - now that's who I would call a pioneer! Mrs. Thatcher - a well groomed middle aged Conservative woman with very little satorial imagination. In fashion, what goes around, comes around. Now that the 1980s is enjoying a revival with a generation young enough to have missed them the first time round, they look to public figures to examine the look of the time - that does not necessarily make those public figures pioneers. Phew! Didn't mean to go on so!

phyllis said...

Here in the States the US Press often noted that Mrs. T projected a regal bearing far more effectively than the Queen.

Toby Wollin said...

I've seen a couple of fashion references which credit the effect of Nolan Miller's way over-the-top costumes based on 1940s movies for the tv show, "Dynasty", which premiered in 1981. I'm not saying Mrs. Thatcher did not do her part to popularize it (as did, Princess Diana), but the references give credit to Nolan Miller's influence.

Anonymous said...

Well, the power suits were the essence of a certain type of 1980s dressing, but the empty handbag comes straight from the Queen.

lagatta à Montréal said...

Oh dear, I was anonymous again (Queen's handbag)...

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Mrs Thatcher's handbag was never empty! British society still has the scars to prove it!

Belle de Ville said...

What I like about Mrs. Thatcher's wardrobe, she wore the clothes...they didn't wear her.
The same holds true for Hillary Clinton.
And that is what I expect from a political leader who is a woman.