sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

May 23, 2013

Style and Fashion: Just Add A String of Pearls

Filed under: fashion, politics — Tags: — edge of the sandbox @ 12:39 pm

What scandals?  We went to a bni mitzvah last weekend.  Turns out, “Tonight Is Gonna Be A Good Night” is big on bni mizvah circuit, which is why when we walked into the ballroom, my 6-year-old said: “Where is the pretty music?”  Smart girl.  I shouldn’t pass judgment on the music selection because a) the party was fabulous, just like my extended family, and b) what *do* you play for the 13-year-old kids?

I’ve been meaning to write a Maggie Thatcher pick-me-up fashion post.  Although I said in the past that the late prime minister will be dismembered first and foremost as a champion of freedom, being a fashionista myself, I figured I could do a style tribute.

unsurprisingly uninspired mainstream commentators do the Thatcher style wrong.  When they try to channel the Iron Lady, they usually come up with something drab.

Like this

Or that

In reality, Thatcher knew that blue is not the only color.  In general the 80’s hues were beyond vibrant, which many commentators see as an expression of optimism inherent in the era ushered by Margaret Thatcher.

These 7 outfits, worn by the baroness at defining moments of her tenure, were auctioned off at Christie’s last year

Another problem with suggested Thatcher-inspired styles is that they are too literal; their appeal to women in the age of business casuals is highly limited. (I’m actually not a fan of business casuals, but, hey, take it up with Steve Jobs!)  There is no way a woman under 50 can wear something like that unironically, and the Iron Lady’s role in history is not too terribly ironic.

It might just be that young women are ripe for picking.  A May 18-20 Fox News poll shows younger voters are more skeptical about the Obama administration.  Only 17% of those in the under 35 category believe that the White House has nothing to do with the IRS targeting of the Tea Party groups.   The number of true believers increases with age, reaching 29% in the 55+ demo and 28% in the 65+.  Interesting.  Although it remains to be seen if the promise of free contraception outweighs the dangers of the assault on liberty in the eyes of our younger compatriots who may remain fans of O, no matter how Nixonian he appears.

If fashion editors failed to create an appealing Margaret Thatcher style guide, it’s up to little me to make up for that.  What I’m going to do is take the 7 outfits above and an iconic photo for inspiration and head to the Anthro sales racks (I’m sure Mrs. Thatcher would have admire my frugality).

Yep, that’s my inspiration

Anthro is certified cool and ostensibly unironic.  In keeping with my inspiration above, I’m going to find lots of blues, but also yellows and mint greens, feminine yet bold shapes and patterns and perhaps a certain British feel.

Starting with a blazer.  Sure, the blazer is made of soft romantic lace, but, being a navy blazer, and Thatcher didn’t  shy away from texture.  I’m not trying to copy Margaret Thatcher’s style; I’m updating it.

Actually, the whole outfit will work with strong horizontal stripes on the dress and a prominent necklace

Also soft and feminine, but very workplace appropriate:

Again, the whole outfit can work for my purposes

For a casual day, I’m going to chose a sweater with an print evocative of the British Isles:

Horse races, they say, are the sport of kings

An elegant navy dress with contemporary detail:

When it fits to a tee, this dress can be a staple of anyone’s wardrobe

A brocade pencil skirt in brilliant mint green:

Bold and feminine at once

Peplum top in bold pattern brings a current feel:

Probably not the yellow jeans — it’s too Mooochelle, and, lets face it, rather ugly

Margaret Thatcher wore scarfs, and scarf prints are in.

But for God’s sake, wear a tee-shirt under it!

The pearl color and pocket trim on this cardi make for a nice homage:

classy, and with a twist

For a final splash of color I’m going to add a bright yellow blouse with ruffle:

Notice that all the blouses are either bursting with color or patterned — or both

What you notice I don’t have is a pleated skirt, like the one the newly elected prime minister wore in that famous picture.  I’d like to be very literal about that particular detail, but unfortunately Anthro doesn’t carry any at the moment — and I don’t know who does.  I personally happened to have one, but if my readers need one they will probably have to hit the vintage boutiques.

On to the accessories:

A dash of bright blue for the earrings

And a pair of classy pumps

Classy shimmer

What so you think?



  1. I know Nordstroms sells Ted Baker, lots of scarf patterns, and LK Bennett stores are opening up here. (UK Ann Taylor which might have some of the more tailored options.)
    That navy dress is fabulous.

    Comment by AHLondon — May 28, 2013 @ 8:35 pm

  2. What do I think? The photos of the fashion industry’s interpretation of Lady Thatcher, as opposed to the photo of actual Lady Thatcher fashion, is quite telling. Thanks for the juxtaposition.


    Comment by nooneofanyimport — May 29, 2013 @ 7:37 pm

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