The original power dresser: A look back at Margaret Thatcher's signature style

Margaret Thatcher was one of the first women to perfect the art of power dressing. As the sad news of the death of Britain's first female Prime Minister breaks around the globe, HELLO! Online takes a look back at Baroness Thatcher's inimitable style.

She was famed for her sartorial staples – pussy bow blouses, pearls and a series of fitted skirt suits in rich hues. "I'm always safe in it," she once said of the classic ensemble.

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Her most famous accessory was the rigid Asprey handbag that became a metaphorical weapon. The designer creation was sold at Christie's for £25,000 in June 2011.

"I hope that the highest bidder knows that if he's into handbagging, he's got a weapon with quite a track record," said Margaret's daughter, Carol, at the sale. "After all, my mother invented the verb 'to handbag'".

The daughter of a dressmaker, Margaret was brought up wearing homemade clothes.

After meeting her wealthy future husband Denis, she was then able to afford to spend money on outfits. The pearl necklace that became integral to her look was given to her Denis when her twins Mark and Carol were born in 1953.

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She was offered sartorial advice by image adviser Gordon Reece, who persuaded her to ditch the large hats while he was working on fine-tuning her accent.

But the stubborn Prime Minister was unwavering when it came to her precious pearls. "I may be able to surrender the hat," Meryl Streep said in The Iron Lady, the biopic that depicted Margaret's political life. "The pearls, however, are absolutely non-negotiable."

"The star-makers may have told her what to wear," added Abi Morgan, scriptwriter of The Iron Lady. "But she already knew how to dress – she was of that generation of women trained to appear in a certain way, hair set, with a proper hat, gloves, bag and shoes.

"The grooming was very regal, and her uniform had a regality about it. And don't forget, she'd grown up at the front of the shop, dressed for work, never in anything less formal than a twinset – and certainly never in trousers."

Some of the power suits worn by Margaret in the 70s and 80s were sold at Christie's in 2012 for the total sum of £73,000.

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The outfits were sold by a private collector, and valued at between £1,000 to £1,500 each. Selling at seven times their value, the items were more sought-after than presumed.

An anonymous South Korean bidder purchased six of the suits, including a vibrant canary yellow wool dress and jacket that was worn at her first party conference as leader in 1975.

The set also included a navy suit seen on Valerie Singleton's popular TV programme Val Meets The VIPs.

The most valuable suit sold to an anonymous bidder for £25,000, and was worn the day Baroness Thatcher was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 1975.

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