Three iconic outfits and a hat worn by the late Baroness Thatcher are now on display in the V&A’s fashion galleries.
Worn by the former British Prime Minster at significant moments in her public and private life, they give insight into the working wardrobe of one of the most important figures in recent political history.
Throughout her life, Baroness Thatcher used her wardrobe choices to reflect her role as a stateswoman. She recalled in her 1993 memoir The Downing Street Years, “I took a close interest in clothes, as most women do: but it was also extremely important that the impression I gave was right for the political occasion”.
As leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990, blue, the party’s colour, held particular meaning for Baroness Thatcher. On display is the distinctive blue wool Aquascutum suit she wore to the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool in 1987. She wore it again that same year to place her vote in the general election, which she won. Also displayed is a custom-designed brocade suit and taffeta opera cape with sweeping train designed by Marianne Abrahams for Aquascutum. Baroness Thatcher wore this outfit to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at London’s Guildhall in 1988, where she gave the evening’s keynote speech. The Baroness was a strong supporter of the British fashion industry, and commissioned many of her signature tailored ‘power suits’ from the London-based firm Aquascutum.
The display is part of the V&A’s permanent fashion galleries and is free to visit.