April 8, 2013 at 2:56 PM ET
Like her apt “Iron Lady” nickname, Margaret Thatcher was as steadfast in her fashion choices as she was in her fixed governing style.
The former British Prime Minister, who died Monday at age 87, stuck to her signature style: a conservative, monochromatic skirt suit and a silk blouse with a floppy bow tied at the neck, known as a "pussy-bow collar."
"I'm always safe in it," she once said about her classic ensemble.
Thatcher nearly always paired her suits with a strand of pearls — a gift from her husband after she gave birth to their twins in 1953.
Another constant staple in her wardrobe: the handbag. Her purse was such an integral part of her style that the term “handbagging” became used as a reference to the bruising style Thatcher demonstrated against her political opponents.
“She can’t look at a British institution without hitting it with her handbag,” a member of Britain’s Parliament once remarked in 1982.
Thatcher’s uncompromising nature in politics was often reflected in her fashion sense and her always blown-out coif.
In “Iron Lady,” the 2011 movie based on Thatcher’s life, Meryl Streep portrayed the British prime minister and offered some memorable style-related quips.
“I may be persuaded to surrender the hat,” the actress said in the movie. “The pearls, however, are absolutely non-negotiable.”
While Thatcher’s diplomatic decisions may have polarized her nation, as well as parts of the world, one of her earliest successes was an achievement everyone could cheer regardless of their political affiliation.
Thatcher, who earned a chemistry degree at Oxford University, was a member of a team of research chemists who helped invent soft-serve ice cream. So maybe that means the “Iron Lady” should actually be the “Fe Lady.”