How to dress like a grown up: There’s more to Theresa’s style than her striking shoes, fashion expert SARAH MOWER says

  • Theresa May has been deploying the 'power necklace' at the Dispatch Box
  • Her choice of jewellery tends towards the decisively large and assertive
  • Turn to the High Street for a good selection of statement jewellery 

The extremities of Theresa May are becoming a point of fascination now we are scrutinising her every day.

The interest, for me at least, has moved upwards from her kitten heels to settle on what I'm tempted to call the Brexit Baubles.

The prime ministerial necklace and (sometimes) matching bracelet are being heavily deployed on foreign missions and at the Dispatch Box.

The prime ministerial necklace and (sometimes) matching bracelet are being heavily deployed on foreign missions and at the Dispatch Box 

Mrs May's gestural way of speaking, her range of open-handed waves, seen when buttering up Mrs Merkel, interspersed with sharp chops, as when landing blows on Jeremy Corbyn, have also revealed her awe-i nspiring red-nailed manicures. I think that's a first in any world leader.

But back to the jewellery. The Prime Minister's taste in neck adornment tends towards the decisively large and assertive, far more so even than Mrs Thatcher, who commanded No 10 in her favourite conservative pearls and a bracelet of gemstones given to her by her husband Denis.

Whether it's a giveaway of her deepest inner character or just her reading of the times, Theresa May's oversized beads and heavy, no-compromises silver chains read as far more confidently fashionable than Mrs T's ever were.

Jewellery is a permissible way for a leader to express her personality within the rigid template of tailored coats, matching dresses and suits that women at the top of business and politics have deemed appropriate these days - and it's here our PM outclasses other female premiers in modernity and panache.

Even though she is much younger, Nicola Sturgeon is still conforming to the rules of Eighties power-dressing.

Mrs Merkel's neckwear, inside her square German tailoring, is surprisingly slight and mimsy.

The Prime Minister's taste in neck adornment tends towards the decisively large and assertive, far more so even than Mrs Thatcher, says Sarah Mower

Hillary Clinton - should she beat Trump in November - will come to the Ova l Office with a dreadful track record in necklaces, all-over-the-place fancies in beading and fabrics that she often attempts to colour co-ordinate with her favourite 'travelling pantsuits'. Always a no.

In fact the only other politically significant woman who can rival the Prime Minister's bold jewellery choices is Michelle Obama.

Not only does Mrs O embrace the statement necklace and bold cuff with confidence, she is not afraid of a brooch or a cocktail ring.

Obviously, we hardly require Theresa May to be a fashion leader while she's got more on her plate than co-ordinating her looks, but - if she does fancy pushing the sartorial envelope just a little - she could do worse than look to Mrs Obama for inspiration.

The key thing is that Michelle doesn't mess around experimenting with this and that.

POWER NECKLACES: THE RULES 

If you're busty, a choker style is more flattering.

A necklace with a ribbon tie is useful if you want to adjust the length.

Be careful with collars - flimsy silk will get creased by bold baubles.

Match a necklace and cuff OR earrings. Never all three.

The oversize pearls and chunky chains are favourite possessions, and probably not all that expensive, either. They show certainty, parsimony and efficiency.

The Mar ni and Prada catwalks fell in love with power necklaces around 2005 - information that Theresa May, with her avid Vogue habit, has almost certainly filed away in her memory.

Should she (or you) want to enlarge a statement jewellery collection without paying designer prices, then the High Street has a very good selection.

At the cheaper end of the market, Mango has a great range including a mixed bead necklace, £19.99, and link chain necklace, £9.99 (mango.com).

The Lou pearl necklace by Hobbs could not be more Theresa May if it tried - and is reduced from £45 to £29 (hobbs.co.uk).

As every woman beyond her 40s will tell you, big necklaces also do that convenient thing of filling in and covering up necks once crepe, wrinkle and age spots start their dread encroachments.

I like silver chain jewellery, which always looks striking on a long, plain dress or jumper, slightly a la Prime Minister, though a bit more Sixties-influenced.

I'm not a fan of fabric flowers and gaudily beaded embroidered arrangements - too girly past 40, I think.

Just one or two things will cover most eventualities, and it's always good to have a signature, especially when you've got more important things to think about.


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