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Li-mei Hoang – Reuters News UK – Wednesday November 12, 2014 (originally published Nov 7)

A fashion show of clothing worn by women leaders in London.

A visitor looks at dresses on display in the “Women Fashion Power exhibition” at the Design Museum in London November 4, 2014. Image: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

(Reuters) – From a jade green wool dress suit worn by former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher to the suffragettes’ lace blouses, clothes have been a defining feature of women’s empowerment, according to a new exhibition in London.

“Women Fashion Power” at London’s Design Museum features items of clothing from the past 150 years that have come to be associated with key moments in the lives of women in positions of authority.

Items on display include a delicate lace blouse worn by members of the 19th-century suffragette movement, which campaigned for British women to get the vote, Thatcher’s green dress suit and a black beaded evening gown worn by the late Princess Diana.

“Throughout history women have used dress in a very deliberate way to express power and authority. We have tried to give a historical context and really introduce the whole idea of using dress to express power,” co-curator Donna Loveday said.

She is careful, though, to draw a distinction between women using clothes to express a sense of empowerment, and the 1980s trend for power dressing. . .

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