With Margaret Thatcher being cited as the influence for one of the world's most inspirational fashion designers, can anyone or anything become cool?
By Denise Winterman
BBC News Online Magazine
A style icon?
It's official: Maggie is the new black.
According to New York fashion darling Marc Jacobs, this season's look is all about finding the Iron Lady "sexy".
So if a woman whose fashion trademark was a sensible handbag can inspire one of the world's leading designers, can we all become cool?
According to trend analysis companies, the boundaries of cool are changing dramatically. Young people, they say, are losing interest in the obvious and looking towards the more individual.
This break away from the pack mentality is making the unlikeliest of things trendy, including playing Scrabble at the hippest nightclubs, says consultancy HeadlightVision.
"Anyone has a shot at being cool now," says youth trend expert, Matthew Hirst.
"But it is all about individuality and not being manufactured. Young people are increasingly cynical of marketing messages and don't want to be dictated to about what they wear, what they buy or where they go.
"It is all about taking a risk in the face of other people conforming. That's what makes the true innovators stand out from those who try to be cool by numbers and buy all the right labels but end up a laughing stock."
Also currently on the side of the average Joe's quest to be uber-cool is the shift into the mainstream of traditional signifiers of rebellion. A pierced nose won't even shock your grandmother these days.
"This is why conservative - with a small c - is suddenly cool," says Mr Hirst.
"It's rebelling against rebelling."
Fashion stylist Alicia Poole agrees: "People have worn the shockingly short skirts and the little dresses that cover hardly anything. The way to be different now is by covering up.
"But being cool is down to the person. If someone shows no individuality and completely copies Thatcher's style they will be missing the point - and look absolutely awful.
"It is about adapting elements of her wardrobe to your individual style. Don't go all the way and get the helmet hair, not even Kate Moss could make that style look good."
But striving to achieve coolness defeats the object, according to some.
"One should not set out to be cool but stand out in their field so that they are recognised for good things," said Piers Fawkes, director of trend spotting company PSFK.
"One has to earn coolness, but if you actively try to earn it you'll never achieve it."
It's what others say about you rather than what you say about yourself, says Steve Bradley, assistant director of PR agency Hill & Knowlton, which publishes a Global Cool Hunt report each year.
"Trying too hard is one way of guaranteeing you won't be cool.
FASHIONABLE WITH THE FAMOUS
"It's all about the ripple effect, what other people are saying about you. It's not about being blatant, it's about associations."
And there is no denying that Marc Jacobs' association with the Iron Lady has made her achieve an elevated status in the fashion world which she would not have achieved on her own.
But not everyone is keen on the idea that anyone or anything, however unfashionable it has once been, can be cool.
Ted Lewis from the London Scrabble Club said the recent sharp rise in the number of young people joining its ranks is creating problems.
"Sometimes games can go on until 11pm and we worry about the young people getting home so we try not to encourage them to join," he says.