VKN Badass Gals: Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher, or the “Iron Lady”, as the Soviets of her time labelled her, was a very powerful woman during a time when women had very little power. She was Britain’s first and only woman prime minister. Her nickname stems from her uncompromising politics and overall leadership style. Regardless of how you feel about her politics, Margaret Thatcher’s rise to power is a notable story, worthy of retelling.

Keep reading to learn more about the “Iron Lady” herself, Margaret Thatcher, in this week’s edition of VK Nagrani’s Badass Gals!

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1. Humble Beginning

She was born Margaret Hilda Roberts, the daughter of a grocer and local alderman who later became the mayor of their countryside home in Grantham, Lincolnshire. Her mother gave birth to her and her older sister in the flat above the grocery their family owned and operated. The cramped apartment above the corner store lacked running water, central heating and didn’t even have any indoor plumbing.

Even though she came from a modest upbringing, she applied herself and wouldn’t let anything, even her gender, stop her from attaining her goals. She was accepted to Oxford University where she studied chemistry and Somerville College.

2. Soft-Serve Science

Thatcher always had plans to enter the political realm and try to make her mark, but her degree was in chemistry and wanted to do that for a little bit while gaining life experiences. After a short stint at a plastics research facility, she worked as a food scientist for J. Lyons and Co. where she worked on a team that found a way to maximize the amount of air injected into ice cream so that it could be manufactured with less ingredients for a lower cost. This breakthrough led to the mass production of soft-serve ice cream that was shipped all across Great Britain, under the supremely British title “Mr. Whippy”.

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3. First Woman Prime Minister

Finally, ready to enter a career in politics, she was elected to the House of Commons in 1959, representing Finchley. She worked in the House for a few years, slowly climbing the ranks of the parliamentary elite. At the time of her election, only 4 percent of the total political body of the House of Commons were women. It was very frustrating for her to be one of only several women in the political system, there were many roadblocks along the way. She was even quoted saying:

There will not be a woman prime minister in my time. The male population is too prejudiced.

Just five years later, she supplanted former Prime Minister Edward Heath as the leader of the Conservative Party, and became the first woman to head a major British political party. A few years after that, she proved herself wrong and won the keys to 10 Downing Street.

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Margaret Thatcher had a long and illustrious career and was a major player on the world stage. She was the longest running British Prime Minister of the 20th century, elected for three consecutive terms.

For more stories of real Badass Gals, keep the VK Nagrani Blog book marked.

 

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VKN Badass Guys: Caravaggio

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In every human, and especially ancient masculine types, there exists a duality – moon and sun, tragedy and comedy, all that. But, you’d be hard pressed to find a person in history with as much of a duality in personality since Jekyll and Hyde, as you would in the master painter, Michelangelo Merisi di Caravaggio. During this time, the other Michelangelo was super famous, so he shortened it to just Caravaggio. You may only know of Caravaggio through his artistic contributions, but he was also a pretty crazy dude and even led a Renaissance-era gang of thieves and criminals.

Keep reading to see why we at VK Nagrani think this Renaissance-era master painter was also a total Badass.

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1. Moderate Upbringing

Since we live in the future, it’s hard to imagine Renaissance-era life, at any level or caste, to be anything more than squalor. But Caravaggio came from a moderately well-to-do family of middling wealth. Although his family was okay, there was suffering and pain all around the young man. He was born in the midst of a deep famine that caused quite a bit of poverty for the families around him. It is suspected that it was here where he learned to shift around with the wrong crowd.

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2. Life in Rome

At the ripe-old age of 21, Caravaggio grew tired of the commonplace setting he grew up in and peaced out to the capital city of Rome. He worked tirelessly trying to get by in post-Reformation society, but he simply could not paint fast enough to make a livable wage.

Caravaggio was never able to capitalize on his success, for his character and personal life were even darker and more controversial than his paintings. With his unruly black curls and unkempt black beard, the artist was known to wander the streets of Rome dressed in black, accompanied by his black dog, Crow (the bird-harbinger of death), and brandishing swords and daggers at the slightest provocation.

So, he did what any normal person who was just trying to get by did: turned to a life of crime.

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3. Without Hope, Without Fear

Caravaggio had a police record many pages long filled with stories of assault, illegal weapons, harassing the police and complex affairs with prostitutes and courtesans. Caravaggio’s numerous legal problems often meant that the artist would suddenly have to flee Rome or be otherwise unable to complete a commission.

He became leader of a group of no-named ruffians, who lived by the motto “nec spec, nec meto” or “Without Hope, Without Fear”.

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4. Exile

Caravaggio’s brawling, trouble-making tendencies reached a whole new level on the 28th of May, 1606. On this date, following a disputed tennis match, Caravaggio and his friends were involved in a street brawl with Caravaggio’s young foe Ranuccio Tomassoni and his gang. Caravaggio ended up dealing the young Tomassoni a fatal stab wound in the groin. With a price on his head, Caravaggio was forced to flee Rome for the last time.

He was granted a pardon by Pope Paul V, but mysteriously vanished on the ship home, and his body was never recovered.

Keep it tuned to VK Nagrani Blog for more of our Badass Guys series.

 

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Man Of The Month – Chris Patton


MOVING & STORAGE
CEO of VICTORY VAN CORPORATION
WASHINGTON, D.C.

 

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Mr. Patton wearing the Moto Leather Jacket in mercury.

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Mr. Patton is one of our original believers.  Our relationship began over 12 years ago.  Over the years, we have named socks after each of his three kids and one just for him.  As time has passed, we have become friends and a sense of trust has been established.  Mr. Patton, at 6′ 5″ and all muscle requires pieces to be made exclusively for him. 

When I am working on a particular piece, I always save fabric to make a custom, one of a kind piece for him.  He may never even see it until it is delivered to him.  It is that kind of trust that we aim for with each and every one of our clients.  Mr. Patton, here is to many more years to come.  Thank you for your friendship and support.

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 “When I showed my 3rd child Sidney what her sock design was. She was fired up!”

 

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Q & A

 

Hobbies
Ping pong, Corn hole, golf, MTN biking, and surfing. I have never disliked a competitive game.

 

Hotel of choice
The W Hotel in D.C., the view on the rooftop is awesome.

 

Favorite restaurant
IL Giardino Ristorante, Virginia Beach, VA.

 

Favorite thing to do in D.C.
I like live music, and D.C. brings in great talent.  Other than that, I have a great family and group of friends.  We golf, MTN bike, ping pong and Corn hole all the time.

 

Favorite bar
Club Rex, 113 King Street, Alexandria VA.

 

Favorite drink of choice
Gave up alcohol many years ago, now I drink Pellegrino.

 

What differentiates VKN from anything else you own
I am an early supporter of VK Nagrani, and have worn his clothing for more than 10 years.  All of my children have socks that were named after them.  Watching the transformation from socks to lifestyle clothing has been cool.  The quality is demanding.

 

Favorite VK Nagrani picks
Any socks, underwear, pajamas, shirts and now jackets…  My favorite piece in my entire wardrobe is this leather jacket I got last year.  When I put it on, I have that “bad ass” feeling.

 

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Badass Moments in History: The Battle of Wizna

You’ve likely heard of the famous Battle of Thermopylae, where 300 really buff Spartans kicked a bunch of Persians into a big hole – or something like that. Well, while that was a real and badass moment of ancient history, there was another, lesser-known version that happened during the German invasion of Poland, right before World War II broke out. While the Germans did eventually rock Poland so hard they lost all the vowels in their alphabet, there was a glorious Rocky-style underdog story to be found in a sleepy country village called Wizna.

Keep reading to see the latest from VK Nagrani’s Badass Moments in History series, where we delve into the story of how 700 Polish soldiers held their position against over 40,000 armed Wehrmacht men, 350 tanks, 650 mortars and artillery, along with some air support.

1. Preparation

The year of 1939 was a particularly shitty year to be a resident of East Poland. The Polish defensive forces had the unenviable task of slowing the inevitable westward march of both the Nazi Wehrmacht and the Soviet Army.

By the time the Germans arrived, the Poles had around six pieces of artillery, 42 machine guns, and two anti-tank rifles, as well as a limited amount of time to dig a defensive stance into the countryside. Morale was low – to say the least. To rally his men, Captain Władysław Raginis vowed to never leave his post while he was alive.

2. Incoming

The Germans, in a rare act of humanity, dropped leaflets urging the Poles to surrender. But they didn’t realize they were dealing with a group of hard-hitting, pipe-swinging, pierogi-eating badass motherfuckers who wouldn’t back down from a fight from anyone. The Germans shrugged and started blasting into the Poles with artillery and aerial bombardment.

3. The Fight

They were outgunned and had to pull back inside their bunkers, where they were met with fire from three sides from German tanks and infantry. The Polish soldiers fought so fierce that they were able to stall the advancement of the German army for three days. However, eventually, the Krauts began the slow and arduous campaign of isolating and destroying the bunkers and pillboxes, slowly causing Polish numbers to dwindle.

4. Elimination

Almost all Polish soldiers were killed in this campaign – save for about 40 captured men, and brave Captain Władysław Raginis, who was now gravely wounded.

The Germans ceased fire, and offered the Polish a chance to surrender lest they kill their prisoners of war. Captain Władysław allowed the surviving men of his regiment to surrender – yet in keeping with the vow he made to his men to never surrender while he lived, jumped on a live grenade.

5. History

While even though nearly all the men in this famous last stand were killed in battle, the message it sent was one of great valor and bravery. These brave men kicked off one of the bloodiest segments in human history with an act of selflessness. They showed that there is value in setting an example, in creating a legend, in slowing the advancement of evil if only for the sake of doing so comes at the cost of your own life.

Keep checking in with the VK Nagrani Blog for more updates in the Badass Moments in History series.

 

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Cotton Silk Aviator

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A combination of cotton and silk jersey makes this jacket a perfect 7-month piece. You can pop the collars and button it up and it becomes an outerwear piece. Collars down and you can wear it with a shirt and tie. What you cannot see, but will have to trust us, is the way this jacket is constructed. This jacket moulds to your body and functions as a second skin.

Should you choose, you can even work out in this jacket.

Features:
• Made in Italy
• 42 pieces made
• Dry clean only and steam, do not iron
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Style Lessons From: Gary Cooper

He was born at the start of the 20th century to immigrant parents, Gary Cooper went on to be one of the biggest and brightest stars of Old Hollywood. He began his work as an extra in silent films and rose to fame by using his style and good looks as a way of standing out. He began to encompass what it meant to be the “everyman against the world” – taking roles in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Meet John Doe and Sergeant York. Gary Cooper was great at portraying the subtle conflicts the average man goes through in his life, yet with a dash of debonair that is singular all to himself.

Keep reading to see some of the key lessons we here at VK Nagrani learned from the hero of Old Hollywood himself – Gary Cooper.

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1. Create a Focal Point

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Here Cooper is with grey flannel trousers and signature striped socks, with a gorgeous narrow and low point collar. Cooper was a fan of large lapels, the popularity of which comes and goes with the trends, but the man knew to accentuate the focal point of his outfit and really make it his own signature style.

You can think about the focal point of your outfit as the cherry on a sundae, or putting a diamond on a platinum ring. You’re probably already looking really good, but this is going to be a little bit of something more to really seal in that look. For men, these focal points are usually the combination of your tie and a matching lapel.

Cooper was born to English immigrant parents, but was raised in Helena, Montana – a frontier town at the time. This mash up of cultures gave him a pretty unique perspective on style. Growing up in a cowboy frontier town, he was exposed to the the bold and vibrant Mexican fabrics that were commonplace among ranchers. On the other side of his genealogy, Cooper was raised with elements of Edwardian England and was just as comfortable in tweed and three-piece suits. He was a man who loved to mix different textures, colors and patterns in a way that only he could pull off.

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2. Personality is Key

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When looking back at the heroes of Old Hollywood, none of them are revered merely for their ability to dress well. Back in his day, the popularity of having personal make up artists, stylists and costume designers was only just beginning and stars of his caliber often would dress themselves. This is a far cry from the stars of today, who are constantly being primped and done up by other people based on what is trending right now, instead of paving the way themselves by being unique and bold.

Gary Cooper is lauded for his style, but more so than that, he is remembered for what he represented – moral integrity and a steep aversion to excess. Cooper was the iconic embodiment of what the everyman of his time was – understated, elegant yet retaining a simple masculinity that was both elusive to the common person, but still very attainable if you were willing to be bold.

Keep reading the VK Nagrani Blog to see more Lessons in Style from legends of the past.

 

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Badass Gals: Princess Diana

Coming up on 17 years since her tragic early death, Princess Diana is remembered as a brave and tender, yet badass woman. Her compassionate work with AIDS patients in the ‘80s, and underprivileged the world over, has inspired and astounded an entire generation of people. Diana had many titles, Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Chester, Baroness of Renfrew, yet the most important title to her was Mother. She gave birth to the Princes William and Harry, who are now respectively third and fourth in line for the throne.

Keep reading to learn why VK Nagrani thinks Princess Diana is a badass gal.

1. Aristocratic Upbringing

She was born into British nobility and was one of the most adored members of the royal family. She became Lady Diana Spencer in 1975, after her father was given the title of Earl Spencer. She was a shy child as she grew yet always showed an interest in the arts and developed a strong bond with children – a feature of her personality that would come to be one of the most recognizable.

2. Marriage & Divorce

Diana married one of her childhood playmates, Prince Charles. Since he was the heir to the British throne, their entire courtship was publicized – similar to the way that Prince William and Kate Middleton’s was a few years back. But, Diana thrived in the limelight, even though she seemed pensive and shy in her personal life. Their televised wedding ceremony reached a total of 750 million global viewers.

Although, over the course of their marriage, they grew estranged and rumors of infidelity (on both sides) surfaced. They were officially divorced in 1992, spending only ten years together and raising two sons.

3. Charity Work

Even with her quiet demeanor, Princess Diana was something of a rebel. During the peak AIDS scare in the ‘80s, she never shied away from them, and comforted them as though they had any other disease. This was seen as a very courageous act at the time, because people were dumb and didn’t realize that that isn’t how AIDS works. All the same though, she was the first person to address the stigma that came along with contracting HIV and AIDS. As she so eloquently put it:

“HIV doesn’t not make people dangerous to know. You can shake their hands and give them a hug, heaven knows they need it.”

4. Death

After her divorce, she was still immensely popular, due to her work with the poor and disenfranchised. She would know the highs and lows of fame, and the lows would ultimately cost her her life, as she ended up in a fatal car accident with her then-lover Dodi Al-Fayed.

Her work towards getting rid of the use of landmines worldwide won her the Nobel Peace Prize, unfortunately it was a few short months after her death.

Princess Diana is remembered across the globe for her charity work, warm personality, and elegance that embodied what it truly meant to be a princess. Keep it bookmarked to the VK Nagrani Blog for more editions in our Badass Gals series.

 

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