The saddest shopping in the world

Nothing illustrates the concept of the fine line like a kaftan. Is it the must have cover-up for holidays in the Pacific Ocean, or is it the sad refuge of the bubbly, overweight party hostess?

I think the secret lies in how much you pay for it. At £735, nothing says chic holiday like Missoni. Alternatively, swimwear guru Melissa Odabash will make you beach fabulous for £370.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have the Venetian at Kaftan World to give you that ‘misjudged party ensemble’ look. But hey, it will only set you back £19.95. And I imagine it must be great for chilling out at home with a book and a glass of lemonade. Just don’t let the ladies on the homepage put you off.

I bought a kaftan for the first time this year, and I went for the middle option – a silk one from Monsoon, also in the £19 range, but only in the summer sale. Originally the dress went for £65, thus giving it some fashion cred. And because I’m not actually going somewhere in the Caribbean or the Pacific Ocean, its main function at the moment is to elevate my evenings-at-home look, when I wear it my Rick Owens dustulator cardigan (a sale purchase from a few years ago) and a pair of Havaianas.

Another guideline is authenticity. As in, you don’t want it. Batik makes everyone look like an art teacher. Everyone. Approach authentic shapes and patterns with extreme caution.


Beauty products for our less than beautiful summer

Looking out the window, you would never know it, but we are still in the height of summer. It’s only July, and with more than a month and a half to go before autumn, you may actually have a sunny holiday destination lined up.

If that’s the case, there’s still time to organise your summer beauty, if you aren’t the type of person who does that in January, the minute your summer holiday is booked. I personally don’t like much on my face in hot or humid weather, so I tend to focus more on refreshing skin sprays and different types of moisturiser, but here’s my list of what I love this summer:

Shu Uemura deep sea water in hamamelis
This is a light, refreshing spray that seems to magically disappear into your skin seconds after you spray it. I bought mine at Heathrow airport, but I haven’t yet figured out where someone living in Glasgow might get it. And I’d love to see them in a travel size, as the 150ml bottle isn’t getting through airport security.

RMK refreshing skintuner in light
An alternative to traditional moisturiser from this cult Japanese brand. It’s a liquid moisturiser that you simply splash onto your hands and then splash onto your face. Available at House of Fraser.

Laura Mercia bronzing gel
Like many people living in Scotland, I’m naturally very pale. This bronzing gel makes me look like I’ve gotten a bit of sun. It’s subtle, and you can control the amount of colour, so I can wear it without looking like a clown. It also blends into a bare face really well. Available from Space NK online or in the Prince’s Square shop. Also available at House of Fraser.

Blinc mascara primer
You put this on before putting on your mascara to amplify its effect. I rely on mascara during the summer because it’s one of those items that can make a big difference without making you feel like your face is weighed down with make-up. Buy directly from Blinc, from HQ Hair, or Harvey Nichols online shop.

Clinique colour surge butter shine lipstick in delovely
I love this lipstick – it’s a perfect colour and consistency. It’s light, moisturising, and a great wear-with-anything shade. And the best part is it’s in a gorgeous bamboo shaped silver base. Available from most departments stores and Boots.

Shu Uemura protector TTL defender SPF 25
I put this on after moisturising when my moisturiser doesn’t have an SPF. It feels much lighter than a regular sunscreen, and it gives skin a nice luminous glow. Available from Space NK

Rodial glam balm wipes
Paraben free wipes with chamomile and vitamin E that remove make-up and smell lovely. Great for travelling. Available at Beauty Expert and HQ Hair.

Marc Jacobs splash sorbet in grapefruit
A light, fresh and fruity scent for summer, this eau de toilet comes in a massive bottle, with a removable spray top, so you can either spray or splash it on. When I bought it at House of Fraser, they gave me a purse sized spray with it – I don’t know if that’s a standard thing, or if it was a promotion. Available at House of Fraser or online from Harvey Nichols.



Spending all your money on clothes – it’s pretty much the equivalent to trading your cow for magic beans. And yet it’s so appealing.

Much celebrated Net-A-Porter is deep in summer sale mode, and many bargains of the still-too-expensive designer variety can be found. There are a few items that I want but can’t afford and/or would never fit me, like the Celine bow front tank top (in next season's best colour, inky blue), the Luella bomber jacket (the wet look is so in next season) or the Kenneth Jay Lane pyramid cuff. Everything is so beautiful, and so expertly chosen, and the site boasts the most covetable brands. Natalie Manhasset is to be congratulated for gliding into the gap that previously existed when it came to online designer retailers.

However, if you are larger than a size 16, perhaps you feel she is actually owed a flaming bag of poo on her porch. Did you know that designers like Chloe, Missoni and Miu Miu make clothes in a size 18? If you are a regular visitor to Net-A-Porter, where a size 14 is described as “XL”, you probably would not have guessed that designer clothes can go up to a 20 in some cases.

Thank you Yoox for expanding my education. Though their selection is a times a bit odd, or just too fashion forward for my pedestrian tastes, there are several items that are making my mouth water. Highlights, include an adorable skirt by Chloe (pictured), some Armani Collezione wide leg linen trousers, a Chloe blouse with A/W’s essential ruffles, and a cashmere and silk coat by Missoni. And best of all, you can search by size, so you don’t have to wade through hundreds of items of tiny clothing to get to something that fits. And then don't forget to check out the selection of bags, which includes items by Celine, Gucci, Corto Moltedo, Chanel, and many others.

I won’t abandon Net-A-Porter, who, in their own words, deliver ‘impeccable packaging and unrivalled customer care.’ Their sleek black boxes, with the magnetic closure and black tissue paper make for the best packaging around (next to Penhaligon) and the delivery and returns services are second to none. And the second I find an extra £255 lying around, that Marc by Marc Jacobs magazine clutch is mine. But just because they were the first doesn’t mean they are the only, and there are many other online designer retailers to explore.

Other sites to check out:
Beige (for plus sizes)

And for shopping in Glasgow, check out Jaeger on Ingram Street for their increasingly stylish offering, and Aquascutum and Pringle (who both do XXL) at House of Fraser.

PS Dear Ms Manhasset, if you are reading this, I don't really want to leave flaming poo anywhere near your house, and I am a very loyal customer, and I wouldn't say no to that Marc by Marc Jacobs clutch


The fastest way to a more 80s you

Me: I just totally got a Filofax.
You: Totally?
Me: Totally!
You: How totally 80s of you.
Me: I know, right?
You: Cool – let’s do some lines and listen to Lisa Lisa & the Cult Jam.

Well, the 80s are back, after all. And I can’t think of a better way to pay homage to the decade so bright I gotta wear shades than with a Filofax. Filofax was to the 80s what PDAs were to the 90s. I suppose iPhones are the PDAs of the 00s, but until my current contract ends, I have to stick with my Prada phone (yes, I am a label whore).

Filofax – no syncing of Outlook, no purchasing of memory, no recharging of battery. Just a pen, some paper, and a leather binder to hold it in; a great big beautiful red binder with a snap, which makes me feel important and clever. So simple, so low-fi, yet so perfect. I like it because I can insert note pages into the Filofax next to the calendar pages, so if I take notes at a meeting, they are right there, next to the diary entry for that meeting. I’m really not as anal retentive as I sound. Really.

I got one of the mid-range models – the A5 Finsbury in red-grained leather. They have models for all budgets, costing from £15 for the mini Identity to £125 for the A4 Filofax classic. I got mine direct from the Filofax website, which was fast and efficient (it arrived 2 days after I ordered it), but you can get them from Paperchase in Borders, and many stationers around town carry them as well.

Now I just need to get some white Wayfarers and some killer shoulder pads.


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