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The new direct-to-consumer classics



Paravel luggage - direct-to-consumer lifestyle brand

No-fashion fashion; it seems the world is catching up with the ‘gentlewoman style’ set (according to the New York Times), who covet the best version of a thing that they can wear forever. This was the premise of my book, The New Garconne, which came out in 2016. The wardrobe building blocks featured in there have held up pretty well, although silhouettes have morphed slightly over time. But classics are classics, so I think we will always need a blazer, a tailored pant, a slim-heeled shoe and a decent tote.

Interestingly, some of today’s best classics don’t come from the heritage brands but from ‘direct-to-consumer’ (aka DTC) start-ups. (more…)



Gentlewoman style: French boy brows



Boy de Chanel French boy brows

Somehow I missed the news that Boy de Chanel*, the men’s make-up line had launched here in the summer. I knew it had launched in South Korea last year, but hadn’t clocked it in any London stores. But I spotted it in the St Pancras Station Chanel beauty boutique recently, so got a good close up look.

The collection is a small one, consisting of a tinted fluid in four shades, a matte lip balm and four shades of brow pencil. (more…)



Sale picks: classic buys under £500



neck wallet

Sad but true, I don’t get excited about sales like I used to. Does anybody? I think we’re so used to discounts all year round that we take them when we find them. The end of year sales are a good time to look for staples though, especially if you have Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket. I usually put Christmas money towards a good coat, knit or bag I’ve been eyeing; I’m definitely more of a winter sale person than summer.

Anyway, in the spirit of buying better, here are some sale staples I think are worth a look. This Mackintosh puffer* is excellent – super-warm and lightweight (I bought it in black) and I have a version of this coat* as well. If you’re petite, Mackintosh is always good option for coats. (more…)



All is calm



Niyya prayer mat and meditation blanket

How early is too early for the cliché ‘New Year, New You’ post?

In 2019 I surprised myself by getting with the meditation programme, but doing it totally at my own pace. And in truth, it’s meditation-lite; I use my Muse headband and app (yep, still using them) and fit it in 5-10 minute slots around whatever else I’m doing.

I supplement this with a relaxation download by Albert Smith that I love. This isn’t meditation, it’s more akin to having a fifteen minute nap, but it serves the purpose of clearing my head if I’ve had a hectic day, or prepping me for stress-inducing situations. For interviews, meetings, public speaking and the like, Albert’s my secret weapon. (Years ago, when I had the cassette version, this was also a life-saving pain management tool.)

In 2020, I want to try and meditate more and make it part of a regular routine. I know it shouldn’t be about ‘stuff’, but I’m flawed and can’t resist a prop or two. I love the look of these Niyya multi-functional prayer mats by Brooklyn designer Myhra Mizra (more…)