Posts Tagged ‘grooming’

#69 Chopped!

In White collar denial on January 14, 2011 at 10:30 am

Ever since I started applying for jobs in earnest, I’ve been promising myself that as I get that dream job, I’m going to get a serious hair cut.

This is in spite of the fact that a trip to the hairdresser holds roughly the same rank on my list of ‘favourite ways to spend time’ as folding washing, proofreading events listings, or having George Osbourne tell me we’re all in this together. Read the rest of this entry »

#51 Feet

In midlife, White collar denial on July 21, 2010 at 10:33 pm

It’s hard to relax while an Eastern European woman is wrapping your feet in cling film.

It was my first proper pedicure (I know! At my age!) and while the results were silky smooth, there is nevertheless someting culturally uncomfortable about having somebody working on your feet.

Perhaps its the supplicatory position required by the practitioner, or latent imagery from Sunday School stories of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet (John 13: 3-17 if you’re interested), made slightly scarier by the fact that mysterious groups such as the Seventh Day Adventists, Anabaptists and Amish still practice it. (I’ve never had my shoes shined either.) This is all made even more awkward when you consider that this is a woman who is brilliant at her job (Hell, I don’t even HAVE a job) and whose services cost more and are more in demand than those of a freelance journalist. Read the rest of this entry »

#49 Dreaming of Soho, sandwiches and a really good cup of coffee

In Homeworking, Jobseeking on June 18, 2010 at 10:40 am

So it’s now finally official, I didn’t get that job. But before I cave in to disappointment, I thought I’d pause one last time to indulge the fantasy I’d created about what it would be like to be back working in an office…

The fantasy basically involves me meandering up through Soho in the morning, perhaps pausing to indulge in a really good shop-bought takeaway coffee, full strength, ground on the premises, and with that pleasing crema it’s impossible to replicate at home. Read the rest of this entry »

#13 Grey

In Down and Out, midlife on November 25, 2009 at 2:53 pm

When the whole recession thing started to trickle down to street level, I asked a stylist friend who cuts hair how she was faring. Was she losing clients? ‘Oh no! My ladies say that they’d rather go without food than not have their hair done.’

Personally I’d rather shave my head than forgo good food, and yet I find myself at a follicle crossroads. One word: grey. It is seeping in from the temples and springing from the parting and there is little I can do to stem the tide. The image in the mirror has become a spiteful reminder of my slide towards middle age and anonymity.

In the past, the occasional £75+ to obliterate it with warm chestnut or camouflage it with highlights kept me in blissful denial, but now I can’t imagine ever having that much spare cash again. And even if I did, I’d probably spend it on cheese.

It seems unfair that a man with grey hair is seen as distinguished, even desirable, yet for women it’s still something of a social taboo. (When is a woman ever referred to as a ‘silver fox’?) But then, men are also allowed to be old; women aren’t.

But if men like my husband can make male-pattern baldness cool by teaming a No1 cut with a Cos shirt and APC jeans, then perhaps women can make grey a fashion statement.

First we need role models, of which there turn out to be depressingly few. After wracking my brains, all I’ve managed to come up with is: Jamie Lee Curtis; Susan Sontag; Indira Gandhi; fashion designer Helen Storey (she was big in about 1990); Vanessa Redgrave; Rogue out of X-men; Alexandra Cabot from 1970s Hanna-Barbera animation series Josie and the Pussycats (see above); and Dame Judi Dench. A motley crew only able to carry it off either by having been already revered in their field when they lost their melanin, or being cartoon characters.

Far more numerous are the women who I refuse to believe aren’t grey: I give you Madonna, Arlene Phillips, Elizabeth Taylor, Dame Shirley Bassey…

Perhaps we can take heart instead from a New Scientist article which claims grey hair can protect against cancer.

Or this beautiful illustration published in Bronwen Meredith’s “Vogue Body and Beauty Book” 1977 entitled The Beauty of Grey Hair, 1920s. The caption reads:

C.R., The Beauty of Grey Hair, 1920s by Gatochy.
‘Thanks to her sophisticated charm, a carefully picked wardrobe and assiduous care the grey haired woman can be charming. Pity the poor deluded woman who weeps over her jet black hair, because she didn’t realize gray hair is much more distinguished. The pot of hair dye did its job — and deprived her of her greatest beauty.’

If only. Pixie Geldof may have flirted with grey at the Elle Style Awards, but until someone persuades Kate Moss to appear at Glastonbury with a prominent grey streak, or Madonna to go au naturel, women will continue to spend a fortune on (self) deception. Or, when they’re broke, simply avoid mirrors.

#7 Get some killer slippers

In Homeworking on October 27, 2009 at 2:00 am

Earlier this month, designer Alexander McQueen walked his outrageous nine-inch snakeskin and patent leather shoes down the Paris catwalk. At the same time, the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists tabled a motion at the recent TUC conference urging employers to consider the long-term health problems caused by wearing high heels and proposing that high heels be included within a company’s health and safety risk assessment  (details, if you’re interested, at www.feetforlife.org) . Unless high heels are deemed necessary for the job, they say,  employees should demand their right to wear sensible shoes.

Both seminal events may well have failed to register on your news radar as you are unlikely to have had much need for anything in the way of an outdoor shoe recently beyond a flip flop or care-worn Converse. However, although the style pages of weekend supplements may be off limits right now, you too can inject glamour into your ‘work’ wardrobe by dressing up those slouchy jeans and old jumper with a pair of killer slippers. (‘klippers‘?)

Here is a selection of some of the best ‘house shoes’ for Autumn-Winter 09.  [Warning: image quality may vary. Sorry about that.]


Felt slippers designed by Pia Wallén, Skandium, £37. My sister swears by these as they are warm, don’t fall off, and she can put the rubbish out in them. They come in a variety of bold colours – black, off-white, grey, red, green, yellow, blue – as well as mini-me children’s sizes. www.skandium.com. (The bad news is that you may have to wait as they are currently not in stock online.)


Sheepskin babouche, Toast, £49. Supersoft sheepskin from the kings of cosy. ‘Nubbly’ exterior and suede lining, padded insole, tread-down heel and suede sole.  www.toast.co.uk


Wool felt slippers, Toast, £49. Suede sole. Very Scandi with their rounded toe and slight lip at the heel. Fantastic colours: Kingfisher (pictured), Iris, Blood Orange, and, erm, Grey. www.toast.co.uk


High-glam silver pumps, Toast, £59. metallic leather lined with silk velvet, finished with a suede sole. Linings come in a variety of opulent colours: silver/nankeen yellow, silver/magpie blue, pale gold/cerise (pictured), pale gold/burnt orange. www.toast.co.uk

Polkadot slippers from Boden, £29, faux fur lining, avail aqua, blush, lavender, conker, zesty green

Polkadot Slippers, Boden, £29. Available in Aqua, Lavender, Conker, Blush, and Zesty Green. Tempting fake-fur lining and prety bow. Machine washable.  www.boden.co.uk


PomPom, John Lewis, £15. Fluffy, furry and fun. www.johnlewis.com


Ecru linen ballet slippers, Muji, £10.95. Minimal. Breathable. Sensible. www.muji.eu


Jersey roomshoes, Muji, £8.95. Dark grey with ivory stripe. Soft and slouchy. www.muji.eu


Garrick slipper, John Lewis, £45. 100% sheepskin with a sturdy, slip-resistant sole. www.johnlewis.com


Seville leather slippers, John Lewis, £45. For those David Niven moments (smoking jacket not included). www.johnlewis.com

But if you really want to be on-trend this Autumn, you’ll need these:


Clash black patent and silver metallic two-tone  leather slippers, Newbark, £295. Yes, you read that right. £295. No decimal point. Available from fashion site www.net-a-porter.com. They also come in gold and silver lamé. Style commentators are simply salivating over these, hailing them as the saviours of the flat shoe. Hand-sewn, Newbarks have the exclusive logo embroidered on to a tab at the back of the slipper, a reinforced leather sole, come in a matching leather pouch. A reinforced leather sole makes the designers imagine these are suitable for outdoor use. Maybe in LA, darlings, but for the UK I wouldn’t recommend going further than the bins. Net-a-porter’s Editor’s Note enthuses: ‘Stay ahead of trend in Newbark’s sliver and black two-tone soft leather flats. Take a style tip from off-duty models and wear these achingly hip alternatives to ballet pumps in between appointments.’ Bonus trivia: Newbark takes its name from the saying ‘when the dogs are barking’, a euphemism for having tired feet.

Are these the world’s most expensive slippers?

Do you have other footwear favourites you’d like to share?

Tips for the largely housebound on staying glamourously cosy this winter?

Feel free to add your comments to the collective HTBU knowledge bank.

Recommendations so far:

From Lisa: I’m currently enjoying these mod revival ones. Tempest striped mule, Fat Face, £15,

fat face