Oh hello, what have we here?... it's that moment in the calendar when normally sensible women are suddenly and inexplicably drawn to anything sparkly or shimmery. Jane and Beryl, who are both afflicted with a bad case of the Maggie's eye at the best of times, have been out and about hunting for this season's take on modern glamour with some interesting results.
Top Wallis £25

Jane has found the definitive top of the season and is feeling very pleased with herself - it is everywoman's perfect solution to the sparkly top. Only £25, it can be used in multitudinal ways (more of that next week) with many of the the items already in Jane's wardrobe. It is not clingy and hangs beautifully over Jane's pre-seasonal expanded stomach (she still hasn't lost her summer pasty tummy, and even she can't still keep saying 'But I've just had a baby.')

PS that IS our Beryl photo bombing, just in case you are wondering...

Necklace £49 and dress £199 both Hobbs. Shoes LK Bennett sample sale £30. 

Talking of Beryl here she is, in the fifty something's high street favourite Hobbs, in a blue velvet dress festooned with glitter and costing £199. However, she is not best pleased (despite the smile). Women over fifty it is hotly rumoured, do not like have their arms on view, but here Hobbs have gone from covered arms to Amish. This garment is so skin concealing that Beryl feels she has aged 30 years and is upholstered like a banquette.

Shimmer Phase Eight top £75, Jaegar trousers £125
Another great catch-all top, but rather more expensive. This one has a more subtle glitter effect, but would do anyone proud for any number of Christmas occasions, and joy oh, joy, it wasn't too hot despite its man-made credentials. 


Caveat: these rather shapeless tops do need a dangle to focus the eye downwards: this one was £6 from Tesco last year, they are sure to have similar offerings this time round. 

Billie and Blossom £35
Laura Ashley £95 

Beryl is in Debenhams, via a quick trip to Laura Ashley, (keep up will you Jane), where she has managed to find remarkably similar dresses at divergent price points. This is basically the fake wrap dress in a spangly stretchy fabric. This style is great on hour-glass and top heavy women, as the vee-neck divides and conquers the assets, but can be less flattering on those who like to carry their emergency rations lower down. Interestingly, Beryl much preferred the more sparkly and less expensive garment on the left. This was not lined but a slip and some humongous girdlesque knickers would improve matters hugely. 

Jumper Red Herring at Debenhams, £35
Stars have been de rigeur in knitwear for a while and Jane and Beryl have had possibly more than their fare share of them - this year seems to be no exception and if you like a star, or moon for that matter, this is the season to indulge you celestial fantasies. Jane and Beryl suspect that by next year they will have had their moment and you won't be able to find them for the proverbial love nor money. That said, this is an expensive-looking version in cool cotton for just £35.

Wallis top £33

Night fever, night fever... this top, deftly demonstrates the trouble with sparkles. More is not always better. There comes a moment when a charming phantasmagorical sprinkling of diamante aka Dior, turns into something a rotisserie chicken from the hot counter would be pleased to be wrapped in. The trousers, not model's own, were also desperate. You would think that Debenhams would have a good pair of black trousers come Christmas, but no, not so.

Glitter tweed jacket by Halluber £129, Whistles top £99, velvet trousers Jaeger £125
This jacket, having more than a hint of the Chanel about it, makes Jane feel a bit like the dowager duchess: a lovely item but so resolutely and densely black and all those pearls? She is sure it has a time and a place, but for Jane, neither of those are happening for her this Christmas. The just-seen Whistles top is a neat little conjunction item, however, and has no sleeves and a dropped hem at the back so could be useful, but its price tag put her off.

Pearl decoration

Wallis Top £25

While this little Wallis top with front and back subtle spangles in Beryl's and Jane's opinion has potential. The problem generally with sparkly clothes is that they have the shelf life of a pork pie bought on Christmas Eve. Come six days into the New Year anything glittery will be looking tawdry and forlorn. 

So how much to spend rather depends on your approach to clothes. If you are the kind of shopper who buys sparsely and wears their clothes for many years, then buy expensively and enjoy. If, however, like Jane and Beryl you know that next year you will be back amongst the frippery rooting like a truffle pig, then this £25 top may be just the ticket. 

Wallis top £39

Similarly, Beryl and Jane both whooped for joy, when they fell upon this red top from Wallis. So lovely to come across some colour amongst the sea of black and with beautifully decorated cuffs too.

There was however the small matter of the high neck and being made of nylon chiffon. Beryl was strong and resisted the call of the crimson... 

So what did Jane and Beryl actually purchase to reinvigorate their Chrimbo wardrobes? Beryl bought a black velvet dress from Laura Ashley... (to add to her collection of 53 black dresses at the last count, says Jane)

Dress Laura Ashley £100

... and the lovely paste collar from Hobbs, with which she plans will jolly up all her old kit...

Hobbs £49

...while Jane bought a midnight blue velvet T-shirt from Phase Eight. At £65 it is one of the pricier ones on offer currently, but its neck wasn't throttlingly high and it had satin binding and a bow on the back (makes all the difference insists Jane) AND it was much less than the £150 that Toast wanted for their version last year. With the logic of a true fashionista, Jane feels she has saved £85!




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