Ridiculous at my age that I still can’t get enough of Christmas. Every year I’m here with my bowl of Christmas pudding and I know I should shout “when” to signal no more brandy cream but… I just never do say when. I say bring it on, instead. I cry at the adverts, including (furtively) at the really rubbish ones when everyone else is eyerolling. I put Mariah on my running playlist from the first of December without fail. (Sounds weird but trust me, totally works.) I never visit fewer than two grottos. I go into John Lewis for some ribbed tights, make a sneaky detour to the Christmas shop (just to have a look) and before I know it have broken my solemn promise not to buy any more tree decorations this year. They had fluffy owls! And tiny wooden cabins! What was I supposed to do?
I would be well up for believing in Father Christmas, if it weren’t for the fact that I foresee some issues over workstream that could result in crucial targets not getting hit on the morning of the 25th. So I will content myself with making sure that “he” gets a mince pie and a largish whisky, which – I imagine – helps the Sellotape marathon go with a bang.
Also, this year, I get to dress a bit like him, because top-to-toe red is currently a power wardrobe move. There is nothing particularly original about crimson having a fashion moment in winter. But what was different on this season’s catwalks, and has filtered down to the high street and into the combinations we pull from our own wardrobes, was what to wear with your crimson sweater or skirt. Not urban and fiery with black, not holly-berries-in-the-snow with ivory, not subtle and tonal with tan or cream. This season, red goes with red.
If you have a red skirt and a red sweater, wear them together. Don’t worry about whether the shades are the same; it’s better, really, if they are not. Burgundy and flame orange is fine, as is brick with traffic-light red. And don’t stop at two elements, if you’ve got more to hand. A red coat is the perfect finishing touch. The effect of red-on-red is less harsh than you would think. The mix of shades mellows the effect, rather than sharpening it.
There is no such thing as too much red. Not this weekend, anyway.
Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Samantha Cooper for Carol Hayes Management.