Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

Men I love

In Men on February 25, 2011 at 6:00 pm

PS Have to add a post script to this because of all the great comments, thank you all SO much.

I did have George Clooney on my original list, but left him off as I thought it was dragging on a bit. Cary Grant also crossed my mind, but I was trying to do more recent arrivals at the Lust Ball. Clive Owen was also in consideration. Brad and Johnny never, as I don’t think either of them has aged well, although I do love Johnny’s acting.

But I realised this morning there was a couple of GLARING omissions and they have now been added. See the end of the piece…. and keep those comments rolling.

*   *   *

Yesterday me and my big sister bought a copy of The Lady magazine entirely because it had a picture of Colin Firth on the cover. We giggled wildly as we took it to the till and then play fought over who got to read it first.

Our collective age goes into three figures.

Obviously we are much too old for this kind of carry on, but I don’t think I will ever stop being a fan. I hope I never do. Having virtual mini crushes on film stars, footballers, rock stars etc makes me feel alive.

And it’s much better for a happily married woman than having a crush on someone you actually know.

The secret of it, though, is not to have one life-long celebrity crush. That’s stalkerish and a bit sad. The next thing you know, you’ll be running the Cliff Richard Fan Club and booking the coach for the big trip down to the Palladium.

To suck the life giving goodness out of a mini crush you have to constantly have new ones. So here is my current roster – with a couple of admissions to more long-term sympathies…

Colin Firth
I go way back with Colin. I saw his Hamlet, the year he was graduating from the Drama Centre, because my then boyfriend was a fellow student at the drama school and smuggled me in to see it.

Then went on to see him in Another Country, with Rupert Everett, one of the best plays I’ve ever been to. Which is all to say the future Sir Colin has been on my radar from the very start of his career, but I’ve never fancied him until now.

I didn’t even get the whole Mr Darcy thing, as I will never be able to see anyone other Lawrence Olivier in that role. And I could never understand why Bridget Jones would choose him over the drop dead gorgeous Hugh Grant.

But at some point in A Single Man, I fell madly in love with our Colin and that love has increased ten fold with The King’s Speech.

Which just goes to show some things definitely get better with age.

Tom Ford
Yes, I know he’s gay. But Tom is one of those gay men who loves flirting with women. He wants us to fancy him.

I’ve been in love with him ever since I first saw him stroll onto a Gucci catwalk at the end of a show, one shirt button too many left undone. He’s got the sexiest eyes going and he knows it.

I have loved him even more since A Single Man (see above) which I thought was brilliant. And even more since the BAFTAs when he and Julianne Moore giggled and nipped and poked, all the way through it.

I want to be their friend.

Steve Tyler
What? Yes, I know he looks like a middle-aged woman. The kind you’ll see elbowing their way through the Bloomingdales’ sale. I think that’s a large part of his appeal.

He looks particularly like Carly Simon, now I come to think of it, and she’s a very good woman to look like.

But if you don’t share my love of the tiny snake-hipped lead singer from Aerosmith, father of the more beautiful Liv, please check out this clip of him on American Ido

I heart him.

David Beckham
Darling darling Becks. The sweetest smile, the hottest bod and just such an all-round lovely bloke.

I love that he gets styled up to put the bins out – according to Mrs Beckham. I love that he loves playing with Lego. ‘I know it’s not a career,’ he has said. ‘But I just love doing it.’

And I love that he’s such a patriot, he agreed to wearthat terrible Marks & Spencer team suit to the World Cup last year, as part of the England support squad – even though the stupid coach won’t play him any more.

I just really really wish he’d move back to the UK.

Javier Bardem
If you haven’t seen Jamon Jamon, the 1992 film which brought Bardem and Penelope Cruz to international attention for the first time, get hold of a copy today.

About sex, religion, mothers, bullfighting and ham, it’s as hilarious as it is sexy. The chemistry between the two of them threatens to set light to the projection box, so it’s just perfect they’ve finally ended up together.

But she can have him in real life, the rest of us can be content with the naked bull fighting scene in the film.

Robert Pattinson
I go back a bit with Rob. I met him in 2005 when my daughter was in a film with him. True.

It was before he’d even been in Harry Potter, so imagine seeing Rob Pattinson in real life, before you’d ever seen a photo of him…

He stepped out of his trailer and I was rendered literally speechless that someone could be so beautiful. He didn’t seem entirely of this world.

My daughter, then nearly four, fell immediately in love with him and repaired to a nearby meadow to pick him a bunch of wild flowers. When she gave them to him, he blushed.

The film is The Haunted Airman, if you want to take a look. The director is one of my oldest friends, which is how Peggy got to be in it (I’m not some ghastly stage mother…)

Anyway, the delightful young man we met doing that is quite separate in my head from Rob in the role of Edward Cullen in Twilight. It’s Edward the tortured vampire I fancy, not Rob.

I would be embarrassed to tell you how many times I’ve watched that film – except I know that so many of my normal grown up girlfriends feel the same.


Rather as above, I know this picture is of an actor called Mark Salling, but to me it’s Puck. The badass, Mohawk toting, jock from Glee.

There’s nothing else to say.

Zac Efron
I was so relieved when 17 Again came out as I could finally go public about my lust for Zac. While he was starring in movies aimed at my daughter’s demographic it had felt way too pervy.

One sight of that hairy armpit in the opening sequences and it was open season on Zac.

And, if you watch Hairspray (which I also have on DVD…), you’ll see he’s such a fabulous dancer.

Take That

How could I have forgotten them? My boys! My men!

I can’t quite explain my deep lust and longing for these five fellas from the North of England. Individually they don’t stand up to close scrutiny, but it’s something about the five of them together – and I do mean five. Robbie has to be there.

The whole really is greater than the sum of the parts.

I’ve always thought my Take That fetish stemmed from the way they remind of the boys I went to school with, not very far from where they all grew up, but so many of my girlfriends, from all points of the compass feel exactly the same, there must be more to it.

July 4th, 2011 I have a date with them at Wembley Stadium. Bring. It. On.

Although if I can’t get close enough to the stage to smell Robbie’s testicles I will want my money back.



Robbie, Robbie, Robbie. The bloke from Stoke. I bloody love him. I grew up just a few miles from where he did and his accent has a Proustian affect on me.

I know lots of you won’t like him, but even if you don’t find him a sex god, as I do, his music is amazing. I’m a lyrics maniac and Robbie’s are up there with the greats. Really.

Let Me Entertain You has just had me dancing round the kitchen like a wild woman. While I was making some scones.

And that, ladies, is what grown up girl crushes are all about.


You were right. He should have been here all along. He puts the hubba into hubba.

So those are my current crushes. Who do you love?

Rule: Don’t let the dress wear you

In Uncategorized on February 22, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Diane Kruger in Gucci

In the Bible there was Moses and the Ten Commandments. In fashion there was Diana Vreeland.

One of the most referenced commandments of the legendary American Vogue editor, who died in 1989, is this: you should always take one thing off before you leave the house.

She also said ‘Elegance is refusal’ which is another way of putting the same thing and I think one of the most elegant things anyone has ever said.

What it all boils down to is knowing when to stop. An outfit is not improved by constantly adding another little nicky/nacky, mixy/matchy, Gucci/Acne element. In fact each extra one you add takes it down another notch.

The problem with the Gucci dress that Diane Kruger is wearing here, is that she hasn’t got anything to take off. There’s very fine gold chain on her right hand, but that wouldn’t be enough.

The stylist has been savvy enough not even to add a pair of earrings to the ensemble, and the essential shoes and bag melt in as extensions of it. The hair is an object lesson in elegant simplicity.

Which leads to only one conclusion: the dress itself has too much going on. The dress is overdressed.

This is the kind of ‘piece’ (that’s a very fashion thing to say, it’s never a dress, it’s a ‘piece’) that designers dream up for fashion shows. This would have looked great on a catwalk. Frocks like this get used in newspapers and blog posts (like here…).

So it’s a perfectly justified bit of high fashion glory, but for the runway moment you would never put it on a model of Kruger’s style and build. It needs a glamazon, like Naomi Campbell in her prime.

On a woman as finely boned as Ms Kruger, even with her reasonably generous height (1.70 according to Google), the dress is wearing her.

Take, by contrast another look sported by the same woman in the same week at the Paris couture shows last month.

Diane Kruger in Chanel.

This flesh pink chiffon Chanel couture dress is lavishly, almost outrageously, embellished with huge coloured crystals, but the balance of them is so perfect and the background of the chiffon so quiet, the dress doesn’t take over from its wearer. Rather it makes Ms Kruger’s heaven-sent bone structure leap out at you.

Once again, the clever stylist has limited the add ons to one gorgeous jewelled bracelet, on top of the shoes and bag. The hair and the make up are exquisitely discreet (loving that nude lip…). The star of this picture is the person, not the dress.

This rule applies even more strongly to we mortals than it does to a ravishing model-turned-actress. Particularly those of us, like me, who are wanting in the height department.

This is why the long skirts for day wear which are a hot trend for next season will not be figuring in my life. I would resemble not so much a von Trapp dressed in curtains, as the actual curtain.

The same goes for the oversized floral prints which have been with us for a while. I peep out of them like a startled bush baby.

There was a reason Diana Vreeland wore a lot of plain black sweaters and white shirts.

There is a new Rules every Thursday in the Essential Style section of the Sydney Morning Herald and in M magazine with the Sunday Age.


In Underwear on February 18, 2011 at 12:31 pm

More and more women I know are wearing sports bras as their everyday choice and I find I am increasingly tempted to leave mine on under normal clothes after a morning yoga class.


Just yesterday I bought a new one which I justified as necessary to keep things nice during my newly discovered hobby of Zumba dance exercise, which involves quite a bit of jumping up and down and a great deal of shimmying.

As Shakira says, the hips don’t lie – and neither do the boozies. And as there are floor length mirrors in the hall where I do Zumba, I really don’t want to see that happening.

Actually, I fully intend to wear my new sports bra in real life. In fact, I’m wearing it now.

My new Shock Absorber Level 4

I find this an interesting development as it’s only recently that really pretty bras with matching knick knicks have become available in joke cup sizes, like the one I have to wear.

I can remember going for a bra fitting just a few years ago in the – vastly overrated in my opinion – London lingerie shop Rigby & Peller. The surly sales girl presented me with a flesh-coloured object which resembled a surgical appliance and made me look like Matron from Carry On Doctor, as my only option. I shed tears in the changing cubicle and fled in my too small bra.

I own this lovely Freya set, but this isn't me wearing it.

Fast forward to now and in Selfridges’ marvellous lingerie department the glamorous big cup brands Freya, Fantasie and Panache are invading ever increasing square footage. Which is, of course, related to that that statistic so loved of the tabloid press – the nation’s ever increasing average bra size.

The ‘official’ average bra size in the UK and Australia and is now a 34D/12D (same thing), although British company Bravissimo, which specialises in bras DD and up, says it’s really much more like an E.

So why, when I’m finally able to buy lovely matching sets, am I embracing with such enthusiasm the sports bra genre, which so embodies the German word ‘bustenhalter’? Because they’re so much more comfortable than regular bras.

I know I’m not the only woman who gets bruised ribs from underwires. Not to mention the horrible camel humps on each shoulder, from years of elastic straps cutting into the living flesh.

Sports bras have such wide straps they’re more like singlets, and without several kilos of mass dragging down on one centimetre-wide strip of fabric, the load can be spread.

And although it is a bit monobosom, I like the neat shape they give me under T shirts. Most bras which are marketed for this use – ie, not lacy, or with a great seam across the nipple – are padded.

Why anyone above a B cup would want padding I am at a loss to understand, yet these moulded monstrosities so-called ‘t shirt bras’ are available up G cups. What’s that about?

The other problem (on top of underwires, scratchy lace and show through) with the new genre of gorgeous lacy bras in big cup sizes is that they do make your boobs into pointy nose cones, or balconies big enough for the Royal family to wave from, depending which style you get. I’m only up to parading around in that state on very specific occasions. See earlier posting with pictures of Christina Hendricks in Madmen mode for clarification.

Nose cones.


For all these reasons, the sports bra just seems like more of an option for everyday wear. So my suggestion to the bra manufacturers is to find a way to combine the ergonomic design of these most comfortable bosom wranglers with some more attractive styling details.

The Rules: The key to smart casual is quality

In Fashion shows, Fashionistas on February 15, 2011 at 6:00 pm


Up in heaven there is this queue, right? You have to stand in it for ages waiting to find out what your next incarnation is going to be and it can get really tedious.

Anyway, last time I was in it, I got distracted by this girl I used to know back when we were both slugs and while I was chatting to her, Emmanuelle Alt moved forward one place and was given the body that was really meant for me.

It’s the only possibly explanation why she has the hair, face, skin and most particularly, legs, I’ve always felt I should have had. I really can’t believe I’m not a leggy brunette. The kind good looking poets fall in love with.

The greatest compliment I’ve ever been paid was when someone told me I had a brunette brain. Unfortunately it’s in a blonde hobbit’s body.

If you don’t know who Ms Alt is, you soon will – she’s just been appointed editor-in-chief of French Vogue, replacing the legendary Carine Roitfeld.

Emmanuelle with Carine Roitfeld.

I’ve had the most massive girl crush on Emmanuelle Alt for years. Indeed one of the joys of attending the fashion shows in Milan and Paris for all those seasons was seeing what she turned up in every day.

She stood out even among the tribe of very tall, very thin, very cool people with floppy, black-hair – they look like a designer version of the Ramones – who are the French Vogue team.

And from the moment I noticed her she fascinated me so much more than the New York magazine girls, all gussied up and over groomed in join-the-dots designer outfits, like a tribe of High Fashion Barbies.

What I loved was the insouciance of Alt’s rock chic style. She has that most Parisienne of qualities, which the French have the perfect word for: she always looks degagé.

The literal translation is ‘casual’ but there’s more to it than that. It doesn’t just imply you look relaxed – you can be very relaxed in trakkies and ten year old thongs – but that you look great in a relaxed way. Like you haven’t made a massive effort. What? This old thing? I just threw it on…

There is a secret to this, quite apart from the fact that Alt looks like Patti Smith’s beautiful little sister.

Her style is a simple recipe of youth culture classics: skinny jeans, leather trousers, harem pants, Breton tops, simple t shirts, biker jackets, narrow blazers, pea coats, car coats, looped scarves… That’s about it. But the individual pieces she chooses are of the finest quality.

The jackets are Balmain or Balenciaga, the leather pants and fabulous studded boots are Isabel Marant, and so on. And while those wafer thin t shirts she loves aren’t so instantly identifiable, I’d wager none of them came in a pack of three. (I did read on a blog that they’re from APC, but can’t verify it.)

Alt is living proof that to nail that hardest of dress codes, smart casual, you must make your greatest wardrobe investment in the casual items. Don’t buy a designer evening bag, buy a designer T shirt.

And one other thing: she’s never seen in anything but terrifying high heels. Even with those legs, there’s always a price to pay for glamour.

Boots by Isobel Marant. Alt's husband is her creative director.

The French Vogue team heading for a show in the Tuileries. What's not to love?


For more on the fabulous folk from French Vogue, check out these genius sites:

It’s all wonderful stuff, but I particularly recommend the translation of Emmanuelle Alt’s Top Ten Style tips, translated from the French magazine 20 Ans, which I cheekily reproduce below.

But do look at the sites. They are fabulous.
Emmanuelle Alt’s Style Tips:
  1. Black plastic flip flops, easy, chic, and sexy.
  2. Black stockings by Wolford (because of the sublime campaign by Newton).
  3. Black trousers by Helmut Lang, because they are timeless and low waisted, loose fitting but not too loose.
  4. I don’t wear them [skirts] but from time to time a black Ann Demeulemeester skirt cut perfectly, barefoot, and the legs must be tan.
  5. Black coat by Costume National, tiny cut, totally modern.
  6. Glossies bra by Gossard, amazing, in either black or beige, like tights, seamless.
  7. Black short-sleeved tshirt by APC, because it is small, it looks like a tshirt from the 1970s and it ages well.
  8. Black sunglasses by Armani, like Bono of U2.
  9. Air King watch by Rolex because they do not make one better.
  10. Long black dress by Galliano, chic without being granny, sexy, pure with Manolo Blahnik heels.


There is a new Rules every Thursday in the Essential Style section of the Sydney Morning Herald and in M magazine with the Sunday Age.

All gloved up

In Accessories, Shopping on February 11, 2011 at 6:00 pm

It’s that time of year again – the ready-to-wear shows have just kicked off in New York – and it always makes me nostalgic for my days at the fashion frontline. So this is a Saturday archives special from 2002, which reminds me of one of the reasons I must go back to Milan one day soon. The other being the food…

Dita gives great glove.

One of the greatest pleasures of going to Milan twice a year for the fashion shows is the shopping. But I don’t mean Prada and Gucci – you can do that anywhere – I’m talking about the specialist shops.

On a frosty morning in March, I was fitted with a pair of new kid gloves in a specialist ganteria in Milan and it really was an extraordinary privilege. I don’t think I’ve experienced service like it since I was measured for my first pair of Start Rite school shoes.

I felt the presence of Charles Swann – or at least his creator, Marcel Proust – at my side, as the glove-eur, or whatever you call a master glove fitter, assessed my peasanty paw by eye and produced a selection of gloves of exactly the right size. He fanned them out on the counter in one perfect sweep like a Monte Carlo croupier.

Once I had chosen my preferred glove – black kid, unlined – he stretched them using one of those mystery-object glove stretchers and much flamboyant snapping and slapping, that only an Italian could carry off. He then showed me how to place my elbow on the counter with my hand pointing straight up with yogic precision for the grand fitting of the glove.

Then he didn’t simply put that glove on my waiting limb – he ravished it. My hand felt taken by that glove. Hhe fitted each finger with a vigorous smoothing motion, so reminiscent of condom application it was hard not to dissolve into giggles. But I didn’t because I was so awed by the perfect tight fit of my new gloves. Six months later, they still fit with a glossy skin hugging tautness that would delight the Marquis de Sade. Venus in gloves.

On another visit to Milan I had a similar experience (although not quite so pervy) at a sock-eria. Although it had a chich modern interior, it was as far removed from our own sad sock shops as Rockpool Bar and Grill is from Burger King, and it was staffed by women who were sizing experts equal to Signor Glove.

They took one look at my stubby little foot and declared me an ‘otto’. So while my shoe size may be 36, in Italian, my sock size is eight. And it absolutely is, the socks fitted me perfectly.

But the size was just one part of the socking process. There were three weights of wool to choose from, from a stocking-like fine denier, through to a chunky rib and various mixes of wool, cashmere, cotton and silk. There was also the length to consider – to the ankle, the knee, or the cheeky thigh – and finally, the colour.

And what colours! Apart from the obvious black and very dark navy, there were camels, maroons and various shades of grey and green, before you even got into the fun colours and the ones with contrast toes and heels.

Apart from the wonderful selection – and bear in mind that these are socks totally devoid of those terrible circulation-stopping elastic tops – the real joy was the sincere concern and interest of the sockinistas at every stage. We lived through it together, they took great pride in their expertise, and at the end, they seemed as pleased as I was with the result. It’s a good job we got on, as they now have a customer for life.

So that is gloves and socks sorted, but my latest discovery is a specialist slipper shop. It had every kind of indoor footwear from the luxurious pig skin flats, to the funky Scandinavian felt, via all imaginable variations of sheepskin moccasin and fluffy mistress mule – and a resident expert slipper-ista sista just waiting to help me with my Cinderella selection.

I had shopping fatigue when I found it, not to mention a bag full of expensive socks, so I didn’t feel up to another intense consultation. But come October, I’m headed straight there to find out what my slipper size is.

Dita gloved up again at the couture shows. Does anyone know who the other babe is?

The Rules: Never wear black to a wedding

In Weddings on February 8, 2011 at 6:00 pm

This is the first of my new column for the Sydney Morning Herald (Thursday, Essential Style) and The Age (Sunday, M mag), which I’m going to post on here the following Wednesday each time.

I’ve stirred up a lot of indignation with this one, which is brilliant – controversy is mother’s milk to a columnist – with feelings equally strong on both sides of the argument.

 Not surprisingly there’s a big lean to the AGAINST camp from Melbourne, where they feel as strongly about their right to wear black to any occasion as Republicans do to bearing arms…

What I wasn’t so prepared for was people thinking I was dissing Kate Middleton for being a ‘commoner’. Far from it. What I can’t understand is why someone from a normal happy family like hers, would aspire to enter such a disfunctional one….

Anyway, I look forward to hearing from what you think and being able to respond right away via this wonderful global water cooler we call the internet.

It was all going so well. Not a see-through skirt or blouse from auntie’s wardrobe in sight.

Then that perfect dress for the engagement interview, from cool – but not faddish – label Issa, by London-based Brazilian designer Daniella Helayel. In a shade of blue that had fashion appeal whilst also broadcasting: I’m thrilled to be part of the Establishment. And went so perfectly with that engagement ring.

Then Kate Middleton wore black to a wedding. Head to knee black. Not even so much as one of the Queen Mum’s old sparkly brooches to alleviate the gloom. Cheers! Oh alright, the shoes and bag added a touch of burgundy, but that’s nearly as gloomy. Maroon.

What was she thinking? It’s hard to believe that a girl at the top of an upward social gradient so steep she must have needed crampons to get there (mum used to be a hostie, the family business sells party balloons on the internet), could make such an elementary blunder.

Especially someone who has successfully negotiated that most insider of upper crust dress codes: the shoot.

Madonna famously flunked that one going way too matchy matchy in brand-new tweed kit from gunmakers to Kate’s future in-laws, Purdey.

But Kate has swanned them in jeans and a well-worn quilted jacket for the early autumn variety and even looking relaxed in quite scary full camo for a deer stalk at Balmoral.

If anyone ever doubted she was up to her new gig, they only need to look at the picture of laughing in a fur hat, a £60,000 shotgun in her hands, appearing to have a marvellous time ritually murdering feathered creatures, while experiencing the early stages of hypothermia in a Norfolk field. What a girl.

So it seems amazing that someone this gifted at analysing and adopting the subtle codes of a different social group’s clothing (and please note the use of ‘different’ there, not better…) could have made such a fundamental gaff as wearing goth black to a wedding.

Even the one note of frivolity, a high quivering feather atop the bow on the pillbox hat, was coal black. Incredible. And worse: rude. Because wearing black to a wedding isn’t just lazy – some people believe it’s bad luck for the bride

Making things worse, it was a classic British day wedding, where .it’s the done thing to wear a rigout only really relevant in Australia at winter race meetings. Buttoned-up tailoring and a statement hat.

The men’s dress code for such traditional nuptials is called a ‘morning suit’. Kate seems to have read it as ‘mourning suit’. At least she’ll be able to wear it all again to her first state funeral.

But while the strict cut of the velvet coat made the Princess-to-be’s all-black get up look particularly funeral director (not to mention, fashion director…) this emotionally loaded colour is no more acceptable in floaty evening wear for an Australian wedding.

It might be chic, elegant, slimming, practical and timeless, but black just isn’t a shade associated with celebration.

So even if you think the happy couple are making a terrible mistake, get in the spirit and seize a wedding as a chance to splash out in joyous colour.

Just make sure it’s not white…

Kate helping Wills stalk a deer. She must have really wanted it, eh?

Good roots

In Hair on February 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Suddenly it’s all about root lift. (Aussies – settle. Root root root root. OK? Can you stop snickering now? Root. Ha ha snort. Nice root lift… Sorry.) It’s the latest development in a life of gadget-tastic hair obsessions.

I spent the mid 70s wishing I had wavy hair and the late 70s trying to make it stand on end dead straight.

Farrah ruled the waves.

Siouxsie Sioux queen of girl punk hair.


The 80s were all about big hair and high hair, in particular a monstrous quiff arrangement at the front.

Madonna dressed as me in the 1980s.

Meg's perfect ruffled bob.

In the early 90s I wanted to look charmingly tousled (Meg Ryan) and then I spent the second half of that decade trying to make it cling to my head in perfect straight smoothness (Jennifer Anniston).

We really wanted Jennifer's hair. We did.

At some point in the Noughties it came to be all about looking professionally groomed and that has now segued into an obsession with root lift.

I want my hair to spring bouffily from my head before falling into bouncy glossy flips. It’s so flattering and uplifting for a face which is headed in the opposite direction.

But how to achieve it without the professional blow dry I can longer afford/access/be bothered with?

All of my earlier hair fixations required specialist equipment and product, in the following timeline:

curling tongs

hairspray (Nuclear Fission hold)

fine-toothed back-combing comb and more hairspray

mousse and gummy hair wax caca

straightening irons

professional hairdresser, twice a week.

And now I have found the gadget that enables me to achieve the newly all-important root lift in my own home. Praise the Lord!

It all started when India Knight posted about the Babyliss Big Hair on Twitter and then on her blog.

My best friend V., who knows a good thing when she sees it, immediately bought one and after the first try out sent me a text ordering me to do the same.

‘Don’t argue, just buy it,’ she said and she was so right.

This gadget is a miracle. It’s a hairdryer with an integrated rotating brush, that enables you to give yourself an almost professional looking blow dry. You get shine, you get bounce, you get that fabulous curve. And without needing three arms to do it.

(I’ve always felt the lack of that third one when trying to dry my own hair with a separate brush and dryer, which is why I never used to do it.)

It took me a couple of goes to get the hang of it and now it’s second nature. The only props you’ll need is some good protecting blow dry lotion (I use John Frieda Luxurious Volume) and a couple of those hair sectioning clips, which make me feel very professional.

My other tip is to let the hair get nearly dry before you start. If you’re in a rush, turn your head upside down and blast it with a normal hairdryer for a bit first.

But although I loved my glossy bouncing home-made hair something was missing from my Big Hair do: root lift.

The rolling brushing pulling down on the hair shaft was making it cling to the head in the Anniston stylee of yesteryear, even when I did that thing of holding it by my scalp for extended brain baking periods.

So imagine my delight when browsing in my local branch of Boots I discovered the clever folk at Babyliss have already thought of this. Enter, Root Boost. (Settle…)

This gadget is like a hair straightener, except the heated ceramic plate has ridges on it. These create crinkly sections of hair right at the roots, which lift up the smooth top layer – which you have fastened carefully out of the way with your sectioning clips.

It does take a bit of getting used to but – yes – it works. I’ve used it twice now and it passed a before and after test with my mum, who is known for telling it how she sees it. She said there was definitely a difference after I root boosted and I hadn’t told her what I was up to.

You do have to be a bit careful near your hairline, where I currently have a section which looks as though I’ve got too close to a packet of crinkle cut chips, but I’ll get more confident with use.

With a quick spritz of my adored Elnett hairspray, I reckon I look like I’ve had a professional blow job. I mean root lift. Oh you know what I mean.

The Rules

In Famous people on February 1, 2011 at 8:29 pm


Julianne Moore at the Golden Globes, wearing creases.

No time for a full mid-week archives special this week because I’mjust so busy… writing my new column.

Hurrah hurroo and if you live in NSW you can read it tomorrow – that being Thursday – in the Essential Style section of the Sydney Morning Herald. If you live in Victoria you can read it on Sunday in M magazine in the Age.

If you don’t live in either of those places, you will at a future date be able to read it on here. I’m just sussing out how long is polite to leave between print and internet. Fair’s fair.

So what’s it about? Well, please don’t expect it to be the same as my old column in Good Weekend – that’s what I’m doing each Saturday on here. This new one is called The Rules and it’s a much more specific thing. I’m so enjoying training my brain to be on the look out for new ideas for it.

Please let me know what you think of it on here.

Meanwhile, just to pique your interest – here are a few pictures of people who might appear in it in weeks to come…

Emmanuelle Alt wearing perfect Gallic chic.

The future Queen Catherine wearing scary camo.

Emma Stone wearing minimalist formal.

Fragrant Cloud

I think in perfume

Style Notes

Style Notes

The Grooming Guru

An Expert's Guide To Midlife Male Grooming

Mad About The House

The sourcebook for modern living is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

by Hannah Rochell

slow comfortable style

North/South Food

Eating across the North/South divide

Jack Monroe

The #1 budget recipe website

Liberty London Girl

Just another site

The Selvedge Yard

A historical record of artistry, anarchy, alchemy & authenticity.

Cattle & Cane

Country Chronicles News

The latest news on and the WordPress community.