Christmas Gift Guide

If you’re still looking for Christmas gift ideas for stylish ladies, here are some of my top picks to help with your Christmas shopping this week. The only “person” I’ve bought for so far is my dog, so I need a little inspiration myself! (And if any of my family are reading this, this is pretty much my wish list, hint hint 😉).

Stocking Fillers

No lady’s maid would be without a fully stocked sewing kit – This Liberty print sewing scissors and holder would be a stylish addition to it for a budding seamstress.

liberty

My favourite chocolates at Christmas time from Hotel Chocolat; best to only buy the pocket selection or I won’t stop eating them 😋

hotel chocolat

Please don’t think me weird for including a stapler in my wish list, but there’s something about Ted Baker’s “let’s get together” rose gold stapler that I love! Perhaps one for those who are hard to buy for, have a sense of humour and like a tidy desk.

 

I love Christmas scented candles – these are two of my favourites from Marks & Spencer – Frankincense and Myrrh and Mandarin and clove.  Really good value and they smell amazing.

A Royal Christmas – a great Christmas book, published by the Royal Collection Trust, exploring the Christmas traditions of royalty, past and present.

royal christmas

Luxury Gifts

I know you shouldn’t be swayed by packaging, but when it’s a Fortnum’s hamper I don’t really care what’s in it – just save the basket for me 🙂

fortnums

This world class tech case is a really good buy for jet-setting ladies who travel a lot – keeping all your gadgets organised in style on the move. Available in different colour combinations, but this is my favourite.

 

 

I love Smythson notebooks and diaries. I especially like this Soho diary as it has a “To Do” page for notes each week as well. The cobalt blue is super stylish.

Aspinal currency wallet – I have a similar wallet to this one that I bought from Heathrow Airport several years ago when I was travelling a lot and didn’t want to carry different wallets for multiple currencies – really useful.

aspinal

Wilbur & Gussie make the most stylish clutches. It’s impossible to pick a favourite, but this gold glitter clutch is a wardrobe classic.

wilbur and gussie

For hat-loving ladies with a busy social calendar in 2019 – an unlimited hat hire voucher for a year from The Cotswold Hat Club. Wear a different one each weekend if you want! Great value if you have a lot of formal day dress events to plan for.

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You can’t go wrong with a cashmere scarf as a gift. These ones from John Lewis are great value for cashmere, and available in a large range of colours, I like this coral red to brighten up wintery days.

scarf

Add a glamorous touch to your winter coats with a brooch from Susan Caplan. I like this wreath of pearls and turquoise – it would look great on a winter white coat. (20% off with the code LADYSMAID20).

susan caplan

I couldn’t not mention my book! If you’re bored of the family on Christmas afternoon, then dip into a copy of Wardrobe Wisdom and start planning your New Year Wardrobe for 2019.

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Little Red Dresses

Little Red Dresses

Every lady has a trusty LBD – a little black dress that you can always count on when facing a what-to-wear dilemma. But during the festive season it’s all about the little red dress – red is the most Christmassy colour, so always a popular choice for Christmas functions. I’ve rounded up some of my favourites available now for every budget. In terms of accessories for red dresses, I would say gold is the best choice, or a matching red for evening looks. Some red tones also match well with burgundy accessories. I think black accessories can look a bit harsh for evening looks with sleeveless red dresses, but if the dress is sleeved and you wear black opaque tights, it does look more balanced.

Budget

Starting with budget LRDs, one of my favourites is this new red dress from M&S. I love the subtle animal jacquard print and the ruched shoulders – I sense this one will be popular for office Christmas parties.

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I really like this simple tunic dress from HM – I love the pretty lacy sleeve detail.

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A slinky little number from Zara. You might need a faux fur, or extra egg nog, to keep warm if you wear this out in December! Love the rich jewel red and fringed belt.

zara

Pussy bows are one of my favourite style features in tops and dresses – it’s the Lady Di/Maggie Thatcher in me! Tall ladies can get away with working this pussy bow maxi – a stylish, longer little red dress from Warehouse.

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Mid-range

A new number from Cefinn just in time for the festive season and a great choice as a wearable desk-to-dinner festive frock for mid-week Christmas parties.

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I’ve been all over burgundy velvet on my Insta page, so this poinsettia velvet dress from Boden will make you stand out from the crowd more than my usual mellow merlot options 🙂

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A pretty lacy floral embellished dress from Needle and Thread.

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I like throw-on tunic styles – great to hide any over-indulging on canapes! This maroon red tunic dress from Ted Baker has pretty embellishment at the wrists.

ted baker

Another great classic day-to-eve little red dress from Jaeger.

jaeger

Designer

If you have a bit of extra cash to flash for your Christmas frock, this is one of my favourite LRDs from Nanushka. The “Ezra” wrap dress is made of a gorgeous claret red silky satin.

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I really love this Grecian style pleated metallic silk dress from Maria Lucia Hohan – like a stylish Christmas sweet wrapper! One-shoulder dresses are always a winner with me too, so this would be my top pick for a special Christmas party dress.

 

Aquila

I love the sharp shoulders and ruffled sleeves on this mini from Alexander McQueen.

Alexander McQueen

If there’s one red dress on my lust list, it’s this one from Antonio Beradi – I love the clean lines and contrasting textures of wool-crepe, cady and satin – classic and glamorous. What more do you want from a little red dress?!

Antonio Beradi 

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Christmas Jumpers

Christmas Jumpers

You may think that Christmas jumpers have no place on a page about style, but you’d be wrong! I used to think they were incredibly naff – my main image of them being from American 80s/90s Christmas movies. These days there are much more subtle and stylish festive sweaters out there, so you don’t need to worry about looking like your Grandma dressed you on Christmas Jumper Day. In my wardrobe, this silver sequinned angel jumper, bought from Top Shop in 2015, is a favourite. The plus side of only wearing it a few days a year is that it’s still in excellent condition!  (There are a few on ebay if you like it.)

Christmas Jumper Day is on Friday 14 December this year. People in schools and offices across the UK wear their best novelty knit in aid of Save the Children. I’ve trawled through the festive knitwear on offer to bring you some of my favourites – from novelty knits to stylish sequins, via festive Fair Isle: there’s a Christmas jumper out there for everyone!

Novelty Knits

M&S leads the way with some stylish and wearable Christmas jumpers this year. These are three of my favourites:

Embellished Mistletoe jumper, M&S

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Robin embroidered jumper, M&S

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Embellished stars jumper, M&S

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All other high street stores now have a Christmas knitwear offering too – there are some good ones in H&M, Next and Dorothy Perkins. Tu at Sainsburys and George at Asda also have some great ones:

Sequin stag sweater, Dorothy Perkins

 DP Stag

Red reindeer studded jumper, New LookNew Look.png

Are you noticing a pattern? I quite like reindeers 🙂 Gold sequin reindeer jumper, Monsoon

Next

One for dog lovers – puppy in antlers from Tu at Sainsburys

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 A subtle offering from Top Shop – a mini candy cane crested black jumper

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There are quite a few Fair Isle/novelty hybrids if you want something that doesn’t scream Christmas:

Jacquard knit reindeer Fair Isle, H&M

Reindeer HM 

Robin Fair Isle, Asda

Asda Robin Fairisle

Slogan knitwear merges with festive fun in this “baby it’s cold outside” sweater from Bella Freud

 

Bella Freud

Make it easy for people to guess your drinks order with this Navy sequinned champagne Christmas jumper from Asda

Champagne

JOY red sweatshirt – Save the Children x Selfish Mother. 50% of the retail price is donated to Save the Children.

Joy

Everything sounds better en francais – “joyeux Noël” from Top shop

joyeux noel

Festive Fair Isle

If you don’t want to spend money on a jumper that you only wear one or two days a year, then Fair Isle is a great alternative to the novelty knits – still Christmassy but much more stylish and wearable throughout the winter months, not just December. Fair Isle knits are named after the place where they originate from – the tiny island of Fair Isle, one of the Scottish Shetland islands (where you’ll be in need of a cosy knit to keep warm at Christmas). The style became popular in the 1920s when the then Prince of Wales was photographed wearing a Fair Isle jumper whilst playing golf. Since then they’ve become a winter wardrobe classic, especially during the festive season.

Ivory Agnes Fair Isle, Boden

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Georgina sweater, Hobbs

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Mohair Icelandic jumper, Brora

Brora

Fair Isle sweater, Ralph Lauren

Asos

 

Islay print, Fat Face

Fat Face

 

Somersby Fair Isle, Jack Wills

Jack Wills

Stylish Sequins

Another more wearable option to the classic Christmas jumper is sequinned and jewelled knitwear – a great cocktail casual option for Christmas parties. I particularly like the grey ones as the dull colour carries sequins and jewels really well.

This grey jumper with bow motif from HM is my top pick

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I also love this pretty blush snowflake number from Next – this would look great with a pleated satin skirt and sparkly silver heels

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Jewel embellished jumper, Warehouse

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Grey sparkle jumper, Oasis

Oasis

Arqyle sweater with sequins, Zara

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These Christmas jumpers all get the seal of style approval from The Lady’s Maid – which one will you pick for Christmas Jumper Day?!

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Vintage Jewellery – Susan Caplan

The Lady’s Maid’s top Vintage Jewellery picks from Susan Caplan

Most stylists will agree that accessories complete an outfit. Glance at my Instagram page and you’ll see all the outfits are accessorised with earrings and sometimes brooches – my two favourite jewellery accessories for lifting a look. Whether it’s cheap costume jewellery or expensive precious stones the visual effect is the same. This week I’m focusing on vintage jewels and teaming up with vintage jewellery expert Susan Caplan to offer my followers 20% off their entire jewellery range. Perhaps you’re looking to add some festive sparkle to your winter outfits, or maybe you’d like something a little different as a Christmas gift for ladies who love a bit of bling. I often feature Susan Caplan pieces on my Instagram page – I love the touch of glamour that her vintage pieces bring to a winter outfit. I’ve picked out some of my favourite pieces from her collection here. Head to their website here to see their full range. The discount code for 20% off is: LADYSMAID20.

Brooches

1980s Vintage D’orlan Owl Swarovski Crystal Brooch

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Owls are a symbol of wisdom, so I feel like adopting this little owl brooch as the mascot for my book Wardrobe Wisdom. Made of 22ct gold plate, featuring round-cut green and clear Swarovski crystals, it’s at the top of The Lady’s Maid’s wish list for Christmas. The owl always lends itself well to jewellery design and I love the piercing emerald eyes of this one. £135 (£108 with discount).

1960s Vintage Trifari Crystal Brooch

crystal brooch

A simple but stylish silver-plated floral sprig brooch, featuring round and marquis-cut clear Swarovski Crystals. A great choice to add a finishing touch of understated elegance to an outfit. £125 (£100 with discount).

1950s Vintage Silver Marcasite Brooch

marcasite brooch

I love marcasite – it has a subdued sparkle to it that’s great if you want something a little less flashy than crystals or diamonds. This silver brooch features a scrolling floral design embellished with faceted marcasite. £145 (£116 with discount).

1970s Vintage Attwood & Sawyer Stylised Brooch

stylised brooch

A decorative ribbon twist brooch featuring teardrop and round-cut clear and red Swarovski crystals. I love the Christmassy colours of this one – I’d wear it on a burgundy or red winter coat. £95 (£76 with discount).

1980s Vintage Swarovski Crystal Floral Brooch

floral brooch

Another particularly festive brooch – a silver-plated star embellished with clear round-cut and emerald green marquis-cut Swarovski crystals. £48 (£38.40 with discount).

 

1960s faux pearl and leaf brooch

Holly leaf

This leaf brooch looks like a sprig of festive holly – a great way to add a touch of Christmas to your outfit in a stylish way. £95 (£76 with discount).

 

Earrings

1970s Vintage Monet Red Chandelier Drop Earrings

chandelier earrings

Top of my earrings wish list are these beautiful ruby red chandelier earrings featuring red lucite drops and round-cut Swarovski crystals. The perfect accessory for a red Christmas party dress. £145 (£116 with discount).

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1980s Vintage Kenneth Jay Lane Swarovski Crystal Snake Earrings

snake earrings

I really love these striking snake hoop earrings. Embellished with round-cut clear crystals with red Swarovski crystal eyes. A stylish statement accessory for a glitzy gown. £185 (£148 with discount).

NYE_Ball

1990s Vintage Gold Plated Swarovski Crystal Star Earrings

star drops

Jazz up any Christmas ensemble with these gold-plated star drop earrings. £18 (£14.40 with discount).

1980s Vintage Statement Swarovski Crystal Drop Earrings

statement earrings

 Another statement red earring that would be a great accessory for festive frocks at Christmas time. £125 (£100 with discount).

1980s Vintage D’orlan Swarovski Crystal Drop Earrings

 

crystal drops

If you prefer a slightly more understated look, these mini 22ct gold-plated glitter ball earrings featuring Swarovski crystals might be the ones for you to add just a touch of sparkle to your party look. £135 (£108 with discount).

1980s Vintage D’Orlan Swarovski Crystal Clip-on Earrings

amethyst drops

These 22ct gold-plated classic drop clip-on earrings, featuring round-cut clear and oval-cut amethyst-coloured Swarovski crystals, are so elegant and could be worn day or evening. I’ve pictured them here in a regal winter wedding look. £95 (£76 with discount).

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1970s Vintage Attwood & Sawyer Crystal Clip-on Earrings

emerald earrings

 The Duchess of Sussex favours discreet studs over statement earrings, so if you want to emulate her style these contemporary faux emerald triangle clip-on earrings are a good place to start. £95 (£76 with discount).

1980s Vintage Kenneth Jay Lane Bow Swarovski Crystal Clip-on Earrings

crystal earrings

 

A stylish statement clip-on earring from Kenneth Jay Lane, featuring a bow design embellished with round-cut Swarovski crystals. £225 (£180 with discount).

For more ideas on how to style all these vintage treasures, keep a look out on my Instagram page between now and Christmas as I will be featuring them in my festive ensembles!

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November News

My book Wardrobe Wisdom is not released in the USA until 15 January 2019 so if my American/Canadian/rest of the world followers would like to see a signed copy under the Christmas tree this year then you can order from me via email 💌: info@theladysmaid.com. All orders from now until Christmas will be gift wrapped! 🎁

 

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In other news The Lady’s Maid is nominated for the UK Blog Awards 2019 and I would appreciate your vote! You can cast your vote here.

 

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Have a good week – don’t spend too much on Black Friday!

 

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Christmas Style – Bombshell HQ

The festive season is just around the corner, and The Lady’s Maid loves a Christmas  party frock!

In this post I have picked my top five festive dresses from Bombshell HQ – a London based dress label designed by Katya Wildman who specialises in elegant dresses for curvy ladies.

Mother of the Bride – Christmas Wedding

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Forest green was one of the most popular colour choices at the recent Royal wedding this year. It’s a great colour for brunettes and perfect choice for a Christmas Wedding Mother of The Bride. I’ve styled Bombshell’s Confident dress in dark green here with a feathered hat by Bundle Maclaren, available to hire from The Cotswold Hat Club, green velvet clutch and heels from L.K. Bennett and vintage star earrings by YSL available from Vestiare Collective.

Winter Wedding

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All shades of red have to be the most popular choice for the festive season. If you like your reds a little more mature and discreet, as opposed to a standout scarlet, then this mulberry hue is the one for you. Pictured is the Scoop Neck Elliptical Midi Skirt Dress in wine accessorized with a matching pill box hat and kitten heels from Phase Eight, clutch from Hobbs and vintage earrings by Jennifer Gibson.

Christmas Party

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It wouldn’t be Christmas without some burgundy velvet. I’ve picked out the Stretch Luxe ¾ length sleeve in wine velvet as my top choice for a Christmas party frock. Accessorized here with matching velvet heels by L.K. Bennett, bag by Dune London, earrings by Susan Caplan and a winter white coat from Hobbs.

Christmas Day

Christmas_Day.png The Midnight Tartan on this Scoop Neck Elliptical Midi Skirt Dress is a great choice if you want to dress up on Christmas Day. I’ve accessorized it here for a trip to church on Christmas morning – winter coat and faux fur scarf by Hobbs, bag by Aspinal of London, gloves by Mulberry, heels by Rupert Sanderson  and earrings available at Vestiare.

New Year’s Eve Ball

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You can’t wear too much glitter on New Year’s Eve! If you have a fancy ball to go to over the festive season then this Gold Sequin Gown will put you at the top of the best dressed list. Glam it up to the max with a glitter clutch from Wilbur & Gussie, snake hoop vintage earrings by Susan Caplan and sandals by Dune London.

 

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Wardrobe Wisdom

Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered my book Wardrobe Wisdom which was officially published yesterday!

I’ve had a lot of enquiries about how people can purchase the book in countries outside the UK. If you’re in the USA the book will be available from Amazon.com on 1 January 2019 or you can order via Amazon UK or The Book Depository now. All other countries – The Book Depository deliver worldwide.

If you want to buy it from a good old-fashioned book shop it is available at larger branches of Waterstones, Foyles and all National Trust book shops.

Signed copies can be ordered from me. Email: info@theladysmaid.com for details.

In other news I did a Q & A for Tatler.com which you can read here.

Here is my book on the shelves at Waterstones in London yesterday!

 

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