A round-up of my favourite fair isles and novelty knits to wear for the festive season.
Donegal fair isle jumper – Campbells of Beuly
I have selected some of my favourite British brands to feature in this Christmas style and gift guide. As most Christmas shopping will be done online this year I thought it would be a good idea to bring together some great British brands that complement each another into one virtual Christmas “pop-up” shop, and encourage people to shop from British independent brands this Christmas. Many milliners and designers, such as Camilla Rose, Bee Smith, Beverley Edmonson and Lisa Redman, have pivoted during the pandemic by introducing small accessories which are a bit more lockdown friendly than their usual flamboyant race day creations. I’ve also included a few beautiful occasion wear pieces by Laura Green, Suzannah London, Vaai and Lalage Beaumont, Claire Mischevani and Caroline Charles for those who are planning on dressing up for Christmas Day at home. There’s luxe loungewear and fancy flats from Sargasso and Grey, Yosuru, Ethereal London, Nuiami and Bombshell, for sitting room soirees. For more casual festive style, take a look at my top picks from Troy London, Really Wild and Guinea London for Christmas walks in the countryside. Finally, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a bit of sparkle, courtesy of Jennifer Gibson, Susan Caplan and Auree Jewellery. I hope you enjoy browsing and find something suitable to buy for yourself or to give to your friends and family and support small British brands this Christmas!
My top picks from Troy for Christmas in the country:
Enter Ladysmaid at checkout for 10% off at Suzannah London
Smart/Casual Festive Frocks
More festive velvet pieces from Bombshell:
Smart/Casual Festive Frocks
Elegant and comforatbale festive flats and low-heeled shoes. Use the code: THELADYSMAID20 for 20% off.
For the Little Ladies:
Gifts benefitting charity:
Happy shopping! 🎄
(N.B. this guide contains some affiliate links)
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 😉).
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.
My favourite chocolates at Christmas time from Hotel Chocolat; best to only buy the pocket selection or I won’t stop eating them 😋
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.
A Royal Christmas – a great Christmas book, published by the Royal Collection Trust, exploring the Christmas traditions of royalty, past and present.
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 🙂
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.
Wilbur & Gussie make the most stylish clutches. It’s impossible to pick a favourite, but this gold glitter clutch is a wardrobe classic.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
M&S leads the way with some stylish and wearable Christmas jumpers this year. These are three of my favourites:
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:
Are you noticing a pattern? I quite like reindeers 🙂 Gold sequin reindeer jumper, Monsoon
One for dog lovers – puppy in antlers from Tu at Sainsburys
A subtle offering from Top Shop – a mini candy cane crested black jumper
There are quite a few Fair Isle/novelty hybrids if you want something that doesn’t scream Christmas:
Slogan knitwear merges with festive fun in this “baby it’s cold outside” sweater from Bella Freud
Make it easy for people to guess your drinks order with this Navy sequinned champagne Christmas jumper from Asda
JOY red sweatshirt – Save the Children x Selfish Mother. 50% of the retail price is donated to Save the Children.
Everything sounds better en francais – “joyeux Noël” from Top shop
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.
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
I also love this pretty blush snowflake number from Next – this would look great with a pleated satin skirt and sparkly silver heels
These Christmas jumpers all get the seal of style approval from The Lady’s Maid – which one will you pick for Christmas Jumper Day?!
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
As Christmas falls in the midst of bleak midwinter, you may find the prospect of wearing short party dresses a little uninviting. Sparkly sandals may look pretty, but they only really look good on bare legs – tight-seamed toes are a fashion no-no – so if you are wearing a short dress, The Lady’s Maid advises going for dressy court shoes so that you don’t freeze as you tip-toe around the party circuit this festive season. As a dress code, cocktail dresses are traditionally short in length (mini to knee length). Christmas is a great time to go for rich jewel shades – think sapphire blue, emerald green and burgundy red – or metallic silver/gold sequinned numbers. Here are the Lady’s Maid’s top picks for party dresses on the high street:
Christmas jumpers are a fun novelty addition to the wardrobe during the festive season – you may not want to “dress up” when at home on Christmas Day so donning a Christmas jumper can be a comfy and casual way of entering into the festive spirit. They can be stylish too – The Lady’s Maid suggests selecting Fairisle or star patterns ⭐️ so that you can wear them a little longer than the 12 days of Christmas!🎄 Here are her top picks for festive knitwear and how to wear them:
A light-weight knit that can easily be tucked into skirts or worn casually with jeans. Shown here dressed down with jeans from Mint Velvet and Grey suede boots from Ted Baker. Or dress it up with a silver pleated skirt, block heel sandals from Whistles and matching clutch from Dune.
Luxurious and playful – this starry “forever sweater” is shown here with cashmere star wristwarmers and hat from Brora, black scrunch suede ankle boots from Carvela Kurt Geiger and a winter white coat from Ted Baker.
Farisle is a stylish alternative to the novelty jumper and looks trendy as well as traditional. Perfect for cosy Christmas weekend walks. Seen here with tan leather Dune boots a tan Jaeger wrap wool coat and cream cable beanie hat.
This cosy cream/grey fair isle jumper from Monsoon features pretty sparkling beads across the pattern. Shown here with a long wool skirt from Joseph, grey suede ankle boots from Mint Velvet, a faux fur jacket from Reiss and star earrings from Estella Bartlett.
With the arrival of Advent, The Lady’s Maid’s mind has turned to the small matter of Christmas shopping. This post looks at her favourite ideas for Christmas stocking fillers with a Lady’s Maid’s leaning.
No Lady’s Maid would be without a sewing kit. This useful sewing kit from Liberty has everything you’ll need to make basic sewing alterations on the go. Features a classic ‘The Strawberry Thief’ Liberty print.
This pretty gold leather heart jewellery case, lined with grey suede, is the perfect travel accessory to keep your jewels safe on the go so you can sparkle every day everywhere!
If Father Christmas has brought you a luxury cashmere jumper this year, you will need to give it plenty of TLC to keep it in top condition. Knitwear is prone to pilling (little bobbles) after wear, so a pilling comb is essential for all those who covet cashmere. (See Caring for Cashmere for more tips on the care of woollen knitwear).
If the festive season gets a little too much, you can relax in style with this Golden Lily Lavender Eye Mask from Morris & Co., featuring a classic William Morris print.
Scented drawer liners will help keep your clothing fresh as well as repelling bugs such as moths. These vintage fabric and flowers patterned liners from Heathcote & Ivory will also add a touch of colour to your drawers and shelves. (Fragrance Notes: Orange Blossom, Sweet Birch, Gardenia, Jasmine, Rose, Lilac, Coconut, Peach, Amber and Vanilla). See The Scourge of the Moth for more tips on how to repel this pesky pest.
Delicate, hand-embroidered cotton pillows filled with lavender inspired by Victorian embroidery. Lavender is particularly hated by moths, so place these in your knitwear drawers to help keep moths at bay.
Christmas candles create a cosy ambience on winter nights at home – this Myrrh and Opium candle from M&S is subtle and exotic without being overpowering.
The Lady’s Maid’s dainty hands suffer in wintertime, especially when she is hand-washing delicates! This festive bauble will add a little luxury to your hand-care. Inside the gold bauble there are three L’Occitane verbena surprises: verbena soap gently cleanses, and the hand cream and body lotion protect and moisturise hands and skin, leaving behind an invigorating scent.
A sparkling anthology of Christmas-themed poems to peruse over the festive season.
Stylish and tasty – the perfect gift for every shoe-loving lady!
Edith Head, Hollywood designer to the stars, offers no-nonsense fashion advice straight from the 1960s. There is still much to learn today from Head’s witty style tips and delightful drawings. Bound in real cloth with ribbon page marker and foil embossing.