Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Monday, 19 May 2008

The male mutton

In a feature on the divine Nicky Haslam, whom I once sat next to at a New Statesman lunch, of all places, this observation:

But in real terms, 'mutton' is much more of an issue for men (mutton dressed as ram, perhaps?). Women have lived in fear of committing this premier fashion sin for generations. This has left us extremely well-equipped to do and wear whatever the hell we want, without looking daft or inciting judgment. We know how to get away with stuff.

Men don't. Men - who have only recently been introduced to the possibilities of metro-sexuality, of Beckham-endorsed experimentation with challenging fashion statements, of expensive denim and He-vage (man cleavage, achieved with especially deep V-neck T-shirts) - are not yet aware that an extremely fine line divides these thrilling, liberating styles from age-enhancing daftness. They don't know how to age these brand-new looks, how to carry them off into their thirties and beyond. See 33-year-old Beckham's over-plucked eyebrows and too-tanned skin; the contrast between 35-year-old Jude Law's thinning hair and his army jackets. And Russell Brand, who at 32 should start rethinking his signature silhouette quite soon, because his hips are perhaps no longer as lithe, and his arse no longer as trim, as his super-skinny jeans require (and the kaftans aren't distracting us). These boys are a couple of years and a couple of bad denim choices away from Tony Blair and Jeremy Clarkson in jeans status. Or Richard Madeley, in weekend garb.

On the face

Deja pseu in the comments sums up to the letter my views on cheap face creams:

Every time I've tried the new Olay "wonder cream" du jour, it's sat on top of my skin like a sticky film.

I did not start using a moisturiser until I was in my early thirties for this very reason. Every cheap cream I tried made me want to wash my face as soon as I put it on. Then one day Shiseido launched in Canada, where I was living, with a machiney thing that took a picture of your skin and told you the rate at which you were ageing. Needless to say, I bought the entire range. It was apparent that one of the big differences between cheap and expensive creams was/is the formulation rather than the contents.

I have used a variety of brands since then, and every excursion into the budget ranges including Boots No 7 has produced exactly the same sensation of wanting to wash my face because they don't seem to be absorbed by my skin.

I no longer now buy anything without consulting first with Mary Greenwell, so a week or two ago I asked her to recommend a lighter weight summer night cream. She is a big fan of Chanel and she told me to try HydraMax+. I found the fluid formula to be perfect for summer, and that's what I'm now using. Do I believe that it will give me younger firmer skin? No. I just want it to do the business of supplying moisture.