How to look like Catherine Zeta Jones

There has been a lot of talk recently about women’s low self-esteem. The journalist Liz Jones, who writes regularly about ailing horses, said in the Mail on Sunday that she copes by having no mirrors in her bathroom.

Personally, I find it much easier to have a positive mental attitude. I think of myself as Catherine Zeta Jones. With, to be strictly accurate, Gok Wan glasses. And blonde highlights.

The editor of Vogue

What a lovely interview with Alexandra Shulman in the Observer magazine! But how rude of the interviewer to suggest that her hair was untidy. I think if you’ve been editor of Vogue for twenty-plus years, you can wear your hair how you like. Personally, having had highlights recently, I can sympathise with uneven colour tone. I try to draw attention away from any possible hair criticism by wearing bold Gok Wan-type spectacles.

Ianthe Snow has never worn glasses. However, given that she narrows her eyes whenever she looks at me, I would suggest that she has severe myopia.

Dress for success

I hear that Annie Laurence is having a large party to celebrate her fortieth birthday. This might be unwise. If you make a big public show of having reached forty, everyone will forever afterwards remember that you’re over the hill. The US comedian Jackie Mason refused to give his age on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs recently. He said it would make people listen to his jokes differently. ‘From a man of that age, it’s funny enough.’

I think he’s right. Never come clean about shoe size, weight or age.

Age discrimination in the workplace is, of course, rampant. David was keen for me to go back go back to work, and I did make enquiries about taking up my old career. (As you know, I worked in marketing strategy and brand development for a leading British pharmaceuticals company before I decided to devote myself full-time to Robin’s upbringing.) But I decided, on balance, to retrain as a colour consultant. Women returning to the workplace often lack confidence. I am able to offer advice about wardrobe choices. I suspect my Fitton neighbours may be a little nervous about contacting me, as my appointments diary has several spaces available. Please don’t hesitate. You don’t want to be flaunting yourself round Fitton in this spring’s pastels if they drain your complexion and give you the chalky-white appearance of an MP with a hangover. Bold colours may be preferable. Think Samantha Cameron and her fuchsia Ilincic blouse.

The British postal service being what it is (please see my previous post), I have not yet received my invitation to Annie Laurence’s party. I have, however, checked my diary and see that the evening of Saturday June 17 is currently free.

M&S forever

If you have ever felt a slight frisson of anxiety when trying on a skirt that won’t zip up, remember this. High street shops have wildly differing dress sizes. The same woman can be anything from a size 8 to a size 16 depending on which retail establishment she happens to be standing in. Two fashion tips on the strength of it: 1) if the much larger size fits better, buy it, take it home, and cut out the label, and 2) if you find yourself in the unlikely position of having worked your way through a whole packet of chocolate biscuits while watching News At Ten, so that you’re left on the sofa like a beached whale with a light crumb coating, be careful where you shop for the next seven days. Patronise only those shops with generous sizing. If in doubt, head for M&S.