This is not a white shirt. It is a cream blouse. Big difference. A crisp white shirt is no good to anyone – not for the next week, anyway. Your white shirt can stay in the ironing pile until 2019, when it will be just the thing to get you in the back-to-work zone. Until then, you don’t need a shirt. What you need, instead, is a blouse.

A blouse is the feminine version of a shirt. So, obviously, it has a lower profile and less puffed-up status, but works just as hard, as well as being prettier. Joking! Well, kinda. Anyway. This blouse is mine, and came from & Other Stories a year or so ago. It is as useful as any white shirt, because a shot of cream lace prettifies anything you put it with, from a pair of jeans to – today – a vintage pencil skirt.

My go-to look for the days around Christmas is what I think of as Matinee Glamour. As in, imagine you’re going to see, say, The Nutcracker somewhere posh at 2.30pm. Black velvet and cream lace, silks and ribbons, pearls. Perhaps a pair of polka-dot tights and a ballet pump.

At a matinee, it is light when you arrive and pitch black when you come out. But then, day and night seem to blend into one at this time of year. When you are at home, the daylight hours are so short that one minute you are still eating breakfast, then the next time you look out the window, the streetlamps are on. And when you are drinking prosecco by 11am and have watched two films by mid-afternoon, it all starts to blend into one. So clothes that span the day-to-night gap fit best.

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Vijay Nanda

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