Fashion: All for love

Control dress, �29,  available in skintone, black and sizes 8 to 20 on 0844 842 2222 and www.laredoute.co.uk
Control dress, �29, available in skintone, black and sizes 8 to 20 on 0844 842 2222 and www.laredoute.co.uk
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Traditional it may be, but for many, lingerie is an alarming Valentine’s Day gift. Stephanie Smith has tips on how to get it right.

Here we go again – Valentine’s Day, with its hearts, flowers and frankly ridiculous lingerie suggestions. Truth be known, for many people, male and female, Valentine’s Day elicits chiefly vague feelings of dread, prompting sinking fears that we are going to play it all wrong (again) and misjudge the mood, either by making an unwanted or inappropriate gesture, or by making no gesture at all, except perhaps for an apologetic jokey card.

Pink chemise, �25, Rosie for Autograph at M&S.

Pink chemise, �25, Rosie for Autograph at M&S.

At the very least, for some there is a sense of frustration, resentment and baffled irritation that we feel obliged to make an effort for February 14, whether we want to or not. This particularly applies to long-term couples – even the ones who profess a mutual loathing of Valentine’s Day, and vow not to buy anything or mark it in any way, still have the odd niggling worry that their partner might be trying to catch them out.

St Valentine’s Day began as a celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus, but especially Saint Valentine of Rome who, or so legend has it, was imprisoned for marrying soldiers against the law. Apparently, he wore a purple amethyst ring and gave the soldiers paper hearts to remind them of their vows. He’s got a lot to answer for.

However, the amethyst ring is not such a bad idea for a jewellery gift, and it could just as easily be a necklace or bracelet.

As for the dreaded lingerie, purple could work well for this too. Far better than red, which is for many women an unthinkable option, hilarious if only it were not so hideous. Black is fine if we buy it for ourselves, but seems a little too studiedly sexy as a gift, especially if it’s all lacy and rigidly underwired.

Camisole and French shorts from a selection at Boux Avenue.

Camisole and French shorts from a selection at Boux Avenue.

Pale pinks and greys are a better option for this season, wearable and pretty without being overly alarming. The received wisdom is that men should examine the contents and labels of their partner’s knicker drawer before venturing out to buy her lingerie, but how many women think to give their drawer a clear-out in anticipation of such curious fumblings? How confusing it must be for the poor chaps to find themselves examining an enticing collection of grey old granny pants, miscellaneous bras and twisted tights, mixed up with several pairs of tiny lace knickers which they have never ever seen worn and which still have the price tags on them?

But, men of Britain, don’t let any of this put you off. If you are determined to buy silk and lace for your partner this Valentine’s Day, consider nightwear or perhaps cami sets, where the size and fit doesn’t have to be quite so precise.

The new Rosie for Autograph collection at Marks & Spencer has camis, slip dresses and PJs that even the hardest hearted of women would love to own and quite possibly even wear, or maybe keep as part of our “bona fide mini break” collection.

If you really want to play it safe, consider a gift voucher. There’s a Rigby and Peller in Harrogate which offers consultations and fittings, with bras costing around £75-£120 and matching knickers around £30-£50. A gift voucher for about £150 should cover a beautiful and well-fitting matching set which your wife or partner can enjoy choosing for herself – and what price can you place on her comfort?

Black balcony push up babydoll with string thong, �26 at Next.

Black balcony push up babydoll with string thong, �26 at Next.

Add a bottle of her signature scent for thoughtful good measure, and you’ll be irresistible.

Chloe, left, and Clementine, middle with milliner Jenny Roberts.

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