Essentials: Something old, something new

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Nineties woman wants it all from her shopping: design, style, quality, good value - heaven forbid, even helpful assistants. And she can have it; there are ever more contenders for her hard-earned cash.

Some of the older generation of outlets are finding it difficult to keep up; Laura Ashley is often talked of as a once-loved relation who is "a bit confused" and "not what she was". Yet it is not simply an old vs new generation issue; some oldies appear to be as compos mentis style-wise as ever, and are still attracting those who can choose from an almost global shopping mall. So where does Nineties woman go - and why? Is she really chucking out her chintz, and do Marks & Spencer knickers still rule? We find out.

Name: Arabella Weir

Occupation: author of Does My Bum Look Big in This?; appears on BBC's The Fast Show.

Where do you buy your clothes? Marks & Spencer and Next, and I have stuff made for me by a tailor/dressmaker.

Because? Good colours and cuts, well-priced and indistinguishable as high street rather than designer.

When did you last buy clothing from Laura Ashley? Millennia ago.

Are your knickers from M & S? Yes.

Describe the style of your home. Indian and Middle-Eastern and Caribbean colours - eclectic and a bit wild.

Where do shop for it? Heals - classy and well-made, John Lewis for sheets and covers because they have good colours, and their stuff is well-made and reasonably priced.

Chucked out your chintz? All but some beautiful cushions made for me by my mother, and a sofa I can't get rid of for love nor money.

Ever bought something for the home from Laura Ashley? As I say, millennia ago.

Will you go back? Possibly, if they leave behind the pearls and Guernsey sweater image completely.

Describe yourself as a shopper. Cautious and loyal. I will spend real money on tailored jackets and shoes. Nothing else is worth it.