Kate Phelan describes her work as "in a sense a shopping job". As senior fashion editor at Vogue, Phelan's shopping habits can be quite mixed up. "You see clothes so far in advance - a season ahead of everybody else - that you almost want to be buying clothes that aren't really in the shops yet." Consequently, Phelan has reached the point where she's "almost stopped following fashion in a fashionable sense", preferring to shop consistently for a look that works for her.

Phelan does own the obligatory Manolo Blahnik shoes (of course) and, for something special, she also "loves a bit of Alberta Ferretti (tel: 0171-734 1234) if I'm going to splash out". Mostly, though, she prefers herself in trousers, white t-shirts, and V-neck sweaters. For this look she buys labels like Helmut Lang Jeans (tel: 0171-734 1234) "because it's great value for money", APC (tel: 0171-229 4933) "brilliant because you can wear it at work and at the weekend", Miu Miu (tel: 0171-409 0900) and Dosa (tel: 0171-727 6760).

Reassuringly, Phelan has faith in high-street shopping. "If you look hard enough you can find great clothes everywhere." She loves a "good old rummage" in Top Shop (Oxford Circus, London W1; tel: 0171-291 2706) and "French Connection (tel: 0171-399 7200] have some fantastic things."

Since marrying and starting a family, the fashion editor has been spending more time at home. One of her favourite home stores is Decorative Living (55 New King's Road, London SW6, tel: 0171-736 5623), because it has "the most fantastic mix of things - bizarre little paintings, chandelier wall lights and tables made out of the big wooden spools cables go on!" For everyday crockery, Phelan shops at Debenham's (tel: 0171-408 4444). "They've got brilliant white china which is a complete rip-off of Conran stuff but slightly scaled down so you don't chip it in the dishwasher!"

Although she rates shops like The Cross (141 Portland Road, London, W11, tel: 0171-727 6760) and After Noah (261 King's Road, London SW3; tel: 0171-351 2610) for "quirky presents for guys", many gifts are bought in spare moments while on fashion shoots abroad. "I've just been on a work trip to Bali and I found the most beautiful silk slippers for my daughter and a little dress that I know won't fit her until she's about six!"

Clearly, Phelan enjoys shopping for her one-year-old daughter. "The idea of buying clothes for a child is somehow more exciting than buying clothes for myself," she explains. "There's no point in buying her expensive cashmere sweaters - kids just want to roll around and get messy." Consequently, Phelan buys her daughter practical clothes at John Lewis (tel: 0171-629 7711) and Baby Gap (Freefone: 0800 427 789). Naturally, the Vogue editor is au fait with mail-order children's wear, too. "I love Mini Boden (tel: 0181-453 1535) and the Little Badger brochure (mail-order tel: 0171-498 4707)." And American children's wear catalogue Pippers (tel: 001 516 286 1310) sells "beautiful stuff - the epitome of American living". Closer to home, Phelan buys "gorgeous pyjamas and fantastic storybooks" from Cheeky Monkeys (24 Abbeville Road, London SW4; tel: 0181-673 5215).

Recently, Phelan has "become really obsessed with looking through the back of magazines at the classified ads. You find the most amazing things in them! I've just ordered a pair of beautiful-looking blanket-stitched Norwegian slippers for my daughter, and I'm dying to know exactly what they're going to be like. I love shopping like that - I love the surprise of not knowing what you are going to get."

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