The Intelligent Consumer: Have yourself a glammy little Xmas

Style police: When shopping for Christmas, don't forget your most appreciative recipient: yourself

IF YOU'RE anything like Style Police. Christmas shopping starts 48 hours before the 25th. God does it hurt spending all that money on carefully chosen gifts when you know there's a totally tasteless, inappropriate present waiting for you under the tree. So, here's the solution. Set aside part of your Christmas budget for yourself. The sweetest revenge is to look fabulous on Christmas morning and shame these ingrates into submission. Remember, they'll only buy you a fondue set if you look like the kind of gal who would use one.

You try finding slippers and dressing gowns at any other time of the year and the choice is minimal. December is your month for finding what was once charmingly called boudoir wear. Mercifully, fashion has nothing to do with your choice of robe and slippers. Only your nearest and dearest will ever see you in your deshabille anyway.

Janet Reger's Jean Harlow marabou slippers (pounds 72) with kitten heel or stiletto, appeal to the vamp in every woman. Janet's daughter, Aliza, says they're positively teetering out of the shops. To complement the Harlow look, Reger's ivory or black lace and satin robes (pounds 480) are delectable wisps of lingerie.

The late Tina Chow showed us how sexy a Noel Coward paisley dressing gown can be on a gamine woman. Simpson of Piccadilly is the place for silk paisley men's dressing gowns (pounds 275). Ralph Lauren's velvet monogrammed slippers, best in black or navy (pounds 185), complete the Coward-esque Christmas. No, Style Police wouldn't spend that money on a pair of slippers either - unless, like Ralph Lauren's you can wear them as evening shoes.

None but the brave would even try to follow the ultimate boudoir babe Marilyn Monroe. But have a look at Warners' Monroe collection and just try to resist sneaking the siren-red 100 per cent silk gown (pounds l19) trimmed with feathers into the changing rooms of Harrods.

If your family were to think marabou, satin and silks are a little "fast", thenYves Saint Laurent menswear has the most delectable cotton kimonos and boxer-inspired terry-cloth hooded robes in town, all for under pounds 100. Yves seems to do classic English better than we do: particularly with his navy and white boxer dressing gown. Or how about House of Fraser's festive white towelling bath robe (pounds 45) adorned with full-blown red roses? Then there's Georgina von Etzdorf, patron saint of patterned velvet. pounds 750 will buy you a velvet robe in practically any von Etzdorf print. The matching backless slippers will be another pounds 78.

Style Police is going to let you in on a secret. While shopping for the definitive boudoir-wear, we couldn't resist at least a nod to this season's colours. Gap's grey fleece dressing gown (pounds 44) and matching slippers (pounds l2) are for those winter nights when you feel like curling-up in front of a roaring fire.

I'm sure your Christmas shopping budget doesn't even come close to the pounds 1000 you'd need to buy that bit of heaven on earth otherwise known as Emernegildo Zegna's cashmere dressing gown. However. When you buy one of these beige beauties, you are not just buying a dressing gown. Boyfriends and husbands may come and go but Zegna cashmere will be yours for life.

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