Make getting out of the wrong side of bed on cold winter mornings a thing of the past with our selection of night-time covers

It makes you want to dye

There's only one problem with a Marks & Spencer fashion moment: you'll see your star purchase on every street corner. Unless...

Interest in Courtaulds may spark bid battle

COURTAULDS, the chemicals company, which announced plans for a de-merger in February, could find itself the subject of a bid battle after announcing yesterday that it had received an approach that could lead to an offer for the group.

Barristers attacked for price-fixing as think-tank calls for silk cut

The system of having Queen's Counsel - or silks - should be abolished because it only exists so barristers can charge higher fees, claims a solicitor writing for a right-wing think-tank. Michael Streeter, Legal Affairs Correspondent, looks at the case for the prosecution.

Style Counsel: Stole the show

Everyone owns at least one winter scarf. Mostly they are practical, woolly things, but those made from jewelled silk and velvet are the ultimate way to dress up any outfit says Melanie Rickey.

The Investment Column: Courtaulds counts on Tencel

So it doesn't wrinkle, it's tough and it's as soft as silk. But can Courtaulds' "wonder-fibre", Tencel, revitalise the chemical group's flagging fortunes? Courtaulds shares have slumped to 270p, less than 50 per cent of their value five years ago, and 7.5p down on the day on the back of poor first-half results. Pre-tax profits in the six months to September were pounds 62m, 5 per cent down on last year.

A cup above the rest; is it worth it? by cayte williams

Your biggest assets need tender loving care, but even La Perla isn't worth pounds 116

The Essentials: The time Dinner party The place Your home

An evening with good food, wine and friends is the ideal way to while away dark autumnal nights. But before planning the menu you'll need the right crockery, cutlery, glasses and table accessories. To help you lay the perfect table we went shopping and selected the following items:

The real feelgood factor

The new sensuality is not necessarily kitsch of a rejection of minimalist values, but an add on. Get the look by combining the very cheap with luxuriously expensive items.

Let's take it from the top

get the look ... and get it right

Letter: Unfair to fake fur

Sir: I was delighted to hear of the new anti-fur initiative by Respect for Animals (report, 14 December). I would be very sorry to be seen dead wearing fur. But could activists please ask sympathisers to be careful before attacking in public women who merely appear to be wearing fur? I have been the object of invective, and have even been spat at, for wearing my fake fur, when I have forgotten to wear my People for Ethical Treatment of Animals anti-fur badge.


Oooh yes. Lacy tights are the ringer-dinger in thing to wear on your legs this autumn. Thank Prada for this resurgence in 'tack' hosiery (although its cashmere version costs rather more at pounds 95). Lacy tights should be worn with the simplest of outfits to avoid pattern overload. The good news is that for a tenner or so, you can have this year's look: climb into a pair and you will instantly update last year's wardrobe. And those with blotchy legs that never quite got along with sheers will welcome the camouflage effect of all over lace. To complete the effect these tights should really be worn with big clumpy scuffed leather shoes, the sort the girl who never got picked for netball wore. Revenge is sweet.

sheer bliss

Stay cool this summer in form-flattering chiffon. British designer Maria Grachvogel has artfully draped this most delicate of fabrics into dresses that reveal without revealing all

Ready to wear: Nothing like the real thing

Synthetics continue their steady ascent. Improved technology has made fibres which fell out of favour in the Seventies, such as rayon, polyester and acrylic, more attractive to wear. They have become more hydrophilic (ie less sweaty) and they can be used in finer gauges, thus becoming more versatile. This is good because man-made fibres, whether from a synthetic polymer (such as acrylic) or from a natural one (such as rayon/viscose) are perfect for the slinky knits that are so big this season. Slinky knits and jersey knits are perfect for covering up less- than-perfect figures; but there are a few things to watch for. Firstly, look for Lycra in woollen jersey, a recent innovation that helps the cloth keep its shape (mostly used by designers at present but also by Marks & Spencer); secondly, some slinky knits can cling, so prevent this by investing in Marks & Spencer "Cling Resist" underwear (from pounds 5 for a waist slip from branches nationwide). As for wearing slinky knits, the rule of thumb is: if you wear a fitted top, wear a loose bottom and vice versa.

But do I really need a pair of edible knickers?

mail-order junkie

BOOK REVIEW / A taste for indigo linen

THE BEST OF FRIENDS Joanna Trollope Bloomsbury £15.99
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