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Retail Therapy; BEAUTY STYLE.

Byline: VICTORIA THOMAS

It's a rare man that can walk with his head held high through the lingerie department and pick out pants with pride.

Most shuffle round the outskirts, anxiously pawing at the nursing bras and granny nighties before heading swiftly for the pub.

As every woman on the planet can relay the horror of waking up on Christmas morning and unwrapping a thong that even Kylie couldn't pull off, it's clear the boys need some help.

And Marks and Spencer have come to the rescue.

Their 'Stocking Fella' service is especially for hopeless men who don't know their underwiring from their undies.

Trained male advisers - the Stocking Fellas - are on hand between now and Christmas to guide their fellow men through the dark art.

First launched last Christmas as a 12-store trial, the service was a huge success and has now been rolled out to 50 shops across the country.

Mark Taylor, Marks & Spencer Birmingham store manager, said: "Last year our Stocking Fella became a minor celebrity around the town as word spread.

This year we are expecting him to be even busier with even more men taking advantage of his advice."

The advisor can offer tips on all aspects of buying lingerie gifts and, with the help of a simple quiz, will determine which of the six M&S underwear brands are right for the lady in your life.

But for a little added inspiration, take a look at this lot:

MARKS AND SPENCERS

1 Is your woman bigger than a B cup? .

Then stop right there, do not proceed. This animal-print camisole, sexy as it is, lacks underwiring and will leave her feeling less tiger, more elephant.

If she's as flat as the Saharan desert, then carry on to the till. The matching ensemble costs pounds 26.

2 Kelly Brook is fond of wearing briefs like these, and with good reason too. The wide, tummy-skimming style is perfect for balancing women who are blessed with more up top. Buy the set for pounds 39.

3 This festive red basque will ensure Mommy gets kissed by Santa underneath the Christmas tree. .

It also has the added bonus of hiding any bulges brought on by overindulging on the mince pies.

The basque is pounds 40 and the matching knickers are pounds 14.

4 Who knew navy could be so sexy? .

Skinny minnies will look ravishing in this teeny-tiny bra and thong set, priced pounds 42.

5 CREME DE LA MER

Feeling a little hot under the collar? Got the shakes? Left it to the last minute, yet again?

Well, fret not, disorganised shopper. There may be only five shopping days left to Christmas Day and 'buying everything online this year' is now out of the question, but there's one easy way to please your women.

Face cream. Hideously expensive, break the bank, face cream.

If you really want to show off, treat her to the Creme de la Mer Travel Collection, complete with eight magic potions.

It's priced pounds 300, available at Harvey Nichols.

Now, pour yourself a sherry, stick on some Johnny Mathis and try not to think about January's credit card bill.

6 FAITH

There is no other time of year you will be able to get away with wearing quite so much glitter so what are you waiting for?

Unleash the little girl inside with these Ice Princess shoes and matching handbag from Faith, pounds 35 and pounds 12 respectively.

7 LUSH

Why stop at shoes and handbags? Tis the season to be spangly so glam up your locks with Lush's hair glitter.

The Glam Rock hair glitter is a solid round of golden sparkling dust that can be lightly sprinkled or vigorously shaken over your locks to add a little shimmer to any occasion.

Hair will also stay wonderfully fragranced with the aphrodisiac oils of rose, neroli and vanilla, so why not go crackers and apply to your cleavage and shoulders too.

It's priced pounds 4.95 and is entirely natural.

8 ORIGINS

I'm a sucker for a nice name, which probably explains why I'm such a fan of Origins. These people know how to christen a product.

I especially love the Ginger Souffle Whipped Body Cream. Can't you just taste it?

Buy for pounds 20 from House of Fraser or Selfridges.

9 ASPINALS

Imagine the horror. One accepts an invitation to the hunt ball only to discover it clashes with Ascot. How hideous!

Luckily Aspinals of London - the superior stationary brand - have saved the day with their Ladies Social Diary.

Leatherbound in an array of ladylike colours including soft lilac and shocking pink, it is packed full of details of important engagements so you can plan your luncheons and supper parties safe in the knowledge that your guests won't get a better offer.

Available from www.aspinalsoflondon.com, priced at pounds 25.

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COPYRIGHT 2006 Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 20, 2006
Words:820
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