At a recent party, a very stylish woman came over to chat to my friend. We all air-kissed hello, as you do (at fashion events, anyway) but, as we brushed cheeks with Stylish Woman, my friend and I lingered ever so slightly. She smelled good. Dynamic, strong with an earthy kind of sexy. ‘Are you wearing your usual?’ my friend asked. Stylish Woman nodded, ‘Dior Fahrenheit.’
What? That 80s, for oh-so-manly men, knock ’em dead at 100 paces scent Fahrenheit? These days brands don’t tend to differentiate too strongly between men and women’s fragrances – ‘if you like it, wear it’ is the modern mantra – but offerings from that decade tend to pack a very definite sort of traditional DNA punch.
Stylish Woman has been wearing Fahrenheit (£54, dior.com) for years, she told me. She tends to wear tailoring and manly outfits so figured she’d wear a more eau-de-male fragrance alongside. It works. And once all my preconceptions were shattered, I decided to try it myself. It’s good, if not everyday stuff. I wouldn’t wear it in the summer with a floaty dress but right now, especially with trousers, it feels like a spritzable signal of intent – confident determination and sexy as hell.
Borrowing from the boys doesn’t necessarily mean being more emphatic – when it comes to make-up, it’s the opposite. Boy de Chanel, a new range of make-up for men, has some of the most subtle offerings you could hope for, particularly in the foundation department.
Available in eight shades and containing that great skin-hydrator, hyaluronic acid, the foundation (£52, chanel.com) is more like a tinted moisturiser – it gives decent coverage yet looks totally natural. In fact, it is almost as though you have nothing on, which makes a nice change to many foundations that, however natural in shade, can give so much glow you feel like an eco lightbulb.
This, though, is great; it may not be the foundation for every occasion but it’s a marvellous low-key skin perfector for anyone – I even like the deep-blue ‘manly’ packaging, too.
It is said that well-groomed boy brows are in this season. In truth, I can’t remember when they were ever out of fashion. I used to always use pencils but in recent years I’ve gone more for brow groomers, which are like mascara. Some of them go crispy and can leave you feeling as though you have browduff, but not these. Tom Ford Fiber Brow Gel (£38, tomford.co.uk) gives great colour and brushes on easily, leaving a natural finish, while Glossier Boy Brow is also a winner – no stiffness or flaking (£14, glossier.com).
But Shavata, the mistress of brow-dom, keeps innovating. Her Day-Long Brow Tint (£19, shavata.co.uk) is a thing of wonder. Simply run the pen through brows and it will temporarily colour hair but not skin. It lasts all day and gives my rather fair pair much more definition – with no crispiness! It is now a part of my kit.
Feature by Edwina Ings-Chambers. Beauty assistant Alice Robertson.