Some may scoff at the idea that a haircut can change your life but experience tells me it’s true. I remember so well the time when I was 21, nursing my first proper heartbreak and stagnating in a low-paid job I should have left months earlier.
This rut was the real deal. I had to do something – anything – to feel different. I couldn’t control my failed love life or conjure a great new job out of thin air. I could change the way I looked. It would have to do for the time being. So, sitting in my hairdresser friend’s kitchen, I watched with terror as she hacked off my shoulder-length bob into a tiny pixie crop (très on trend at the time, thanks to Sinéad O’Connor). Of course, my whole life didn’t improve overnight. But the new hair did rev up my confidence. It also changed the way I dressed and the way I carried myself. And thus, it changed everything right when I needed it to.
You don’t really hear much about ‘makeovers’ these days. They used to be such a staple of women’s magazines, but in our more ‘woke’ times people bristle at any inference that there’s something wrong with you that needs fixing. I disagree. A well-timed makeover can be a brilliantly effective psychological gear change. Which brings me to the subject of this special issue, Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge. I imagine the nation would reach for the smelling salts if she got a Sinéad O’Connor hairdo. The changes to her hair, make-up and style have been tweaks, to be sure, but significant ones. I remember so well when she stepped out in March in a vibrant, violet blouse and flared trousers – trousers! It was the first time I’d ever had the urge to find out where I could buy something similar. The prim blue lace for Ascot was so poured-on that it was positively edgy for Kate, as was the pearl-crusted headband for Louis’s christening instead of her usual trad hat.
There’s something fresher and more modern going on here. Which came first? The new poise and radiance that has given her the confidence to experiment with her look? Or has a change-up in her style helped her to blossom into a more radiant, self-assured woman – the very model of a senior royal, a future queen? I know which my money’s on.
I hope you enjoy this in-depth, indulgent look at the dawn of Kate: The Next Chapter. It’s an exciting time to watch a whole new generation of royals take centre stage.
A few things I’m coveting this week
My new evening staple. Blouse, £380, Tory Burch, net-a-porter.com
It will start as a candle and finish as a jewellery holder. Candle, £8.45 for four, sunnylife.com
The perfect throw-and-go office dress. Dress, £49.99, mango.com