Well it is.
We have to deal with all sorts of crap that men don't even have to think about. Like glass ceilings. More expensive haircuts. Universal expectation that we will not have chipped nail polish. Split ends. How appropriate it is to be 31 ¾ and have a photo of K Middy pinned on your fridge. No carbs before Marbs. Etc etc etc.
And then of course, there is the worse feminine thing of all – tights.
Picture the scene. The seasons are finally drifting from icy cold Spring into fairly chilly Summer and the time has come to go from your lovely thick, black tights (possibly navy on a Jaunty Friday) into something a bit more sheer. Nude hosiery. You pop into Marks & Spencer when you have a spare 10 minutes, as any fool knows M&S is the business.
Fear grips you.
You see in front of you maybe 40 different choices. I'm not even exaggerating. A big M&S will have a hosiery department that is about 20 square meters. It’s a fairly long time since you last wore nude tights, so impossible to go straight to some trusted favourites. Now I'm over 30 I have trouble remembering what I did last weekend, let alone what tights I wore in September.
Questions flood your mind.
1) Do I want NUDE? Natural Tan? American Tan? Too beige and you look like a little girl going to a birthday party. Too dark and you look like an ice skater.
2) What denier? No doubt the smart ladies buy very sheer 7 denier tights but I will of course have ripped these to shreds by the time I have had my first Americano.
3) 10 Denier? Still risky. They are possible if you are going to a wedding and want to have the sheer, sexy look – but if you go this low on the denier you will only be able to wear them once at most and you'll need to have another spare pair in your clutch bag ready to whip out in the Posh Portaloo in the middle of a field. Chances are by this stage you will have had one too many and will rip the second pair too, will give up on the whole thing and will descend the portaloo steps, and then you will spy an interesting Frenchman you have been longing to discuss the state of Anglo French relations with and will spend the next 30 mins nicking his cigarettes, banging on about Carla Brunai and the whole time with a sheer, natural tan tail. (THIS IS NOT BASED ON A TRUE STORY.) (OK MAYBE IT IS SLIGHTLY TRUE).
4) 20 Denier? Well you might overheat on the tube? Yes you can wash them 40 times but will you look like Nora Batty? Will you? Hmm?
5) Toeless. For if you want to wear open toe shoes.
6) What exactly is a gusset?
7) Cooling tights? Surely the point of tights is to keep you warm??
8) Anti cellulite tights? Well now they are just being stupid.
9) Obviously we want them to make us slimmer. But HOW MUCH SLIMMER? Medium strength control? Full strength?
10) Control from our knees to our chin?
11) Or just control around the bottom?
12) Control around the waist as well, surely?
13) Matt look or oiled?? Oiled makes you sound like Melanie Griffith in Working Girl and that has GOT to be a good thing.
14) Whatever you do don't buy shiny.
15) Seriously, why do I need a strengthened gusset? What do they thing is going to happen?
16) The stockings or hold up option look lovely on the packet, but in reality by the time you get to Camden Town on the Northern Line they will be rolling down your dimply thighs in a most unsexy fashion. Best saved for mini breaks.
You glance around you, lost in a sea of Lycra. You look at what other ladies are popping in their shopping bag in hope of inspiration. You wish you had a Percy Pig to revive you.
In the corner of your eye you spot something new. Something lovely. Something familiar.
A Beauty Hall.
Yes my friends, Marks and Sparks has branched out and now has a luxury beauty hall in the big branches. And it is a wondrous thing. It has a variety of lovely, unusual brands – not just their own – including Leighton Denny, Ren, Nuxe, Crabtree and Evelyn, Philip Kingsley and Skyn.
Also, if you are in the market for a polkadot shower cap, some nice spongebags and make up brushes – you are in the right place.
Here are some pics of just how lovely it is.
As well as the non M&S brands – I have to say how amazed I was by the quality and variety of M&S make up – specifically the Autograph Collection. Priced somewhere between Chanel and No7, with glossy packaging, lovely textures, good basics and staples plus some nice fashion shades – it is my new beauty crush. I invested in this lovely bronzer, which is really good value at £14 and has a lovely glow. They have a shimmery version and a matt version, so whatever you are after they have it.
I also invested in the Leighton Denny crystal nail file. At £15 this probably is the most expensive nail file in the world but I am not exaggerating when I say it has changed my nails – it is amazing and my nails no longer split.
I spent maybe a good 30 mins drifting around. I never did buy any tights. But boy, did I leave that store a happier woman.