Fairfax & Favor’s Christmas Gift Guide
by Melissa Twigg, Fashion Writer at Vogue, the Telegraph, Grazia and more
In terms of pure enjoyment, Boxing Day is hard to beat. Freed from the pressure to cook lavish meals and dress up in uncomfortable clothes, we can all do exactly as we please - whether that means going for long walks, eating leftovers from the fridge or watching six straight hours of television. Or - in my case - putting on at least one new piece I got for Christmas and parading it around for my family.
I’m a great believer in giving presents you can wear right away. When I lived in Cape Town for a few years in my twenties, I gave everyone (and hoped to receive in return) swimming costumes, t-shirts and flip flops for a Boxing Day on the beach. Now, my Christmases are once again spent deep in the English countryside, there’s nothing I want more than the sort of sturdy wellies, warm jumpers and comfortable ankle boots that I can wear on those hazy, sleepy days between Christmas and New Year when the roar of the world seems to briefly quieten down.
There are plenty of pieces at Fairfax & Favor that are ideal for this. One is the Elizabeth gilet, which is made from super-soft goatskin and cut with a tapered waist and which looks as good with jeans and boots as it does with a skirt and a smart coat thrown on top. The hook and eye closure is ideal for a windswept march up the local hill - although with the central heating issues we’re facing this year, you could just as easily wear it indoors from breakfast until dinner.
If you’re looking for something even warmer, then the Charlotte padded jacket comes with a flattering waist belt, smart gold poppers and a furry hood guaranteed to keep you warm in even the most inclement late December weather. And plenty of pockets for dog leads, leftover mince pies and children’s toys.
In terms of footwear, there are almost too many options. One of my favourites is the L’Alliance Wellington - surprisingly comfortable for such sturdy boots, they come with narrow, regular or wide calves and mean a quick mid-morning stroll could last until tea-time. The Henley driving shoe in leopard print, brown or navy (depending on exactly how jazzy your family Christmases are) is ideal for padding around the house and nipping out to the shops, as are the Trinity driving shoes, which are far warmer than they look.
The same is true for men. The Trafalgar looks like a stylish city boot from the outside, but on the inside is lined with shearling and has a rubber sole that is ideal for keeping feet toasty on long, damp walks. Meanwhile, the Eaton men’s desert boots are very comfortable and so warming that I’m surprised they’ve ever been popular in the actual desert…
Then there are those ideal Christmas stocking presents for men and women - gloves, scarves, socks, bobble hats, card holders and belts - that everybody needs and that few of us ever buy for ourselves. These ones are made with the finest wool and the best leather, and are guaranteed to become some of the most useful gifts under the tree.
Because the key, of course, is to find presents that your family members will want to wear and use month-after-month, rather than simply on the occasional weekend or during those foggy, food-drunk days after Christmas. Happily, countryside dressing has turned into a major trend in recent years, so all the pieces that look as if they were designed for Gloucestershire will be as welcome in Gloucester, or, indeed, on London’s Gloucester Road. I’m talking about boots like the Regina for women in tan suede or navy blue, which you can wear over jeans in the country and under skirts in town, or the Helmsley for men, which you can pair with old chinos or smart trousers, depending on your plans. There are even sleek, slim-fit trainers which - as we all know now - can be worn with just about anything from suits to silk dresses.
The result is that any of the beautifully made, enduring Fairfax & Favor presents opened this Christmas can be zipped up bright and early on Boxing Day, but worn just as happily in January when real life slowly judders back into gear.