Why every woman needs a dressing table It’s your special place
They’re the ultimate piece of feminine kit, argues Rosie Green, who has just taken possession of hers for the very first time
As a fully fledged grown-up there are things that I feel I should be in possession of. a friend fully committed to plucking out chin hairs, self-control (assuming no alcohol has been consumed) and a car that doesn’t resemble a skip (still waiting). oh, and another one, no the major one, is a dressing table.
oh, how I envy those of you with this vital piece of boudoir kit. I dry my hair in my living room, looking into the mantelpiece mirror. the hairdryer cord is not quite long enough and thus necessitates a stooped position and inevitable flatness on one side. every time I do this (thrice a week) I get the hump. my make-up is done in any room, generally where I can multitask, that is, apply eyeliner and simultaneously bark orders at family members. I transport my simplehuman sensor magnifying mirror, £169.99 at John lewis (which, with its 5x magnification, is insanely good for spotting whiskers and unblended concealer but terribly deflating for the ego) to the required location.
Needless to say, none of this invokes feelings of calm. It does not make my grooming rituals feel like “self-care”, instead more like another job to get done. It does not encourage me to linger over my maquillage, to experiment with a braid or anoint myself sensuously with body lotion.
I long, not for a room of my own, but a beautifying zone of my own. a dressing table of my own. Where I can retreat to pre-work, pre-party, to focus on me.
my great aunt had the most glorious
one. she would allow me to sit next to her while she buffed in blush and blowdried her silver hair. I would marvel at the pots of colour, the pearlised pink No7 nail polish. I’d turn her silver hand mirror over in my hands and run the brush through my hair. Her toilette took no more than five minutes and would come to an abrupt end when she gassed us both with an ozone-depleting cloud of elnett/rive Gauche. so why have I been deprived?
We’ve lived in a succession of do-er uppers. and we like/have to do the doing up ourselves. We go through the houses room by room and once we have rollered on Farrow & ball’s elephant’s breath and replaced rotten sash windows, there’s little money left for furnishing fripperies such as a dressing table.
and so, for my birthday, my beloved, my mother and my mother-in-law have bought me my very own dressing table. (Not sure I thought I would still be crowdfunding for presents in my fifth decade but there you are). It’s the alexa by John lewis, £299.
and, it’s a thing of beauty. mirrored so it bounces light around the room.
I’ve already gathered (collecting since ’96 if you’re asking) a selection of gorgeous bottles and pots. some candles are obviously required. a decadent tub of body lotion. then there are jars for cotton wool.
the White company’s chrissie rucker advises me to get a mirror that tilts on its axis “so you can work from every angle”. (their silver-plated dressing table mirror does this and is £220.) and some trays to “scape” your dressing table with diffusers, candles and perfumes. to “scape”, by the way, means to imaginatively arrange objets according to height, colour and design. I know because I looked it up.
the decorating of my table is a joyous thing. I place the pots with precision, I bring out a jewellery case I was given decades ago, and some chanel wet wipes. I put my make-up neatly in one drawer and my hair tools in another.
then I sit at my sheepskin stool, contemplate my reflection and feel a rare and fleeting emotion. serenity. w&h