The Toast catalogue has just landed on the kitchen table, a matt black and white cover with a dash of colbalt blue lettering. Its rather dour cover looks distinctly frumpy next to the harsh glossy polish of the copy of November Vogue it settles next to. But beneath the dull cover Toast manages to capture my heart with its gently undemanding clothes and accessoris in a way that Vogue just doesn’t.
The photos of sweetly-scruffy, un-tucked women wrapped up against the winter chill (with just-there make up) offer a style role model far more attainable and desirable than the harsh neurotic gloss of the (presumably Russian) twigs in Vogue.
The secret of the Toast catalogue is that it is deceptively well styled, glam-scruff is difficult to pull off unless you work with great product. Pg 81 (above) is a good example; the white shirt is belted and just the right length, which adds neatness, the knitted fingerless mittens are the perfect textural sapphire blue against the washed leather jacket and the mustard and pumpkin checked fringed scarf lifts the colouring and adds a cheerful edge.
It’s almost enough to just look at the photos and be whisked away in the storyline of the photo shoot, which is my life but better dressed and without children/husband/moneyworries/size issues/wrinkles.
I like looking at catalogues like this, they brighten my day and I'm going to try harder with my styling for winter from now on.
I also know I’m more likely to buy something off the website having been inspired by the pictures, something I’m less likely to do just looking at the screen. Just have to watch the Saturday night issue of going online after two glasses of wine and buying too much.
What am I buying? Well, can’t afford the covetable shearling wrap jacket (pg 77) since I’m still recovering from the Maria Grachvogel trousers, so might settle for a pair of the merino legwarmers in ash blue marl at £29, but I’m putting the small silver messenger bag on my Christmas list.