Former Vogue editor Kirstie Clements on five must-haves that nobody really must have


An extract from former Vogue Australia editor Kirstie Clement’s book, Why Did I Buy That?.

For everyone who follows fashion and beauty trends, it is safe to assume that most of us have made a few mistakes and wasted our hard-earned money on some real clangers. Oh, I’ve lived through some major stupidity.

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Colourless mascara springs to mind. A particularly ugly orange leather pencil skirt. Horrendously expensive and sky-high pink satin high-heeled YSL sandals (during the Tom Ford period) with long ribbons that tied around the ankle and came loose every five minutes. So, in the interests of the sisterhood, and your future retirement plans, I thought I would isolate five things that nobody really needs.


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Eye cream

We’ve all heard a chirpy salesperson say: “You have some fine lines around your eyes, and the area is quite dehydrated. But you need a different cream to your usual moisturiser because the skin around the eyes is finer. Let me show you this very expensive one… you only need to use a little bit.”

Blah blah blah. We have the eye lines because of facial muscles, people. Just extend a very, very tiny amount of your normal moisturiser on the eye area. Voila. Who knew?

High-heeled thongs

There was a trend for thongs with a high-ish kitten heel. The Kardashians started it – which is a phrase we could level against more than one fashion crime. Kendall Jenner apparently wore a pair, which American Vogue waxed lyrical about because you have to fill the internet with something.

I can’t even imagine (actually, yes I can) how terribly, terribly wrong this could go if you had less than perfect feet, the heel pushing the foot forwards and splaying the toes, Tyrannosaurus-rex style. They are also cruelly and ergonomically designed to catch on steps and send you flying.

Hair mousse

How many cans of this sticky useless gunk have polluted the planet since someone decided tackiness equalled volume? It makes shiny hair matte, and silky hair feel like a bathmat. I would suggest about 70 per cent of the hair products on the market don’t need to exist.

Large handbags

Now, this could be slightly divisive, but I am questioning the usefulness of the traditional handbag. Given that many of us are carrying laptops, folders, a water bottle, maybe lunch, wouldn’t a tote bag – designer or not – with a purse inside makes much more sense? When I’m on the go all day, I keep a smallish leather clutch purse with my keys, credit card, lipstick, reading glasses and phone inside my tote, and I can then pull it out and move on to lunch, dinner, or an event and leave the big bag in the office.

It seems very un-modern to carry a heavy bag that needs its own serviette to sit on. I’m also a huge fan of the small, crossbody bag that carries just the essentials and leaves your hands free, which can also be put in the tote. As I write this, I am googling designer bum bags which is not something I ever thought I would do. But maybe I’ve just lugged around too many ‘it’ bags in my lifetime, and now I think they can look matronly.

Charms that dangle

I don’t care if tizzy handbag charms and phone charms are from a luxury house, the world does not need more landfill, or animals killed to add a furry ornament to an already overdesigned handbag that you may not even need. Please refer to the previous point.

This article was originally published on October 11, 2021.

This is an excerpt from Why Did I Buy That? by Kirstie Clements. Available at Murdoch Books, RRP $32.99.

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