Hellosie, it’s Maisie. Whether you are the rebellious type or the charismatic thrill-seeking sort, this test will reveal what sort of ‘cool’ you are?


Are you as cool as a cucumber? Or as naff as a 50-year-old using slang from the 1990s? To find out, simply tick off each of the personality traits you think you possess on each of the lists below.

List A

Thrill-seeking; unconventional; hedonistic (eg partying, self-indulgence); pro-social values (eg caring, unselfish); driven for success; friendly; competent; charismatic; attractive; confident; trendy; warm.

List B

Rebellious; ironic; rough; aloof; anti-social values (eg selfish).

So, are you cool? And, if so, what type of cool? If you ticked mostly traits on List A, then you have what coolness researchers, call cachet-cool. This is the type of cool enjoyed by the popular, conventionally attractive kids. If you ticked mostly items on List B, you have contrarian-cool. This is enjoyed by the tough rebels who eschew sports in favour of smoking behind the bike sheds.

If you’re very attractive, you’ll be perceived as cool (that’s cachet-cool), whatever you do. If not, you’ll have to work harder, for example by being friendly and partying extra hard. If you want to go the contrarian-cool route but are not naturally rebellious, you’ll need to dial up the irony and the rough demeanour – and never use the word “cool”.


Hellosie, it’s Maisie. A cosmetics company is offering women more than one orgasm. Read me to find out.


Tom Ford’s new perfume is Fucking Fabulous – at least that’s what it’s called. Ford announced his latest fragrance during New York fashion week, and the name alone has caused a stir, with descriptions ranging from “racy” to “obscene”. Certainly, it’s a gear change for the designer, who has previously favoured more literal fragrance names – Tobacco Vanille, Tuscan Leather, Venetian Bergamot – but, in the increasingly risque world of cosmetics monikers, it is unlikely to raise eyebrows for long.

Cosmetics’ names were once chosen for sentimental, rather than shock, value. Chanel’s numbered fragrance line marked dates including her birthday (No 19) for example, and Dolce & Gabbana’s Sophia Loren No 1 lipstick was released to commemorate the actor’s 81st birthday. Meanwhile, Nars’s Jungle Red lip and nail colour reference the nail polish from 1939’s The Women (a film that memorably featured not a single man).

Yet Nars is far better known for Orgasm – a blush colour that managed to overshadow the likes of Threesome, Sex Appeal and, sadly, Mata Hari, in what is a relatively risque range – rivalled perhaps only by (the pigmentally similar) Deep Throat. This year, the brand launched an entire Orgasm collection off the back of its popularity. (Tagline: “Have more than one.”)

“François [Nars, Nars’s founder and creative director] has always wanted to give the products an identity and character,” says Magalie Parksuwan, senior vice-president of marketing at the company. “He wants people to remember the names and to provoke.”

The high street has embraced provocative and “rude” cosmetics, with brands such as Soap & Glory marketing innuendo-laden products, from Sexy Mother Pucker lip shine to Glow Job tinted foundation. Too Faced’s Boudoir Eyes palette skipped the puns entirely, with shadows titled Fuzzy Handcuffs and French Tickler, while the brand’s Better Than Sex mascara proved so popular that it inspired a line of shoes.

Unsurprisingly, the ever “edgy” Urban Decay has its own selection of suggestive cosmetics, including a blusher in Fetish (a name shared with a lipstick by Mac) and a lip gloss in Rule 34 (Google it). Illamasqua takes a more straightforward approach, with a rubber-finish nail varnish in Kink and an eye shadow simply called Sex. But can raunch-based retail really seduce potential customers? “It definitely has an impact,” says Parksuwan, “[but] there’s more to the success of a product than just that.”

When Kylie Jenner, something of a bellwether for millennial makeup trends, released her blush collection in March, she ditched the sentimental nomenclature of her Lip Kits (Mary Jo K was a tribute to her grandmother and Dolce K was named after, er, the family dog) for vastly more provocative names including X-Rated, Virginity and Hot and Bothered. But it was her rosy pink Barely Legal which proved most controversial – sparking a similar backlash to that prompted by Kat Von D’s Underage Red lipstick in 2015.

Even so, an Instagram search for #kyliecosmetics conjures more than two million posts – many of them photos of the products themselves; fully packaged, lascivious labels neatly aligned – which perhaps goes some way to explaining why suggestive stickers, no longer sheepishly consigned to the base of nail varnish pots, proliferate. “Names help to create a story and elicit a reaction [online],” says Parksuwan. And, given the epicurean competition, who would want to be #beige?

That said, the chance to be immortalised in makeup may not yet be dead. Last week, Ford also expanded his Lips & Boys collection, which now features 100 lipsticks – each named after one of the designer’s closest friends.

Hellosie, it’s Maisie. So it’s time to up your earring game – and the bigger the better. What you need to know.


A naked earlobe now is like leaving your mobile at home – an all-day type of fail. Earrings – once the garnish of an outfit – are now the main course, or make that the dessert you get to skip straight to. To be clear, we’re not talking about an inoffensive stud that would pass a dress-code test in the City. The earrings that matter now are the kind that start conversations. Get used to lobe ache as normal service.

For examples of conversation earrings, you could check out the catwalk – beetles at Gucci, twig-like strands at Louis Vuitton, triangular at Céline, red and squiggly at Emporio Armani. But, crucially, they are also appearing on the front row, fashion’s petri dish of trends. Look at the catwalk and think “fantasy”. Look at the women in the front row – the ones that, in theory anyway, also have real jobs, play-date schedules and WhatsApp dinner groups to manage – and it’s that little bit more relatable.

The players here are all upping their earring game. Yasmin Sewell, the new vice-president of style and creative at e-tailer Farfetch, has some delicious olive earrings, and is wearing a great pair of gold zigzag ones in her bio on Instagram. Influencer Pandora Sykes had bright blue beaded numbers that look like something Frida Kahlo might wear. Vogue’s newly appointed publisher Vanessa Kingori has a nice line in classy-looking crystal earrings, while Caroline de Maigret’s topaz ones at Chanel were dreamy.

Earrings are, of course, Instagram catnip. Tilly Macalister-Smith, an ex-Vogue staffer now based in New York, started her Instagram account Ear After Ear in 2016 to document fashion’s rediscovery of the earring. It may sound niche, but it’s actually engrossing – and increasingly required – viewing.

The emergence of earrings as big news again in fashion was kickstarted last year with huge hoops at Céline and the “face” earrings at JW Anderson. For SS18, they were at Topshop and Burberry – the diamante single earrings are already on wishlists even if they’re not available until next year. But they have had other fashion moments: if the 60s were a golden age of the earring, the 80s were a highpoint, too: with Pat Butcher’s gobstoppers and Joan Collins’ crystal numbers ruling teatime telly, that was the last time big earrings were, well, this big. We’re now in the third age of the earring.

Ruby Chadwick, a jewellery buyer at Liberty, says earrings make up 30% of the department’s sales, up on the previous year. She explains that this comes from reframing the idea of statement earrings – and the realisation that bigger face furniture means the opportunity to dial down the outfit effort. “It’s a definite way to dress an outfit up without being too much,” she says. “In winter it’s a great add-on to a jumper and boots that we all go to.”

One of the most popular brands is Mounser, which produces sculptural earrings in silver and gold that fall just above the shoulder. “People are being a lot braver with things,” says Chadwick. “It [the earring trend] has become a lot more entrenched, a lot more people are doing it so it doesn’t feel so unusual.”

Indeed, Ivanka Trump is doing statement earrings, but even that hasn’t managed to put fashionable people off yet. To subtly distance yourself from a Trumpian White House look, however, just make sure your earrings are never combined with a blowdry.

To do woke earrings, the choices are a messy-hair-don’t-care situation (see Mica Argañaraz at Saint Laurent), or pared-back with short hair (Lineisy Montero at Burberry) or a simple ponytail . “I am loving hair really pared back with an amazing earring that does the talking,” says Chadwick. Also go minimal with the makeup: “I think instead of a lipstick, people are leading with an earring.”

Colour is also something to consider. Chadwick recommends doing a Colour Me Beautiful on your own wardrobe: the colours that suit you in clothing will probably do the same when transferred to your jewellery box. I love a big earring and have four pairs of hot pink ones – as someone with dark hair, dark eyes and olive skin, bright pink suits me.

Ruby Chadwick recommends yellow gold as a shade that suits pretty much everyone. I would add that a pair of yellow gold hoops are the universal entry-level earring. Mine have a 4cm drop and are beveled to add a bit of extra sparkle.

Try those out for size, but be warned – the earring game can be addictive. It will only be a matter of time before you’re wearing proper conversation-starters.

Hellosie, it’s Maisie. The clothing item beloved by obsessive pedallers but much maligned by everyone else, has received a high-end makeover from Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Dior. Find out more.


Ah, yes. I think I’ve seen these. Are they the things I get stuck behind whenever I drive uphill on a sunny Saturday? That’s right. Cycling shorts are tight, stretchy leg coverings that stop above the knee and often contain the bottom, thighs and genitals of an obsessive pedaller.

Oh, believe me, I can see exactly what they contain. I have to stare at them for hours while I wait to overtake. My sympathies.

But it is practical to wear them for a long bike ride, I suppose. Absolutely. They are aerodynamic and allow your legs to move freely while you exercise. And they keep you relatively warm and dry.

I achieve the same effect by placing myself inside some kind of building, such as a house or pub. Each to their own. But, of course, cycling shorts are at the cutting edge of fashion.

No, they’re not. Oh yes, they are. Black cycling shorts were part of Dior’s and Dolce & Gabbana’s latest catwalk shows. Both Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid have recently been seen wearing them.

While pedalling up Ditchling Beacon? No. While prancing about being famous.

Did they have those padded bottoms? The shorts?

Yes. I don’t believe so. These are designer shorts, remember, from labels such as Vatanika. Think of them more as cut-off leggings.

OK. And they don’t absolutely have to be black. Naomi Campbell wore white ones at Off-White’s catwalk show in Paris.

So, what will become fashionable next? Metal clips on the soles of high heels? Weird, creepy goggles? A water bottle strapped to your clutch bag? Puncture repair kits? I doubt it. This trend is more about the skin-tight silhouette than any great devotion to cycling. It’s not as if fashion models and competitive cyclists have much in common, after all.

Apart, of course, from a reputed fondness for leg-shaving? Yes. Apart from that.

Do say: “Bringing together the luxuriant shine of kangaroo leather and the punk aesthetic of detachable metal studs, football boots are the perfect choice to finish any weekend outfit with éclat.”

Don’t say: “Accessorise with shin pads.”

Hellosie, it’s Maisie, Are women’s rights going backwards? This is what you need to know.


When modern women are finally fitted with their regulation compulsory chastity belts, dare one dream that they’ll come in a range of pretty colours, delightful materials and snazzy designs? Or would it just be the old-school medieval iron trad models? Hey, little ladies, do you think we’d be allowed to choose?

I muse facetiously because, in the US, President Trump has issued a ruling that makes it far easier for companies and insurers to opt out of providing free birth control to employees on the grounds of religious and moral beliefs, rolling back a key feature of Obamacare. Now that it will become easier to opt out, many more will do so, with the potential to affect 55 million women. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Women’s Law Center have announced that they will sue the government over the decision.

Obamacare provisions also covered treatment for gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Now, many women will be worried about being able to afford such treatments. However, these unfortunate women probably just count as collateral damage. Apart from the huge amount of money that big business will save, the real target here is sexual autonomy, doubtless all sexual autonomy, but specifically the female kind that a certain mindset has long wanted to control.

Contraception, though imperfect, was one of the chief liberators of women, taking much of the fear out of sex. Thus, this removal of free birth control could only be about putting the fear back into sex. At the least, putting an end to the corporate bankrolling of the more liberal, humanist, proactive and protective approaches to sex.

It should come as no surprise that among the reasons cited for the change were findings that access to contraception incited “risky sexual behaviour”. Eh? One would have thought that reduced access to contraception was far riskier and that, for both sexes, access to barrier contraception would be the least “risky” of all?

The lesson seems to be that it will never be over – there will always be laws that need to be updated and protected

However, even thinking like this is to participate in the delusion that this is about people enjoying themselves safely. Take away the figleaf of social responsibility and this becomes about stopping people being able to enjoy sex when they want, with whom they want, without fear of the consequences of unwanted pregnancy. And when I say “people”, I mainly mean women.

Not that things are so peachy for reproductive rights back in Europe. Even as an Irish abortion reform referendum is under discussion for next year, a poll has revealed that only 24% of Irish people are in favour of legalising terminations in nearly all cases. Meanwhile, Prof Lesley Regan, the president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, has argued that parts of the 1967 Abortion Act are outdated and that women need faster, safer access to abortion, without the need for the approval of two separate doctors – thus far to no avail. The lesson seems to be that it will never be over – there will always be laws that need to be updated and, when appropriate, protected. Where the Trump contraceptive ruling is concerned, it’s scary enough that it’s such a backward step – yet scarier that it has been so slyly done.

It’s an example of how a quite subtle shifting of legislative emphasis – simply making something easy (the opt-out) that had previously been difficult – could be enough to undermine, or even destroy, major sociopolitical progress, with far-reaching repercussions for women. The imminence of chastity belts or not, this appears to be an era when there’s a real need for women to stay alert – when hard-fought gains could be eroded in an instant with the quiet swish of a departmental pen.

Hellosie, it’s Maisie. Sexual assault at work is often seen as a women’s issue. But the only way to tackle the blame and discrimination it brings is if men speak out too.


Taylor Swift’s attorney drew a clear battle line in the Denver courtroom where a jury decided that former radio host David Mueller had groped the singer during a during a pre-concert meet-and-greet in 2013.

“It was an on-the-job workplace assault,” Doug Baldridge asserted, adding that Swift’s management team had reported it to Mueller’s radio station KYGO in order “to protect others”.

Swift, who was 23 at the time, claimed Mueller, then 51, reached under her skirt and groped her bottom. She did not report the incident to police but told her management team, who reported it to KYGO. When the station fired Mueller, he essentially sued Swift for ruining his career. She then counter-sued him for sexual assault and battery.

My life may be very different from that of the Grammy award-winning, ever-glamorous multimillionaire Swift, but being felt up at work is an unfortunate common ground. At one job, my female peers warned me that a colleague, an older man, could be “a little hands on”.

I thought nothing of it until my second week, when he summoned me to an office where I found myself being grilled about my work. He invited me to the pub for “office happy hour” and I arrived to find he hadn’t asked anyone else and it was just me and him.

At the time I didn’t say anything. I was afraid of losing the job, and the other women in the office seemed to regard him as harmless. But now I’m a little bit wiser I can see him for what he really was: a sleazebag who shamelessly took advantage of his young female colleagues.

During the course of this trial, every woman I’ve spoken to has recounted at least one experience of being sexually assaulted at work. A friend who works in the construction industry had her bottom slapped at the office coffee machine just last week. She didn’t report it because she’s one of only three women in the entire company and doesn’t want to cause a “fuss”. In fact, the only surprising thing about sexual assault in the workplace is how men appear to be genuinely shocked to learn the problem is so prevalent. A 2016 Cosmopolitan survey found that one in three women have been sexually harassed or assaulted at work, with 44% of them saying they had encountered unwanted touching and sexual advances.

One of the issues, of course, is that many women don’t report sexual assaults to HR or management because they don’t want to draw attention to what is often a shameful or humiliating experience. With men occupying the majority of senior management positions in the UK, women can also be anxious about how claims of sexual assault or harassment may be received, and the potential impact on their career. Even Swift, one of the most influential pop stars on the planet, didn’t report her assault to police because, as her mother Andrea testified, she “did not want every interview from now on to have to make her include what happened to her”.

On the stand, Swift spoke with clear conviction as she testified how Mueller had “latched onto” her “bare ass” during the meet-and-greet photo opportunity.

However, she became emotional as Mueller’s attorney repeatedly played the blame game, arguing that she would have contacted police if she believed she had been sexually assaulted, and that in the resulting photo of her and Mueller, “there’s nothing in Taylor Swift’s face to suggest anything is wrong”.

In fact, Swift was doing what most women do when they find themselves in an inappropriate situation with a member of the opposite sex at work. We remain professional, we compartmentalise it and, in some cases, we finish a meet-and-greet then go on to perform a sold-out concert with at least 15 costume changes to 18,000 adoring fans. To do anything less runs the risk of marking us out as weak or “too sensitive”, which can be kryptonite to any woman trying to establish or maintain a career.

Sexual assault in the workplace is often seen as a “women’s issue”, which gives men an excuse to not to pay attention to it or to take it seriously. And I don’t doubt my male colleague’s astonishment on discovering how many women he knows have had their bums touched without permission. But the best way to prevent sexual assaults from happening – in the workplace and elsewhere – is through intervention. This means both women and men should feel able to speak out without fear of blame or discrimination.

Hellosie, it’s Maisie. Women’s rights haven’t made women happier. This is what you need to know.


Women are outliving men in every country in the world, despite facing higher levels of poverty than men, greater odds of encountering sexual violence and many additional, diverse forms of discrimination.

But while women are living longer, it’s unclear whether their wellbeing is showing comparable strides. As women gain political, economic and social freedoms, one would expect that they should feel even more contented relative to men. But this isn’t so.

American women in the 70s rated their overall life satisfaction higher than men. Thereafter, women’s happiness scores decreased while men’s scores stayed roughly stable. By the 1990s, women were less happy than men. This relative unhappiness softened after the turn of the century, but men continue to enjoy a higher sense of subjective wellbeing that is at least as high — if not higher — than women’s.

Those 35 years saw advances in American women’s rights and financial power. For example, in 1974, U.S. Congress outlawed credit discrimination based on sex; in 1975, U.S. states were prevented from excluding women from juries. Until 1976, marital rape was legal in every US state. Over the 35-year period, women working full time went from earning less than 60% of a man’s median salary to earning about 76% of it — still an embarrassment for a country that aspires to be a meritocracy but an improvement nonetheless.

Of course, things happened during the period in question that probably made American women less happy. Take, for example, the massive rise in incarceration rates among their actual and potential male partners.

Household chores make men statistically less likely to become depressed but contribute to depression in women.

The gap between male and female happiness in Europe, over approximately the same period, had a strikingly similar trend and magnitude to the US gender happiness gap.

So why is this? Evidence supports the idea that women’s rights and roles in the home in the US and Europe have not moved in step with changes in the workplace. Therefore, because women with jobs often do most of the chores and childcare, they shoulder a dual burden that cuts into their sleep and fun. Long commutes are thought to make British women more miserable than British men because of the greater pressure on women to meet responsibilities at home as well as work.

When the dual burden is carefully measured – as it has been across European countries – the results illustrate the influence that expectations have on how happy we feel. Experiencing the dual burden leads working women in Sweden, for example, to feel more miserable than their counterparts in Greece, probably because Swedes’ expectations around gender equality are more ambitious. (Fewer than 35% of Swedish women do three-quarters of the housework, compared to 81% of Greek women.)

Expectations also lie behind the curious finding that performing household chores makes men statistically less likely to become depressed but contributes to depression in women. Taking on housework seems to encourage men to judge themselves as generally likeable, fair-minded dudes, kindly reducing their wives’ load. On the other hand, taking on housework seems to make women feel exploited.

The social history of Switzerland, where women weren’t allowed to vote until 1971, reveals the subtleties of employment expectations on happiness. A decade after Swiss women gained suffrage, the country’s citizens voted in a referendum on whether the constitution should be amended to state that women deserve equal pay for equal work.

Different parts of Switzerland voted very differently. Unsurprisingly, cantons (Swiss states) with a high proportion of votes in favour of the amendment were recorded as having a small gender wage gap some years later. But strangely, working women in areas with strong traditional values – where most people had voted against equal pay – were happier than working women in liberal cantons.

Even though their salaries were further below those of the men around them, the women in more traditional communities were less likely to report discrimination than their countrywomen in more liberal areas. 

This inside-out result probably arises from different cognitive comparisons. Women in liberal communities are less happy and notice discrimination because they automatically compare their opportunities and salary to everyone else around them, men included. Traditionally minded women perhaps base their identities more firmly on their gender roles, and think only of other women when they evaluate their privilege and opportunities.

This kind of difference might explain the lessening happiness of American women. As women’s rights and opportunities have increased, it seems reasonable that women in industrialized countries have internalized ever more complex and optimistic expectations, and judged reality against these. Asked how satisfied she is with her lot in life, the housewife of the early 1970s probably just reflected on whether things were going well at home. The same question today evokes evaluations across many areas of life.

Declining happiness among women may seem depressing. But whoever claimed an expanded consciousness brings satisfaction?