How to choose the perfect Christmas Day outfit

Nicola Appleton
Nicola Appleton
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Four Yorkshire women tell Stephanie Smith what they will be wearing, and why, on the big day itself.

Nicola Appleton, Nidderdale

Henrietta Duckworth and her baby Emerald.

Henrietta Duckworth and her baby Emerald.

Nicola Appleton lives in a converted barn in Nidderdale with her husband, Tim, and their eight-year-old daughter Lola. She is marketing director with North Yorkshire-based Naturally Selina Scott, the luxury mohair, cashmere and now yak online brand. Previously, she was international training manager at Tag Heuer.

“I’m going to wear my White Company pyjamas and one of our yak belted cardigans and our bed socks on Christmas morning. I’ve got a little girl, so we’ll get up in the morning and all come down in our pyjamas, and be all comfy-cosy and have our fire lit, and we’ll go from there.

“We’ll be opening presents, drinking a little bit of sherry, having Christmas music and turkey dinner, then walk to the local pub to meet friends. Friends and family – that’s what’s Christmas is all about.

“I make the meal. I’ll get changed out of my pyjamas and put a sparkly top on with some dark trousers and we’ll all wear Christmas hats. We sing The 12 Days Of Christmas, with actions – you’ve got to do that. My daughter’s learning the piano – how to play Good King Wenceslas.

Anita Massarella.

Anita Massarella.

“Luxury brands are my passion. With Selina’s brand, it’s about building on the success of her mohair socks, and introducing the UK to new luxury fibres. She’s been exploring the world, recently to Mongolia to track down yak.

“Plans for 2016 include building on the success of our collection and spreading the word of yak and its wonderful qualities. People don’t instantly recognise it. They think, what is yak? It has the feel of cashmere but much warmer and cosier, and a little bit sexy. Perfect to wear on those cold Yorkshire days.”

Naturally Selina Scott is on www.selinascott.com.


Frances Simon

Frances Simon

Henrietta Duckworth, Hull

Henrietta Duckworth lives in Hull with her husband, sound designer Ed Clarke, and their children, Hermione, six, and Emerald, four months. She is an executive producer of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and has previously worked with West Yorkshire Playhouse, Manchester International Festival and Yorkshire Festival 2014.

So far, 2015 has proved to be eventful, challenging and exciting year for Henrietta Duckworth, bringing with it a new home, a new job and a new baby. A quiet Christmas then? Far from it.

“We’re so inspired by Hull hospitality, it’s ‘everyone back to ours’ this Christmas, with our whole family coming to stay,” she says. “For my little brother and his wife, it will be a nostalgic trip as they met in Hull 20 years ago.

“Our family Christmas is an indulgent, gastronomic affair, so lots of prep and cooking alongside playing games, walking the dogs, and this year, ‘juggling’ a baby. Getting dressed-up is not number one priority on Christmas Day and, as I’m breastfeeding Emerald, comfort, warmth and practicality will out. This jumper is a favourite, mohair, a great colour, and some killer heels for fun.

“We’re discovering this great, 
welcoming city. Hermione is making friends and enjoying her new school while exploring this part of Yorkshire. We’re getting out to see Hull’s Christmas shows, with classic panto at the New Theatre, a multi-talented cast in Sleeping Beauty at Hull Truck and Middle Child’s alternative Aladdin at Fruit.

“Looking forward, Hull 2017 is going to be a 365-day celebration of this creative, industrial, defiant and poetic city. It’s an opportunity to shine a very bright spotlight on a changing, energised Hull, where all kinds of events will be taking place in surprising places all across the city. Everyone’s welcome to come, join in and make their own project.”

Launching early next year, the Hull 2017 Programme Fund supports projects making great new art and culture, and is looking for ideas large and small that connect communities. Visit www.hull2017.co.uk.

Anita Massarella, Leeds

Anita Massarella lives near Leeds and is a fashion designer with her own boutique specialising in wedding dresses and special occasion wear for clients and television. She has just recently returned from a five-day pre-Christmas trip to Tuscany.

“I think I’ll go for an Italian spring look, as if I’ve just stepped off my yacht. I don’t have a yacht, by the way,” says Anita.

“Big earrings, coloured sparkly flatties – practical, but with a bit of a lift. I’m not going into black and sparkly.”

Anita will be spending Christmas Day with the whole family at her brother’s house in Leeds. “There are around 27 of us altogether, brothers and sisters and their children, and my Mum, and other mums. As a guest, I can bit more relaxed, which allows me to glam up a bit. Because I am not working, I am going to be completely relaxed.

“It’s been one of our busiest years, business wise. We’ve had some amazing clients in amazing dresses, really good press, and lots of clients on TV. Tanya Arnold was wearing an evening gown of ours at an awards and singer Lizzie Jones wore a dress of ours on the pitch for the England-New Zealand match, but she’s also wearing a dress of ours at the Sports Personality of the Year awards.

“I’m looking forward to spring/summer and our new website because people have been asking to be able to buy online.”

Anita Massarella Design is at Harrogate Road, Leeds, www.anitamassarella.co.uk.

Frances Simon, York

Frances Simon lives in York with her husband, Carey, and their daughter Naomi, nine. She is an actor, talent agent and drama teacher coaching students at Stagecoach York and for LAMDA exams at the Theatre Royal and at St Peter’s School. In 2012 she was the Angel Gabriel in the York Mystery plays.

“My daughter has two services on Christmas Day at York Minster. In between that, we will probably meet up with other chorister families, as we’ll all be very close by. I’ll cook Christmas dinner. We do love to have an open house.”

On Christmas Day, Frances will be wearing a tartan dress by Braintree from Maude and Tommy, an ethical fashion boutique in York. “It’s very warm, and it’s particularly breezy in the Minster,” she says. “It’s very comfortable, and feels very nice on. I just turned 40 in July and celebrated with a charity ball with a Strictly theme at the De Grey Rooms in York. I’ve never really had coming of ages so I really wanted to celebrate, and we raised £2,000 for charity.”

Linked to her teaching, Frances is founder-director of a talent agency that gives young people the opportunity to audition for screen and theatre roles, and she is co-director of the community interest company Passport To Success with Izzy Pysanczyn, which runs projects for children from under-privileged backgrounds. Its production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was a highlight of 2015 for Frances. “Confidence is for everybody and it gives them the opportunity to be able to engage with the arts in an affordable way,” she says. The new course starts in January.

“York is beautiful. Whenever we have friends coming to visit, it’s just wonderful how everything is like a fairytale Christmas, walking down the old cobbled streets. It’s very Dickensian.”

Contact: frances.simon@btinternet.com, www.francessimon.co.uk.