IN PRAISE OF PACKAGING

OK. So this post is going to be unapologetically girly so if you aren’t a girl you may wish to look away now. Alternatively you may be just as fond as I am of packaging or curious for an insight into the female psyche in which case you can hang around.

One of my favourite fantasies when I was a little girl was to be bought a dress. I didn’t want just any old dress. It had to be the kind of dress that makes you draw breath when you first see it. And that was not all. It had to come in a box. In our house and I suspect in many others clothes tended to come in bags. Whether they were new or hand-me-down, they generally made their way to me in a garish plastic bag in which they lay all scrumpled up at the bottom.

In my dream, the dress was in a box with delicately coloured tissue paper protecting it from creasing.  And there was more. The lid of the box was held on by a large satin ribbon, preferably in a gently contrasting or toning colour. And here comes the clever bit. You could lift the lid of the box without having to disturb the ribbon. When I was little I had no idea how that was to be achieved but when my favourite actresses opened their dress-containing boxes they never had to faff about with the ribbon. They just lifted the lid so that’s how my fantasy went too.

Little did I know at that stage that this was the beginnings of a lifelong love of packaging. I don’t really shop in the kind of shops where they wrap your purchases in tissue let alone place them in a box but these days it is easy to get the same effect in other ways.

For a while, whenever I bought something from The White Company I used to have it gift wrapped – just for me. It was an extravagance I know but I couldn’t resist those beautiful little white boxes. These days it’s Jo Malone’s packaging that sets my heart a quiver. You don’t even have to pay for it. Your purchase just comes with elegant ribbons, scented tissue paper and beautiful cream and black boxes. You even get a little gift bag for which I have absolutely no purpose but which I struggle to throw away.

My house is full of boxes. They always come in handy, don’t you find? And those gorgeous little velvet bags that come from Annie Haak. I have them in a drawer just waiting to be filled with lovely, tiny things. I have the most exquisite vintage inspired hand cream box with a magnetic lid flap. It is entirely the wrong size to be practical for any other purpose than then one it was designed for but it’s far too beautiful to throw away.

At this rate I will soon have more boxes than I can possibly ever have uses for simply because I hunt out the products with the nicest packaging and then squirrel them away. I have all manner of tiny things stored in them. I swear that our collection of Lego figures has the swankiest digs that you’ll find anywhere.

I’m still waiting for the dress though. In my head it’s red with white polka dots and a halter neck but it could just as easy be an elegant evening gown. As long as there is tissue paper and a big satin ribbon.

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