Fashion for life

More flash than cash

MIMI So here we are, knee-deep in September. The kids are back at school, the traffic is back on the roads at 8.30am, the morning rush for showers and shoes and Shreddies is back in full swing. Same old same old.

Except that everything is different. This time last year, your house was probably worth ten per cent more than it is now. Driving to the shops cost ten per cent less. Each week, the food in your fridge is now setting you back by the approximate cost of a pair of new shoes.

All of which adds up to a bit of a headache, or more of a migraine, depending on your precise circumstances and whether or not you run a life-coaching business (oh, you must have known it couldn’t last!).

For most of us, it means making calculated decisions about when, where and what to buy. While sales of leather goods are keeping pace and the price of clothing hasn’t been subject to the same inflationary pressures felt elsewhere, we’re still in straitened times. Which is why my three key style remedies should keep your wardrobe in rude health while the rest of the world judders to a halt and cancels its subscription to the gym/Sky Plus/The Ecologist.

So here’s how to get the new season off to a smart start before anyone can say ‘pre-autumn Louis Vuitton suede Chelsea boots’. You will chiefly need… Chandelier earrings. You may already have a pair, spurred on by the sight of our own dear Kate Moss going all dangly in early summer.

Look for intricate, elaborate designs, heirloom in feel, to go with your vintage-style blouse. Several caveats on this one: I went through a chandelier phase way back in 1985 and found that my earlobes ended up looking like those of an African tribeswoman after a particularly gruelling initiation ceremony. They have never really recovered, so I prescribe caution.

Make sure your earrings weigh less than, say, your lunch. And those with long hair should beware complications on a windy day. It once took me four long hours to extricate myself from the clutches of a chandelier earring. If I hadn’t been watching Desperately Seeking Susan at the same time, it would have been sheer hell.

Decorative flatties. While the whole shoe hoo-ha goes on, with bonkers creations still de rigueur in Fashion Central, your best bet is to go for an embellished evening pump. Something with rhinestones or other jangly bits should cover it. Obviously, you’ll be wanting the Louis Vuitton pale-pink patent pumps with charm jewel décor. Obviously, £539 might be a tad steep, so you’ll hunt in the high street for a near-enough knock-off.

Panto boots. A tricky look to pull off, both literally and metaphorically, but over-the-knee numbers have stomped into fashion. Don’t wear with bare legs (way too Pretty Woman); go for opaques and a simple style for the rest of your outfit. A green tunic and Robin Hood hat would, for example, be a grave mistake.

There. Life’s not so bad after all, eh?


Feel-good fashion fixes

Alex McQueen scarf

Cosmetics bag, £62, with 30 per cent donated to Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Orla Kiely, orla Scarf, £145, with an £85 donation to Breast Cancer Care, Alexander McQueen for Pinkridges at Selfridges, tel: 0800 123400. Earphones, £12, with all proceeds donated to Breast Cancer Care. QVC,, tel: 0800 504030


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