HOW TO NAIL THIS SEASON'S FASHION LOOKS WITHOUT LOOKING LIKE A VICTIM 

With every new season comes a new take on what, the magazines decree, we should be wearing. While Raggedy Ann Girl In A Barbie Doll World are never in the business of issuing instructions, we do like a bit of a change, and we like to dabble in a bit of on-trendiness too. So, here's our summary of what 's hip and happening right now.


THE LOOKS

WINTER FLORALS

Continuing the trend of ultra-feminine retro prints, the Winter Florals trend is an easy one for every woman to carry off. Particularly if you choose a well-fitted, flattering dress with a dark based floral pattern. Basing the print in black, navy, forest green and deep berry, and having the prints feature muted tones or more exotic flowers makes it more womanly, so even the most twee-averse amongst us can find a print in which we're comfy. If you pick colours that work with your skintone, make sure the size of the print is appropriate to your figure and don't over-do the accessories you'll avoid looking like a pair of curtains and really be able to embrace the ultra-womanly look.


BLACK LEATHER

Don't worry, we're not talking Cher-in-the-1980s here. This season's darkest trend is all about fit and softness. We're not necessarily talking all-over leather either. Just one well-chosen skirt or pair of trousers, or even just a touch of leather combined with other fabrics work as well as anything. Edgy yes, but elegant too. For the ultimate in elegance on a sensible budget, simply invest in a good pair of black leather gloves.


OPULENCE

For the past few seasons we've been lapping up anything embellished and it looks like that trend isn't going anywhere anytime soon. And it seems, if anything, it's getting more and more decadent. From intense beading and jewel-encrusting to rich textures of brocade and velvet, there's probably an opulence for every comfort level. We tend to like our sequins in limitation, so we'll probably confine ourselves to a jewelled bag, or textured scarf, or perhaps a piece or two of Butler and Wilson jewellery.


FUNKY FUR

Animal trends are still around, but this time seem to pay less homage to our furry fellow mammals and more of a nod towards the soft toys of our children. Unnatural colours, fluffy textures and ostentation abound but, perhaps fortunately, only in small doses. A collar here, a cuff there is probably more than enough.


COUNTRY

We're talking checks, plaids and even tartans here. In muted gorgeous colours of browns and chocolate as well as deep greens and berries. Textures of cord and tweed combined with fair isle sweaters and softer, cosy knits. Silks feature too, as do military cuts and details.


THE SHAPES


DEFINED WAISTS

These are good news for everyone. For those with hourglass figures this can be nothing but good news, of course, but even for the waist-challenged it offers an opportunity to fake the perfect shape with peplums and belts on dresses and jackets and even outdoor coats. 


COVERED UP EVENING WEAR

Unless you're especially fond of getting every available bit of flesh out on show, this is bound to be a welcome development. Evening gowns and tops with soft draping and covered shoulders 1930s style, not only enable us to channel Old Hollywood and Wallis Simpson, but also to really go out with confidence and without worrying about whether our skin is up to scratch and our upper arms perfectly toned. Of course if they are, having that structure underneath those drapes is only going to make the look even better. Ask around, covering up is sexy too. And a good deal more attractive that mounds and folds of goose-pimply skin. Rejoice.



TROUSERS OF ALL KINDS

At last fashion designers and high street buyers have latched on to something the rest of us have known for a long time. Trousers are great. They come, just like women, in many shapes and sizes and we all suit at least one style so it's a jolly good idea to have a number of them, from cigarette pants, through boot cuts, to wide legs and even combats, in style at the same time. It's not rocket science, it's just common sense. And it's about time too.



THE COLOURS

Colour is always key, but this season has seen a real change in tone. Purple is everywhere. From violet brights to deep aubergine.  Blue is another ubiquitous shade. And happily, it's a colour that suits just about everyone. Cobalt and deep navy are the most popular right now, but expect to see rich sky blues, French navies and touches of teal. Red, of course, is a winter perennial. But this year, along with the perfect scarlets's we have a choice of dark and slightly brooding blood reds and a new bright - tomato red. On nails, on coats, on hats and scarves. Try it, you might find you like it.