This is the time of year when a woman's thoughts turn to autumn/winter fashions — only this year most of us are thinking, forget it, we can't afford butter, let alone new boots.
When you're in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, the new season's trends are low on the list of priorities.
Even so, we're not going to stop celebrating birthdays, or dressing up for parties. We still need to polish up for work events, meet-the-parents lunches and anniversary dinners — and we want to look good and get it right.
Shane Watson (pictured) says: 'Fashion no longer lurches from A to Z and back: we move our wardrobe on with a few tweaks'
With that in mind, here are some tips on what's what for autumn/winter, so you can re-think the clothes you own, re-style things you love, and refresh old favourites by adding a couple of new items to the mix.
Fashion no longer lurches from A to Z and back: we move our wardrobe on with a few tweaks — an addition here, a new colour there — so none of this has to be painful or pricy.
Let's not waste our opportunities by skulking around in clothes whose only objective is to get us through life. Let's embrace colour, texture and flair, with fashion that —even in the gloom of winter — makes you stand taller and smile.
Instant wow factor
Jumper, £35.99; trousers, £29.99; shoes, £35.99, mango.com
If there's one thing that might mark out this winter from others, it's the new colour rule: don't keep the best and brightest for summer — strong statement colours are now your ticket to looking on-the-money for autumn and winter, too.
The easiest route to year-round brights is a coat or co-ords (matching separates). The more head-to-toe colour, the better.
Still going strong - the trends you love
We've got used to go-with-everything trainers and now we're into the gorgeous trainer moment. Trainers have never been more good-looking or more intended to be worn at the foot of a smart trouser suit. After the British designer Grace Wales Bonner's collaboration with Adidas, the fashion front row are clamouring for Gucci's jewel-colour joint efforts with the sports brand. While all the designers are now jostling for the prize of top delicious trainers, plain old Gazelles in cherry red suede (£75, addidas.co.uk) will hit the spot.
LOOSE FIT TROUSERS
Loose and high-waisted is still the look (though to confuse matters there's also a resurgence of low-slung trousers, Nineties-style, but never mind that). All you need to know is your top half is trim and tidy, your bottom half is looser fit or baggy — either straight cut or extra-wide with front pleats.
SMOOTH FAKE FUR
Chunky, soft, teddy bearish faux fur is the material that keeps on giving. Think Henry VIII-scale coats and jackets. Big lapels. Volume. And colour.
Not that long ago, you'd have considered it rash to get a faux fur coat in Easter chick yellow or crocus purple. Not now.
This fashion has been building for half a decade and now it's all about sports chic, whether it's a stripe on a trouser leg, zip-front tops or elasticated cuffs. A sized-up navy blazer over tailored track pants is now the smartest smart casual look.
Back in vogue - and easy to make work
Top, £240; trousers, £175, both essentiel-antwerp.com
Remember the jeans and a pretty top formula? Well now, jeans or trousers and a bold top is the easy route to dialling up the glamour for your social life.
The only rule is keep the jeans loose-ish and the top striking and neat — be it a little black embellished tank or a full sleeved bright-coloured blouse with volume sleeves.
If you need to look smarter, add a ladylike chain-strap bag and shiny kitten heels.
Next in: Useful gamechangers
SKIRTS MINI AND MAXI
Don't get too hung up on hem length because we're now in 'anything goes' territory. Even so, the fashionable choice is much shorter (yes, the mini is back), or much longer (the ankle grazer). The longer skirt is lean, fluid and minimal, and either high or mid-waisted. Worn with boots and a crop jacket, it's your new work suit.
THE SLINKY CAMI TOP
Corset tops have been edging back into fashion for a while (at smart events, grown-up celebrities are wearing lacy fitted bustiers under trouser suits), but it's just the hint of lingerie-style that most of us will be interested in.
A slinky camisole top under an unbuttoned jacket is your new eveningwear staple, and lace trims and panels are what switches your look from day to evening.
THE KILLER COAT
While we are still drooling over shearling (if you've got one, hold on to it), this autumn, coats — both on the catwalk and on the High Street — are big, long, strong and meant to be noticed.
How about a plaid coat (red and black at Ralph Lauren) a herringbone tweed masculine midi coat (at Prada), or a long slouchy wrap coat (at Maxmara)?
You can't go wrong with a solid block heel. You're on trend, too, in a fashion platform.
But the new heel on the block is a low kitten heel and any kittenish-heeled slingback, whether high or low.
This is the way to fashion up your trousers and jeans. Then, just add a similarly ladylike and nippy bag.
Add shine with sequins and leather
The waistcoat started cropping up over the summer at smart events where women didn't fancy wearing a dress but wanted to add glamour to trousers.
The naked waistcoat (worn buttoned up over bare arms) was a hit with celebrities at this year's Wimbledon — Michelle Dockery wore a beige one with matching trousers, Alexa Chung teamed hers with white tailored shorts and a jacket — and we noticed.
Tailored waistcoats are smart and they upgrade trousers or a suit with a swagger. If you like a tanktop, you'll probably love this.
boots are big this season and ankle boots are no longer enough. The catwalks were awash with thigh- high boots and over-the-knee boots, but the ones we'll be looking at are knee-covering in front (as at Isabel Marant). Think knee-high boots, but the longer the better.
A BIT OF SHINE
It could be a satin slip top, or two-tone matt and metallic slingbacks, a chain bag strap or shiny buttons on your jacket. It might be a pair of glossy pleather trousers or a crop sequin jacket (the ones at Celine will be copied everywhere). A bit of shine in the mix makes outfits look new and glamorous.
You're probably not in the mood to run out and buy a leather flying jacket like the ones at Prada and Loewe.
Nonetheless, a roomy flying jacket is what the fashion conscious youth will be dreaming of, so now could be the time to dust off your oversize moto jacket or shearling car coat. They're in the shruggable on-over-a-dress-and-boots camp.
Collarbone chain tweak
Sometimes, a simple bit of jewellery makes everything look new — and this one couldn't be easier.
A gold collar-bone-resting shiny chain over a polo neck, enhancing the round neckline of your tank or smart little black party top, or flashing in the open collar of a shirt is all it takes to make you look thoroughly autumn/winter 2022/23.
Maybe you've seen that Barbiecore (all things pink and bright) is a trend for winter — and we can see how that could work if you lived in Miami and had the lifestyle of Nicola Peltz Beckham. It's not so obvious if you're Us.
Even so, pink has muscled its way into our wardrobes and has no intention of retiring now.
Remember the pink and red clash this time last year? Just add more pink in different shades, or go for bold head-to-toe red or pink.