When times are hard, it's more important than ever to buy quality items.
Since I was thinking about fashion and style yesterday, and trying to remember what it was like to actually HAVE any rather than just trying to stay warm, I thought I'd go through a few practical ideas for this Christmas.
As the credit crunch continues into recession, the trick with clothes is to not make mistakes, so here are some items that are idiot-proof. Also, given the appalling economic situation, what many of us might need this winter is warm coats and scarves and comfy shoes for trudging those pavements in search of a job.
If you can only afford one coat, the one to pick is a below-the-knee wrapover coat, preferably with a shawl collar. It meets all eventualities, the front wrap keeps you warm, it works for business, and men, apparently, prefer it to all other styles. This white cashmere-mix one (OK, not the most practical colour in the world...) is by Great Plains from House of Fraser and is a bargain at £117.44 (presumably this daft price is something to do with the VAT reduction). I'd like to show it bigger, but it's got one of those fancy zoomable images, so I can't download it...
Personally, I get constant pleasure from my Georgina Von Etzdorf velvet scarves, some of which I've had over a decade (you could go woolly but it looks a lot less professional). I don't know what her trick is, but Von Etzdorf's scarves never slip and slide off your neck as cheaper versions do, and they lend a real bit of luxury for winter. Sadly, she ceased trading but you can still order from the back catalogue at www.gve.co.uk if you have £129 or so to spare.
As for comfy shoes, maybe boots are the answer, and here, riding boots are about the best. A decent sole, a small heel, shiny polished leather and as little detailing as possible, a good riding boot goes equally well with a flirty skirt or a pair of jeans. This one, the Cabernet from John Lewis (£92), has a slightly higher heel that makes it classier for skirts and its subdued detailing won't date.