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Katie Trotter: Denim's reputation for comfort clashes with fashion

M's fashion columnist offers tips on how to avoid being trendy.

I don't trust denim. Firstly, it pretends to be comfortable - the old favourite we know and love, the no-nonsense agreeable type - when really it involves a tremendous amount of deliberation. Leggings, smock shirts, trainers. pregnancy wear - that's comfy. Not low-rise, double-seamed, skinny-legged, popper-pressed jeans. Liars, the lot of them, but there we go, time after time, rifling through our closets, like moth to flame or Oprah to cake, heading straight for the jeans.

A consistent aggravation, I hear it all the time. Oh, how skinny jeans make our knees look squishy, or that we are simply too short for boyfriend jeans, or that low-rise are almost bordering on painful.

Which is rather ridiculous when we think of it. It's not that there aren't alternatives - there are plenty, of course. It's just plain old habit - learned behaviour, I suppose - that I only hope we can break.

You need to find out what makes your bottom look better, not what is on trend. Start with assessing your basic shape. If you are the type that perhaps needs a little more grub for your body to match the size of your head, or the type that revels in your bottom-heavy glory, my advice remains the same. Go for slim fit but not skintight, as should be your shirt, and make sure the bottom of your top doesn't fall below the tops of your jeans pockets. Some shirts are purposefully cut to remain loose, but the vast majority still need tucking in - which we nearly always ignore.

A good slim-fit shirt will ensure there's no bulk that adds unwanted surface area to your middle. Don't forget about your waist - the place where we used to button our jeans before Alexander McQueen invented low-rise - and aim to have something hit the midpoint between there and hip.

When it comes to colour don't be afraid of experimenting. Consider grey or even red to break the mould, or if you are dead set on blue choose a shade between medium and dark.

Remember, there is no such thing in fashion as a "classic". Time makes that impossible. The fine print always changes, even if the basic structure remains - the shape of the collar, the fit at the waist, the style of fastening will always give you away, so prepare to invest in a good pair every season.

My advice: put a plug in the persistent prattle they call trendy in denim it doesn't exist, unless you are perfectly comfortable in an off-duty "soccer mom" look. Which is all perfectly fine with me if you don't complain about it.

M-ometer

This week's highs and lows

HAIR PAINT Thakoon's artful hair colours are so perfectly fresh.

FASHION TERMINOLOGY Our new pet peeve is "fashionables", the updated version of "fashionistas".

FALLING FOR FERRAGAMO The Italian brand's A/W collection is our ideal combination of clashing prints and sleek silhouettes.

CAUTION! SPILLAGE As much as we love the relaxed shopper bag, we do worry about losing our most prized possessions in a crowd

LOOKING SNAKEY Gerard Darel's colourful python prints are bang-on trend for this season.

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