To some extent all these rules I thrash out can appear a little stifling - the suppression of heresy, or of self-expression, perhaps. And that needs addressing, for we must never forget that rules are made to be broken.
Katie Trotter: On breaking the rules of fashion
Once upon a time you would listen to me. I'd want you to. That is my job, I suppose - to gently carve out the rights and wrongs of the modern wardrobe, to keep you all in check.
"Orange it is," I would say.
"I'm there," you would cry.
"Don't over-accessorise," I would warn as you would sheepishly unstack the bangles working their way nicely up your forearm.
But to some extent all these rules I thrash out can appear a little stifling - the suppression of heresy, or of self-expression, perhaps. And that needs addressing, for we must never forget that rules are made to be broken. So although it's possible I am writing myself out of a job with this, it is important.
Wear what you want to wear, not what those who are "in the know" tell you to. Trends are not meant to be literal and have room for interpretation and whim. The advice we dish out so freely should be thought of as more a friendly nudge rather than a direct left hook. So when I screech from the rafters about the pairing of socks and sandals, I hope you know (hard as it is for me to swallow) that you are free to do whatever you choose. Like the value of gold, my advice is worth something only because someone says it is. Interesting trousers are seldom really interesting; they are trousers, after all. It's what you choose to do with them that counts.
Take mixing patterns, for example, the perfect rule to break, because combining graphics, stripes, checks and florals can be brilliant. The trick is to offset smaller, intricately patterned florals with a bolder stripe or check, or to play with unusual colour combinations.
Combining black and navy is another rule that can be a great way to shake things up if challenged, especially if the difference between the two is subtle.
Keeping sequins for evening wear? Who says? I have seen an otherwise boring daytime look turn around after a small injection of shine. Simply remember that less is more. Editing is everything. Cut out anything unnecessary and you may well be left with something unexpectedly dazzling.
Which is exactly my point. While there is no doubt that sticking to a strict set of rules will get you places - and trust me, conformists are reliable, and people like reliability - those who never break the mould will never experience brilliance. Satisfactory, perhaps - maybe even great - but never brilliant.
Remember, fashion doesn't love us; in fact, it doesn't give a toot, so it's up to us to choose our direction. And perhaps accepting that even our own rules are there to be broken is when the whole thing really gets exciting.
MISSONI FOR TARGET The Italian fashion house's designs for the American retailer are super cool.
SARAH PALIN'S PEDI Why is it that after seeing this we're not as fond of polka dots?
PANTHER PULL This season's jumpers were adorned with all sorts of felines. Our fave is Givenchy's panthers.
NEAR MISS Balenciaga's Nicholas Ghesquire recently said that the now "classic" Lariat bag nearly wasn't going to be produced in 2001. Quelle horreur.
RUMOUR HAS IT That Prada and Miu Miu venue are opening at the end of the month in Saks Fifth Avenue.