Look great whatever you do by keeping those accessories and jewellery to a minimum
Katie Trotter: On keeping your look subtle without fading away
Fashion often seems to be nothing more than a series of elephant traps - do this, don't do that, try this, but not with that. Granny chic, parachute pants, cut-out swimwear, half jackets, high-heeled flip-flops- the whole hoo-ha can all get a little irritating.
You see, as much as I preach about bravery and all that goes with it, I understand that most of us don't really want to change direction or create trends. What most of us want to know is simply how to fit in on the school run, to be passable at a party, to appear acceptable - and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem I have with subtlety lies within the concept itself, because attaining an air of nonchalance is more difficult than the world lets on. In fact, the whole get-up involves rather a lot of work.
Firstly, one must achieve a lack of superiority - or more to the point, look like yourself so that anything branded, gaudy or visibly offensive will have to go. I am not saying that branding is not important; I am simply making it clear that any obvious branding will be a giveaway. Instead, think anonymous with a twist, anything non-threatening and non-argumentative, yet well-considered.
Colour-wise, taupe, grey, white or anything in muted tones will work on your side, as will the more austere versions of black, navy or brown.
As always, accessories are everything. Bags should be perfect, not a scratch in sightor a zipper out of joint. A good old no-nonsense Mulberry satchel or something of the like will work, but stay clear of the super-trendy and unmistakable types such as the Alexa.
Jewellery should be discreet. I have seen too many women fall on their face with "statement" earrings. My rule of thumb: unless the rest of your attire is hands-in-the-air exciting, leave the Carmen Miranda type for another day when the rest of you is ready to catch up.
Instead, try for a mix of silver and gold - two simple superfine bangles, one in each colour, will work beautifully.
Shoes should always be flat, although if you dare wear a heel make sure it is small and neat - a shoe that does anything to inhibit a confident stride is a no. You must walk like you mean it.
My final piece of advice is to keep everything immaculate. Hair must be beautifully blow-dried, nails manicured neatly, eyebrows dyed and threaded to the correct shape, and every last piece pressed to perfection. Nothing - I repeat, nothing, not even a hair is out of line.
Which is exactly were the whole thing trips us up and leads us down a spaghetti junction of false hope. Frankly, I can bet my life that most if us would be go for the odd bonkers super trend than a lifetime of precision.
This week's highs and lows
SYMMETRY Osman's Spring/Summer 2012 Collection is a compilation of perfect pleats, pastels and balance.
PICTURE PERFECT Calling all iPhone users: stop posting pictures of yourself with an instant camera frame/1970s tint/sepia tone. It doesn't make you look any better, just more of a poseur.
BRIGHT FLASH Mixing neons with neutrals is one of this season's biggest trends. Start with an accessory such as these Topshop heels for a hint of colour.
SIDE TONES The slashed-side microtrend is stressing us out. How are we meant to tuck our bellies away without our Spanx showing on the side?
MODEL TALK We're keeping our eye on new girl on the block LouLou, who recently shot with Inez and Vinoodh.