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Last Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Ten fashion tips for the unfashionable
By Megan Lane
BBC News Magazine

London Fashion Week
Black is the new, er, black
Camilla, the 60s, military, Hitchcock blondes - not a random collection of words but influences on fashion this season. Can't keep up? Here's a helpful guide to what you're missing out on.

Thoughts turning to how it will soon be time to dust down that winter coat, and maybe even buy a new one? Autumn and winter are very last season, darling. The truly fashionable are already thinking about what to wear next spring as designers showcase their new collections - New York fashion week last week, London and Barcelona this, with Milan still to come.

While even the most dedicated follower of fashion is unlikely to adopt some of the more outlandish offerings - a birdcage dress, anyone? - trend watchers have identified key themes which are now hitting the shops.

1. Black is back. For some it has never left, but those in the know say it's different this time. Feminine, layered, ruffled, there is not a midnight-hued power suit or minimalist T-shirt in sight. One fashion watcher has described the look thus: "chic young Sicilian widow visiting Paris to cheer herself up".

Skirts by Spanish designer Joan Pastor
Bums will look big
2. Consequently, colour moves from the wardrobe to the face in order to avoid looking washed out. Bad news for fans of "natural" make-up (for which read a palette of browns).

3. Puffball is the hottest silhouette to sport. Skirts have volume and preferably a rustle as the wearer walks. Expect bums also to look big in egg shapes, pyramids and meringues. Some styles bulk up with a multitude of layers beneath, others with hemlines which tuck under.

4. Confusingly, also popular is the tight tight tight pencil skirt, a key component of the chic librarian's wardrobe, alongside the also-hot chunky cardigan, pretty blouse and prim specs.

High-waisted trousers and Victoriana blouse
Cover up
5. Hipsters, and by extension peek-a-boo thongs, are over. O-V-A-H. Trousers are high-waisted, belts no longer low-slung but worn on the waist. Jackets and dresses nip in, and big pants - for example French knickers - are back.

6. Just as city shorts were the surprise seller of summer 2005 - a trend to be continued next summer - winter shorts (surely a contradiction in terms) are expected to do brisk business.

7. Cleavage flashing is passe. Pick yoked blouses, crisp shirts and high-necklined Victoriana numbers with puffy sleeves, or choose strapless tops and frocks for flesh-baring purposes. The demure theme continues with another look, the Hitchcock blonde.

8. Boho queens need not completely give up their long, layered, ethnic look. This summer's ubiquitous gypsy skirt has segued into Moscow chic, all headscarves and fur hats and embroidered dresses.

Male model in Burberry cape
Another trend is country looks a la Camilla Parker Bowles
9. For men, the music industry is a key inspiration, particularly the drainpipe trousers, battered porkpie hats and skinny suits favoured by Pete Doherty and the new Doctor Who.

10. But few are likely to follow the lead of Outkast's Andre 3000, who has taken to wearing a wolf's tail pinned to his belt. A tail from a real grey wolf. Which is an endangered species. Worn by a vegan.

Add your comments on this story, using the form below.

Puffballs are in are they? Plus ca change! I didn't like them first time around so I don't suppose I'll be trying them now.
Susanne, London

Are we still allowed to wear jeans?
Anna-Marie, Leeds, UK

I have been wearing headscarves all summer and, now they are "back in fasion", I expect the same people giving me funny looks will all be wearing them.
Franchesca Mullin, Belfast, NI

Thank god hipsters and midriff flashing are OVAH... but it's SO unfair! Now we're expected to be able to get away with high-waisted trousers and waist-cinching belts. This is as big a no-no as the hapless hipster midriff muddle. Your tum is on display either way. Bleargh.
Jacky, Woking, England

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