FASHION : layers of sophistication

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A sleek suit still gives an edge in business, but this season the truly stylish are throwing themselves together a la Seventies. It's back to the thrift-shop look; mix patterns and fabrics, and layer away. The only essential buy: lacy tights, which can update any outfit - even perhaps that suit

This page: soft suede jacket, pounds 1,300, at Donna Karan, 19 New Bond Street, London W1 and Harrods, Knightsbridge, SW1; retro print V-neck sleeveless dress, pounds 69, at Jigsaw, 126-127 New Bond Street, W1; burgundy suede belt with gold buckle, pounds 65, at Stephane Kelian, 48 Sloane Street, SW1; green lace tights, by Wolford, pounds 22, at The Wolford Boutique, South Molton Street, W1 (tel: 0171 935 9202); green hat with mock croc trim, by Stephen Jones, pounds 182, at Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, SW1, and Jane Davison, 52 Thistle Street, Edinburgh

Opposite page: navy and turquoise Shetland cardigan, pounds 115, checked jersey shirt, pounds 259, wrap-around print rayon skirt with contrasting underskirt, pounds 320, all by Dries Van Noten at Liberty, Regent Street, W1, Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, SW!, and Cruise, Princes Square, Glasgow; lace tights, pounds 22, by Wolford, as before; necklace, stylist's own