FASHION / Simply the Best

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THE PROBLEM with freedom of choice is - sometimes you really want to be told. There are now no latter-day equivalents of the great Diana Vreeland, who commanded readers of her legendary fashion colums to 'turn old mink coats into bathrobes' or suggested ingenuously 'why don't you . . . wash your blonde child's hair with flat champagne?' Instead there is the 'anything goes' philosophy of fashion, which is fine until the moment you want to ask: 'But if anything goes, who's going to tell me just which bit of anything goes with what?'

Fashion has changed radically over the last two years. Silhouettes have altered, knitwear has become as acceptable as the tailored jacket, skinny shapes have taken over from roomy garments. So we thought that now just might be the moment to give a bit of guidance on the basic pieces to see you through the winter.

Our stylist Naomi Smith was briefed to find six of the best - the best coat, the best jacket, the best trousers, the best white shirt, the best skinny rib jumper - and to show how these could be combined. There are no tricky details. There is no fancy jewellery. The clothes, with their simple, clean, pure lines, speak for themselves. Naomi would wear thigh- high boots with the narrow white coat. The rest of us might opt for the other current option, flat granny boots with opaque tights. The trouser suit from Belgian designer Martin Margiela, at the more extreme of the avant garde, might be too radical for some tastes. But a great trouser suit, whether from a high-priced Japanese designer or an affordable high street store, is a reliable staple for the season. So, to steal a line from from the late DV, why don't you . . . just make sure that everything in your wardrobe is simple?

(Photographs omitted)