Fashion: Seek out the new simplicity

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Even the most confident dresser cannot help but suffer occasional pangs of outfit envy. Acute symptoms occur when, having accessorised liberally and in glorious technicolour, one finds oneself face to face with one's fashion nemesis: fresh-faced and jewellery-free, she might be wearing an understated shift in charcoal grey, or perhaps a sophisticated white shirt with simple black trousers. Either way, she is the embodiment of minimalist chic, while your own get-up leaves you feeling like a Christmas tree.

The potential for just such moments is all the greater right now, as the savviest of celebs have shown us mere mortals how to ditch the inessential and take the fast-track to effortless style.

Ms Moss, surprisingly often a fan of the more is more school of accessorising, made the case for minimalism in a grey mini-dress on a recent trip to Berlin – the interesting shape and clean lines unspoilt by anything more than simple flats and an equally unfussy bag. And over in New York, Katie Holmes took a U-turn from the sloppy jeans and layers she has favoured lately, opting for a tailored jacket and trousers in classic black, while Ashley Olsen abandoned her deluxe hippie look for something altogether more serious.

The autumn catwalks have been full of just such stripped-back outfits, with strong, simple shapes and a palette of black, black and a touch of grey for fun from Balenciaga, Jil Sander and Calvin Klein.

A naïve soul might link this return to austerity with current economic woes. Sadly, however, any dedicated shopper knows only too well that it is often the simplest garments that demand the greatest investments. Start saving now.