death by chocolate

Much as it pains me to say this - as my wardrobe is full of it - it really seems as if top-to-toe black is on the way out after a decade. Even I have to admit it is starting to look rather hard, dated and far too Eighties (although an Eighties revival is not far away, I can feel it). Brown has been heralded as its successor; last year it was camel, but the reason brown will be more successful is that it's much easier to wear - more forgiving and more versatile. The other colour for this season is blonde, which is best mixed in with brown for a really classy and expensive look. The problem most will have is what shoes and hosiery to wear and the answer to that is dark brown shoes (they should always be a darker shade than your clothes) with brown lacy/textured or skin tone (not too pale or too dark) sheer tights.

Far left: chocolate brown satin military shirt dress, pounds 155, Whistles, 27 Sloane Square, London SW1 and branches, tel: 0171 730 9819.

Brown patterned tights, pounds 22, Wolford from major department stores, tel: 0171 935 9202. Brown shoes, pounds 49.99, Office, 57 Neal St, London WC2 and branches, mail order and inquiries: 0181 838 4447.

Left: blonde maxi coat with fur collar, pounds 160, Warehouse branches nationwide, tel: 0171 278 3491. Brown skinny rib roll-neck sweater, pounds 45, French Connection, 249 Regent St, London W1 and branches, tel: 0171 580 2507.

Right: brown nylon fitted shirt, pounds 110, Equipment, 21 Sloane St, London SW1, tel: 0171 629 4774. Brown and blonde checked trousers, pounds 126, agnes b 111 Fulham Road, London SW3 and branches (tel: 0171 225 3477). Brown moc croc sandals, pounds 145, Patrick Cox, 8 Symons St, London SW1, tel: 0171 730 6504.

Left: brown fur jacket, pounds 245, Whistles, 27 Sloane Square, London SW1 and branches, tel: 0171 730 9819. Blonde belted polo neck sweater, pounds 95, Jigsaw, 126-127 New Bond St, London W1 and branches, tel: 0181 491 4484. Brown leather mini skirt, pounds 112, Nougat, from selected branches of House of Fraser and Fenwicks nationwide, tel: 0171 248 4300.