"I get a bit sick of this skinny black uniform," announced Luella Bartley after her candy-coloured spring/summer show in September. She's referring, of course, to the Balmain-meets- Alexander-Wang-meets-French-Vogue editor-look which nine out of 10 fashion lovers prefer: ankle boots, spray-on jeans, boyish T-shirt, long thin cardigan and a leather jacket. It may not be original, and you may look like a bit of a fashion-bot, but some of us aren't at all sick of it because it's so damn easy. That is, those of us who have never quite recovered from the convenience of a school uniform. What some people call a rut, I call a capsule wardrobe.
The skinny jean-based silhouette has dominated the second half of the Noughties but as the decade ends, it's reached perfection, provided you get the components right. Here are some can't-go-wrong, reasonably-priced ingredients. I've discovered the best skinny jeans ever, at least for £35, at Topshop. The Lila in black are snug but not stop-the-blood-flow tight and best of all have a high waist, so no "whale tail" (I know, charming phrase). Try them on, as the sizes vary slightly. For T-shirts, try Acne (shop.acnestudios.com) or T by Alexander Wang (Selfridges, 0800 123 400) for the perfect androgynous styles; buy a size bigger than usual, then roll up the sleeves. Whistles have a brilliant long-line leather jacket for £350, that will take you into winter (pictured below), and for versatile boots go for a high – but not painful just to look at – heel and it will work for every day. Hobbs' black "brogued" ankle boots are comfy and sleek (0845 313 3130), or try a boot with hiking/skating detailing. Banana Republic's long cardigans (020-7758 3550) look expensive and stay that way. Just add a metal necklace that looks like a string of hubcaps, and your uniform is complete. Fashion rules may lack creativity, and they may have been made to be broken, but, crucially, they also give us an extra half hour in bed.