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How to get the look: Plain black tops


Ooh, that sounds exciting.

Come on, nothing thrills the true fashionista more than pure black. It's the perfect opportunity to show off. While the amateur differentiates (clothes, cars, whatever) by colour, the sartorial brain can distinguish two black tops at 50 paces by way of a dropped shoulder or exposed seam.

Mmm, impressive stuff. But plain black looks boring on me.

I hear you. A plain black tee or polo neck on Elle Macpherson, say, suddenly looks like a mega-glam idea. Try it without the A-list blow-dry and glowing smile and it just looks, well, like a black top.

So you admit there's no hope then.

Actually it's no myth that plain black separates are chic staples, and there are a couple of routes you can go with this. First, you can give your plain black a bit of va va voom with the right fabric. This faux-leather panelled T-shirt by Neil Barrett is something of a modern classic (pictured above, £180, my-wardrobe.com).

Woah, faux leather… hold your horses.

OK, if you want to keep things demure, try Topshop's high-neck, elbow-length sleeved top (£32, topshop.com). It's beautifully simple and has retro hints of Hepburn and Kelly.