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Fashion: Big hair bounces back

The right proportions are key in fashion. While a few things should invariably be small (waists, hips, thighs), almost everything else can be relied on to shrink or grow from one season to the next.

This autumn, designers have been pumping up the volume in all kinds of areas – much to the chagrin of those of us who really don't need to pad out our silhouettes – and it's not stopping at clothes. If you want an inexpensive route to stylista status, it seems all you need now is a can of industrial-strength hairspray and a few hours to tease your locks to gravity-defying heights. Yes, after a long stint in the sartorial wilderness, big hair is back.

The tone was set on the Christian Dior catwalk, where models sported rock-solid, bouffant barnets that would have turned Dynasty's Alexis Carrington green with envy. This time, however, the look is less 1980s poodle than 1970s glamour puss, as demonstrated by the improbably lovely Cheryl Cole (aka the only WAG it is now officially acceptable to like), who has wisely put down her straightening irons and opted for a variety of souped-up dos.

It seems an unlikely moment in time to be re-embracing a look associated with wealth and power, but perhaps it's not such a bad idea. Big hair can add glamour to the dullest of outfits – note the example of Elle Macpherson, who can make jeans and a V-neck look luxuriously stylish largely thanks to her tousled mane.

So, although you may not be able to afford a whopping designer bag this season, or even a pathetically diminutive one, super-sizing your hair will cost you very little. Just avoid any naked flames.