Jackets: a user's guide: Is the cut right? Is the fabric right? Is the price right? Our choice of six, from pounds 50 to pounds 310

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Marks & Spencer, pounds 50. This grey jacket is extremely good for fashionability, quality and, of course, price. But long-term, the jersey fabric is likely to pill and to bag. Not an investment buy. In tune with the taste for softer, slightly less structured clothes. White vest top, pounds 11, also by Marks & Spencer, selected stores nationwide

Next, pounds 89.99. This oatmeal herring-bone single-breasted number is cut to a long, easy, flattering line. It reflects the sports jacket but in a soft feminine way. Wool-mix fabric looks only slightly 'country' so works in town. Next/Next Directory (0345 100500). Lemon crew-neck, pounds 85, by Cashmere Studio 10 Sloane Street, London SW3

Liberty Own Label, pounds 119. This grey wool blazer is one of three good jackets in the Liberty own-label range using quality fabrics and finishing (note the pewter-look buttons) and having a strong silhouette. Will suit a wide range of occasions. Liberty, Regent Street, London W1. White vest top with satin neckline, pounds 11, by Marks & Spencer, as before

Joseph, pounds 199. Lightweight cream double-breasted jacket that has a strong 'designer' signature but isn't quite 'now' enough to be a great choice, nor does it have a shape that will transcend seasonal whims. From Joseph, 26 Sloane Street, SW1; 77 Fulham Road, London SW3. Black vest top with satin neckline, pounds 11, from Marks & Spencer, selected stores nationwide

Browns Own Label, pounds 265. This coffee-coloured pin-stripe jacket is neat, softly curved, well shaped and constructed in a soft crepe fabric. Good value compared with designer alternatives. Our verdict: not fabulous, but will last you happily through autumn into spring. Browns, 23-27 South Molton Street, London W1

Piazza Sempoine, pounds 310. You get what you pay for: a superbly cut jacket in brown, touchy-feely fabric. On the equation of 'price per wearing' this is the bargain the Dorothy Perkins jacket at pounds 39.99 (not shown because of insufficient quality) is not. Browns, as before. Lemon crew-neck, pounds 85, by Cashmere Studio, as above

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