Tried & Tested: Tamsin Blanchard checks out some seasonal extras

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TRIED TESTED

ANKLE-BOOTS

1 SUEDE DESERT BOOT from Fratelli Rossetti, 177 New Bond Street, W1; 196 Sloane Street, SW1, pounds 165

Style: A classic desert boot. The sole is sturdy and chunky and the suede is good quality. For once a boot that is stylish and sensible. For everyday wear, from autumn to spring.

Comfort: Supportive and comfortable. A good walking boot.

Lifespan: A timeless boot that could last as long as you wanted them. The leather and soles are very strong

2 CLASSIC KID LEATHER BOOT by Gina, 42 Sloane Street, SW1; to order 071 235 1440, pounds 185

Style: These boots look expensive, and they are expensive but they are also very good quality. The zip is neatly covered. Also in suede. Look good for both night and day.

Comfort: Once you've squeezed them on, they fit like a glove. Very comfortable and supportive.

Lifespan: Would last forever if looked after. A good investment.

3 ANIMAL PRINT ZIP-UP BOOT from selected branches of Russell & Bromley, as before, pounds 95.50

Style: If you haven't already noticed, animal prints are big news this winter. These have laces and a zip and look a bit too fancy but if you're going to wear animal print, you might as well go over the top.

Comfort: The laces are as faux as the print. The zip makes them easy to get into.

Lifespan: One season only.

4 EDWARDIAN DANDY LACE-UP BOOT WITH HEEL from Next Directory (0345 100 500), pounds 49.99

Style: A boot for this season. They are flattering to the leg as they lace up to the bottom of your calf. Great for day wear and easy to dandy up by night by adding ribbons instead of laces.

Comfort: The leather is soft (a bit too soft, but what can you expect for the price?), but they are comfortable and supportive around the ankle.

Lifespan: Until they fall apart - two seasons?

5 CHISEL TOE BOOT from Red or Dead, 36 Kensington High Street, W8; 33 Neal Street, WC2; 147 Oxford Street, W1; 186 Camden High Street, NW1; 1st Floor, Royal Exchange, Manchester; Affleck's Palace, 52 Church Street, Manchester; mail order and stockist inquiries, 081 903 6777, pounds 70

Style: The chisel toe is a flattering shape for the foot. Despite the round heel (Red Or Dead's boots have to have a quirk somewhere), they are unusual without looking like footwear for fashion victims. Green leather is a good alternative to black or brown.

Comfort: They take some tugging to get them on, but otherwise very comfortable.

Lifespan: Possibly might stretch to three seasons if you don't get bored with them first.

6 MOCK-SNAKESKIN BOOT WITH HEEL from Pied A Terre, 19 South Molton Street, pounds 129

Style: Very Seventies, very rock n' roll. A good height heel. They'd look good with velvet trousers or long skirts. The boot to give an accent to the plainest of outfits.

Comfort: Well, not uncomfortable. Iffy synthetic lining.

Lifespan: One season if you're a fashion victim; as long as they'll last if you're Gary Glitter.

7 CHELSEA BOOT from Jones Bootmaker, 15 Foubert's Place, W1, and branches nationwide, 0323 649 408, pounds 59.99

Style: They look classic and simple. These have been updated from last year's chelsea boot with a slight chisel toe.

Comfort: Strong, hardwearing and comfortable.

Lifespan: A classic that will last through years of walking through city streets and muddy fields.

8 PLATFORM-HEELED BOOT by Stephane Kelian, 49a Sloane Street, SW1; 11 Grosvenor Street, W1, pounds 210

Style: A classic style with a Seventies flavour. The heel and the slight platform are well-balanced.

Comfort: If you're used to heels, comfortable. If not, practice.

Lifespan: Two seasons - the platform might make them look retro very quickly.

9 GRAPHIC COLOUR SUEDE BOOT by Elizabeth Stuart Smith, from Matches, 34 Wimbeldon High Street, SW18; Tokio, 16-17 St Christopher's Place, W1, and 309 Brompton Road SW3; to order 603 9574, approx pounds 120

Style: The green stripe makes your foot look elegant and narrow. Unusual without being freaky and the colour is a refreshing change. Also in black and red.

Comfort: Soft but thick suede, they feel like slippers.

Lifespan: Timeless.

LIPSTICKS

A Boots 17 Moisture Boost Lipstick, Campari Cocktail, pounds 1.99, for 2.5g: A cross between a chapstick and a lipstick, has a core running through it containing Evening Primrose oil and vitamins (doesn't say which). Makes you feel as though your lips are benefiting, and a very good idea for cold windy days. Good rich creamy texture and strong colour which doesn't run. The packaging is basic, but reflected in the price. Not tested on animals.

B Beauty Without Cruelty, Poppyshock, pounds 2.20, for 4g: Unfortunately, not much shock here. Applies very unevenly and sits on the lips rather like tinted Vaseline. A shame as all BWC cosmetics are never tested on animals.

C Shiseido, Scarlet, no 27, pounds 10: This is a blue red which suited our tester who was a brunette with pale olive skin. A lipstick to be seen with - the packaging is dark tortoiseshell and feels perfect to hold. It also applies smoothly and creamily and completely resisted hot tea. The great thing about Shiseido is the fully comprehensive breakdown of ingredients. One of the best tested. Other good reds in the range of eight.

D Paloma Picasso, Mon Rouge, pounds 16 for 4ml: Paloma Picasso's own red - a true red with a hint of blue - a colour formula she developed to best accentuate her pale complexion and black hair. If you have similar colouring, this will be the red for you. The most expensive of the lipsticks tested, elegantly packaged in a heavy metal case, complete with La P's signature. It applies very creamily and evenly but tastes unpleasant - as though you'd sprayed perfume on your lips.

E Clarins rouge a levres, Regal Red, pounds 8.50 for 2.7g: The texture of the lipstick is creamy and it's smooth to apply. It stays on even after a cup of tea, but does stain a little. Not tested on animals since 1988.

F Estee Lauder Perfect Lipstick, Perfect Silent Red, pounds 10 for 3.8g: A deep plum red, perhaps the most popular shade tested. Very matte and velvety with a Lauren Bacall 1940s effect. Comments ranged from 'you have to be young to wear it,' to 'it's too flashy' (how very English). One tester recommended it only for a good complexion as it can clash with spots] Stopped testing on animals in February 1990.

G Lancome hydrating lipstick, Rouge Cubiste, pounds 10.50 for 4.4ml: A good strong scarlet. There are eight shades of red in the range. Doesn't dry out lips. Passed the hot tea test. Although Lancome is 'committed to ending animal testing,' some products might include ingredients tested on animals in the past.

ALSO RECOMMENDED: YSL Lipstick No. 74; Chanel Rouge Extreme, Pique, and Chanel rouge a levres, rouge de minuit (the classic Chanel red)

NAIL VARNISHES

a Lancome Vernis Absolu, no 40, pounds 9 for 14ml:

One of the best results after a first coat. The colour paints on thickly and very smoothly leaving nails shiny. Long lasting and relatively chip-proof. There are five reds in the collection, including b Lancome Vernis Absolu, no 45 (and see f below)

c Estee Lauder Perfect Finish nail lacquer, Silent Red, pounds 8.50 for 13ml: A popular choice, a good dark oxblood colour that doesn't look too brash. Dries quickly and applies very smoothly.

d Boots 17 Easy Colour Peel-off nail varnish, Blazing Orange, pounds 1.99, for 12ml: This is a most wonderful invention. No need for messy nail varnish remover. The varnish simply peels off in a single sheet when you're bored with it. The trouble is, the temptation to peel off is so great that I can't imagine it lasting more than one night. Blazing orange is very bright and the finish is like plastic. The result? Nails that look like bright red smarties.

e Shiseido nail lacquer, no 14, pounds 9,50 for 15ml: Another smooth, thick applicator that lasts well. The range of eight reds offers some subtle shades. Classic packaging.

f Lancome Vernis Absolu, no 50: (see above)

g Chanel Vernis, Rouge Imaginaire, 72, pounds 8.50 for 13 ml: This varnish is quite thin and runny - a bit difficult to control. Several coats are needed to make a hard wearing finish. The colour range includes eight reds.

h YSL nail lacquer, 55, pounds 9 for 13 ml: Brash packaging for a quality product. The varnish paints on very smoothly, with the help of the finer than usual brush supplied. This particular red is bright and clear, not advisable for the delicate at heart. Takes two coats and a lot of patience for a serious finish.

i Shiseido nail lacquer, no 27, pounds 9.50 for 15ml: (see above)

j Paloma Picasso nail enamel, pounds 12.50 for 10 ml: For Paloma clones, the nail colour to match your lips. Pinky and needs two coats to build up a deep rich red.

ALSO RECOMMENDED Clinique glossy enamel, Perfect Red -

(Photograph omitted)

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