Tweed, the sartorial requirement of well-groomed women of 30 years ago, is back. Tweed is a woven fabric, originally wool, that comes in a variety of colours and patterns. Be smug if you're not a teenager because tweed suits the older woman much better. That said, it can have a rather mumsy image so you need a little irony if you are to avoid looking like you are one step away from support tights. Jackets should be nipped in, skirts ultra-tapered. Stay away from thick fabrics because, coupled with the texture of tweed, this can make for a bulky silhouette. Knee boots are best avoided; go for smart heels instead. This is one look that can easily be picked up at thrift shops - if you're handy with a needle you can get some excellent quality suits.

TOP LEFT & COVER

Charcoal tweed jacket, pounds 44.99, and skirt, pounds 19.99, Dorothy Perkins branches nationwide, tel: 0171 291 2604. Black chenille sleeveless top, pounds 119, MK at Fenwicks, 63 New Bond St, London W1. Black suede and leather handbag, pounds 145, Russell & Bromley 24/25 New Bond Street, London W1 and branches nationwide, tel: 0171 629 6903.

LEFT

Black and white tweed knitted dress with matching jacket, pounds 500, MaxMara at Selfridges, Oxford Street, W1; Matches, Richmond and Wimbledon Village, tel: 0171 287 3434. Black leather bag from a selection at Loewe, 130 New Bond Street, W1, tel: 0171 493 3914. Black suede and patent kitten heel shoes, pounds 115, Russell & Bromley as before. Classic Nylons sheer tights, pounds 3.50, Sock Shop branches nationwide, tel: 01276 63000.

ABOVE

Black and white tweed suit with detachable, fake fur collar, pounds 650, Miss V at Harrods, Knightsbridge SW1; French Dressing, Leeds; Jenners, Edinburgh, tel: 0171 629 5592. Tweed handbag, pounds 85, to order from Whistles, tel: 0171 487 4484. Red leather gloves, pounds 45, Dents, from major department stores, tel: 01985 212291. Black mock croc shoes, pounds 122, Armando Pollini, 35 Brook Street, London, W1. Classic Nylons sheer tights, pounds 3.50, Sock Shop branches as before.

RIGHT

Cream and black tweed coat, pounds 160, skirt, pounds 55, French Connection, 99 Longacre, WC2 and branches, tel: 0171 580 2507. Black rib, short- sleeve sweater (with detachable cream crepe collar, not shown), pounds 45, Principles branches nationwide, tel: 0171 927 1143. Cream mock croc shoes, pounds 46.99, Ravel branches nationwide, tel: 0171 631 0224. Classic Nylons sheer tights pounds 3.50, Sock Shop branches as before.

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