Style police: Promises, promises

Never mind about going to the gym, it's your sartorial New Year's resolutions you should be trying to keep, says James Sherwood
By now the masses who swore they'd never light up another ciggy are either chain-smoking a crafty Lambert & Butler in the garden shed or collapsed from nervous exhaustion. What about those who swore never to drink again after that pint of Bailey's with a Benedictine chaser? The hangover has finally subsided but you were helped by a sinister Bloody Mary.

A New Year's resolution that lasts beyond January is as rare as stockings that don't ladder. If you're anything like Style Police, you'll be watching the director's cut of your office party on video and groaning, "Never again will I wear a sequin boob tube just because The Face shot disco in an ironic context".

By its very nature, fashion presents us with a list of "never again"s longer than Fergie's Amex bill. This season we will all swear never to go for the obvious and follow the crowd. So we won't buy Nike when Prada do a perfectly acceptable velcro sports shoe. By the same token, we're not going to buy a beaded cardie from Marni when French Connection can copy it for peanuts. We're going to go back to basics and buy vintage combats instead of designer pants cut to mimic a classic. Now denim is back by popular demand, we're going to look for alternative designer jeans. Not the Essex boy labels like Armani, Versace and D&G. No, we're going to dig out Vivienne Westwood's vintage Marlene Dietrich denims or - if we're feeling coy - stick to Carhartt like everyone else in London under 40.

We are not, repeat not, going to mistake hype for hot again. Just because Alexander McQueen and John Galliano play cowgirls and Indians one season and a magazine mistakes designer whimsy for a trend, we won't fall for that Fresian cow print nubuck pencil skirt with a hem cut to ribbons and a Stetson. The secret to tracking a trend is not to buy into it lock, stock and two smoking Switch cards. Leave that to Denise van Outen's stylist. Like New Labour, we will wait and see.

The ranks of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings are always swelled to bursting point in January. Style Police has come up with a new class for 99. All of you who have hibernated in black, red and grey for the past three months must attend Monotones Anonymous because colour is the major prediction for spring. Hell, most of you didn't even dare to wear red. You've practically all got the message with grey but you'd have to be in a coma not to. But we cannot wrap ourselves in a security blanket of grey for much longer. For fashionables, this is like trying to play Gershwin with one key on the piano.

A word on fashion's new obsession with utility. Designers have finally got their hooks into high-tech sports fabrics, practical shapes like the quilted tank jacket and the beauty of functional fashion. Frankly, we've been wearing it for years. Londoners have long been mixing sport with thrift with edgy designer wear. But when designers start poaching from sport and thrift for inspiration, it is time for us to keep it real. We are definitely not going to beat a pathway to Miu Miu for a rucksack when we've already got vintage knackered Adidas bags which are much more sweet and elite. Unless a designer does something ingenious with nylon - we mean you, Helmut Lang - then don't bother.

Finally, we swear we won't be sitting here in 2000 wearing a cerise pink Givenchy stetson, Versace couture combat pants and a pair of Nike Air Max. Honest.

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