The silent Mercedes laps St John's Wood High Street. Marvin Berglas parks and enters the blond wood doorway of Bruno's dressed in oh-so-casual Lacoste polo top, sports jacket and jeans.

'I know what I'm looking for, I want to come across as casual and smart,' says Marvin Marvin, big in the magician trade, is very keen to emphasise that what you see is what you get.

'I like to think I'm modern. My team of magicians are well groomed and young this is the image of the nineties.'

And that's why he is here, in the slick, polished and reasssuring surroundings of Bruno's. At the back of the shop lies the inner sanctum with champagne and chablis on ice. It's all convivial, a bit of a boy's club, with regular customers soothing away their Saturdays, talking about Arsenal and easing themselves into clothes.

Marvin doesn't believe in the kudos of designer labels. 'Look you can be fat and ugly and wear a Versace and you're still fat and ugly,' he says fingering a pounds 600 suit.

'Obviously when you get your first Versace or Canali it's good but I've gone past all that now.'

Jean Pierre's (co-owner of Bruno) elegant solicitude appears to put Marvin at his ease and eventually he tries on a pounds 550 navy blue Canali suit and pounds 52 Gianfranco Ferre polo top.

'I've got to stand like this in it,' he says, asssuming a slightly Gazza ish stance.

Eventually he settles for the suit, 'I'll get years of use out of it he says. You know, you can wear it smart or casual.' Sara Travers

She terrorised the coat hangers in Jigsaw, gathering clothes as quickly and easily as if she were loading up a supermarket trolley. Trousers, shirts, jackets, dresses, t-shirts. 'I need a whole new wardrobe for work'.

Sara Travers, 35, is on a mission to spend. 'I've paid off my credit cards, pounds 4,000. I've chopped them all up, but you can't be well behaved all the time can you. And I'm just sick of my clothes,' she says.

After 20 minutes she has chosen 9 pieces, they are black, 'it's our corporate colour,' she jokes: she works for a graphic design company.

In between choosing and the final payment she takes refreshment. 'I like to string it out a little bit, after all it's fun spending money, giving yourself a treat you think you deserve. In the past I've been a spend thrift now all I consider is quality and mileage. I don't feel bad about it. The English are so hung up on paying their mortgages but if you go to Italy, Spain or France they've got a much healthier outlook. I suppose the English live their lives behind net curtains, in Europe they are always out in bars and cafes, they like to be seen.'

After spending pounds 251 in Jigsaw, on a jacket, trousers and a shirt, Sara moved on to the Calvin Klein department in Selfridges where she parted with pounds 230 for a CK gilet. 'pounds 500, that's about my limit today'. But wouldn't she rather spend it on a second hand car: 'No way, I've got a bus pass.'

(Photograph omitted)