Claudia Winkleman: Take It From Me

'Victoria is just too "done". She says she dresses for girls but I can't find one girl who thinks she looks good'
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The Independent Online

Did you hear that Jamie Oliver is writing a book about how to use more Cheestrings and Peperami Minis at family meal times? Yep, there are going to be great photos of kids tucking into Turkey Twizzlers - and just wait till you get to the recipe for Dairylea milk-shakes. Delicious.

And don't forget to reserve a copy of Tony Blair's My Best Friend, Gordon. It promises to be a corker - there's loads of pictures of the two of them running along a beach, playing Twister and just having a whale of a time. It's going to be rammed with sonnets they've written to each other. Seriously, that book's going to fly off the shelves.

Whatever you do, make sure that you're the first on Amazon, ordering the How to Pose for the Paparazzi DVD that Sean Penn and Cameron Diaz have put together. It's got tons of tips - how to get out of a car and smile, how to lie on a beach anywhere in the world and be prepared for a photographer in a canoe with a long lens. It's just going to be jam-packed with great information - any modern celebrity needs one.

And do me a favour: while you're in Book Corner, could you just pick up a copy of Victoria Beckham's style bible? Oh. My. That one's actually been written. Victoria Beckham is good at so many things - she's fabulous at passing on After Eights, she's extremely talented at pointing, she excels at looking pissed off 24/7, but the ONLY thing she falls down on is her dress sense.

In her 10-year life in the public eye, Victoria has managed to turn me off Gucci (quite a feat considering Tom Ford created navy velvet skinny suits), ponchos (sure, I was never going to be a massive fan but once I saw old Grumpy Spice looking like an extra from The Mexican, it was all over), and enormous sunglasses (she looks like a frog, and I really like frogs. Small aviators from now on please) and chaps (yes, again, the Clint Eastwood look was never high on the list, but I might have given it a go) with her cinched-in, impossibly small waist and hint of a coloured bra strap, and her perfectly applied glossy gloss, she's not stylish. She's manicured. And there's a difference.

If I had a squillion in the bank and some spare time, I too could have nice nail polish and waxed legs. My friend Becky could have a chef so she'd eat slightly less Flora with her hands. My other friend, Sam, wouldn't have to resort to Sun-In to get a bit of blonde in her hair. We'd all spend much more time in the beauty salon with our toes separated by cotton wool and none of us would have root issues.

But I'd like to think we'd look better. And maybe, after 10 years of squeezing our arses into another pair of pinstripe trousers and after endless shoehorn moments hopping around the bed to force swollen PMT feet into Gina stilettos, we might just let it all hang out a bit. We'd throw on old Levi's and white T-shirts. And guess what? We'd wear flats. Sometimes we'd turn up at smart restaurants without the enormous statement bags and the high heels and the spangly belts and the hoop earrings and the diamond encrusted watches. Maybe we'd drop our kids off at school in pyjama bottoms and chipped toe varnish. You never know, we might even walk through Heathrow in old, muddy trainers. I'm not sure we'd really bother to match our husbands' outfits in tone - if they insist on wearing taupe, so be it.

The problem Victoria has is that she's just too "done". She says she dresses for girls but I can't find one girl who thinks she looks good. (OK, I found one but she's pregnant and in love so she doesn't count. She's bought a puppy and thinks that everyone's a good person - we're all praying it doesn't last.)

Girls like girls to look accidentally fantastic, even though it might be just a big old lie. Maybe Kate Moss does stand in front of the mirror trying on one little vintage scarf after another before messing up her hair and leaving the house, but she looks like she hasn't given her outfit a second thought. Effortless sexy, that's what we emulate. Think Debbie Harry, Ali MacGraw and Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas - not Miss Moneypenny.

Victoria says that she doesn't have a stylist and that one of her favourite outfits is the blue and white "Ming vase" creation that she wore to Elton's Ball one year. Taxi for the pop star please. She needs help.

Her book is full of dos and don'ts - don't wear jeans that sag on the bum, don't dress for your age or for "fashion" but for you - you don't have to spend a fortune to look great. All of these are relevant to us girls who love clothes and can't decide between dark denim or light. It's just that taking style advice from a woman who thinks nothing of wearing a corset, black lace gloves and matching tights to go to the supermarket seems plain wrong.

The other big problem with Victoria Beckham is that the one thing we all know, the fashion must-have for any season, the only item that money can't buy and that will make men want to sleep with you again and again is a smile. It's the sexiest "look" we've got, and she just can't do it. What should her number one accessory be? A tickling stick.

c.winkleman@independent.co.uk

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