Deborah Ross: Pity the poor, overworked fashion hacks

If you ask me...
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The Independent Online

If you ask me, and as it is London Fashion Week, I would like to take this opportunity to celebrate fashion journalists, particularly those who, on behalf of us all, work so very hard on glossy magazines like Vogue, not only asking the questions that urgently need to be asked – "do trousers still matter?", for example, or: "the cuff, where does it go from here?" – but also tirelessly receiving free handbags and spa treatments on the understanding they will then rave ecstatically about them in print.

After all, it's not as if anybody who happens to be well connected can just truck up and have a go. You thought they could? Seriously? Shows how much you know! There is often rigorous training involved of the kind that might include bidding for an internship at a charity auction, plus you have to know all the people who live in and around Primrose Hill and talk excitedly about the cutest little cupcake shop there.

I'm totally exhausted just thinking about it, and I've yet to mention all those extra, socialite hours you have to put in mingling at parties even though you've had a tough day captioning a photograph of Emma Watson's new hair, and even though you'll probably have to get up early the next morning to put a big black cross on the outfit Carey Mulligan wore to the Baftas. Have you ever tried lifting one of those marker pens? Have you? It can wear you out for weeks.

So don't think it's easy, as it isn't. I mean, could you declare "nude" as this season's colour and not embarrass yourself by asking: "But it's just beige, isn't it?" And wouldn't you embarrass yourself further with stone, ecru, fawn, buff, oatmeal, sand and camel? Could you define this season's accessories as "playful" and then have the courage to leave it there, without defining what kind of playfulness we are discussing exactly? (So playful such accessories repeatedly ring the front door bell and run away? If I had a skinny belt like that, it would drive me bananas.) Could you, even, receive a free Mulberry bag without letting yourself down by shouting about it from the rooftops and into the faces of everyone at the bus-stop? "YES. THEY GAVE IT TO ME FOR FREE! IT'S MENTAL!"

So lay off fashion journalists, though if you want one fashion tip that is true for now and all time, I can give you that personally, and it is this: if the shoe fits, buy the other one, as you don't want to be hopping everywhere. This is a tip of the sort you should value and, for spring and summer 2011, it is also available in taupe.