This time a year ago, I was exhorting you never to let the jumpsuit – a grisly throwback to Seventies fashion that was threatening to make a comeback – darken your wardrobes.
Twelve months on, this garment is still poised for a major revival, and my reservations remain on high alert. Admittedly, I have now witnessed it being modelled by a more or less real woman (for a TV show). And she looked good. But the infernal conundrum with the jumpsuit remains this: what, exactly, is its point?
As we peer over the parapet towards 2009, I can’t help feeling that as mantras go, “What. Exactly. Is. Its. Point?” is hard to beat, especially when applied to any new purchase. Does it make you look better than you looked before you tried it on?
Will it pass muster in three years’ time? Can you wear it in at least three different ways? To guide us in our new sense of purposefulness, I have devoted months to trying on stuff. Here is my pick of 2008’s fashion achievements, selected for all-round brilliance and also because I think they’ll still be around in another 12 months.
1) Cropped trousers: once consensus was reached about length (just shy of the ankle), these came into their own this winter. Cute, sleek – especially when worn with the surprisingly practical shoe-boot or ankle boot – these solve the winter leg problem while allowing you to do what you want with your top half.
2) Striped T-shirts: now that the likes of Isabel Marant, PPQ and Burberry London are doing upmarket Breton jumpers, they’ve become a staple of recessionista (ie, understated but still, we hope, chic) dressing.
3) The boyfriend jacket: tailored, sleeves that can be “casually” pushed up, slightly large, or then again, impeccably fitted, this is the painless way to wean yourself off cardigans and, in doing so, give yourself a more businesslike edge.
4) The asymmetric cardigan: let’s face it, we’re never going to give up on the cardi altogether. It has too many cosy advantages. But the drapey, longer-at-the-front cardigan is the way forward: versatile, camouflaging and ever-so-slightly avant-garde.
5) Zadig & Voltaire (knitwear for layering) and Isabel Marant (distressed elegance): two more invaders proving – damn eet – that the French do nonchalant chic better than anyone else.
6) The Shop at Bluebird: the slightly out-of-the-way location of this store (350 Kings Road, London SW3) means it remains something of a hidden gem, packed with hand-picked labels of the more affordable, less obvious kind, including Alexander Wang, the hip young star of New York Fashion Week.
7) Coloured tights: a brilliant way to update… everything. And yes, some time ago, I ventured that primary tights were best left to primary schools. As I said, a year is a mighty long time in fashion