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What I wore this week: khaki

Now, this is remiss of me in the extreme. A major shift has taken place on my watch, yet I’ve only just noticed. I was wondering, the other day, why there hasn’t been a New Black for ages. Remember the New Blacks? In the old days, we got a new colour every six months. It was like your football team getting a new away strip: you’d go and buy it, and that was your fashion fandom signed and date-stamped for another season. But the New Blacks don’t really happen any more. Our fractured attention spans have made every season a kaleidoscope: it might be all about a pink coat, with a white shoe, and a metallic bag.

But what we do have – not always every season, but every two or three – is a New Neutral. The New Neutral is, in fact, the new New Black… even though the New Neutral isn’t actually black, if you see what I mean. (It may be next season, but it’s not now. Of which more later.) The New Neutral is not supposed to be the colour you wear all the time. It’s background music, in your wardrobe, against which the starry pieces you buy (the pink coat! The white shoe! The metallic bag!) get to pop.

In my defence, the New Neutral was actually black, originally, which is probably how I missed it as a concept. But then it was navy for ages, and how I slept through that one I genuinely don’t know. And then it was grey, which, again, was kind of hard to miss as a trend, since it was everywhere – not just on coats and jumpers, but on walls, sofas and carpets. But that’s the point about a new neutral: if it’s right, you don’t even notice it’s there. You just feel that everything is as it should be.

So anyway, sorry about that. To bring you up to speed, what you need to know now is that the New Neutral is khaki. Last seen when All Saints were wearing cargo pants, khaki is back as a works-with-anything shade. The key is to wear it as if it were, say, black. It works surprisingly well with colour, especially red, pink and citrus shades. It’s very French Vogue with white jeans. It’s just, you know, right. How on Earth it took me so long to notice, I’ll never know.

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Jess wears sleeveless blouse, £22, asos.com. Trousers, £120, by J Crew, from net-a-porter.com. Snakeprint shoes, £70, office.co.uk.

Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and make up: Sharon Ive at Carol Hayes Management

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