Katie Trotter: Drawing the (hem) line

Make the most of the cooler weather with a nod to when hemlines were not so short.

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I have only just realised that certain things get neglected when shopping for your wardrobe in the UAE. Take the winter coat, for example. Mine is close to five years old now and looks a little on the naff side.

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It's important to keep things up to date. We should invest in a tailored coat at least every two years, although I give you full permission to cheat because you will not get a lot of mileage from one here. Zara has some wonderful versions at the moment, with leather trims that fit the bill in every way possible.

What else should we look for now that the temperatures have finally fallen? Well, two things that are almost unavoidable are polka dots and the 1940s trend. Our friend Stella McCartney sent models down the runway in supersized spots. And whatever she does, the rest will copy, so expect a high street follow-on.

What the grand dot is to fun and frivolity the Forties look is to grace and femininity. Think clean lines, fantastic Miu Miu printed tea dresses with three-quarter sleeves, and great hair - not anything with a costume feel.

The biggest mistake you can make when trying the wartime Women's Institute look is to try to do "retro" in any way. Still, some of the most flattering cuts of all time come from the era, so use that to your advantage.

Be aware of your hemline. Although it sounds simple it's surprising how many of us get it wrong, thus ruining the outfit in its entirety. As everyone's legs are different, we need to experiment. Grab a towel and hold it in front of you, starting on the floor. Watch carefully as you raise the towel until you get to a point when your legs look slimmest and your ankles look happiest. Mark that point on your leg with a marker, then with a measuring tape measure the length from your waist to that point. There you have it, your perfect skirt length. So now you can take things to a tailor to get them taken up or let down. It may change your entire wardrobe.

Shoes, meanwhile, have gone a little austere. Think brogues, patent flats, velvet slippers or a flat leather Chelsea boot. Forget heels, glitter or shine, as they will only cheapen a wonderfully stylish season. Women are mostly terrified of an out of-the-ordinary shoe, but get past the initial fear of the new and you gain instant access to the fashionable elite.

So it seems, dear readers, big changes are afoot - hemlines have dropped, jackets are trim and there's minimal flesh on display. Finally - much to the distress of some, I hasten to add - it's time to put our clothes back on.


This week's highs and lows

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO The film's costume designer is working on a range for H&M this December.

BIRDS OF A FEATHER As much as we love our feathers (and we do!), we don't quite know what to do when our dress starts shedding at a dinner party.

SWEET TOUCHES Prada's new jewellery collection will be out this month. Let the queues begin.

GROW UP Child designer Cécilia Cassini is getting on our nerves almost as much as Justin Bieber.

KARL FOR LESS We couldn't believe it when we read that Mr Lagerfeld is going to release a cheaper label, Karl, with offerings starting at £50 (Dh295) on Net-A-Porter.