B efore the mid-19th century, unless you were a member of the aristocracy or a rich merchant, you wore clothes in shades of brown. Life was so easy in those days. Then some busybody discovered synthetic dyes and everything changed. Colour flooded into clothes – colours that suited you or didn’t suit you. Colours that brought out your eyes; colours that made your jawline disappear into your neck; colours that gave you a healthy glow; colours that your mother repeatedly said gave you the look of an old dishcloth and she didn’t know why you were throwing yourself away like that. Which is roughly where we are today – flailing around looking for the colour to bring out our colour, wondering if success lies in a mustard-yellow shirt or shocking-pink trainers. And then deciding we should stick to grey. Or black. Yes, black. That’s a good idea. C ashmere jumper with roll neck, £125, COS; dress with tie waist, £7.99, Zara; Mansur Gavriel Venetian suede loafers, £315, MATCHESFASHION.com Hands up, fashion journalists are guilty of adding to the spectrum confusion. ‘Pink’s BACK!’ ‘Purple REIGNS!’ ‘The NEW yellow!’ In the last year, I’ve written about the return of brown, the joy of indigo, why camel makes you look expensive and how black is the only shade I want to wear in summer. Sorry about that. But I’ve had it now, because finally, after 42 years, I’ve been officially told which colours suit me and which don’t, which counteracts the red in my skin tone and what disturbs it to such an extent that I look – and I quote myself – ‘dirty’.