Iwould love to be the sort of woman who wears red lipstick, but I have made my peace with the fact that this isn’t going to happen. I eat too often, check my reflection too infrequently, and anyway my mouth is too big. But – especially on a dull day – I love seeing the cheery, chin-up vibe of red lipstick on other women.
Silver shoes are my version of red lipstick. They are just impractical enough to lighten the mood, without causing any problems. A metallic leather is every bit as eye-catching as, for instance, a pale pink suede one, but you will not be scuppered by the first puddle you come across.
People notice shoes. You have only to wear shoes that are very slightly more interesting than black leather boots and people compliment you on your bravery as if you had just done a lengthy open-water swim. I have a pair of silver brogues from which any mud or leaf-mush wipes straight off. They are more practical than my more sensible-looking black loafers because the lace-up top makes them significantly warmer and more waterproof. They are much, much more fit-for-purpose on a winter commute than the black ballerina-style pumps that I still see all around me on the tube – useless things, with leather that is never thick enough to keep your toes warm and a cut that exposes the delicate top of your foot to the cold. But simply because the colour is eye-catching, the brogues look bold and somehow give the impression that I have made an effort. They raise a no-brainer outfit (black trousers, black silk blouse, blazer) into something that looks purposeful, rather than default. Or, worn with a cocktail dress, they add the sparkle you get from a sequin scarf, in a way more this-season form.
It can be hard to wear strong colour in winter. When you are sporting multiple layers and have scarves and umbrellas to add to the visual clutter, the effect gets messy fast, so keeping everything black or grey or navy – or white, of course, if you are sleeping with your dry cleaner – streamlines the look. Think of silver as a new neutral. The party side of grey. Something to make you smile – without having to worry if you have red lipstick on your teeth.
• Jess wears shoes, £68, office.co.uk. Dress, £49, warehouse.co.uk. Chair, £295, grahamandgreen.co.uk
Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Laurence Close at Carol Hayes Management