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What colour should women wear more often?

Woman picking out swatches from desk

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The question

What do you think is the most unjustifiably underused colour in women's wear?

The answer

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It's perhaps a bit of a damper to begin considering fall clothes when the days are still so sultry, but we have to be prepared. So I would like to nominate grey as the backbone to your autumnal wardrobe. Christian Dior, in his Little Dictionary of Fashion, says grey is "the most convenient, useful and elegant neutral colour. Lovely in flannel, lovely in tweed, lovely in wool. And, if it suits your complexion, there is nothing more elegant than a wonderful grey satin evening dress."

I would add that a lustrous silver-grey silk blouse always looks like privilege – it almost smells of dry sherry and hay. The usefulness of grey has long been known to men: Most of our suits are a variation on it, because it is easily matched with accessories of all colours (almost every colour of tie will go with grey), because it does nothing alarmingly contrasting to most skin tones and because it can look sober or festive depending on what you pair it with. And here's a secret from the locker room: To a man's eye,one of the most erotic accoutrements a woman can own is a pair of opaque dove-grey tights.

Russell Smith is a novelist. His recent memoir, Blindsided, is available as a Kobo e-book. Have a fashion question? E-mail

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