IF black and navy are the fallback colours for autumn/winter, then grey is the new neutral on the block.

Banish visions of starchy school uniforms. It may not be the most exhilarating hue on the colour spectrum, but design houses upped grey's cool factor by turning the catwalks dove, slate and charcoal.

Need convincing? "Grey is less harsh against most complexions than black and there is a shade to suit everyone," says Colour Me Beautiful's Fiona Wellins.

Time to meet the new black...


Go cold turkey on your summer brights and prints with the complete antithesis - super-strict and restrained grey.

"The best description of the grey trend this season is 'off-duty chic'," Wellins says. "The look is effortlessly stylish and understated."

This is minimalism in it's purest form. Think unfussy details and straight lines that will elongate your silhouette. If you're not quite ready for the influx of luxe grey coats on the high street, ease your way into autumn with a longline wool waistcoat or sleeveless jacket.

Create a streamlined, tonal look by layering multiple shades of grey together to add interest to your look. Try New Look Premium grey ankle boots, £64.99 (www.newlook.com).


If you're more about texture and cosiness, give grey instant depth with this season's fuzzy and furry statement pieces.

The number one rule for voluminous fabrics is to balance out your proportions with a contrast. Go for a double grey hit by teaming a big, fluffy knit with a slick A-line leather skirt.

If you're unsure about combining grey tones and fabrics together, the high street has plenty of ready-made contrasts with jumpers, coats and tops featuring furry panels.

Gargantuan faux furs are huge for autumn, but if you want to wear a strokeable texture now, try a faux ponyhair boxy top in grey. Try Topshop's Unique contrast jumper, £75 (www.topshop.com)


With a little boost, grey can be just as dazzling as black for eveningwear.

Look for a jacquard top or dress with a grey backdrop and a hint of metallic, that will transfer easily from desk to dancefloor.

If all-grey still feels too drab, inject a shot of contrasting colour into your outfit. "Grey is a great foil for bold colour; pick just one shade to keep it elegant," Wellins advises. "Pink is grey's perfect match this season, unless you have warm skin tones, then opt for coral or orange."

Give grey accessories a boost with a touch of metal hardwear to add some gloss to your outfit. Try Very metallic jacquard top, £27 (www.very.co.uk)