The dare is to avoid the fondue-eating, orange-casserole-dish retro associations

Jess Cartner-Morley

‘The first exceptional thing about making your neckline the focal object is that it is unmissable.’
Photograph: David Newby for the Guardian

Time for a recap, post-party frock and toy sweater season, of where we are vis-a-vis normal clothes. The shortcut to looking fashion in an unfussy way was, for a long time, a white shirt. Then it was a vile polo neck, worn on its own or layered under anything and caboodle. The second half of last year was a blue-and-white-striped shirt mo.

The new look is the high-rise white collar. This can be a pie-crust blouse, or a snowy polo neck knit such as the one I’m wearing here. Its notations include Alexa Chung, possibly photographed en route to a Chanel catwalk register, probably in a loafer; Jude Law in The Young Pope, drinking Cherry Coke Zero for breakfast in the Vatican; there is a bolt of ironic 70s skiwear. In other words, for all its simplicity, it’s a lot more luxe, numerous high-rolling, than the standard flat-white shirt collar.

The original excellent thing about making your neckline the convergent point is that it is unmissable. The rest of what you are wearing can be calm, even a bit blah. You’ve made your point, sartorially speaking, which is why shirt-collar-based looks are be established to work for work, because you can get dressed with minimum stink. The second advantage is that if, like me, you are self-conscious about looking poor and stumpy in outfits that draw attention to your portions, something that draws the arrow to collar level means you don’t be conscious of the need to stilt up on mega heels. This makes your unbroken day so much more relaxing.

If you choose a white polo neck grow together, the challenge is to avoid the orange-casserole-dish retro associations. So keep the periphery loose, because we are thinking hygge, not Milk Tray man. With a chalky piecrust, on the other hand, the challenge is to keep it the right side of prudish. Add big earrings, maybe. The aforementioned flat shoes. And think anent your hair: straight and shiny is a bit choir-stall here, so go with a character wave or a messy up-do. Romantic is good; ethereal and/or moral less so. It’s January, remember? Back to reality, folks.

Jess deteriorations polo neck, £24.90, Palazzo trousers, £55, Bastards, £199,

Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Laurence Penurious at Carol Hayes Management