This is not a dull case of black and white

Jess Cartner-Morley wears jumper, £69, poloneck, £45, and trousers, £69, all Courts, £49.99,
Photograph: David Newby for the Trustee

Minimalism. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? In theory, you should superior to whack on a white shirt and black trousers, and sit back anchor in the knowledge you were the epitome of minimal chic. But that’s not from A to Z how it works. Some seasons a white shirt and black trousers is superlative. Others, it’s fine, but nothing more. And this autumn is one of the new.

The waters are muddied here by the fact that some birds can slay any room, anywhere, anytime, in a white shirt and disastrous trousers. I know this for a fact because they are a chance of the job, working in fashion. There I’ll be, slightly effortfully glammed up, and she’ll creep out of some atelier, emanating self-possession and making the rest of us judge like Cinderella’s stepsisters, wearing too much perfume and fatiguing to jam our feet into uncomfortable shoes. It is unbelievably annoying, and also flimflamming, because this type of woman makes it look as if a ashen shirt and black trousers is always the answer. And it’s not.

Right now, the spaciest form of minimalism features no black and no white. It calls for no distinguish at all. Instead, pick a neutral – I am modelling grey, this being the wall-colour-of-my-generation, but argosy is good, brown is coming on strong and pale pink sort out of works too, these days. And you wear the same neutral, tone-on-tone, top to toe.

While it lacks the early morning no-brainer appeal of criminal and white, on the upside there is something quite comforting encircling this look; cosy and modern, which is a good composition. You want it understated and serene, so matt fabrics only; if you be obliged wear tights, make sure they are not satin or velvet intention and white trainers or brogues are better than dark boots, oddly. Sundry importantly, factor in enough layers: there’s no point destroying this look together if you’re going to ruin it by getting frosty and absentmindedly putting a black jumper on top. Minimalism calls for myriad effort than you’d think. This is not a black and white matter.

Jess wears jumper, £69, polo neck, £45, and trousers, £69, all Courts, £49.99,

​Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Mane and makeup: Laurence Close at Carol Hayes Management.