One trend has dominated this season's catwalks and red carpets: the Forties. Think figure-hugging, hourglass outfits, hair in smooth waves a la Veronica Lake and crimson screen-siren lipstick.
High maintenance glamour is all very well for models and celebrities with an army of stylists, hair and make-up experts to create the look, but could a mere mortal carry off a retro revamp for the party season?
To get the low-down on old-school styling, we talked to four Forties aficionados who recreate the vintage look every day and asked them to reveal their tips and tricks - from how they pin-curl their hair to where they buy their bullet bras.
EMMA BOWN, 39, is an actress. She says:
MY LOVE of Forties clothes comes from the old Saturday movie matinees, featuring actresses such as Deanna Durbin, Claudette Colbert and Ginger Rogers.
When I was a teenager, my mum still had some clothes from the Forties. We are the same size, and I used to wear a cream linen dress with red stripes that belonged to her.
I went to university at the end of the Eighties and I remember thinking I looked just like Katharine Hepburn in my pencil skirts and close-fitting jumpers.
Modern clothing just doesn't suit my body shape. I'm a size six, but I've got boobs and a bottom. Forties clothing goes in and out in all the right places.
I have been stopped and asked for a couple of tips about my look I was very pleased when someone compared me to Lauren Bacall.
I roll my hair, which is a high-maintenance look. If it goes right first time, then I can do it in just ten minutes. If it doesn't, I can waste an hour.
The most expensive piece I've bought was from the vintage shop Steinberg & Tolkien just before it closed. It's a full-length dress in skin-tight black crepe silk and cost £225 - very Rita Hayworth. I'm saving it for my birthday.
It doesn't take long to get ready, unless I'm doing something special with my hair, about an hour at most, because it's the clothes that matter. A beautiful dress, a bit of lipstick and you're done.
MAKE-UP: During the war, make-up tended to be quite plain due to the lack of products available. Some women even used charcoal on their eyelashes. I just use an eyeliner and Maybelline Great Lash mascara.
When applying lip colour, you first need a solid line with a pencil because red lipstick can bleed. I invest in a decent one, such as Clarins 350. Red is a difficult colour to get right: match it with your skin tone as well as your clothes.
I go to Nails Inc for a manicure and, of course, dark-red varnish.
HAIR: I get inspiration from old photographs. As well as hairspray, I use Brylcreem to hold the hair in place and give it shine.
CLOTHES: Agent Provocateur (www. agentprovocateur.com, 020 7439 0229) for stockings. Trashy Diva (www.trashydiva.com) has good quality clothes. Grays Antique Market (www.graysantiques.com, 020 7629 7034) does great Bakelite jewellery.
SAMMI SADLER, 20, is a systems administrator for a software company in Woking, Surrey. She says:
AS A child, I always stared at pin-ups from the Forties. I loved the immaculate clothes and perfect make-up. Brazilian singer and actress Carmen Miranda was the most amazing woman.
Back then, men and women admired curves; they didn't want bones sticking out all over the place.
I love my bullet bra - I got it on eBay. It was never worn and was still in its packaging. I don't wear stockings on a day-to-day basis, as women did in the Forties, because they ladder so easily - but I wear them for an evening out.
I dress in Forties style all the time and I do get a lot of stares. In London, it's complimentary and people think I'm in a show. But local guys my age make rude comments and poke fun.
Other girls are intrigued. I went into a shop and two followed me in to ask: "Where did you get your lipstick?"
Wearing original clothes from the Forties can be a problem. You can only mend them for so long. I'm getting to the point where I can wear some things only on rare occasions.
My boyfriend dresses in Forties gear, too. When I met him, he was wearing a threepiece suit, trilby hat and two-tone shoes. I just thought: "Wow! He's the man for me."
MAKE-UP: It takes me 40 minutes - liquid eyeliner, mascara, a bit of eyeshadow, blusher (MAC Mocha) and the all important lipstick (MAC Glam or MAC Red). I use a dark-red nail varnish and leave a half-moon blank at the bottom of each nail, a Hollywood pin-up trick.
HAIR: I use curling tongs, hair pins, hairspray and practise, practise, practise. I put it in a hair wrap and don't have to worry about it all day.
CLOTHES: What Katie Did (www.whatkatiedid.com, 0845 430 8743) is good for reproduction underwear such as bullet bras and stockings.
But eBay is my lifesaver - I find so much on there from the US that I would never find in Britain. We weren't making clothes in the Forties like the Americans were. We were make-do-and-mending.
LADY KAMIKAZE, 34, is a DJ at the Black Cotton Club in London. She says:
WHEN I was 16, I preferred Fifties music and fashion. There was a rockabilly boom in Japan - my former boyfriend was in a rock band and the small town where I lived had its own scene.
Then slowly I began to work my way back and appreciate Forties fashion through listening to the music of the era. The first outfit I bought came from San Francisco - a Forties Hawaiian shirt and high-waisted trousers.
It takes time to find clothes in good condition. Original Forties clothes usually have a stain or moth holes and I don't want to wear something like that. I don't worry about the price.
If it's in good condition and I love it, then I have to buy it because I'm never going to find something like that again.
Clothing-wise, the beginning and the end of the Forties is completely different. From 1947, Dior's New Look came in and it was more Fifties style with a tiny waist.
I prefer the early Forties fashion - I appreciate beautiful details such as embroidery on sleeves or a drape on a dress.
Marlene Dietrich was cool and elegant - she could be a really sexy female or quite masculine and that's why I like her. Sometimes I wonder who wore my dress or jewellery in the Forties. I imagine a husband gave it to a beautiful woman as a present and it's a fantastic feeling - I'm wearing a piece of history.
MAKE-UP: I use Chanel, MAC and Shu Uemura - they do really nice dark-red nail varnish and lipstick. I like Chanel 08 or MAC Liza Red with a MAC Cherry lip pencil and Chanel 08 nail varnish or MAC Shirelle.
HAIR: I keep it very simple, short and slick to my head. I can do it in just five minutes.
CLOTHES: Vivien of Holloway (www.vivienofholloway.com, 020 7284 2074) makes Forties and Fifties reproduction clothes. The Girl Can't Help It (www.thegirlcanthelpit.com, 020 7724 8984) has vintage clothing for men and women
JO HENBREY, 31, is chief instructor and manager at a riding stables in South London. She says:
WHAT I love about older clothes is that they're cut for women. They expect you to have a waist and bottom.
I have lots of pencil skirts, sharply tailored suits, full-length evening dresses with Oscars glamour and corsets. It used to be easy to get bargains, but now everyone is a little wiser to what they have.
I don't go to the pub in full evening dress, but I always dress in Forties style. I've had only one negative comment in my life, which was from a drunken woman.
People usually think it's cute. I stumbled across a tea dance in London's Spitalfields Market and the pensioners asked me to dance. All the old ladies asked: "Where did you get your clothes?"
MAKE-UP: Bad Gal Lash mascara by Benefit, and fake eyelashes and liquid eyeliner by MAC. I use Stila blusher in a shade called Poppy and more than a modern girl would wear. I only ever wear MAC Russian Red lipstick, but any brand of red nail varnish. Red goes with anything and it's instantly glamorous.
HAIR: I wash my hair every day, but women in the Forties didn't so it was grubbier and easier to style. I use setting lotion and lots of hairspray. Elnett is great because you can brush it out if it goes wrong. Nina's Hair Parlour (www. ninasvintageandretrohair.com, 020 7928 7061) does retro hairdos.
CLOTHES: Black Cotton Vintage (www.myspace. com/ blackcottonvintage, 07961 566198) sells vintage clothes from the US in good condition and also vintage furniture, so it feels like going to someone's house.
At Frock Me (www. frockmevintagefashion. com, 020 7254 4054) I bought a black jacket with a nipped-in waist, which gives the figure a lovely hourglass shape. The next fair is on Sunday, December 9, in London.