You know what work-life balance is, right? Whether or not you have it, I’m guessing you are familiar with the concept. So allow me to introduce you to my new daytime dressing philosophy of walk-life balance. Work-life balance, but make it fashion.

Walk-life balance means an outfit that you can do the hard yards of your day in (that’s the walk part) but which also makes you feel like you have a life. An outfit that can deal with January realities – the walk to the station, the ever-present possibility of rain, that really unattractive weird thing that skin does in the winter of crumbling to dust unseen under jumpers – but which doesn’t make you feel like you have completely given up.

It is very important to look a tiny bit fabulous on run-of-the-mill days. Much more important, actually, than for special occasions, because tea-bath-bed days are when you need the lift. I don’t mean a ballgown at the bus stop, although be my guest if you can be bothered. I mean the feel of a nice blouse against your skin, the glint of a pair of earrings, a shot of colour added to your look. These are tiny talismans to help you keep faith with joy and fun when high days and holidays feel a long way away.

The walk part starts with your shoes. A comfortable, closed-toe, puddle-proof mid-heeled shoe is a wardrobe treasure to be cherished. (These Tommy Hilfiger loafers, worn in to perfection, have been resoled several times.) Don’t get me wrong, trainers are great, but even a tiny heel gives you a psychological boost, as well as a vertical one. A couple of inches of height also tends to make trousers more flattering (always cheering) and avoids soggy hems (always dispiriting).

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The life element of the balancing act means adding some fashion content, which doesn’t have to be sequins or slogans.

The decentred silhouette of the shirt I’m wearing here adds interest without being tricky to wear. If you can’t face the day in anything but a crew neck sweater, layer a shirt underneath in a bright colour and pull the cuffs out to make a feature of them. Tie a silk scarf around your ponytail or cinch your blazer with a belt.

It can – it should – be simple. This is about real life, so just keep it real.

Jess wears shirt, £255, victoriabeckham.com. Trousers, £39, topshop.com. Heels, Jess’s own. Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Makeup and hair: Sam Cooper at Carol Hayes Management using Living Proof and MAC Cosmetics.

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