Like a bright shining light that pierces through the darkness, beige - and variations of it - provides a dramatic contrast to all the black seen in the autumn collections. A beautiful belted cardigan from Versace (right, centre) paired with a tone-on-tone turtleneck sweater makes one reconsider the colour that we often dismiss as uninspired. The combo has a touch of old world elegance that is a welcome look right now when most designers are rehashing the sartorial nightmares of the 1980s. I suggest you rush to Versace and see the cardigan for yourself because I am certain you will change your mind about beige once you slip it on. And while you're at Versace, consider the fur scarf or the suede boots as your beige accessories for the season. At Ermenegildo Zegna (far right) there were so many looks in shades of beige, camel and khaki at the beginning of the show that it made beige seem like your man-about-town older brother you aspire to be when you grow up rather than the dull distant cousin from the countryside. Choose from double-breasted suits in the most gorgeous fabrics, double-faced cashmere topcoats, biker jackets, slim trousers, Navajo-style boots and overnight bags in sumptuous leather. Having just made the rounds of the department stores in New York - Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys - I am glad that we have beige to fall back on this season because the racks and racks of heavy-looking black clothes just do not whet my shopping appetite. I don't know about you, but when there's little disposable income to go around I would prefer to spend it on something special instead of something generic such as another black sweater. I would rather have, say, a cardigan with a shawl collar from Lacoste or a boy blazer reminiscent of prep school uniforms in the palest shade of beige, almost like eggshell, paired with a nude coloured polo shirt. I also like the cream trousers with hems that look like they were ripped off from the bottom of a pair of track pants. Since dressy-looking sweat pants are going to be the big thing for spring 2010, I might as well get a head start. If all that's not enough for you to think of beige as more than just the Switzerland of the colour wheel, why not try the plaid suit from Tommy Hilfiger, which was worn on the runway with a V-neck shirt in light brown, topped off by aviator sunglasses for a touch of jet set style? Or perhaps a military style shirt with epaulets from DSquared2? What about a variation on the tennis sweater from Thom Browne? Carry a Marc by Marc Jacobs nylon gym bag while you're at it (above). A ribbed sweater paired with taxi yellow trousers and light brown shoes gives beige a jolt of the unexpected as seen at Hermes(left). But if the bright yellow trousers are too upbeat for you, substitute them for khaki, black or charcoal grey trousers, which I 'm hoping you already have in your closet. Lastly, the fact that Ralph Lauren and Tomas Maier of Bottega Veneta - two arbiters of great, timeless style - decided to end their shows with a medley of looks in various studies of the colour beige, from slim cargo pants and hoodies at Ralph Lauren and blazers with peak lapels, wrinkled trousers and cashmere knits from Bottega Veneta (above, far left), just goes to prove that beige has moved from boring to rocking. Run to your nearest Bottega Veneta and you'll know exactly what I mean. Shopping list Bottega Veneta, The Landmark, Central, tel: 2973 0882. DSquared, On Lan Street, Central, tel: 2524 3988. Ermenegildo Zegna, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2295 0828. Hermes, The Galleria, Central, tel: 2525 5900. Marc by Marc Jacobs, Kingston Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2882 6207. Thom Browne at Harvey Nichols, The Landmark, Central, tel: 3695 3388. Tommy Hilfiger, The Landmark, Central, tel: 2525 8848. Versace, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2918 1008.