In light of the arrival of Alfie Barker I have identified a gaping chasm in my style repertoire. I have previously been told that I successfully nail the smart-casual dress code, but dog walking chic is an elusive look I have yet to conquer.

 A walk with the dog conjures up images of carefree sauntering, unhindered by the everyday shackles of handbag, purse, lip gloss and phone. Regretfully, the 2010 dog comes with a greater pile of paraphernalia than a mountaineer. A handbag is therefore an essential accompaniment to the dog walk – think poo bags, portable doggy drinkers, treats and things to throw. Since Alf’s walks involve a combination of rural and urban locations, footwear has to be suitable for over hill and dale as well as the odd zebra crossing. A skinny leg is far preferable to a loose trouser; this saves you from tampling around with the bottom two inches of your trousers soaked in the juices of the countryside. In addition to this, flapping ankles provide something of a distraction to an excitable puppy. My conventional choice of a long tasselled pashmina is equally distracting and now needs to be replaced by a shorter alternative. While the dog has short little legs he often prefers to run and gallop where I’d much rather stroll. Thin light layers are therefore significantly more appropriate for stealthy sweating.

 Besides, the dog is an absolute pimp, crowded by hoards of adoring boys, girls, men and women wherever he goes. I want someone to notice my lovely coat, scratch me behind the ear and perhaps occasionally, tickle my tummy.


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