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Fashion: A year of seriously stylish women

MEGHAN MARKLE': Definitely a contender for the Best Newcomer category, Meghan has made an assured and independent foray as a new Royal fashionista, wearing ripped jeans for the Invictus Games and then, for the official engagement photos, styling herself in a luxurious white wrap coat by Line, a brand from her most recent adopted home of Canada. The coat sold out within minutes, has already been renamed 'the Meghan' in her honour,  and will be back and available to buy from February. She's all set to bring Hollywood gloss to British Royal style, and we look forward to next year's looks. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
MEGHAN MARKLE': Definitely a contender for the Best Newcomer category, Meghan has made an assured and independent foray as a new Royal fashionista, wearing ripped jeans for the Invictus Games and then, for the official engagement photos, styling herself in a luxurious white wrap coat by Line, a brand from her most recent adopted home of Canada. The coat sold out within minutes, has already been renamed 'the Meghan' in her honour, and will be back and available to buy from February. She's all set to bring Hollywood gloss to British Royal style, and we look forward to next year's looks. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
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It has been a bumper year of style, with Brits (and adopted Brits) of all ages leading the way. Stephanie Smith pays tribute to our chicest celebrity women.

British women have been setting the bar high this year for red carpet and special occasion dressing. Stylish, high-profile Brits tend not to set out for the red carpet groomed to unlikely perfection, all super-glossy and shiny, predictably and unremarkably coiffed and polished. They leave that to their American co-stars.

HOLLIDAY GRAINGER: 'The Manchester-born actress has been on our TV screens this year in BBC1's very stylish Strike detective series. She presented one of the most unexpected and effective British winter red carpet looks at the Baftas in February this year, teaming a heavy, brocade, floor-length skirt with nude knits and a pale pink kimono jacket, finished with a ruby red velvet clutch and a genius matching bold ruby lip. If ever there was a winter luxe look to emulate, it's this. More, please. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

HOLLIDAY GRAINGER: 'The Manchester-born actress has been on our TV screens this year in BBC1's very stylish Strike detective series. She presented one of the most unexpected and effective British winter red carpet looks at the Baftas in February this year, teaming a heavy, brocade, floor-length skirt with nude knits and a pale pink kimono jacket, finished with a ruby red velvet clutch and a genius matching bold ruby lip. If ever there was a winter luxe look to emulate, it's this. More, please. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Instead, they present a more distinctive and elegant style, one that they own themselves, not a look dictated by the box office or a Hollywood stylist.

Whether in their 20s or their 80s, they show us all that, to shine, we don’t have to look like an identikit model/actress/whatever.

Here are the British women (and one adopted American newcomer) whose effortless style has impressed and inspired this year.

JUDI DENCH: 'At 83, North Yorkshire's own Dame Judi las long been a living, breathing lesson in how to dress elegantly and adventurously when you are neither under 35 years old nor model tall and slim. She has found a style that suits her and tends to stick to it - Eastern-inspired, flowing tunics and trousers, maxi dresses and long light jackets, all layered with billowing scarves. It looks chic and appropriate, wherever she goes, especially here in head-to-toe black. Her hair, she keeps cropped and neat, and the overall look is contemporary, creative and striking.Ian West/PA Wire.

JUDI DENCH: 'At 83, North Yorkshire's own Dame Judi las long been a living, breathing lesson in how to dress elegantly and adventurously when you are neither under 35 years old nor model tall and slim. She has found a style that suits her and tends to stick to it - Eastern-inspired, flowing tunics and trousers, maxi dresses and long light jackets, all layered with billowing scarves. It looks chic and appropriate, wherever she goes, especially here in head-to-toe black. Her hair, she keeps cropped and neat, and the overall look is contemporary, creative and striking.Ian West/PA Wire.

KAREN GILLAN:'The Inverness-born former Doctor Who companion hit the red carpet earlier this month for the Hollywood premiere of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (in which she wears shrunken clothes because she plays a child sucked into a video game who transforms into a grown-up). This shiny-shiny gold halter-neck gown is by Reem Acra (it's custom-made but the current collection can be found on Net-a-Porter). Simple and yet unignorable, it's a daring, considered look that glows with style confidence and marks her out as someone to look forward to seeing at next year's awards and premieres. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

KAREN GILLAN:'The Inverness-born former Doctor Who companion hit the red carpet earlier this month for the Hollywood premiere of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (in which she wears shrunken clothes because she plays a child sucked into a video game who transforms into a grown-up). This shiny-shiny gold halter-neck gown is by Reem Acra (it's custom-made but the current collection can be found on Net-a-Porter). Simple and yet unignorable, it's a daring, considered look that glows with style confidence and marks her out as someone to look forward to seeing at next year's awards and premieres. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

CAREY MULLIGAN': She specialises in making thoughtful, no-nonsense work of the classics, both period pieces and modern-day works, debuting as Kitty in 2005's Pride and Prejudice, winning an Oscar nomination in 2010 for An Education, depicting a memorable Daisy Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby in 2012, and giving us a down-to-earth Tess (of the d'Urbervilles) in 2015. She adopts the same approach to fashion, high brow yet slightly edgy, as with this black tulle and chenille lace effect dress by Dior Couture on a New York red carpet last month. On the catwalk the skirt was transparent but Carey's take is far more chic with a demure black lining. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

CAREY MULLIGAN': She specialises in making thoughtful, no-nonsense work of the classics, both period pieces and modern-day works, debuting as Kitty in 2005's Pride and Prejudice, winning an Oscar nomination in 2010 for An Education, depicting a memorable Daisy Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby in 2012, and giving us a down-to-earth Tess (of the d'Urbervilles) in 2015. She adopts the same approach to fashion, high brow yet slightly edgy, as with this black tulle and chenille lace effect dress by Dior Couture on a New York red carpet last month. On the catwalk the skirt was transparent but Carey's take is far more chic with a demure black lining. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

NAOMIE HARRIS: 'London-born Naomie - aka Miss Moneypenny - is a stalwart of the red carpet these days, much in demand to show off bright and beautiful, high-end, designer creations from the likes of Burberry, Armani and here, Gucci, worn at the Baftas earlier this year. This pretty statement gown encapsulates many of the year's top fashion trends, from millennial pink and ruffled shoulders to chiffon pleats. She knows that, by keeping hair and accessories simple, she can pull off pretty much any look, in any colour, with quietly polished poise and confidence. Ian West/PA Wire

NAOMIE HARRIS: 'London-born Naomie - aka Miss Moneypenny - is a stalwart of the red carpet these days, much in demand to show off bright and beautiful, high-end, designer creations from the likes of Burberry, Armani and here, Gucci, worn at the Baftas earlier this year. This pretty statement gown encapsulates many of the year's top fashion trends, from millennial pink and ruffled shoulders to chiffon pleats. She knows that, by keeping hair and accessories simple, she can pull off pretty much any look, in any colour, with quietly polished poise and confidence. Ian West/PA Wire

KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS: 'Originally from Cornwall, Kristin Scott Thomas has lived in France for decades and has clearly taken French chic to her soul, never putting a style foot wrong on the red carpet, frequently favouring the classic Dior look of white shirt and full midi skirt. Here she is wearing Dior, naturally, in this case a constellation patterned coat for the chilly premiere of The Darkest Hour in London this month. Glamorous earrings, plus her signature red lips and gamine crop, complete the look with finesse. Job well done, as always. Ian West/PA Wire

KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS: 'Originally from Cornwall, Kristin Scott Thomas has lived in France for decades and has clearly taken French chic to her soul, never putting a style foot wrong on the red carpet, frequently favouring the classic Dior look of white shirt and full midi skirt. Here she is wearing Dior, naturally, in this case a constellation patterned coat for the chilly premiere of The Darkest Hour in London this month. Glamorous earrings, plus her signature red lips and gamine crop, complete the look with finesse. Job well done, as always. Ian West/PA Wire