Frank, Durham City
James Lock, 6 St James' Street, London SW1 (0171 930 8874/5849 and mail order) have been traditional hat makers for 300 years and made the first bowler hat in the 1850s. They make two types of "mean" fitting caps (what I believe you are looking for): the "Glen" at pounds 45 and the "Gill" at pounds 55. Kangol make the "Kangol 504", which costs pounds 20 to pounds 25. It comes in tweed or plain wool and may also find favour with you (apparently this shape is becoming very fashionable again, hurrah!). Available from House of Fraser stores and, near Durham, the Metro Centre, Gateshead, and Anetson Clothing, Chester-le-Street. Also, try Barbour Gala Forest caps, sizes 61/2 to 73/4 for about pounds 20 (0800 009988 for stockists), available near you from Thomas Owen and Sons, 40- 46 The Side, Newcastle, or 23 Fore Street, Hexham. A tip to make any woollen (unlined) cap or beret fit better is to wet it and put it on. This can give you a frightful cold, however, so only do this if you are barking.
I have a very favourite suit which feels like corded silk but the fabric is 52 per cent cupro and 48 per cent viscose. It is so comfortable and fits well, but I am not happy with the colour, which is a rather sugary pink. Would it be suitable for dyeing? If so, are there any specialists whom I should contact to carry out the job? If the fabric is unsuitable for dyeing what would your suggestions be to achieve a different look. It has a knee-length pencil skirt and long-line waisted jacket with short sleeves.
Elizabeth Willsher, Maldon
I keep meaning to get loads of things dyed, so your letter prompted me to do something about that. Now then, Chalfont Dyers and Cleaners, 222 Baker Street, London NW1 (0171 935 7316) is apparently the place to go. They will dye clothes and soft furnishings made from natural fibres only (cotton, silk, wool). Customers must send garments to the above address. When the garment has been assessed (age, history etc), paperwork will be sent out, as the customer's signature is required to do the job. There are about six colours available for clothes. Prices vary: jumpers cost around pounds 40, jeans pounds 35. Their advice about your suit is that they would never dye structured jackets because the front seams can be too tiny and split in the delicate process involved. Also, linings and interfacing cause too many problems. Your skirt (52 per cent cupro and 48 per cent viscose) can be dyed as both fabrics come from natural fibres, but both become limp after the dying process, which loses the "dressing" somewhat. So, best leave it this time. As for a different look... well, there isn't very much scope is there? Send me a big SAE and I'll send you a copy of my dressmakers directory. Then you can get the suit copied and the dressmaker might be able to find the same type of fabric for you but in another colour.
I am 12 years old and am looking for some reasonably priced (I am willing to pay up to pounds 30, but would prefer something cheaper), tight-fit (stretchy would be nice), dark blue jeans. I have tried Hennes Kids (which is usually very good in the trouser dept), where I got a pair last year. But they have stopped making them. The other shops I've tried seem to sell rather unflattering baggy jeans and seem to think children have no sense of fashion! The xs adults' jeans I have tried on are either too wide or too long. I am 158cms tall and quite thin. Please help!
Miss Selfridge (0181 910 1100) do an indigo stretch-denim pair with a button front (you can see the buttons) for pounds 25. Their sizes start at an 8 and may well fit you as they come up quite small. Hennes Kids (0171 255 2031) do a 501-type cut jean for pounds 12.99, but it doesn't sound tight enough. Great Universal (0500 923923) mail order have some dark blue, stonewash jeans by Morgan for ages four to 16, price pounds 12.99 (probably v tight knowing Morgan). Top Shop (0171 291 2351) have a pair of dark blue, stretch, hipster jeans with belt in matching fabric, sizes 8 to 14. The other style is a tight-fitting jean in dark blue, pounds 22, sizes 8 to 14. Also, try Dorothy Perkins' Girls Unlimited (0171 291 2604), aimed at "in-betweens" (8-13 years). They have jeans in indigo, definitely not baggy, for pounds 17, sized in height. Not available nationwide, but the West One shopping centre on Oxford Street does them.Reuse content