dear annie

I work in Thailand for five to six months per year and I need to wear tights or pop-socks. I cannot find any either there or here that don't ladder on the first wearing. I have been told that there are some tights that are very hard-wearing available by mail order: I don't mean run-resistant things one can buy in shops. Can you help?

N Dickins

I don't know if I got your name right, but it was rather hard to read. The only very hard-wearing ones I have heard of are the run-resistant ones you don't like, which you often find advertised in the classifieds of the Sunday papers, or through those mail order brochures that pop out of the papers (for those interested, a company called Independence does 20 denier run-resistant tights in mink and nearly black in packs of three. They cost pounds 4.99 for hip sizes up to 42; pounds 5.99 for 42-48ins; pounds 6.50 for 48-54ins; pounds 7.50 for 56-64ins; pounds 8.50 for 64-72ins; and pounds 9.99 for 72-80ins. prices include p&p, call 0181 861 1722). What can you be doing to them to make them ladder on the first wearing? There are certainly things you can do to make hosiery last longer (an old wives' tales says putting them in the freezer first helps, but I have never tried this out!) and generally, the higher the denier, the longer they last. There are a few tips on how to make tights and pop-socks last longer such as: wash by hand or in a laundry bag on a delicates wash; don't wear jewellery when putting on etc. But hosiery is delicate and, short of wearing chainmail tights, something, somewhere will get them.

My father is 75, lives in Australia, and has a sense of humour. He recently wrote that he is "getting thinner on top", and as I know that he has always been reluctant to visit the barber, I would love to buy him a baseball cap with a long, grey ponytail attached to it. Do you know if anyone in London sells them?

Christine, London

I have tried all the usual joke / party / toy shops for you and they didn't have any, although one kind chap told me that you can sometimes get them in some of those little shops in Carnaby Street or Covent Garden (the sort that also sell policemen's helmets, you know). Why don't you make him one? The haberdashery sections of big department stores sometimes do fake hair bits for puffing out buns and the like, and then you can just pin it on. This seems the best and cheapest way to put a smile on your father's face. (If you're not funny about these things you could even ask your hairdresser to keep a clean, shorn length of hair for you, although I think you'll have more luck if you don't hold out for grey.) However, if you are really serious then in the wig department of Selfridges they do fake ponytails for pounds 35 (Oxford St, 0171 629 1234), or Trendco (229 Kensington Church St, W11, 0171 221 2646) does them for pounds 49. This does seem rather excessive, not to say expensive, but I try to leave no stone unturned.

Do you have a list of outsize mail order companies please? We live in Aberdeen which has an Evans, full stop.

Marilyn, Aberdeen

Dear readers, I am currently working on lots of directories: dressmakers, big shoes and outsize. The big shoe one will be ready first but, as regular readers know, there has been a bit of a hitch with it and I have to re- input all the data due to a particularly greedy pig called Paddington who made a dreadful mess of the previous disc. He likes to come in to the house, and, being an extremely rare and expensive piggy, we tend not to scold him (although I do shout "bacon" at him occasionally, and that sends him trotting off). My eldest child, Leonardo, bless him, has been trying to help me but, being only seven years old, seems to be more interested in spreading Nutella about my keyboard. But I have a shiny brand new assistant, Zoe, starting tomorrow so I shall just have to make her get her nose to the grindstone and you will all have your directories in time for Christmas. Watch this space for details of the others (no more SAEs yet!) and, in addition, my renowned colleague Ms Barbieri will be running an outsize feature soon.

This request is slightly at a tangent to your usual queries, but I hope you'll be able to help. I make most of my clothes and love dressmaking. Thanks to Vogue patterns, I could have a wardrobe full of Donna Karan and Issey Miyake, but finding fabric is depressingly difficult. Liberty is fantastic, but I wonder if you could suggest anywhere a bit closer to Leeds, or mail order specialists. I've tried finding shops through magazine adverts, but without much success. What I'm after at the moment is wool/Lycra mixes, wool jersey, cotton duck, and trouser weight linen. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Sue Hamelman, Leeds

The good news is that Liberty produces a catalogue (pounds 3.50 plus 50p p&p), but this does not have everything in it. For other stuff the company can provide samples of fabric if you write to them: Liberty, Regent Street, London W1R 6AH, tel: 0171 734 1234 (and ask for extn 2244 for the mail- order catalogue). John Lewis, Oxford St, London W1 also provides a spiffing service, nothing less than I would expect of my beloved Johnny Loulou's. They have a whole department dedicated to samples, and will send out, free of charge, up to five samples of fabric if you call and describe the sort of thing you want. This is for fabric up to pounds 25 per metre - any fabric costing more than that, and you will have to buy a 10cm piece. When you have decided what you want, you can order by phone, paying by Switch or account card (not credit cards). Call John Lewis on 0171 629 7711 and ask for dress fabrics.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Primary teaching roles in Ipswich

    £21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education re...

    Science teachers needed in Norwich

    £21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Science teachers requ...

    Semi Senior Accountant - Music

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful, Central London bas...

    English teachers required in Lowestoft

    £21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified English tea...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits