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.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
film
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
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

    Recruitment Genius: Field Based Sales Surveyor - OTE £40,000

    £16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Field Based Sales Surveyor is...

    Ampersand Consulting LLP: UI Designer/ User Interface Designer (UI, User Flow, Design)

    £6000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: UI De...

    Investigo: International Finance Analyst

    £270 - £300 per annum: Investigo: An exciting opportunity to join an internati...

    Recruitment Genius: CAD / CAM Ladies Cocktail & Eveningwear Gerber Grader

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?