Send your fashion problems to: Dear Annie, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, or fax them on: 0171 293 2043. E-mail:

Why are men's briefs so boring? I wish to purchase some for my boyfriend which are not black, grey or white (patterns would be nice or jazzy colours) and have no naff logos!

Sally Wadhams, Bewdley

The problem with trying to get away from "boring" is that they can end up looking naff. It is not in my nature to suggest the latter (pigs, Santas and the like). Boden does some shorts in a floral Liberty print (which is very in au moment), pounds 20. For the more conservative reader there is a return to the most traditional type of shorts, in Aertex, pounds 16. Tel: 0181 453 1535 for a catalogue.

I like being fashionable but don't have loads of money. I've seen those bags that are worn on belts but they all cost at least pounds 20. I've been trying to convince my mum to buy me one, saying they are useful, but I've had my birthday present already. I am 13 with dark hair and get my pocket money by cleaning my dad's car, for which he gives me pounds 2, which I think is fair (do you?).

Basia, Cumbria

If it takes you less than 40 minutes to clean the car then yes it is fair, but if it takes you longer than that it could take you into the realms of slave labour as it doesn't equate to the minimum hourly wage. Look in your local Top Shop which always has some really cheap and very good variations on what's in. Also, get a catalogue from Denny's (tel: 01372 377904) which supplies catering equipment. Look on page 32 where it features money pocket aprons, like market traders have, which are not only much more trendy than anything you can buy in a fashion shop but, at pounds 7.93, cheaper. But the most important thing is that you can put more money in them than the other types, which is useful for when your pocket money goes up. Which it will do when your dad, and his neighbours, and their children, and his boss, read this.

I have encountered a hitch in my new year's exercise plan. What to wear on top? I normally wear a 32E underwired bra but I remember reading somewhere that underwired bras don't give the right sort of support for exercise. Is this true? I've tried on a few of those cute little bra tops but I don't know whether an extra bra is needed underneath or whether they offer enough support on their own.

Sara Catley, London

There is so much rubbish written about underwired bras, which, rest assured, give excellent support. Some people don't like wearing them while exercising purely because they do not find them as comfortable as a non-wired bra. I regularly wear underwired bras but not when I exercise. Also, it's important to note that anyone who is a C-cup and above should wear two bras (a conventional shaped sports bra with a fully supportive cropped top-type bra on top) when doing high impact sports. Some women also like to wear a tight supportive top. You may not wish to go this far but leaving big bosoms to the mercy of only one bra is not recommended! My favourite sports bras, after lots of research, are those by Berlei. It does a range in various impact levels. Try its High Exertion Bra (Impact Level 4, the maximum level), pounds 26 which is a normal bra shape, comes in white and - glory - black, in sizes 32D- 40G. On top you should wear its Crop Top, pounds 22 - this only comes in 32B- 38D but I am confident it will still fit. (Tel: 01525 859700 - Dorothy Perkins has a particularly good selection.) Or, try a Minimal Bounce Bra by Dansport. Like the Crop Top, the MBB is a cropped top type of bra, ie no cups. It works on the principle that the nearer to your body your breasts are, the more supported they are. The MBB comes in lots of colours and sizes S to XXL which corresponds to 30A-42E. Although there isn't, strictly speaking, one that is made for your size (ie they do up to an E-cup but that is for a 40-42 back), I think you can find something for you. Price is pounds 20.49 for mail order/further stockists of the MBB. Tel: 01843 866300.

Why oh why do short skirts always swivel around my hips and end up back to front within a few hours of walking? I have a 28" waist and 38" hips - are these fatal dimensions for the size 12 skirts that seem to fit perfectly well but have their own travelling ideas?

Tiara, The Netherlands

Readers will think I have made this name up but I haven't. It is a rather fabulous name, Tiara, and I can't help thinking Paula Yates will think so too when she reads this. Clearly, Tiara, you aren't eating enough. If you were your skirt would cling to your bottom a la Monica Lewinsky (pre Marie Claire make over) and not dare move around (only up and down). Seriously, skirts just do that, just like slingbacks slip down over the heel. It's so that women can fiddle with their clothing in a sexy manner and give novelists something to write about (you know the old "she stood up and smoothed down her skirt" stuff, cos "she looked for the side seam and swivelled it back into its rightful place" just does not sound the same does it?). It happens to long skirts too and it happens more if the skirt is lined and/or you're wearing tights. And we'd better shut up about it now or else some research unit somewhere will be given money meant for children's milk/old people's heating/crucial hospital equipment to find out exactly why.