Dear Annie

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Indy Lifestyle Online
I need some silver (maybe strappy?) shoes to wear with a beautiful, midnight-blue, satin "ball dress"-type thing. I have tried all the chains, Cartier etc, but can only find suitable shoes in gold, which is just not good enough: my jewellery is silver. The additional difficulties are that they must have a heel, they ought to be leather and, as I have very narrow feet, peep-toes do not work. I'd rather pay less than pounds 100 than more. Please, please help me - I live in London and Leicester and take a size 5.

Clare, Muswell Hill

Yours is not the only silver, strappy footwear enquiry I have had, so I hope this covers the others, too. You are right, there does not seem to be that much silver about this season, and no toe-hiding sandals, I'm afraid, but hopefully these open-toed ones will not present the same problems that peep-toes do. Pied a Terre (0171 287 3511) have done a lovely, high, strappy, silver sandal which has skinny, wraparound, ankle straps (very in) for pounds 69.99. Roland Cartier (0800 192192) do a silver sandal which is strappy (called "Cynara") with a block heel - good if you fancy something not too spindly. Costs pounds 53. Empire catalogue (0345 200 400) do four silver, strappy sandals, none in leather but worth a look. Finally, Jimmy Choo (0171 235 6008) have some lovely sandals in strappy silver with high heels, pounds 195.

Please, please can you help? My brother will be 21 in May and would like a second-hand leather jacket, but along the lines of a suit jacket. He insists it must be black and I have looked everywhere but they're all so tatty. I'm afraid I can't travel to London, but anywhere you can suggest in the Midlands would be fine and price is no object. For myself, do you have any idea where I can get a pair of Birkenstocks from? Failing that, how about some cherry red patent clogs?

Maya, Birmingham

You sound like a nice girl, so I mean this kindly, but how can I help you? You want a second-hand leather jacket that you can get in the Midlands area... Even if I could find one, there is no guarantee that it would still be there when you went to buy it as there would only be one, wouldn't there as it doesn't come from stock. If money is no object, why do you want a second-hand one anyway? The further complication is that this isn't the best season for leather jackets - Soviet will be doing one in their Autumn/Winter collection later this year, and it will be available from Gasoline Alley (0121 386 4880). Katharine Hamnett also make exactly what you're looking for - but not until later this year. Harvey Nichols are the only place I could find that do one at the moment, but they only have stores in London or Leeds. It's single-breasted in black, brown or tan leather and costs pounds 495 (0171 235 5000). As for Birkenstocks, there are only three outlets, two in London and the other in Glasgow. However, there is mail order (0800 132194), so call them and ask them to send you a catalogue. Red patent clogs? Now really.

Where can I find a really beautiful, well-made, pure-wool, gaberdine mac. Mega-chic, I think, but perhaps a little dated, I fear. I thought I could get one from a "uniform" company - Miller-Rayner-Danco who used to be in Birmingham but I haven't been able to locate them. "Alexandra" don't do anything like the style or quality. Any ideas? Thank you if you do.

Robyn Slater, Birmingham

I know exactly what you mean, those lovely old-fashioned macs that one used to be able to find in the children's uniform departments - I got one years ago from Selfridges and it was beautiful, very St Clare's (girlie book by Enid Blyton). The perfect one, as far as shape goes, is by Racing Green (0345 331177 for catalogue and stockists), but it is in cotton and the buttons aren't concealed. It is style BM471, and the pain is that the new catalogue is just out and for summer it only comes in stone, but I am sure if you ring them they might check if they have any of last season's navy for you (I guess they think that navy is a winter colour). Ally Capellino has a five-button single-breasted, navy, wool coat - not mac but similar in style - which falls to just below the knee, pounds 475. Stockists in Leicester, Nottingham and Derby (0171 437 5700). But to be honest, it's best to wait until September when French Connection will be doing one that sounds not dissimilar (0171 580 2507). I know there's one out there, beautifully made, no doubt, by some fabulous English firm... get in touch cos now I want one, too.

PLEASE REMEMBER: Big Shoe and Dressmakers directories are now ready. Send in a large SAE with two first-class stamps (please make sure you tell me which you want!!) Lots of useful info, send for yours now.

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