dear annie

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Pierced noses, navels, eyebrows and, increasingly, lips and cheeks are commonplace these days. I had my navel pierced a few years ago. With summer on its way and fashions again beckoning bare midriffs, I have taken up my previously failed search of finding something other than rings or bars for my pierced bellybutton. More choice and originality in body jewellery is a niche in the fashion market that has gone unnoticed. I'm sure lots of people with pierced body-parts would be keen to have new and different pieces in the same way that we all like to change our earrings, rings and necklaces. The distinct lack of choice also applies to practical body jewellery. Everyone with a pierced navel has suffered bouts of inflammation and I believe this is due to clothing catching on jewellery which is bulky and can easily cause infection. Do you know of anywhere that specialises in body jewellery, or somewhere that will design and make jewellery out of surgical steel for my purposes?

Jeannette Crockett, London N7

The Wildcat Body Collection do all sorts of ready-made nice stuff and they also do a catalogue. So, write to them at 16 Preston Street, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 2HN (tel: 01273 323758), saying for which part of the body you need jewellery. Their products are made from surgical steel, 18-carat gold or niobium, which is hypoallergenic, so does not affect the skin, and comes in different colours. Jess James, 3 Newburgh Street, London W1 (tel: 0171 437 0199), will make up things for you wherever technically possible, in 18-carat gold or platinum, but not surgical steel. Prices start from pounds 75. Finally, Into You, 144 John Street, London EC1 (tel: 0171 253 5085), can also make up things to your own design in 18-carat gold or white gold. Prices start from pounds 68. Nobody we spoke to recommended surgical steel for your own designs, but I hope the places I have mentioned will open up more choice for you - both for fashion and less bulky alternatives.

For several months now I have been desperately trying to find plain but fashionable cardigans for a change, as I seem to live in jumpers and shirts. I am a size 8 and about 5ft 3in and it seems as if the styles I am looking for can only be found in catalogues at size 10 and above, generally in irritable fabrics such as mohair. Any ideas?

Charlotte, Devon

My favourite cardigan of the moment is one that I bought last year in a pink, fine-knit cotton from Racing Green, so this was an obvious place to start. Plus, they do mail order, so you can peruse at home. They have a 100 per cent cotton, crew-neck, button-up cardigan (which also has a matching short-sleeved, ribbed, roll-neck jumper) in a size 8, which costs pounds 29 and comes in vanilla, claret, navy and sky. Call 0345 331177 for a catalogue. Principles Petites have one in an elegant, black, fine-knit viscose mix with one button, which flows out slightly at the hips (sounds good for more evening things) and costs pounds 40 in your size. They have stores in Barnstaple, Exeter, Torquay and Plymouth (tel: 0171 927 1443). Talbots mail order have one in cotton and linen which costs pounds 62 and has a baby cable pattern - hopefully not too fussy for you - which comes in black or flax (tel: 0800 960402). And the fab mail-order catalogue La Redoute does one in a size 6/8 which costs pounds 16.99 (cotton/modal) and is available in white, navy and red (tel: 0500 777777). Finally, Dorothy Perkins do a V-front, short-sleeved version in 100 per cent cotton for pounds 20, which starts at size 10, but they say that it is a small, tailored fit. It comes in bright plain colours, such as purple or tangerine. Call 0171 291 2604.

I am a size 16-18 and have difficulty finding stockings that fit well. All of the stockings that I have tried run short and the tops finish half way up my thigh, making them difficult to secure to suspenders. I have tried a variety of brands in their "large" size without success. Can you please help? Thanks and regards.

Jackie, Kent

Mmmm. I don't know how much help I'm going to be, so if anyone out there knows different, please do write in. My pixies couldn't find anyone who does stockings in extra-large. Wolford stockings, pounds 11, Pretty Polly nylons, pounds 3.75, and Charnos Shining Light, pounds 6.99, were ones that were suggested as coming up larger than normal. Independence Ltd (tel: 0181 861 1722 for mail order) have extra-long stockings in 20 and 30 denier and honey or mink, 35.99 for three pairs, pounds 9.99 for six pairs.

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