I have a 36DD bust and I am sick to death of not being able to find well upholstered bras in black. You know the sort of thing, Annie, those normally white, cross-your-heart-type bras. I have lots of sexy, lacy bras, but I want something that will give me a wicked silhouette, but not in matronly white. Help me please!

Wendy Alworth, Staffordshire

I have been gagging to answer your letter, because I damn well agree. I have the same problem. Therefore, the answer I am about to give you, believe me, is well researched. There are bras on the market that are black and in your size, but, in my experience, they don't give you that cor lumey sweater-girl silhouette you want. But, I have found something that does. The only problem is, it doesn't come in DD sizes (and why not, that's what I want to know). Before you think "What's the point of telling me about that then?", hold on. I take a 34DD and I fit into the 34D of this style, so you have lots of hope of doing the same. It's plain black, seam free and makes your breast look... well if they were to get a school report it would say, "inquisitive and always keen to answer the question". It gets my "best bra in the world (of the moment)" award. It's from Marks & Spencer, costs pounds 10 for two, in black or white, and the box has two wimmin on the front wearing the bra. Can't miss it, buy hundreds.

I am on a desperate hunt for some crushed hammer velvet in dark gold (blackish gold) for my wedding dress. I've been unable to find it anywhere in Cambridge and have been told I might find it in London. As I don't know London well, however, I'm not sure where to start.

Charlotte Murray, Cambridge

I must point out that hammer-head and crushed velvet are two different things, not because I want to be a smarty pants, but because, otherwise, we might get some crossed wires. Hammer-head looks like it has been crushed with a hammer - it has kind of little circles of crushedness - and crushed is simply crushed and looks kinda creased. This isn't the most scientific answer you will get, but I hope it gets the point across. Now then, Liberty and John Lewis do stock crushed and hammer-head velvet, but only in winter. Borovicks (16 Berwick Street, London W1V 4HP, 0171 437 2180) does hammer-head velvet in grey, dark brown, burgundy or black only (140cm wide, 100 per cent viscose, pounds 25 p/m) or hand-crushed velvet in nocturne gold/black (it has gold running through it, sounds rather glam), (120cm wide, pounds 16.25 p/m, 63 per cent acetate, 37 per cent viscose). Soho Silks (24 Berwick Street, London W1V 3RF, 0171 434 3305) does hammer-head velvet in dark gold, but it is currently out of stock and the next delivery is due in three weeks. It costs pounds 35 p/m and is 60ins wide. Both Soho Silks and Borovicks will send samples if you send an explanatory SAE.

Orangee Lipstick Phenomenon:

In reply to Angeline Levy's (2 March) query about the above mentioned lippie stickie, I have been bouleverse with replies, a tasty selection of which appear here:

I'm just reading Elizabeth Howard's The Light Years. In part one, there is a description of Louise's possessions, including her "precious Tangee lipstick that looked bright orange but came out pink on the mouth".

Pam Dye, Chiddingly, East Sussex

Thank you for this cultural reference. More of this and I'll be on the arts' pages. Yes please!

I'll pass on the Shane Ritchie snog thanks, but there is a lipstick made by Ultra Glow of Colchester which comes close to Tangee Natural. Magic Lips comes in green, yellow, blue and black - all of which not only take on more traditional colours when applied, but also last much longer and better than other widely advertised, "long-lasting" brand lipsticks. Another excellent lipstain is made by Colorsport and comes in eight colours, from pink to red through bronze. Both of these products can be found in independent chemist shops rather than stores or chain chemists. They retail at about pounds 3.95.

Anna Farlow, London NW2

Thanks. Barbara Donovan from Cardiff also suggested Magic Lips, saying it's "green in the tube and pink on the lips".

LOOK. I know the directories are late. I have had a few stroppy letters. I haven't forgotten. The dressmakers one is ready (send a BIG envelope with 80p-worth of stamps, none of these piddly envelopes with 20 pence you've been sending me), 16-plus and big shoe aren't, yet. I am sorry. It makes me feel crap that I have let you all down. Be patient. I'm pregnant again and it has rather slowed me down... it's all my husband's fault, that Christmas reunion after his trip away...

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