dear annie

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What a wonderful useful column you write. Can't they give you more space? I'm looking for a black fake fur full-length coat (prefably in the sales, I'm on a budget but handy with a sewing machine).

Elizabeth, Sheffield

n Thank you for your compliments. However, I fear I shall not be of much use. I rang round everyone that I could think of. Most had done them but no one had any left. Wallis, especially, did some wonderful ones, just what you were looking for (thanks for the drawing) but they tell me that there are none left. Karen Millen did a fake fur coat in grey, chocolate or winter white which is reduced from pounds 220 to pounds 140 in sizes 8-14, if you ring their inquiry number on 01622 664032 they can tell you which store still has them and save you a wasted trip. But if you are handy with a needle and thread the best thing to do is make one yourself. Look in the pattern books in your local department store and select a simple shawl collared number (much easier, I find, than reverse collars). Fake fur is also easy to find now, thanks to a big revival in the past few years.

Where can I get velvet jeans from?

Emma Bennett, London

n Boden do a lovely pair, in sizes 10-14, in brown, black and bottle green. They cost pounds 65 and are cut in a jeans style, tel: 0181-964 2662. Jigsaw have also done them for this spring/summer, pounds 59.95 in black, charcoal, cream and dark brown jean cut, in sizes 8-14, tel: 0181-878 8443 for your nearest stockist.

I am getting married in the spring and am having a dress made from some beautiful pale gold Thai silk that I recently purchased. I have decided that I would like to wear a veil but all the readily available white and cream ones in the shop look ridiculous when held against the fabric. I have contacted several bridal shops, national chains and smaller independent retailers to try and find somewhere that will make me a veil in a pale gold colour or even dye one to match the fabric, but with no success. Do you have any suggestions? Many thanks.

Katie Mansfield, Nottingham

n Have you thought about having a veil in a fabric other than tulle? This would not only give you more scope but from the sounds of your dress, might be a more suitable alternative. You could use georgette for a stiffer veil or chiffon for a softer, more drapey one. I am certain you can get both fabrics in pale gold (in fact, I bought some pale gold georgette from John Lewis). If the idea appeals but you can't find the right colour you could try dyeing it yourself - both fabrics are available in white and you can experiment with different coloured gold dyes. Since I don't know what the style of the dress is, it is difficult for me to suggest alternatives to a veil (and if you really want a veil why compromise? It's your wedding day after all). I am also going to suggest you contact a wonderful textile and accessory manufacturer called Nigel Atkinson, who does a lot of work with brides. I spoke to him about your problem and he said that he has done and can do veils in fine silk tulle, which is very fluid and lightweight; silk muslin, which is hand-worked so that the threads create a water-type movement; and cotton muslin with embroidery. He can, if necessary, dye the veil for you. Prices start at pounds 180, call him on 0171 284 0316.

I like wearing T-shirts under casual shirts (with one button undone so you can see them) but mine always end up looking very saggy around the neck. Do you know of any good quality ones that will last a bit longer?

Michael Whatley, London

n I used to watch CHIPs on a Saturday and wish for an immaculate T-shirt like the one Eric Estrada wore. It looked so fine under his pale blue policeman's shirt. And I, too, used to end up with saggy necked T-shirts. You need a snug fitting T-shirt, the type you see men who work out in the gym wear when they are not in the gym. They are fairly thick and, of course, contain that quasi miracle fibre, Lycra (hence the snug-as- a-bug fit). I think you'd like a company called Brother Nation, which sells in Hyper Hyper, 26/40 Kensington High Street, W8 and does lots of different coloured Lycra Coolmax T-shirts. They cost around pounds 40. A lot more than a normal T-shirt, but then these are no ordinary T-shirts.

How dare you say that pinstripe looks cheap! (Dear Annie 14 Jan '96). I'll have you know that as I read your copy I am wearing pinstripe trousers!

BG, Canary Wharf

n Oh dear. This is my section editor, the lovely, fair, upstanding and generally supportive BG. She was not pleased that I had said pinstripe was cheap. But wait a minute, I was talking about men's suits and it does make a difference, becauseI do think that pinstripe (aka chalk stripe) in men's suits is horrid. Pinstripe in other things can look rather good. In fact, one of my favourite coats was burgundy pinstripe with a wonderful old gold satin lining by the French designer Marcel Marongiu. I lost it one day while suffering from PMT (get all dippy) and arrived at a party clutching my car blanket instead of my coat. I thought I had left the coat in the car, but no, it transpired that I had traipsed along Wigmore Street with the coat and the car blanket and somehow managed to drop the coat, quite without realising it. I still miss it. So, no, I don't think all pinstripe is cheap looking and I am sure the pinstripe trousers you are wearing, dear BG, are quite, quite magnificient.

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. Annie regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence

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