dear annie

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Help. I have very cold feet and my kittens, Ollie and Stanley, keep biting my toes! In the 1980s my friend Clare had some fab boot slippers which were fur lined and may or may not have been called "Ugg Boots" (this is what she used to call them). They had a semi-hard sole (at least I think so, as I often saw her trotting about outside in them) and I think, for slippers, were quite expensive. Unfortunately, Clare has emigrated to Australia. Do they still exist? Where can I buy some? Please help!

Sophie Cullinan, Ramsbottom, Bury

I am hardly surprised that your friend emigrated to Australia if that was the level of your conversation. Oh, hose me down as I start the New Year off all bitchy! Well, I have tracked down some Ugg boots for you. I can't vouch for the semi-hard sole as these can be washed on a wool cycle, but you know Innovations, that catalogue that falls out of all the Sunday papers, the one you often chuck but actually does some good things? Well they did some in their last catalogue, but I rang them for you and they say that it is still possible to order some. You need to quote catalogue number 33RG (tel: 0990 807060) and the code for the men's Ugg slippers is KE20328, sizes medium (corresponding to shoe size 9-10); large (11-12); x-large (13-14) and for the women's it is KE20765 in sizes medium (3-4); large (5-6) and x-large (7-8). As the wool pile compacts after a few wears, the fit should be snug, the catalogue recommends, and if you are a half size, order a size down. They cost pounds 29.95.

I have spent countless hours searching for a leather jacket in the style of a two-buttoned, single-breasted suit jacket. No luck so far. Do you have any suggestions?

David, London

I wonder what you would do with a jacket of this style? It sounds quite pimpy to me. But Jigsaw has a three-button, suit-style jacket in the softest leather. It comes in black or tan and costs pounds 295 (tel: 0171 240 5651). Or Blakes, 4, Langley Court, Covent Garden, WC2 which, apparently, has tons of styles, including a three-button jacket in black or brown at pounds 375, call them on 0171 240 3878. Katharine Hamnett can make to order a divine chocolate brown, one-button jacket (call 0171 823 1002 for details). These details were correct at the time of going to press but what with sales and changes of season etc, please call first to check.

I am trying to find a suspender belt with short suspenders that behave. All the suspender belts that I have tried over the years have such long elastic bits on them and I begrudge paying good money and then having to shorten the wretched things before I wear them. Sometimes when I do that, I find that the suspender belt just walks down me and if it were not for my knickers would have disappeared down my thighs. Or, of course, the little slides which I shorten in the morning have slid all the way down to their full length within about half an hour. The net result is that instead of having stockings on I seem to have long pop-socks that stop just above the knee. This is particularly bad when wearing woolly stockings (for I feel the cold dreadfully) as I end up looking like Nora Batty. I am a Marks & Spencer size 12, where I take the long-length trousers. Do the Finns have an answer? (My woolly stockings come from Finland). I'm sure that they don't all look like Nora Batty in the leg department. My budget is equivalent to chain-store prices. And please do not tell me to wear tights instead, (which I do wear under short skirts), as there are times when a girl really does want to wear stockings.

Mary Morris, Worcestershire

First the expert's view: I spoke to Jill Kenton at Rigby & Pellar, who said that either your suspender belt is too loose/big or that where you have adjusted the belt you have made it too short so your stockings are dragging it down, then you need to wear longer-length stockings. If you come to London it is well worth visiting the shop at 2 Hans Crescent, Knightsbridge, SW3 (tel: 0171 581 5700). They are happy to give you advice and alter your belt. My view is that, from past experience with this familiar problem, this is a combination of your belt not being secure enough and the stockings being too short. But mostly the former. In April last year one kindly reader, Ms S Lloyd from Holmfirth, wrote in to tell me that in her opinion the best suspender belt is made by Cover Girl at 44 Cross Street, London N1 (tel: 0171 354 2883). Although essentially a transvestite shop, they sell a six-garter, deep-cut suspender with proper metal clasps that keeps stockings (and seams where appropriate) taut and straight, pounds 25 plus pounds 1 p&p. A corsetted one costs pounds 35.

Needless to say I read your column avidly and find much to suit me. However, one item that I have sought for in vain is the "unitard" - a boxer short all in one body made of Lycra. Unfortunately they no longer produce them - it appears they weren't such a big hit in the UK but sold well in Europe and I've used my last one this summer. I came across this advertisement (Givenchy for Gentlemen with a girl in a white all-in-one being shielded by a gentleman's umbrella) and it's exactly what I'm referring to, only smarter. Is there any chance that you could find out where and who makes/produces these? I'd be eternally grateful.

C. Odogwy, London N19

So eternally grateful that you will come round and clean all my floors? Huh. I doubt it. We rang the Givenchy PR to try and find out where the one from their ad was from but had no joy there. Humph. But Sam de Teran, the sportswear designer which has been given a lot of publicity recently by that Tara Para Gherkin person, has done a fantastic unitard which comes in black cotton and Lycra with a halterneck, and is available in scoopneck or squareneck and costs pounds 120. Visit her shop at 151 Fulham Road, London SW3 (tel: 0171 584 0902). If that proves too percy pricey for you then try Elle Active Wear's (tel: 0171 436 3330) black unitard which is available from Debenhams, House of Fraser and John Lewis branches, and costs pounds 45. As the old saying goes: if neither of these two prove right, please write back, write back and I'll investigate some more for you.

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