Dear Annie

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Indy Lifestyle Online
I am a 15-year-old schoolgirl with a bikini problem. I spent last year looking for a bikini, rather unsuccessfully. I appear to be having the same luck this year. My problem is that I am a 34C but only require size 8 bottoms. Do you know of anywhere that sells bikini separates, preferably in the West Midlands area? I would be prepared to spend up to pounds 50.

Naomi Geffen, W. Midlands

Dorothy Perkins do a reasonably priced bikini range, in black or white, sizes 10-14. They have three style of tops: a cropped top, underwired bra style, and a bandeau shape (very in at the moment, but not that flattering, I have to say) and six styles of bottoms: thong / brief /high-waisted / boxer and two types of wrap skirt-type things with integral shorts. Each piece costs a very reasonable pounds 9 (the thong costs pounds 4.99). Call 0171 291 2604 for your nearest stockist. Knickerbox launched its mix-and-match range a few years ago, with great success. The range has now expanded so you have many different styles, colours and prints (they have a very nice strawberry print in at the moment), sizes 8-14 and prices start at pounds 9.99, call 0171 284 1744. What I would recommend for you is a label called Fantasie that specialise in cup sized swimwear (but please note that you cannot buy tops and bottoms separately), so you can buy a bikini top that is actually 34C, and will fit you so much better than say a size 12 top. They do a range called Footprints, aimed at the younger market, prices start at pounds 30 and go up to pounds 55, sizes 30-38 in cup sizes A-E; it is stocked by the James Beattie group and Rackhams, both of which should be near you. If you have any problems, Fantasie's number is 01536 760282. I hope this helps, but if you are still stuck, write back and we'll investigate further.

I've been looking for a man's ring in Manchester but they all seem the same, either sovereign, onyx, diamonds or some other old fashioned and unimaginative design. Perhaps you know of a jeweller who offers something original. I realise designer jewellery would be much more expensive but it's something I will have for a lifetime. I would be willing to try anywhere in the country.

C. Lambert (Mr), Manchester

Firstly, call our back issues department on 01988 402455 and order a copy of Real Life, 11 Feb 1996 (you will have to pay for this, I'm afraid). My renowned colleague, Ms Barbieri did a whole feature on men's rings in this issue, which will help you enormously. I wish I knew somewhere in Manchester. I don't, but if you come down to London, visit a shop called Jess James, run by the boyishly handsome Jess Canty (hello Jess, how about lunch?). It's at 3 Newburgh Street, London W1, tel: 0171 437 0199 and stocks loads of lovely stuff. Names to look for generally are: Details (0171 730 8488); Dower & Hall (0171 589 8474; Sian Evans (0171 377 6117); Diana Porter (0117 9414953); Jacqueline Rabun (0171 221 9820). Around the corner from Jess James, at 10 Ganton Street, W1 (0171 439 9357) is The Great Frog, much favoured by rockers and bikers (and my husband). The Lesley Craze Gallery (0171 608 0393) also stock some unusual rings by contemporary designers. It is worth giving the people quoted a ring (ha ha) to see if they have stockists closer to home.

I long to see my wife in a thong. I have bought her a few, but she complains that none of them are comfortable. Can you suggest one that is? Also, what is the difference between a thong and a g-string?

Simon, Southampton

There is no difference between a thong, g-string or string back pant as they are also called. They are uncomfortable, although some women do like them and they have their place (brilliant for banishing VPL). But if your wife doesn't like wearing one then that must be her choice; you try wearing one, sunbeam, and then you'll see why your wife doesn't want to.

Jo and her sweaty feet continue to attract helpful hints: "There's only one solution to Jo Grigg's problem: footlets. Avoid the sheer nylon variety which slide off the heel and work their way into a sweaty ball under your instep within minutes. What you need is a thicker cotton mix which stays on the feet and allows them to breathe. Aristoc do good version in 38 per cent cotton. It comes in two-pair packs in nude or black. I buy mine at John Lewis. Footlets look naff if they're visible above the shoe line. Go for high-cut summer shoes which look great anyway, especially if they're made of an elasticated fabric."

Mohr (Ms), London

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