Fashion: Dear Annie

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online
Your column is wonderful. Does anyone make men's pyjamas with wrapover/kimono-style tops? All men's pyjamas are distinctly unsexy, but that style marginally less so. For hotels/hospitals/visiting...

Angela Lansley, Liverpool

I couldn't really find anyone who did this style, Angela, because it would be quite unpractical, constantly coming undone etc... I know this could be fixed by applying a small button, but tell that to the pyjama makers. And before I launch into what I did find, let me apologise for the line that dropped off the bottom of last week's column. It should have read "PS Chris, I didn't know where you lived." For reasons that I have yet to fathom, the last line slipped off as the paper went to bed... tut tut. Anyway, I tried Muji, thinking that they surely would have done such a jim-jam, but no. Neither did Bonsoir, Toast, Conran Shop, Liberty... Asahi (110 Goldborne Road, London W10, 0181 960 7299) sell the short versions of kimonos, called haoris, (prices from pounds 10 to pounds 60) but they are all secondhand, with no matching pants and no mail order. Talking Pages told me of a karate shop in Manchester (there were none listed in Liverpool) that sell white karate suits (costing around pounds 25), which apparently aren't that thick if you buy a club suit (thicker fabric is used for competition suits). The club suits are only slightly thicker than pyjamas, apparently, although they are thicker at the edges (in the way that karate suits are). Anyway, if you want to give them a go, they are Martial Arts (in KNK fitness centre) 717 Manchester Old Road, Middleton, Manchester (0161 655 4086). Oh dear. I think you may have to resort to buttoning up or going in the buff.

I am desperate to find a supply source for a replacement hand-grip on my suede pig-skin attache case - German manufacture but unspecified, therefore metric size. I understand that there is a high-quality luggage repairer in London. Any details, please?

John, Swansea

Ay, John, you don't like to go in for too much chittie chat do you? Very to the point and curt. Hope you are not like that when chatting up prospective romantic partners. Selfridges (Oxford Street, London W1, 0171 629 1234) have a luggage repair concession in store that has been there for going on two and 10 year, and it is very popular. They said that, in principal, they could do it, but, in practice, they would have to see it. They have a lot of handles in stock but they'd have to find the right size and the right colour for the case. There is a pounds 10 minimum charge for fitting - prices depend on lots of things that are, quite frankly, too boring to go into here and handles start at pounds 15 (you can, if you wish, just buy the handle and fix it yourself if you come over all practical). If they have your handle in stock, then they can fix it the same day. If they don't, they can order it from abroad (Italy or wherever) and this obviously takes a little more time. Michael's Shoe Care (10/12 Procter Street, London WC1, 0171 405 7436) said they would need to see it, but if you take it in and they have a replacement handle they will sell the handle and fix it on for pounds 9.95 inclusive. If they don't have a match then it's a different quote and they can try to get one or make one... phew. Handles, what a bloody nightmare, eh? Take care of yours, readers.

I am a 5ft 2in size 8 with a 32DD bust. It is an absolute nightmare. On the extremely rare occasions when I have found something that fits me well, people are amazed to discover my "great" figure. However, most of the time I feel a freak, quite honestly. I have two problems: clothes and bras. I discovered Bravissimo through your column but was disappointed to find the range in 32DD extremely limited. The only bra in a 32DD in my local M&S is "minimiser". Horrid - it was depressing to have my shape flattened, especially since I have worked hard on accepting my size. Clothes are becoming a real issue, especially with forthcoming weddings and an image at work to keep up. Is there a mail-order catalogue which specialises in petite sizes and separates in particular? I have tried all the retail petite ranges but am disappointed by the limited range. To add to the trouble, not everyone seems to be aware that when you are small but short, hems and sleeves have to be scaled down accordingly. M&S are the exception but the choice is not great. Please help!

Nuala Murray, Edinburgh

Well, first a little pep talk about bosoms. Mine seem to have gone from a 36DD to a 34DD or even a 32E in certain styles. You sound like you have a fabulous, and I mean bloody fabulous (I realise I am swearing a lot this week), figure. It is the rest of the world that is odd. This doesn't make it easier, I know. If you read my column regularly, you will know that Bravissimo is only one of three solutions for gorgeous busts. Margaret Ann (01985 840520) and Bust Stop (0181 943 9733) are the other two. On to clothes. Little Women is a mail-order catalogue specifically for shorter women, dress sizes from 6 to 20. They have 25 garments, which are fairly classic (work and casual) and come in six to seven different fabrics. There is usually a choice of three different lengths for skirts, trousers and sleeves, tailored skirts come in six different lengths. The size 8 statistics are 32-24-34. Call 0117 987 9444 for a catalogue and mail order. The Petite Clothing Company (13 Colliergate, York YO1 2BP, 01904 673873) who will be profiled in a couple of weeks in "People in Fashion", specialise in separates, but they also do coats and dresses. My renowned colleague, Hester Lacey, interviewed the director of this company, Jacky Lawson, and she was very impressed with her clothes, so much so that she bought quite a bit! Naughty Hester. Jacky said that most high-street petites are for women who are 5ft 3in. Her clothes are made to perfectly fit women of 5ft 2in but they will fit ladies up to 5ft 3in, provided that they are in perfect proportion. Sizes are 8-14 but will be going up to 16 next spring. Jacky also told me that her blouses would be good for you, because the buttons fall perfectly in the middle of the bust, not above or below, so that they don't gape at all, which they do if they are the right size but the buttons are in the wrong place. At the moment, she is preparing a mail-order service, which should be ready around Christmas. Call the above number for details. Prices: skirts start at pounds 29.99, trousers start at pounds 49.99, jackets start at pounds 79.99. Next Petites are available in the shops and in their Directory (call 0116 284 9424 for stockists and 0345 100 500 for the directory). There is a range of tailoring and casual wear for 5ft 3in and under and sizes are 6-16. Prices for a jacket start at around pounds 54.99. There are three different sleeve lengths. Ann Brooks, Debenhams petite range sizes from 8-16 on most items and there are a few items in size 6, (call 0171 408 4444 for stockists). Hope this helps.

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

Dear Annie is a registered trade mark