Intelligent consumer: Dear annie

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Please help! I used to buy tights with a gusset gap ("airflow tights"), which let the body breathe so there is no odour. I got these from Tytex/Better Living mail order, but they seem to have closed down or moved. Can I get such tights anywhere? If your information scouts could come up with a source I'd be very grateful.

Sarah V, Athens

Well, your letter came on hotel paper from a five-star hotel in Athens (fancy) so I can only presume you actually live in the UK?? (I am flattered that on holiday you thought to write to me...) Independence Ltd, Unit 17, Hawthorn Centre, Elmgrove Road, Harrow, Middlesex, HA8 2RF (0181 861 1722), stock "Pantie Tights", which have a cotton gusset so they can be worn without knickers. They are available up to size 42in hips in honey colour only, 15 denier. A pack of three costs pounds 5.99, or you can buy six pairs for pounds 9.99. P&P is free. Allow seven to 10 days delivery to anywhere in UK. But these may not be exactly what you want, I admit. I know exactly the tights you mean and I have seen them advertised in, I thought, Innovations, but that was not correct. Please write in anyone who can help on this, um, fragrant subject.

Help! Please! I am desperately in need of a knee-length, flared skirt in black chiffon. I am coming to London on 1 February, but if you are not able to give me any tips before then, anywhere in the Nottingham/Lincoln/Sheffield area. I love reading your column and think you deal wonderfully with all the problems you are presented with. This is not "flannel" but a genuine compliment!

Margaret Kerrigan, Retford

P.S. Around pounds 50, please - size 12

Oh Marge, thank you. You do know how to get me going. Couldn't reply to you any sooner, I'm afraid. Still, this is what I've found for you: Freed (0171 240 2702) stock a black, chiffon, crossover, apron skirt which flares out slightly. It's just above the knee at the back and a little higher at the front, one size, pounds 15. They don't have a catalogue but take telephone orders (very brusquely, judging by phone call) payment is by cheque or credit card (by fax only). Or, if you fancy having a go yourself, Nevilles Textiles, 29 Stoney Street, Nottingham NG1 1LP (0115 959 8781 for brochure), supply fabric for dance clothes. Nevilles sell four different types of chiffon in black, all 112cm wide. Prices per metre range from around pounds 2 to pounds 5. Fabric can be ordered by mail (allow seven to 10 days for delivery) or fax (0115 950 2687). You can also visit the warehouse shop at the above address. Open Mon-Thurs 8.30am-4.30pm (lunch 12.45-1.15pm) Fridays 8.30am-1.30pm. Go on, have a go, it'll be easy. Then send me a picture.

I have to interrupt this column at this point with some more useful info. Goodness, I wish I had more space.

First , a big thank you to Gai Ellis of Cambridge who went to Zimbabwe and bought dear Dr Alex Scott Samuel some black plimmies (5 Jan). Kind or what? Dr SS is suitably grateful and Gai, your place in heaven is assured.

Bust Stop, for big breasts, have a "seemingly seamless" wonderwire bra which gives a smooth look under T-shirts and the like, in sizes 34D to 46F for pounds 23 (black, white and floral). And they do a Push-Up bra (hurrah at last, someone understands that C-cup-plus girlies may also want to wear a pushie up bra occasionally), which comes in 32DD to 36E in black or white, pounds 23. (Had to include this info as I am obsessed with breasts at the moment as mine are the size of two of the seven hills of Rome.)

A couple of useful addresses from my files:

Harry Berger Cleaners & Dyers, 25 Station Rd, Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire (0161 485 3421) are the only dyers apart from Chalfont Cleaners and Dyers (1 June) listed with the Textile Services Association (the trade association for the laundry, cleaning and textile rental industry).

Vegetarian Shoes, 12 Gardner Street, Brighton (01273 691913), Ethical Wares (01929 480360) and Hide Away (01824 704889) are useful for you caring folk who don't like to wear animal bits.

Stop Press: just put together a new directory: swimwear. Not as detailed as the others, but it gives info on what sizes different manufacturers do, if they do cupped sizes, if they sell tops and bottoms separately, that kind of thing. Most useful and will help answer all those enquiries I keep getting (yes, that's you Lily from Suffolk). Send an A4-sized envelope with a first-class stamp on it to me and I'll send you one pronto pasta. Also available is dressmakers (A4 envelope with 60p worth of stamps); big shoe (same) and nearly ready (no SAEs for this one, yet!) size 16 plus!!! Hurrah.

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.

Email: annie@independent.co.uk

Annie regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence

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