Ella Thomas, Abingdon
Dorothy Perkins have done exactly what you're looking for: a black one- piece with shorts-style bottom that has a black and white striped trim, at pounds 19.99, and a black two-piece 1930's style one at pounds 21.99 (it is not a bikini - it looks like a one-piece on and has a vest top with cross- over back and three white stripes around the middle with the bottoms like shorts). I think this is well within your price range and they really are great. They are only available in city centre stores, call 0171 291 2604 for further info. Marks & Spencer also do two that you might like: style no: T52/6470 in black for pounds 16, and a navy belted one, style no: T52/6781 at pounds 21. Both are still available from selected stores, so call 0171 268 4174 to find out if your local branch has them.
I am going to a wedding in August (who isn't?) and will be wearing a hat for the first time ever! Does one keep one's hat on during the meal? I presume I shall have to discard it by the time I get to the dance floor? I wouldn't normally bother busy people like you with my limited knowledge of fashion protocol, but I can't find the answer to my question in any etiquette books.
Barbara King, Lancashire
Well, I'm not going to a wedding in August, regrettably, as I always find them a great deal of fun. In matters of fashion protocol, I am not much good, since I believe that, so long as you don't offend anyone and carry it off with aplomb, you should be able to wear what you want. My thoughts, however, are that eating with a hat is rather superfluous, especially if the hat is big. Will your hat be easy to take on and off? By that I mean will taking it off mean a half hour trip to the ladies to rearrange your hair? Does your hat "make" the outfit and would removal of your headgear therefore make your outfit too simple? These are things you need to think about, but not for too long. I don't think I have ever been to a wedding that involved hats, and certainly don't remember any at the table. (My best friend Lily once went to a wedding where her Aunt Catherine kept her hat on and secreted all manner of anti-pasto into it, to take home to give to her cats - she was that sort of woman. But I doubt you will be doing that.) Men remove their top hats (if they are wearing them) at the table, and I think it only fair in the interests of equality, that women do the same. I would perhaps keep the hat on when you first sit down, if toasts and what not are performed at the beginning of the meal, and then take it off for eating. But ultimately, do what feels comfortable and sod protocol.
I would love this dress and this hat, (pictures enclosed). They are by John Galliano and Philip Treacy respectively. Can you give me a clue as to how to buy them? I am prepared to pay up to pounds 1,000 - would you think this is realistic? (I would naturally wear them forever.) The dress I cut out from the paper - it was in John Galliano's collection. Does this mean that there is only one and someone else owns it? I would be very pleased if you could help.
Susan Evans, Cobham, Surrey
John Galliano designs his own collection and is also the designer at Givenchy. Philip Treacy is a hat designer. Both have won awards for their remarkable work. It was very difficult for me to make out the dress and hat from your photocopy. I don't know when the picture you sent me appeared in the newspaper, but if it was recently it would have been from their Spring/Summer 1996 collections. Most, but not all, designs are bought by shops so they should be available to buy. Some pieces are done as "show pieces" and don't go into production but can be bought "to order". Magazines and newspapers borrow samples from the PR of the designer, so the dress/hat you saw is owned by the designer. Your pounds 1,000 might not be quite enough to buy both, as both men are craftsmen and their work is intricate and expensive. I shall forward some numbers to you so that you can contact both designers direct - I think that is the best thing for you to do.
Hello. I interrupt this column to update a problem from 2 June on "footlets", those rather foul looking things that you wear when you don't want to go barefoot but don't want to wear socks. I was sent some superior footlets called "Secret Socks" which are now being imported from South Africa (where they sell three million pairs a year). They are great. They come in black, white or beige (and not just beige, which is fine if you want it but rather "old lady's knickers" if you don't). Sizes are small (shoe size 1-4), medium (4-7), large (7-9) and extra large (10-13). For another thing, they are in towelling and perfect for wearing with trainers. And for the final thing they are in 80 per cent cotton, so keep you nice and fresh. Introductory price is pounds 1.99 a pair (incl p+p), call 0171 794 2066 for further details.Reuse content