I Prentice (Miss), London
5 Two jewellery designers would be good for this; they work to commissions: Jacqueline Rabun (famous for her simple silver pieces, and for bringing the ID bracelet back into vogue) will take about four weeks and prices start at pounds 100 plus VAT (contact her on 0171-221 9820); or try Slim Barrett, 72 Crowndale Road, London NW1, 0171-387 6419, whose prices start at pounds 120 plus VAT. For this you will get a beautiful hand-made armlet that you will want to treasure long after your wedding. Slim Barrett will work around your wedding-dress design, maybe picking out the pattern or even copying the design of your tattoo, and the work will take about two weeks. Ready-made styles from Barrett, in sterling silver or plated bronze, start at pounds 70. For cheaper alternatives, try the wholesale jewellers around Berwick Street, London W1.
I like to wear shirts outside my trousers but find that when I wear a jacket on the way to work the shirt-tails are always longer than the jacket. Should I make a feature of this, or wear longer jackets?
M Donaghy (Mrs), Bath
5 If you want to make a feature of the shirt-tails, you could also pull the shirt-cuffs so that they peek out of the jacket sleeves, so that all this spillage looks intentional and very rock'n'roll rather than just scruffy. You could buy a longer jacket, but if your shirt-tails are that long, in order to cover them you will end up with a very long jacket and looking like a Teddy boy. It would be better anyway to spend the cash on a bottle of Jack Daniel's. Is shortening the shirt not an option? But perhaps the simplest way is to get a length of thick, soft elastic; tie it into a circle, step into it so that it sits over your shirt and then pull the shirt up until its hem sits comfortably above your jacket hem. When you reach your destination, pull the shirt-tails out of the elastic, which remains discreetly about your waist awaiting the journey home (also stops you eating too much).
I have a real problem finding trousers to fit, so much so that I have lived in leggings for years. I have tried everywhere, not even the designer labels are any good. I have a fairly average figure (size 14), but I am hollow-backed, so that if they fit me around the hips, they are hopelessly big around the waist. I long to be able to wear smart trousers. Do you know of any designer or shop whose trousers might fit me?
T Baxter (Mrs), Luton
5 This is a widespread problem, mostly because the most crucial fit in trousers - the crotch - is rarely measured. Stephen Gray, professor of communications and computer graphics at Nottingham Trent University, may be the man to change all this. He has brought a measuring booth to this country from France called the Telmat. At the Nottinghamshire International Clothing Centre in Hucknall, you can have every part of you measured in three dimensions for pounds 5 a time. In time he hopes, designers and stores will use his findings to re-assess people's measurements. (To be really futuristic, he thinks one day our measurements will be stored on smartcards, and that via a PC you will be able to find out which stores make clothes that fit you the best.) In the meantime, have a pair made for you. I can highly recommend a couturier dressmakers called Olney Originals (01234 241440) who are not a million miles from you (they will also travel to London for meetings with their clients). They can source the required fabric for you if you wish, and will make up a toile for you (the same garment, but in calico) before they go ahead and make the item in the proper fabric. Three or four fittings ensure a perfect fit. Prices obviously vary according to the style and fabric that you choose, but as a guide, a pair of simple tapered trousers in a wool mix crepe would cost pounds 150. Considering how comfortable and flattering a well-fitting pair of trousers can be, this is actually very good value for money.
I had a dress made for me, and I don't know what to do now that it needs cleaning, as obviously it has no care label. It's rather precious and I'm scared of it being ruined in the wrong hands.
E Harper (Miss), Fulham
5 Do you remember where you bought the fabric? If you do, take the dress back to the shop and they may be able to tell you how to clean it, or give you the manufacturer's address to write to for care advice. Othwerwise if you or your dressmaker have scraps of fabric left over, you can take them to any reputable drycleaner, which will be able to test the scraps for safety with the various drycleaning chemicals they use. If none of the above applies, try a top-class drycleaner, such as Lilliman and Cox (tel: 0171-629 4555) or Tothills (0171-252 0100); both are very helpful and have a wealth of experience. Although the ultimate risk is yours, your dress will be in good hands.Reuse content