REAL CLOTHES: DEAR ANNIE...

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. E-mail: annie@independent.co.uk

I am left-handed and find it a nuisance to wear a wristwatch. If worn on my left wrist I have to take it off when I want to write, and if worn on my right wrist it feels uncomfortable. Would you kindly help me find a pendant watch of a contemporary design, please? The ones I have found have all been excessively ornate.

Yu-hui Xiaolin, Durham

I hope I have spelt your name right as I couldn't make your signature out. There was I, smug as a bug, thinking this request would be easy; it was not. Nowhere I could think of did watches on a pendant. (Well, I found some places that did but not to a contemporary design - they were all 9ct gold rococo swirls and filigree, and other such fussy nonsense.) Not even Argos had a modern version and I was convinced it might. (It has men's pocket watches, pounds 18.99, and nurses' pin-on watches, pounds 8.45, tel: 0870 6003030 for your nearest stockist.) If I find anything after this letter is printed (which often happens), I shall report back. Otherwise, my suggestion is to look at a very adorable tiny clock by Links of London. Although it is billed as a travel alarm clock, it is only about 3cm across and comes in a little pouch and, to my mind, makes a fabulous contemporary pocket watch. Ring them on 01483 450155 and have a look. Another (long shot) alternative is to call Olivier Simond, an independent jeweller who could attach a watch to pendant for you. Call him if you're interested (tel: 0181 693 4727). In the meantime, any readers who can help, please write in! Sorry Yu-hui, I am human you know...

I was packing with a friend recently who had to travel light. We found everything she needed, either in small packages (eg mini-toothpaste from Body Shop), or in a form that could be transferred into small travel pots. Except for deodorant. Do you know of any lipstick-size deodorant, or a cream one that can be decanted?

Penny Ingham, Kendal

There is a cream deodorant you could decant; it's called Trust and you can get it in Boots. It's really made for people with "problem perspiration" but there's no reason why you can't decant it and use it on holiday (when perspiration always becomes a problem). Sure makes a 40ml version of its "Invisible Stick" (supposed to put an end to those annoying white marks deodorant usually leaves on clothes, although I haven't put it to the test yet). It is quite small, though not tiny, and is available from most chemists and supermarkets.

My friend wants a Fifties/Sixties-style swimming hat (with lots of plastic frilly bits) but we have no idea where/if such a thing can be purchased.

Louise and Kathryn, Heaton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Do you know that next to bras and big/narrow/tiny feet enquiries this is one of the most often asked questions? The German label Fashy makes some truly splendid swimming-related products including the most fabulous swimming caps. The one that would most suit your requirements is the "petal cap" which comes in multi-coloured petals (in rubber, style no: 3190, 02) or all-over blue (in nylon, style no: 3441, 50), approx pounds 21. Harrods stocks them for any readers based in London (tel: 0171 730 1234) as does Fenwicks of Bond Street (tel: 0171 629 9161). Your local Fenwicks in Newcastle stocks Fashy hats but only the plain ones. So, either contact your local branch and ask it to order them in, or ring the Bond Street branch and buy mail order. Or, better yet, get your local Fenwicks to call in the Fashy brochure; that way you can see before you buy, because you may prefer one of the other ones.

Sorry but it's bras again. There are lots of places which do fabulous bras for those who are blessed with a decent cleavage and a small back. I say blessed, because it's an absolute nightmare trying to find bras in a 40B or, dare I say, 42B. I don't mind splashing out a bit if it's worth it.

Sarah B, London W12

Oh don't apologise. As I said earlier, bras and breasts are the reason most women write in. You are right. In the past five years bras have changed: you can now get sexy black bras in cup sizes D and above. But those with a large back and small cup - perfectly normal - still have a hard time. Fear not. Triumph (which goes up to a 54" back!) and Anita are the makes to look out for, and if you can't be bothered to traipse around shops looking for your size, ring Gold Star holder Margaret Ann (tel: 01985 840520) who is now responsible for upholstering most of my readers (and no I never knew her before this column, and no she doesn't bribe me) with any sort of lingerie problem. She can deal with you by post as long as you have a Visa card, so you can try on at home and return to her (unworn) until you get the fit you want. (If you want to go and visit her, she's in Wiltshire.) Expect to pay in the upper 20s upwards for your bra (plus postage), which I hope was within your definition of "splashing out" a bit.

Annie regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence. Dear Annie is a registered trademark. The book Dear Annie, a fully updated compilation of past columns plus all the directories, is on sale priced pounds 9.99, published by Faber and Faber.

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