Updating a Kennedyesque A-Line Coat

Times Fashion Editor

Question: I have a vintage Jackie Kennedy look-alike coat, circa 1964. It's an A-line in winter-white with a nubby, loose weave and brass buttons. And it's in excellent condition. Problem: It's eight inches shorter than my current mid-calf hemlines. (I am shocked to see how short I once wore my skirts). Are three-quarter coats worn at all now? I'm 47, 5-foot-5 and would appreciate any suggestions on how I can use this coat today.--E.W.

Answer: If your coat is as body conscious as Jackie's was, you can wear it over a narrow skirt, as illustrated here, for an updated Nehru look. This will only work if the coat is not too full. If it is, take in the side seams or try hiking it up to tunic length. Depending on the exact shape of your coat, this shorter length might look better than its current length. Wear the coat with any narrow dark skirt.

Q: You answered the problem of too many mothballs making too much of an odor in the home. Now can you answer the problem of sitting next to a person whose fur coat reeks of mothballs? Good season tickets are not easy to change, and for three years I've been trying to figure out how to tell this woman that her mothballs are asphyxiating me. She is older and must have an impaired sense of smell. I always pray for warm weather. Can you help?--E.J.B.

A: Try telling the woman that you too once had a fur coat that reeked of mothballs until you discovered a sachet that does the same job as mothballs without the chemicals and the attendant after-odor. If you think she might be offended, try finagling her address. Then send her a box of sachets made of herbs, spices and oils. Sign the gift, "From a secret admirer." If she's smart, she'll read that the product eliminates "smelly, chemical mothball odors." For this $10.25 investment, you get relief from mothball odor, and your seat mate gets eight sachets that will last for two years. To order, write to the Vermont Country Store, P.O. Box 3000, Manchester Center, Vt. 05255-3000.

Q: My brother, a World War II veteran, contacted a foot fungus while in the tropics. He has to wear white socks. I've heard of a manufacturer that makes socks with white cotton feet and colored tops. Can you give us the firm name and address?--S.G.

A: The company that sells men's health socks with black tops and unbleached Mercerized cotton feet is Hanover House, Hanover, Pa. 17331. The socks come in a package of six pairs for about $14. Sizes include 10-10 1/2, 11-11 1/2, 12 and 13. As your brother undoubtedly knows, the socks are said to keep feet free from irritation often caused by dyes.

Q: Please help me find a product called a pants liner. The one I'm looking for is made by Adonna. It came in white and beige and was perfect for wear under slacks because the tummy panel provided a little restraint. I've looked everywhere--including the J. C. Penney store where I first bought it--and can no longer find it or a similar product.--V.P.

A: I don't know if it's made by Adonna, but there is a pants liner with reinforced tummy panel available in the J. C. Penney current women's and half-size catalogue, Page 63. This version is made of cotton, nylon and Lycra and ends a few inches below the knees with stretch-lace leg cuffs with rubber grippers. It's available for $13 in waist sizes 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 and 42.

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