Question: Please see what you can find out about a new tie design by someone in Italy called Hubert. Sorry, I don't have a last name. Apparently this man's ties are being worn by the most fashion-aware men. Is it the fabric that makes them so special, or what?--S.S.
Answer: Hubert is just Hubert--no last name on the label--and his ties are easily recognizable by two factors: the pastel floral-print fabrics they're made from and the way they're tied. As our sketch illustrates, the tie is tied with the narrow end to the front rather than the wide end, and then the two sides are pulled apart so they do not overlap. They are tied loosely to show that the top button of the dress shirt is not buttoned.
Q: My husband and I are going to England in September, and we will be staying in several castles and stately homes. We will be dining with the other guests, usually 15-20 people, and I'm not sure what I should wear. I am 26, size 8, and most of my evening clothes may be a little too flamboyant for these occasions. I don't want to wear a sweater and skirt, of course. What dinner clothes do you suggest, knowing that we are trying to travel very light?--A.B.
A: What's wrong with a sweater and skirt? Especially if the sweater is a black turtleneck and the skirt is either a short, narrow black knit or a mid-calf-length matte jersey? Turtlenecks are back in fashion in a big way, and you can make them look dressy or casual by the jewelry you wear.
Rhinestone earrings for night, plain gold ones or none at all for day. If you're still not sold on a sweater and skirt as the appropriate dinner-in-the-castle look, consider the legendary "little black dress." It's very much a part of the fall fashion scene and can be changed nightly by adding and subtracting jewelry, scarfs and belts.
Q: My husband has lost one of the expensive buttons on his blazer. If I sent you one of the remaining buttons, would you be able to identify the button company that made them? As I recall, I paid somewhere around $40 for the set.--C.R.
A: Sorry, but I never was any good at playing Button, Button, Who's Got the Button. If you replaced the original blazer buttons with a more expensive set and you bought the buttons and the blazer at the same store, return one of the remaining buttons to the store and perhaps someone there can help you. If, by some miracle, your buttons are made by Waterbury, this Connecticut-based company has a service called the Bureau of Missing Buttons. The company's blazer buttons come with a registration form that identifies the style number. If a button is lost, you send your part of the warranty to Connecticut, and the company will send you another button. That's Bureau of Missing Buttons, Waterbury Co. Inc., P. O. Box 1812, Waterbury, Conn. 06720.
Q: I recently returned from a trip to a yardage store, and I am very discouraged. I looked at all the pattern books, searching in vain for a housecoat. All I found are the wraparound styles--the kinds that are used as bathrobes. I wear a large size and would like something slimming and flattering, preferably with three-quarter sleeves. Can you help?--A.K.
A: There are three styles in the current Butterick catalogue that meet your criteria. The most slenderizing style is 4138, a unisex nightshirt available in sizes extra small through extra large (bust size 46-48). It has a front placket, three-quarter sleeves and a side slit, and it's shown both in knee-length and full-length versions. Butterick 3033 is a simple button-front style that could look feminine if you make it in a delicate floral print and trim the collar and sleeves with lace. Sizes range from 6 to 22 (bust size 44). The third option, Butterick 6558, is called a nightgown, but it is also a raglan-sleeve robe if you make it in a robe fabric. It has a high, lace-trimmed collar and a simple front opening. Sizes range from 8 to 18 (bust size 40).
Marylou Luther welcomes questions from readers. Mail to Clotheslines, Fashion85, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.