Q: Where can I find swimsuits for mature women? I am going to be 60 in two months and still have the outlines of a decent figure. However, I obviously cannot wear the current over-revealing styles. Rather than appear in a 10-year-old swimsuit that is crying for replacement, I have had to forgo swimming. I am looking for a one-piece suit with a built-in bra and a flare skirt. I hope you can recommend a swimsuit manufacturer who has not forgotten the hundreds of thousands of women over 50 who still enjoy swimming and sunbathing. I am a size 12.--R.C. A: The manufacturer who remembered to make the skirted swimsuit illustrated here is Sea Waves. It comes with its own built-in bra, and it's available in yellow polyester-cotton pique with white floral trim, in sizes 6-18, in the current catalogue published by the Tog Shop, Lester Square, Americus, Ga. 31710. The price is $57.95. The Tog Shop also offers an Elisabeth Stewart swim dress in a nylon knit for $45.95, a Gabar swim dress in woven cotton-polyester for $58.95 and a Jantzen swim dress in nylon / Lycra knit for $54.95.
Q: Can you help me find a pair of Indian-type moccasins in a soft leather, preferably unbeaded, size 8? They will replace a pair of Minnetonka moccasins that I purchased from a shop that's no longer in business.--M.B. A: Minnetonka moccasins are still in existence, and an unusual selection of their styles is available at Frontier Enterprises Inc., 558 Main St., South Woodbury, Conn. 06798. Donna Civitello, president of Frontier, recommends either the soft-sole women's buffalo-tanned moccasin (Style No. 526 for $26.50) or the hard-sole version (Style No. 626 for $28). Both are unbeaded. Frontier also sells Minnetonka moccasins for men and children, including infants. Hard-to-find knee-high moccasins with front lacings also are available, as are side-laced knee-highs.
Q: What is the most flattering skirt style for one whose hips are disproportionately larger than the rest of her body?--L.M. A: First, select a dark color. Then be sure that the skirt fits properly. Fit is more important than style when it comes to hip-whittling, and color is more important than either style or fit. A white skirt, for example, is going to make you appear heavier, no matter what the style or how well it fits.
Q: My husband and I will be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary in September. It will be an afternoon affair. Last year, you recommended Simplicity No. 5878 for a golden-wedding celebrant. That pattern has been discontinued. Do you have any other pattern suggestions? Also, what fabric should I make it in? I do my own sewing, I'm 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weigh 97 pounds.--H.L. A: The Simplicity pattern that I recommended last year was an Adolfo design in the Chanel tradition. Any of his current Simplicity patterns in that style would be excellent made up in a gold Lurex knit. If that sounds a bit heavy for September, consider gold lace--a soft, limp gold lace, not the stiff Guipure variety. Vogue No. 8862 and No. 8886 would suit both you and the fabric. If you can't find gold lace, make No. 8862 in beige lace and wear it over a gold slip. (The pattern has directions for dress and slip.)
Q: Who was the first post - World War II designer to use big shoulder pads?--D.T. A: France's Claude Montana. Padded shoulders were an important part of his black-leather military collection of March, 1978. The rest of the fashion world soon followed his lead.
Q: Can you please help me find support stockings that fit? I can no longer find them. I weigh 230 pounds and need what is known as an outsize.--C.D. A: J. C. Penney's catalogue for women's and half sizes features Big Beautiful Women support stockings. You would wear a 3X. The stockings are available in beige, white, taupe or tan at $11.40 for a package of three.
Q: I will be getting married next winter and am trying to make almost everything for members of the wedding party. The ushers are all real sharp dressers, so I want to make them silk cummerbunds and bow ties (the real kind that you tie ourself) that they can keep after the ceremony. Can you find a pattern?--T.L.W. A: Vogue 2826 offers bow ties, four-in-hands, ascot, scarf and cummerbund--all in one pattern. The bow ties include pre-tied and the narrow ones you tie yourself. The cummerbund is self-lined with adjustable closure. McCall's 8861 also offers a cummerbund, but the bow ties in this pattern are pre-tied.
Q: Where can I find a bra to wear under a backless evening gown? No store in my area offers backless bras.--M.B. A: Take a look at the strapless, low-back bra on Page 288 of the current J. C. Penney catalogue. If the bare back on your evening gown stops slightly above the waistline, this long-line bra will do, but if the gown ends a bit below the waistline, the bra might show. It's called Seamless Flattery, and it's priced at $16.50 in sizes 34, 36 and 38, in B and C cups. You can get it in white, black or beige.
Q: Can you please tell me where to find nurse's white support panty hose with cotton feet?--J.S. A: Support panty hose are available in white or beige--in sizes small, medium, tall and extra-tall--from Andrew Barry Associates, 565 Potter Road, Framingham, Mass. 01701. These panty hose have a cotton crotch and cotton-lisle soles with reinforced toes. They're $5.95 a pair.
Q: Where can I find a pattern for a circular skirt with pockets? I was told that I could make one without a pattern by measuring my waistline, adding an inch to the measure, and then cutting those measurements out of the top of a piece of fabric. I am afraid to try it because the fabric might not be wide enough and I would ruin it. I need a pattern.--M.B. A: Simplicity 6035 is a pattern for a set of circle and half-circle skirts in two lengths. The pattern includes a special chart on how to work with all kinds of plaids.
Q: Last September, I looked long and hard at the wonderful gabardine riding skirt made by Anne Klein. Alas, my budget simply could not stretch far enough for me to buy one. Now I'm determined to make one for myself, but I cannot find a pattern.--S.T. A: Folkwear Patterns, P.O. Box 3798, San Rafael, Calif. 94912, offers a pattern for the "Big Sky Riding Skirt." It's based on one worn by rodeo star Fannie Sperry Steele, and it's styled with a movable front panel that buttons to the left for a skirt effect or to the right for a pants effect.
Q: Where can I purchase blouses with a sleeve length of 27 inches? I am 6 feet tall and have very long arms.--H.B. A: The longest sleeve length in blouses offered by Shelly's catalogue for talls is 26 7/8 inches, but you will find that length only in size 22. The average sleeve length in the catalogue is 25 1/2 inches. You can expand your choices, however, by choosing styles with roll-up sleeves or three-quarter-length sleeves that do not have to reach your wrists. If the 25 1/2-inch sleeve length would do, contact Shelly's, 747 Towne Ave., Los Angeles 90021, telephone (213) 629-8900, for a store near you.
Marylou Luther welcomes questions for use in this column. She regrets she cannot answer mail personally. Send your questions to Clotheslines, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.