Trench Coat a Fine Traveling Companion

Times Fashion Editor

Question: Please help me find a man's raincoat in a size 34 short. My husband can function here in Los Angeles without a raincoat, but we are going to visit relatives in Hong Kong, and they tell us to be prepared for rain.--S.L.

Answer: Let it pour. Your husband will stay dry in the classic London Fog trench coat illustrated here. Available in British tan, natural or navy, it's made of polyester and cotton and has a removable pile liner. This double-breasted version, priced at $165, is available in sizes 34-44, shorts and extra shorts, at Short Sizes Inc., 5385 Warrensville Center Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44137.

Q: About this time every year I wish I had kept the Clotheslines column where you told about sundresses with built-in bras. Please repeat the item if, indeed, the dresses still exist.--M.M.

A: The sundresses still are being made by Malia International. They come in sizes 4-18 and are priced from $70 to $90. Most are made in 100% cotton prints. For retail outlets, write to Malia, 110 East 9th St., Suite C-339, Los Angeles, Calif. 90079.

Q: Why do the buttons on the back of my new Pierre Cardin dress keep opening? The dress buttons from the neck to the hem. After I've sat for a while, the buttons apparently escape from their buttonholes, leaving my rear end exposed and my face red. Should I replace the buttons with a zipper?--L.V.

A: No, just buy bigger buttons. Your buttonholes are obviously too big for your buttons, so solve the problem either with bigger buttons or smaller buttonholes. If that sounds too complex, you might want to consider the advice of sewing expert Jane Shaner, who says your problem has to do with whether the buttonholes are placed vertically or horizontally. Shaner says vertical buttonholes are used only in designs in which there is a band down the front or back. Reason: Buttons cannot be centered on the band if the buttonholes are horizontal. The buttons simply move to the ends of the holes closest to the center. If your buttonholes are vertical, Shaner says to take them off and lap the dress the opposite way so the button side is on top. Then make horizontal buttonholes where each button was sewn originally. Shaner says she swears that your dress will then stay buttoned. If you have more questions, write to Jane Shaner, the Silver Thimble, 311 Valley Brook Road, McMurray, Pa. 15317.

Q: Can I wear white for my second wedding? There seems to be a wide difference of opinion on this subject. While I am not intimidated by etiquette, I would feel more comfortable knowing the rules before I decide whether or not to break them.--C.K.

A: The editors at Bride's magazine say white is entirely acceptable for second weddings, but it is not proper to wear a dress with a train. Nor is it proper to wear a veil, long a symbol of virginity, unless specific religious ceremonies require a veil.

Q: Where can I purchase double-face fabrics in wool for use in a winter coat? I've found the perfect pattern for a new coat, but the fabric has eluded me. I would prefer white, camel or red on one side.--C.B.

A: Double-face wool fabrics in coat weights are available at International Silks & Woolens, 8347 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90048, in the following colors: white/lavender, beige/mint, beige/beige, white/blue-gray, white/gray herringbone, lavender/lavender, camel/yellow, charcoal/orange. All are available in 58-inch widths at prices ranging from $29 to $49 a yard.

Q: Please tell me where to find a pair of rain protectors for high-heel shoes. They used to be available in rubber, but I have not been able to find them for some time.--V.F.

A: They're made of plastic now, and they're available at most shoe-repair shops.

Q: My son's sport shirts have underarm stains caused by perspiration. What can I do to remove them?--A.C.

A: If the stains have been there for some time, sponge the underarm areas with white vinegar, then wash. If the stain is new, try sponging with ammonia, then washing.

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