Question: I’m going to China for three weeks in November. I will be traveling with my husband in an official capacity as part of a People-to-People Ambassador Program. We will visit Beijing, Singapore, Canton, Nanking and Hong Kong. I need to travel light, as the Chinese airline allows only 44 pounds of luggage. The weather will vary from 60 degrees to 80 degrees in the daytime and 40 degrees to 70 degrees at night. The delegation suggests a layered look. Our schedule also may not allow for changing from daytime to nighttime attire. I’m 5 feet, 3 1/2 inches tall, Size 12. Any suggestions will be appreciated.--P.H.
Answer: Knits make the best traveling companions, as in the Oscar de la Renta Expressions outfit illustrated here. The wool knit cardigan ($74), matching sleeveless sweater ($42) and fully lined dirndl skirt with elasticized waistline ($60) are available in both white and black. If you buy all three pieces in black and use them as the cornerstone of your travel wardrobe, you can add such items as a red turtleneck sweater, a white blouse, a gold lame tunic and a pair of black knitted pants, and you will be ready for any occasion. This is the season when day and night wear are reversed, so wear your tailored clothes to the most festive banquets and your rhinestones during the daytime; and it doesn’t matter if you get a chance to change. The knits illustrated here are available in the current catalogue published by Spiegel, 1040 West 35th St., Chicago, Ill. 60609-1494. Don’t forget to take a big wool scarf to layer over your coat or over your shoulders, as the weather dictates.
Q: Where can I have a skirt sunburst-pleated or accordion-pleated? I think this process also is called crystal pleating.--E.N.
A: Send your fabric to A-1 Pleating, 8426 1/2 West 3rd St., Los Angeles, Calif. 90048, and allow one week from receipt of your order for delivery. For sunburst pleating, send fabric cut in half circles only. Do not hem lightweight fabrics. Mark the center of the half circle. Do not cut out the waist area. Three yards equal one yard after pleating, so send three times as much fabric as desired in your finished, pleated fabric. Prices range from $4 per half circle for 12-inch fabric to $48 per half circle for 70-inch fabric. Postage and handling are extra.
Q: Where can I find panty hose with the little bows near the heels in back? You know--the ones like Princess Di wears?--T.T.
A: I’m not sure they’re the ones worn by Lady Diana, but seamed black panty hose with flocked bows at the heel are available in the current catalogue called Night ‘n Day Intimates, Unique Merchandise Mart, Building 22, Hanover, Pa. 17333. They’re priced at $9, plus postage and handling, and are available in sizes small, medium and large.
Q: For my elderly cousin, please find all-cotton underwear with legs that extend to just above the knees.--G.A.
A: The Vermont Country Store, Box 3000, Manchester Center, Vt. 05255-3000, has both above-the-knee panties and vests made of 100% combed cotton pointelle, a special fabric knitted in England. The pointelle pattern gives this underwear a delicate appearance and creates a breathable thermal underwear. The ribbed hem of the vest, panty legs and waist assure stay-put fit with plenty of stretch. The panties alone are $6 in sizes S/M (8-12), L(14-16) and XL (18-20). The latter size costs $1 additional. Both the panties and matching vest ($6.50) come in white and champagne. Postage and handling costs are spelled out in the catalogue.
If your cousin would accept panties that end at mid-thigh, these too are available. They’re called cotton trunk underpants, and they cost from $10.50 to $11.25 for a set of three, depending on size. These panties do not hug the legs, and they are made of a single-layer, ribbed-knit cotton.
Q: What kind of jacket is best for someone who wears a 38-D bra?--H.O.
A: A jacket with shoulder pads. The added height of the pads does a lot to diminish the bust line and make the jacket fit better. As a rule, cardigan jackets are better for the 38-D than jackets with lapels because the lapels add another layer of fabric at a point where you need less, not more.