On style, she rules
My friend and I are huge fans of Harry Potter. We saw someone wearing the Harry Potter scarf but we can't find it anywhere. Can you help?
Potty for Harry, Muggleville
The Dictator rules: You call yourself a fan? If you're such a fan, then why are you not more specific? Are you looking for a Hogwarts scarf (scarlet and gold), a Gryffindor one (purple tone with thin gold bands), or what? Come on, is it that difficult to find striped scarves in Hong Kong, anyway? Have you searched the Ladies Market and the malls? We are as sceptical about that as we are about the existence of wizards. Whatever. Stop wasting my time and yours, and just order from the official Warner Brothers merchandise site: www.wbshop.com. They've got scarves in the school and house colours (how are those Slytherin sales going?) for about HK$195 to HK$270 each. Don't worry. They ship internationally, but be warned that they occasionally run out of stock. Before you start weeping like Moaning Myrtle, you should know you can also find them at Amazon. com, too, sometimes at discounted prices, which is good, because we're hoping you grow out of this phase soon. Hey, you could even knit your own (there are instruction videos on YouTube.com).
I've been invited to a friend's 40th birthday bash and the dress code is 'Chinese Versace (tigers, gold, diamante, over-the-top, bling, bling)'. Any ideas?
The Dictator: So your friend is taking the tasteful approach. Here's an idea: don't use every costume party as an excuse to dress like a slapper. Is it worth pointing out that the host has got the brand all wrong, be it in the days of the original Versace, Gianni, or during his extraordinary-looking sister, Donatella's reign. Forget the tigers, too. Versace's iconic character is Medusa. After the Lunar New Year, it'll be all about bunnies, not tigers, anyway. It's also not about diamant?; it's about figure-hugging and revealing couture. Remember Liz Hurley's dress that was held together with pins in the 1990s? Sure, you could go the Donatella route (big lips, padded bra and fake tan) but we hope you're more clever than that. Here it is on a silver platter. Step one, buy or order a cheongsam, preferably in a geometric red or gold pattern similar to the fabrics at Versace Home. For custom tailoring, go to Linva, (38 Cochrane Street, Central, tel: 2544 2456). Off-the-rack cheongsams at Shanghai Tang (12 Pedder Street, Central, tel: 2525 7333) or Chinese Arts and Crafts (59 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2901 0338) start at about HK$2,500; while cheap touristy ones from The Lanes sell for about HK$100 (try the stall opposite the entrance to 1 Li Yuen Street East). Step two, buy 10 to 20 large kilt pins from Hop Hing (HK$5 to HK$6 each; stall 16-17, Pottinger Street, Central, tel: 2523 1869). Step three, cut along the seams and reconstruct your cheongsam ? la Hurley. If you insist, you can add a blonde wig (HK$150; Jolly Wig Shop, 32 Pottinger Street, Central, tel: 2525 1884) and cheap gold platform heels (HK$360 and up; Four Season Shoes, 21 Li Yuen Street, Central, tel: 6303 0638). Finally, please keep in mind that no one says 'bling' anymore, except parents trying to sound young.
I just moved here a few months ago from New York and everything is so different. I love that but I'm still getting used to the supermarkets and drugstores and, of all things, I'm missing my old deodorant. I see a lot of Nivea, Fa, even Adidas, and a brand called Rexona in ParknShop and Mannings, etc. I bought some Gatsby just because I liked the name but I'd love to find a place that sells my Sure.
In the Pits, Central
The Dictator: Wow. You might have broken the world record for drivel about deodorant. I don't think I've ever seen so many words about BO basher in my life. I have, however, heard it all before. 'It's just not like it is at home,' whinge, whinge, whinge. Yeah, guess what? You are in a foreign country. Deal with it or go back. OK, that was a little harsh even for me. You will adapt slowly, or you can live in denial for the duration of your stay, as many expats do. Online shopping might become a crutch. Stores like Gateway Superstore (Basement, 188 Des Voeux Road, Sheung Wan, tel: 2545 0338) will also help. It stocks a limited range of deodorant brands such as Sure (HK$36.80) and Secret (HK$45.80), as well as food, cleaning goods and even toilet paper brands you might be dreaming of. Go wild but always compare the cost before throwing down that credit card.