On a recent trip, I saw a scarf that was knotted in such a beautiful and unusual way that I bought the display item because I knew I'd never be able to get it to look like that myself. I told my helper not to undo the scarf and was looking forward to wearing it - but when I went to the wardrobe to look for it, I found it perfectly ironed out with all my other scarves. I'm so annoyed I could scream! What now?
Coming Undone, The Peak

The Dictator rules: Let's start by getting a grip, shall we? You're looking for commiseration because the foundations of your perfect life have been rocked by an undone scarf? Other people aren't the problem, lady, you are. Consider this an intervention - tie your own knots! There is a YouTube video titled "25 Ways to Wear a Scarf in 4.5 Minutes!" by fashion blogger Wendy Nguyen. That should help. Also check out the Knot Library at scarves.net. If you have an Apple device, then download the free Hermès Silk Knots app immediately. It provides instructions on how to tie more than 20 types of knot, with step-by-step videos for some of them, too. And if you fancy forking out HK$3,800 for one of the brand's famous silk scarves, race to one of its boutiques (visit www.hermes.com for locations), where they will give you a complimentary set of knotting cards with your purchase. There are quite a few books on the subject, too, such as How to Tie A Scarf (HK$85.40; www.bookdepository.com) and Sensational Scarfs (HK$56; www.paddyfield.com).


I've always been in love with big skirts on swing coats, so I am over the moon now that they're back in fashion. Which do you recommend?
In the Swing, Tai Tam

The Dictator: How should I know? You haven't told me anything about your style, body shape or what's already in your wardrobe. For all I know, you could be talking about Swing-era dancing clothes, or Christian Dior's New Look circa 1947, or poodle skirts from the 1950s. (OK, even fashion editors are collecting cinched waists with full skirts under the "mid-century" umbrella.) Do you look good in red? I suppose you'll have to answer that for yourself when you try on the exquisitely tailored, full-skirted scarlet coat at Dior (HK$31,000; The Landmark, Central, tel: 800 969 886), one of several pieces designer Raf Simons has created in homage to the brand's heritage. When even the characteristically minimalist, straight-lined Céline takes on the trend, you know we're having a fashion moment. For autumn-winter, long-time Céline designer Phoebe Philo presented gorgeous pieces that flare out towards the hem, albeit with a very modern overall effect. You might like the black wool silk Mikado coat (HK$40,000; Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2869 4886). On the high street, Ted Baker, for example, presents the boring old trench coat in a new way with exactly the skirt you love, and it's sold in various colours (HK$3,350 to HK$4,400; Pacific Place, tel: 2918 9609).



Got a question for The Dictator? E-mail her with your name, or alias, and address at: dictator@scmp.com