I'd like to start wearing one of those sleeveless coats, but I want to be sure I'm doing it right! Could you please give me tips so I don't embarrass myself?

Sisters in Arms, Sheung Wan

The Dictator: You mean a long vest? It's not just your clothes that are embarrassing. The sleeveless coat, sleeveless jacket, or gilet peaked last autumn, but it's still around. Alexander Wang's gorgeous wool vest in camel is perfect for layering (HK$6,340; www.netaporter.com). For HK$609, there's Topshop's version in a camel, double-face jersey with raw edges (59 Queens Road Central). The Olivia Waterfall belted, sleeveless coat is a steal at HK$242 (www.boohoo.com) or try Vince's failsafe long drape crepe vest with tie in grey or off-white (HK$2,800; Lane Crawford). Sleeveless trench coats are also popular, such as: Victoria Beckham's white, double-breasted wool twill design in cream (HK$20,282; www.netaporter.com); River Island's beige, structured, sleeveless trench (HK$902; www.riverisland.com); and Tracy Reese's in black stretch cady (HK$3,734.67; www.nordstrom.com). The raison d'etre of a transitional piece like this is layering for a change in seasons, so shop now and wear it later over a summer dress (we prefer a longer skirt hem to avoid flasher associations).

 

I fancy overhauling my hairdo. Before I cut my locks and end up enduring months of regret, could you tell me if there is anywhere in town that does those computer simulation pictures that show you what you'd look like with various styles?

Done with the Bun, SoHo

The Dictator rules: Are you kidding? It's called an app, and it's available immediately on your closest device via iTunes, Google Play, etc. Find one that requires a photo upload, because basing it on the face of a model 10 times better looking than you will only lead to disappointment. Start with top ranking, free apps such as Hairstyle Makeover (www.appdicted.com) or InStyle Hairstyle Try-On (www.instyle.com). Of course, you always need to pay for more options (HK$40 and up). Too much hassle? Aveda.com let's you do it all online, and happens to have salons in Hong Kong, too. Now, against my better judgment, I put your question to the experts, whose replies varied from dismissive to diplomatic. Hamish Glianos, director at Paul Gerrard, in Central, says software will only give you a rough idea. Real results require a thorough consultation, to take into consideration: face shape, lifestyle, colour and how you will be maintaining your look. Cuts range from HK$550 by a stylist to HK$1,500 by a director. Ian Gough, creative director at Indulgence, also in Central, describes his process in three parts: listen, advice, create. "As a stylist, the biggest tool I have are my ears," he says. "A client will give you all their likes and loathes verbally." Cuts cost HK$400 or HK$900 and up for a creative director. Conclusion: stop messing around, and see a talented stylist.

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