I've been fascinated by Cleopatra ever since I saw that Elizabeth Taylor movie. Such a powerful woman - I'd like to feel even half as confident! I don't know why I never thought of it before, but I'd love to find some Egyptian jewellery. Do you have any ideas?

Ancient Wonder, Tai Tam

The Dictator rules: I have a few. Mostly about delusional basket cases like you. Acting like someone else isn't the best way to boost your self-esteem. Ancient Egyptian jewellery - such as collars, armbands, bracelets, anklets, and protective amulets - was made from gold and copper, and embellished with pearls, emeralds, turquoise, lapis lazuli, carnelian and rock crystal. They were not only designed for the living but also for those who had passed on into the next world. Start at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art (www.store.metmuseum.org), which produces replicas of jewellery in its collections. At the moment, that includes a fabulous snake bracelet based on a piece from the Ptolemaic period (305BC to 30BC) made from 24-carat gold overlay (HK$1,164, now 50 per cent off). There is also a necklace of turquoise beads capped with 24-carat gold overlay (HK$1,281), modelled after a piece from London's British Museum dating from 1900BC to 1800BC, with matching earrings (HK$349). Actually, britishmuseumshoponline.org has lovely pieces, too. Austrian jeweller FreyWille offers the Magic Sphinx collection, which includes a series of stackable or solo bangles (HK$5,600 to HK$8,500).

My friends were going on about "paper-bag waists" at lunch yesterday, and I had to nod vaguely because I had no idea what they were talking about! Please enlighten me, oh Dictator.

In the Bag, SoHo

The Dictator: What is this, Ignoramus Day? A paper-bag waist essentially looks like you've stepped inside a paper bag and cinched it at the waist with a belt. Usually worn high, it creates a loose, pleated effect. It's a godsend on a bloated day. Although skinny fashion editors claim it makes you look exponentially thinner, we know that the paper-bag waist works on some, not all people. As always, try before you buy. New York label 3.1 Phillip Lim has invested in the design this season, offering it on trousers, from short, black silk culottes (HK$4,100) to wide leg, silk gazar in black or beige (HK$9,290) and ankle-length ivory and navy striped cotton-linen (HK$5,490). Or do it in one of its cotton, below-the-knee skirts in either black or beige (HK$4,690). At first glance, you might think Sacai is also rocking the paper-bag-waist skirt this season, but they're actually extra-wide, knee-length shorts (HK$4,600). Chloé has them perfectly tailored in drop-crotch trousers (HK$8,610) and black or olive green silk cloque (HK$10,660). Current/Elliott has done a washed denim, wide-leg version (HK$2,795; www.netaporter.com). And, yes, yes, you can get the cheap versions from retailers such as missguided.co.uk and Topshop.

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