What's a peplum and why should I wear one?
Pep in Step, Happy Valley
The Dictator rules: Don't you people read? If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: think style, not fashion. Obviously, you don't have to wear anything you don't want to. Apart from the fact that peplums have become de rigueur again, this extra bit of volume added to the hip area can also be surprisingly flattering on many body shapes, accentuating the waist. Now proceed with caution, ladies, and don't follow the wrong dictionary entry. We're not talking about the Ancient Greek tunic here. This sort of peplum or 'overskirt' can be traced to 19th-century fashion, but we suggest you fast-forward to the 1940s and Christian Dior's New Look. That's when the designer introduced ladies' suits with jackets featuring an extra flounce from the waist out, paired with slim-cut skirts. For autumn-winter 2011, many designers, most notably Stella McCartney, have added the nostalgic touch to dresses. McCartney's stretch cotton-blend dresses in wine red or black are comfortable, flattering and fabulous, and great for travel (HK$7,500 and up; The Landmark, Central, tel: 2801 6793), although squishier figures may require Spanx to avoid unsightly bumps. Ted Baker's collection has varieties of peplum, from excellent structured dresses to 80s-style prom confections (HK$2,450 each; Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2918 9609). Other brands doing them include Mary Katrantzou, Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu, Victoria Beckham and BCBG. Or get the look with separates, such as the gorgeous tops by Alice + Olivia (HK$2,700 and up) and Hanii Y (HK$4,100), or a skirt, such as the clever interpretation by Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy (HK$16,900; all available at Lane Crawford, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2118 7777). Whatever you choose, only pair it with a slim-cut bottom half, in the Dior style, such as a pencil skirt, or skinny trousers, and a body-hugging shirt.
What's the deal with the fancy friendship bracelets I'm seeing around these days attached to gold chains and sometimes with jewels?
Best Friend, Discovery Bay
The Dictator: Nice try. You've just tried try to sound hip and dated yourself in the same breath. But you do have something there. The fancy friendship bracelet trend is well and truly on at the moment, and we're quite liking it. There's a large selection of them among the fab contemporary jewellery displays at the new Harvey Nichols (about HK$990 each; Pacific Place, tel: 3968 2668). You'll find bracelets by Shashi, which is the second line by designers Danna Kobo and Yuvi Alpert and was inspired by Hindu prayer bracelets. Priced about HK$3,300 and up, they are made from coloured thread and cord, and embellished with crystals and gold-plated beads. While there, you should also look for the larger chainlink bracelets interwoven with ribbon by Ligia Dias (HK$2,900). If you like the industrial-chic aesthetic, pay a visit to the fantastic Initial, where chain bracelets are mixed with devor?bits of fabric and thread (HK$490; Queensway Plaza, Admiralty, tel: 2442 1375). While you're at it, see the wide range of funked-up friendship bracelets by Bibi Bijoux, made with Swarovski Elements (about HK$2,600; Lane Crawford, Pacific Place, tel: 2118 3668). If you're at all artsy-craftsy, learn how to make your own by visiting the blog Honestly...WTF (go to honestlywtf.com, then search for 'DIY Woven Chain Bracelet').