Q I've been buying T-shirts with cute sayings on them for the past year or so and now have quite a collection. I think some of them are appropriate to wear under jackets to the office and out at night but my girlfriend disagrees. She insists that T-shirts are strictly for wear at home and at play. Who is right? A With the current trend for casual dressing in offices, you could wear the T-shirts under jackets - avoiding controversial subjects. As for nights, go all out. Hong Kong-born designer Vivienne Tam shows T-shirts for evening in her spring collection. On the front she embroiders the bust of Chairman Mao. Tam explains: 'Cross-culture fashion is becoming a major trend. It's partly due to the influence other countries have on us through television and travelling and partly because the United States is made up of people from different cultures. I used Mao because he is an icon of Chinese culture and was so important to millions of people for decades.' Q I have great legs and when I wear high-heeled sandals it really turns my husband on. His favourites are the black patent pair I bought four years ago. As you can imagine they are now much the worse for wear and I need to replace them. Should I look for another pair of patent or is it out this season? A You're in luck. Patent leather is in for spring and every major shoe designer is featuring shoes and sandals in patent leather. Libby Edelman of the California-based company Sam & Libby says patent leather looks new and fresh. 'The shine makes it perfect with all the colours that have swept in for spring - both the pastels and brights. If you love patent leather, this season may be the time to stock up on them. You'll find sandals in red and white as well as black. And don't be concerned about patent going out of fashion - it's a classic.' Q I'm an accountant and not an extravagant woman but when I started checking my spring wardrobe, I felt like throwing out the lot. My jackets are all in good shape but I am bored with the sameness. Is there an accessory I can buy to give them a new look for the season? Something that will give them and me a lift? A No single accessory will work for half a dozen jackets. You would be as tired of it as you are with the rest of your wardrobe. But you might try changing buttons, It's an idea used by many chic, creative and economical women. Diana Epstein of Tender Buttons, a Manhattan boutique, says: 'Change your buttons and change your look. Buttons can give clothes a new lease of life, extend the fun of putting on a garment that's been in the closet and can even serve to cover a moth hole, stain or cigarette burn.' Here are some of her suggestions: 'Try gold or jewelled buttons for a dressier look. Add leather or horn and it's sporty. Add Scotties or assorted fruit and it's a conversation piece. Right now fashion calls for a more conservative look, using materials such as wood, horn and leather - in either round, square or oblong shapes. The trick is to spend time trying different buttons against a jacket until you fall in love with one. Then hurry home and start sewing.' Q I have inherited my mum's figure - small on top and wide on the bottom. So wide that I've even had liposuction to reduce the size of my hips. You've offered advice on this problem before - but here is a new one for you. I'm 1.8 metres tall and people tell me I am 'very striking' or 'quite formidable'. How do I dress to disguise my problems? A To start, don't be conscious of your height. Many of the most glamorous models on the runway are tall, so stand up and be proud. As for your figure problems, I turned to Japanese-born designer Tamotsu who specialises in large and plus sizes. He says: 'Stay with two-piece dressing because you can buy items in different sizes to flatter and conceal the width of your hips. 'Proportion is extremely important. You should consider buying a jacket that is one size larger than you need. The width of the shoulders will balance the width of your hips. The best skirts are A-line that slide smoothly over the hips and flare at the hem. Never, ever buy a tight jacket, blouse or sweater as it will make your hips look twice as big.'