I'm desperately looking for cotton summer dresses and can't find any good ones. I like ones with stringy straps and stretchy tops, which I saw back home at Victoria's Secret. Strapped and Stretched, Mid-Levels The Dictator rules: Ah, so it's the good ones you're after. No wonder you're shopping for them in mid-range underwear stores abroad. Let's take a moment to learn some basic dress terms. Those stringy straps are better known as spaghetti straps. And the stretchy bits? Well, that would be called smocking. Got it? Now, we've seen lots of that late 1970s/early 80s dress style you mention, where the spaghetti straps tie on the shoulders and are attached to a band of smocking to just above the waist, which is itself attached to a generally knee-length skirt. Dress guru, Issa, created a perfect red version for summer but it was sold out when we looked for it recently. BCBG has a similar one (HK$2,150; shop B49, The Landmark, Central, tel: 2868 9873) in a flattering green. Zara Basic has them in plaid with a grungy twist (HK$159; shop 1051, Elements, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2196 8970) while H&M's interpretations (HK$149 to HK$199; shop 1050, Elements, Kowloon, tel: 2196 8391) are crisper and come in a variety of prints. I have a hot date in less than a week and a massive zit appears to be erupting on my chin. Is there a miracle cure? Volcano Face, Old Peak Road The Dictator: Are there any miracles in skincare? I think you can answer that one for yourself then cancel the date. What to do about dermatological problems? Why are you asking me? Ask a doctor! We have heard some dermatologists inject cortisone into the blemishes of starlets headed for the red carpet. Back in the non-surgical, over-the-counter realm, here are some of the current pimple treatments and cosmetics. Clinique has an Anti-Blemish Solutions line that includes Spot Treatment Gel (HK$120; shop 1077, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 3188 1112; www.clinique.com.hk ), which works to reduce zits and redness, prevent recurring breakouts and promote healing. We love the brand's concealing stick (HK$130), the antibacterial ingredients of which work on the problem area while the make-up covers the spot. Murad also has a skincare line for those troubled by acne. Its Acne Spot Treatment gel (HK$190; Pure Beauty by Watsons, shop B212, Times Square, Causeway Bay, tel: 2506 1521) is formulated to treat the problem and reduce inflammation. We were amused to find special pimple plasters at Watsons too: 3M Nexcare Acne Dressing (HK$24.90 to HK$34.90) is sold in different sizes and even heart and star shapes. Sampar makes a roller-ball Prodigal Pen (HK$170; Lane Crawford Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2118 3668) filled with eight essential oils that diminish blemishes. If you're taking the natural route, try Tisserand's Tea-Tree and Kanuka Blemish Stick (HK$89; Health Quest, 37 Yik Yam Street, Happy Valley, tel: 2865 2121). Depending on the maturity of the zit, you could try to coax the blighter out, but be very careful. Generally, we'd say no picking and no touching; let nature run its nasty course. I have a fantastic Mary Melhorn swimsuit that after five years is somewhat worn. I have tried to get another one through the brand's website numerous times but to no avail. Up a River, Tai Tam The Dictator: I don't know what website you found, but it would help if you got the brand correct first. It's Maryan Mehlhorn and the official site is www.maryanbeachwear.de . Now we have that established, you don't even need to go online, unless you want to read all about the Germany-based swimwear designer and her aim to combine high fashion and perfect fit. You'll also be able to browse some of the 2008 collection there. However, if you just want to buy some bathers, head to Escapade Sports & Leisure, which carries Maryan Mehlhorn swimwear (HK$800 to HK$1,600). There are two store locations: Hong Kong Cricket Club (137 Wong Nai Chung Gap Road, tel: 2575 1861) and Parkview (Spa & Resort, level 1, 88 Tai Tam Reservoir Road, tel: 2812 3935; www.escapade.com.hk ). One last thing: Have you noticed how people don't dress the same as they did five years ago? That's called fashion and it applies to swimwear too. With each new season, collections are refreshed with different styles. It's a good thing. Do not resist change.