Q: One year ago, I was a size 10. After replacing cigarettes with food, I am now a 14-16. Because I still feel like a thin person, and because I have not spent a lifetime shopping in stores that cater to large sizes, I am terribly frustrated by the current crop of clothes in my size. I'm ready to sew a new wardrobe but need your advice for a coat. I live in Southern California, so I don't need a really heavy coat. What do you suggest for me?--A.T. A: The most perfectly dressed size 16 I know spends her life in capes such as the Vogue Pattern 8147 illustrated here. She throws one side over her shoulder, always allowing at least some portion of a beautiful, brightly colored blouse to show. Her skirts are always in a dark shade that complements the cape. If you make the cape (featured on Page 5378 of the October Vogue catalogue) in a lightweight melton, tweed or jersey, the weight should be ideal for your climate.
Q: We recently vacationed in Austria, where I purchased a light brown loden-style Austrian jacket. It came with lovely domed silver buttons. I've looked everywhere for the same type of button, but in antique-gold tones rather than silver. Is there a button company that specializes in that type of European button?--B.T. A: Pat Hessenflow, who owns the Button Shop, 501 Chapala St., Santa Barbara 93101, says that if you will send her one of your silver buttons, she will try to match it in antique gold. That will take some time, she warns, but if you have the patience, she will try her sources. Her shop specializes in leather, horn, cloisonne, wood, pearl and antique buttons. She has a fine collection of buttons from the '30s and '40s.