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Where to find elegant shirt dresses in Hong Kong; teething necklaces for mums

I love a good shirt dress to throw over a bikini, but how do other women manage to make theirs look elegant?
Shirt Circuit, Happy Valley

The Dictator rules: You know how people say, it’s not you, it’s them? Well, reverse it. There is an inherent degree of formality in the structure offered by a shirt dress – a frock cut in the style of a man’s shirt – that a jersey T-shirt could never provide. Let’s begin with fabric, because what you choose here can make all the difference. Silk, for example, adds an unrivalled luxuriousness and slinkiness (if that were a real word). Try a Diane von Furstenberg silk shirt dress, such as this season’s orange, to-the-knee number (HK$3,600). Zadig Voltaire’s version is in edgy, skull-print black silk contrasted with a ladylike cut and ruffled placket (HK$4,100). You’d never mistake Gucci’s 1970s-inspired lace, silk and satin shirt dress (in purple or black; HK$24,000) for a beach cover-up. Next, explore the possibilities of cut. Sandro has created a deceptively simple version in classic blue-striped cotton, with a cool crossover panel on top (HK$3,645). At Vein, Swedish brand Rodobjer pushes the boundaries with a versatile, long-sleeved interpretation in white cotton, offering various buttons and ties so you can style it differently every time you wear it (HK$3,900; Lee Gardens One, Causeway Bay). Vein also has shirt dresses by Humanoid and By Malene Birger for HK$2,900 and up. Finally, I shouldn’t have to tell you that there is a difference between beach and city styling for hair, make-up and accessories. Make sure those are polished and you will automatically elevate whatever you are wearing.

Before I had a baby, I loved my statement necklaces. For obvious reasons, that fashion’s gone out the window, but I just don’t feel myself without accessories! Has anyone been smart enough to make jewellery that is good for babies and mums?
Yummy Mummy, Mid-Levels

The Dictator: Obvious? Hardly. When the going gets tough, that is precisely the time to bring out the fashion. Hold back your hate mail, mums. I concede that few experiences are tougher than new motherhood. Making your­self look and feel good can be incredibly positive; letting yourself go has the opposite effect. Look for brands such as Bambino Bling, whose long necklaces come in a range of single or multicoloured silicone bead combinations with break­away clasps (only HK$295; Tiny Footprints, 10/F, 1 Duddell Street, Central). They use BPA free, FDA approved materials that are not only safe for baby, but can soothe gums while teething, act as a sensory toy and are dishwasher safe, too. Similar brands include Chew Beads and Bubba Chew. If you like a bit of arts and crafts, and are still kidding yourself that you have time for that sort of thing, visit www.alexaorganics.com for silicone beads (HK$15.50 and up per set of 10 beads). They also sell wooden nursing necklaces (HK$97 and up), but I’d double check with your doctor about the recommended apple, maple and juniper woods for babies. Never leave a baby even for a second with a necklace or anything that could cause strangulation. Necklaces for you? Fine. Necklaces for baby? No. That’s why teething toys were invented.

Got a question for the Dictator? Email her with your name, or alias, and address at: dictator@scmp.com

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