Q: I read all the fashion magazines but never see accessories on the designers' clothes. What has happened? Are accessories completely out of fashion?
A: "Minimalism" has been the favorite word in the design world for several seasons. That's why you've seen so few accessories. But many designers used accessories for spring. The most important are handbags and high-heeled shoes.
In Milan, Giorgio Armani told me: "Since a woman never goes anywhere without her handbag, I have made the bag an integral part of every outfit. No outfit is complete without one."
Mr. Armani uses neutral shades of suede for his bags and strappy shoes. He likes nude hose with a textured pattern and adds a small snappy scarf or a long strand of beads at the neck.
The accessories are there, but they don't make a strong statement. They are very much a part of the total picture.
Q: I'm 16 and my dream is to have my own cosmetics company. I've noticed lately that several young makeup tycoons are on the way to becoming the "new Estee Lauder." Two of the women I'm thinking of are Bobbi Brown and Trish McEvoy. How did they get started? What do I need to do to prepare for that kind of career?
A: Here's the advice of Bobbi Brown and Trish McEvoy, who head cosmetics companies that bear their own names:
Bobbi Brown urges you to start by finding ways to get experience:
"A young person should get hands-on training either by working for an existing cosmetics company or by working as a professional makeup artist. From experience you will gain an understanding of makeup and how it works, which is crucial to designing your own line."
In order to launch a line, Ms. Brown says "finding a niche in the market is most important. You need to figure out how your makeup is different and why and where it could sell. I was a makeup artist, and I went into business because I wasn't happy with the products that were available."
Trish McEvoy agrees:
"You must begin a career in the cosmetics field to get a general background in the industry. That is the only way to know the business.
"When the time comes to launch your own company you need to start small and in a specific area, with a pared-down, concise line. For example, I started in the 1970s with a brush line. Over the years my company grew step by step."
Q: I saw Princess Diana on television a while ago wearing a gorgeous choker with a large gem in the center and rows of pearls going around the neck. I would love to wear the pearl choker my great-grandmother wore before World War II. My mother passed it on to me because I'm the only member of the family whose neck is long and thin.
I'm only 24, and I wonder if it is suitable for me. Is it only appropriate for really formal occasions?
A: I think it is entirely appropriate for you to wear, and New York jewelry designer Angela Cummings agrees:
"Not only should it be a true pleasure for you to wear a piece of family jewelry," she said, "but pearls are a classic suitable for any age. They are always feminine and flattering.
"But, above all, the more you wear your pearls, the more lustrous they will become.
"Pearls can be worn almost any time -- they should not be restricted to formal occasions."