She's seeking a flattering business suit for a full figure

Q. Please help a size 18 businesswoman find a flattering business suit (with skirt, not pants). I did buy one recently, which I thought hid my bulky hips. It is a black knit, with a long, loose-fitting jacket and calf-length, A-line skirt. But my husband says it makes me look like a frump. Is there any style of suit that will camouflage my shape but not look frumpy?

Why so obsessed with hiding your shape? Certainly, you don't need a too-tight suit. But your husband is right: The opposite — long and loose — just draws attention to your size. A more flattering choice is a suit with a jacket that curves in slightly at the waist, and a straight or A-line skirt to the bottom of the knee. A suit like that will focus attention on your waist and legs, not hips.

As a further distraction, team your suit with a collared blouse in a contrasting color. Bright white with a dark suit is especially effective.

And stick with high heels as long as they are comfortable. Your legs will look shapelier and your silhouette leaner.

Avoiding clothespin dents

Q. I like to air-dry my clothing on the wash line, but I have a problem with the knit tops. The clothespins leave dents in the material.

You could hang your knits on well-padded or inflatable hangers, then hook the hangers over the wash line. Or you could thread an old pair of pantyhose through the arms of the knits, pinning the ends of the hose to the line.