Do I really have to go back to short skirts this fall? I don't want to invest in a whole new wardrobe.

One short black skirt is a way to test the new short length for fall. It can be worn with most of the jackets, sweaters and tops that you have been wearing with trousers and long skirts. The skirt could be of stretch jersey, wool knit or gabardine. As for length, a good place to start might be mid-knee. There's simply no reason to buy a new wardrobe every time fashions change.

While preparing for my summer vacation I noticed my luggage -- a suede and fabric duffle, a leather travel bag, and a vinyl suitcase -- is looking worn out. But how do you clean a suitcase?

Spots on suede can be removed with a chalk cleaner, a soft gum eraser or an emory board. Scratches on leather can be polished out with any good leather cream. And stains on fabric bags can usually be removed with cleaning fluid, rinsing it out afterwards. Washable vinyl can be wiped with a damp cloth, but don't bathe it in water.

Proper care is the best way to make your luggage last and stay in shape: Do not overstuff -- too many items will weaken seams and zippers; avoid packing items that will spill or explode under pressure; and be careful not to pack sharp objects that can poke through the case.

My favorite evening dress is sequined. It needs to be cleaned before I wear it again, but I've had bad luck before with sequins. Many fell off during cleaning and others lost their shine. Any advice?

Sequins are plastic and cleaning them can be tricky. The International Fabricare Institute reports there are problems with colorfastness, loss of luster and loss of sequins. Sometimes heat and steam can cause the sequins to curl permanently.

The label holds the key. While some sequinned garments are washable, most are not colorfast to water and should be dry cleaned. The Institute advises telling your dry cleaner that the garment is fragile and asking him to check the garment for broken or loose sewing threads before cleaning.

If the label is missing, or the garment dates from a time before cleaning instructions were required, Wilson Terry, manager of Parkway Cleaners in Chevy Chase, advises proceeding very carefully. "Take the garment into a professional dry cleaner and ask for his evaluation." The dry cleaner can conduct a cursory test to try to determine colorfastness to dry cleaning, by wetting an unexposed part of the garment with the proposed cleaning solvent.