Fashion for the ages

Timeless tips for everyone from new grads to the newly pregnant to the newly retired

If your fashion curiosity runs deeper than a desire to revisit the skeletons in Carrie’s closet in the new “Sex and the City” movie, kick off your heels in a lawn chair and wrap your hands around three new fashion advice books. Packed with solutions for everyone from new graduates to the newly pregnant to the newly retired, these volumes just might put new polish on an entire population of women.

Back boobs, be gone

Back boobs, melon calves, kissing thighs, menopots and Buddha bellies — Charla Krupp’s new book, “How to Never Look Fat Again: Over 1,000 Ways to Dress Thinner — Without Dieting!” (Springboard Press, $26.99) trots out all the current disparaging terms for less-than-perfect bodies. But then she sets out to make sure those terms are never applied to you.

The “Summer” chapter recommends making a uniform of three looks: white or khaki pants with a crisp tunic; summer-weight cashmere V-necks or long cardigans in yummy colors over body-shaper camisoles, bare tops or dresses; and a fresh dress in a pretty pattern. One vow for summer, Krupp writes, should be to have one great cover-up for every bathing suit. Also, accessorize bathing suits the way you would any outfit, with thought-out jewelry, sandals, sunglasses and hats.

The “Thinner by Tonight” (or morning) boxes recommend nude-colored heels that match your skin tone as the most flattering for daytime dress-up. To beat bloat before a big evening event, Krupp suggests lying on the floor for 15 minutes with legs elevated against a wall to drain fluid that might have pooled in the ankles.

Each chapter includes photos of “High Fat” and alternative “No Fat” looks. Overall, the lessons give us hope that the side effects of childbirth and aging need not be witnessed by all eyes.

Working it

Thinking about on-the-job dressing has limited appeal in the summer months, but one does need an income, even to pay for jelly sandals. “Work It! Visual Therapy’s Guide to Your Ultimate Career Wardrobe” (Chronicle Books, $24.95), by celebrity styling team Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo, makes professional dressing almost as fun as a day at the beach — or, at least, fun along with a day at the beach. Making the advice credible are profiles with photos of regular women of many ages, stages and ethnicities (if not body types — all are on the slim side).

Newly-minted female college graduates might consider assembling a career capsule wardrobe. The authors’ starting point is two or three pieces in matching fabric — some combo of a jacket, a skirt or dress, and a pair of trousers — that can be used to make a suit or wear as separates. For bags, the minimum is a large leather, suede, patent or canvas work tote in a color and material that won’t stain easily, and a fun clutch to toss inside the tote to use as a handbag.

Summer is a hornet’s nest of fashion pitfalls. No surprise, Garza and Lupo include flip-flops among their top 10 workplace don’ts. (Chipped nail polish, big fried hair, party clothes, pants tucked under instead of hemmed, missing buttons, stains, matchy-matchy outfits, visible panty lines and nighttime makeup fill out the list.)

For fall, the first step forward for black-clothing addicts is to try a monochromatic look in a dark color; even charcoal can make a big difference. Note that gray can look better with chocolate than with black, the authors say. Also, don’t be afraid to pair peep-toe shoes with opaque tights. Just make sure the toes are hole free.

Any-trimester fashion

“Bump It Up: Transform Your Pregnancy into the Ultimate Style Statement” (Ballantine Books, $18) suggests that it’s possible to invest in just a few pieces of maternity clothing, then let accessories do the heavy lifting of personal style. Which got us thinking — might the same basics suffice without a bulge as well? In a time of fashion restraint, it could be a fun challenge — pregnancy or not — to base one’s wardrobe on these staples and add belts, jewelry, scarves, bags from here. …

1 An extra-long Lycra black tank top, not necessarily even maternity if a size large will carry you. (“Bump It Up” author Amy Tara Koch says she wore the same Wolford Havana tank three times a week throughout both of her pregnancies, in part because the straps were wide enough to cover a support bra.)

2 Black leggings. Again, these don’t have to be maternity if you can push the waistband under your belly without insufferable crotch sag. (I like So Low leggings, which despite the name have some high-waist styles at

3 A pair of dark-denim maternity jeans, such as those from Citizens of Humanity.

4 Soft, jewel-neck, to-the-thigh Ts in white and black, to wear alone or layered.

5 A multitasking empire-waist dress, strapless or with sleeves.

6 A black bias-cut dress in jersey, because it’s wrinkle-free, breathable and stretches along with you.

7 A maternity black stretchy pencil skirt. Fold over the waistband to turn it into a miniskirt.

8 An above-the-knee shift. Vintage slips, Koch says, make great shifts.

Belgium ousts dramatic fashion

Seabiscuit pulled up lame on the backstretch. Kirk Gibson’s long drive died on the warning track.

After a remarkable underdog run through four games and one overtime period, the U.S. soccer team’s World Cup magic finally ran out in the round of 16 Tuesday with a 2-1 loss to Belgium.

The first goal came three minutes into extra time after Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku pushed past Matt Besler along the right touchline, raced into the penalty area alone and sent the ball forward for Kevin De Bruyne, who spun away from two defenders and rolled the ball into the far corner.

And with the U.S. pushing hard for the tying goal Lukaku, who didn’t come off the bench until the 91st minute, added what appeared to be an insurance goal on a counterattack near the end of the first 15-minute overtime.

That goal proved to be important, though, when U.S. teenager Julian Green beat Belgium’s all-world goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois on a right-footed volley just seconds after stepping on to a World Cup field for the first.

The only other goal Courtois has allowed in Brazil came on a penalty kick in Belgium’s first game.

But Green’s goal was all the U.S. would get on a night in which U.S. keeper Tim Howard certainly deserved a better fate. In what may rank as one of the greatest World Cup performance of all-time by a goalie, Howard was credited with 18 saves – many of them in spectacular fashion – to keep the game from getting out of hand long before overtime.

Saddled with the worst attack in this World Cup, U.S. Coach Juergen Klinsmann made several changes to a lineup that lost the possession battle in all three of its group-play games, getting outshot 2 to 1.

Geoff Cameron moved from central defense to the midfield, pushing midfielders Graham Zusi and Alejandro Bedoya into forward roles in a 4-3-3 alignment. That was supposed to get Clint Dempsey more help up front, where he had been playing as a long striker. But it didn’t work as planned with the Americans going 21 minutes before putting their first shot on goal.

Belgium, on the other hand, got several good rushes on its counterattack only to see things fall apart in the final third of the field.

The U.S. plans changed again in the 32nd minute when Fabian Johnson – who has been so dangerous on the wings in the World Cup – left the game with a leg injury, giving way to speedy 20-year-old DeAndre Yedlin, who was appearing in just his sixth international game.

It didn’t take long for Yedlin to make his presence felt, bending a perfect cross from the right wing into the penalty area. But Zusi, lining up for a shot, missed the ball completely.

Later Yedlin sent a cross into the six-yard box for Dempsey that proved  inches too high and just before halftime he set up another scoring chance with some deft ballhandling, pushing the ball forward for Dempsey again only to have Courtois rush off his line to punch it away.

The U.S. then caught a couple of huge breaks early in the second half when Belgium’s Divock Origi stepped over a perfect pass at the far post, giving up what would have been an easy tap-in for the goal. Less than two minutes later Origi bounced a header off the crossbar.

And those were just two of the seven shots Belgium had in the first 10 minutes after the break. This was Belgium time – all six of the team’s goals in this World Cup had come after the 70th minute and they were clearly beginning to find their range.

Howard wouldn’t be beaten though. And like a fighter who punches himself into exhaustion,  Belgium eventually tired. That nearly allowed the U.S. to steal a a victory late in second-half stoppage time but Chris Wondolowski, after taking a header from Jermaine Jones, missed a wide-open net to send the game into overtime.

Lukaku bought new energy when he came off the bench in regulation stoppage time though. And then Courtois saved the win with a great save on Dempsey midway into the second overtime.

How to get the sports luxe look without wearing actual gym gear

If, like us, the term ‘athleisure’ is causing you to look questioningly at the gym kit you haven’t used in months, fret not, your leggings can stay where they are. This trend is all about luxe sports wear that will never venture near a treadmill, but sit in harmony with the rest of your wardrobe. Here are five subtle and considered ways to show your active side…

Show your stripes

Look for narrow lines down the edge of trousers for that race-ready look normally associated with tracksuits. Not only do the vertical lines elongate the leg area, they don’t look out of place when paired with smarter accoutrements up top. Serious sports fans should look for bold, contrasting coloured stripes that can be matched to accessories.

Join the cult

Fashion insider brand Vetements has taken the AW16 fashion week circuit by storm with its sports basics.  Its hoodies riff on athletic brand Champion’s logo and have found themselves on editors who normally stick to sharp suiting. If you can’t quite picture yourself donning the teenage boy’s favourite, swap hoodies for a crew-neck sport tee with subtle branding.

Find your trainer tribe

Still wavering on the brink of trainer territory? Take the leap! As Victoria Beckham and countless fashion editors have shown, the sports shoe is now deemed smart enough for the front row. While there are countless styles to stock up on, we recommend picking a plain white pair with minimal branding. Keep them squeaky clean and wonder why you hadn’t bought them sooner…

Tracksuits? They’re the new cardigans

Blame Stella McCartney and Claire Waight Keller at Chloé for the return of the tracksuit. The SS16 catwalks might have styled the zip-up tops with maxi skirts – how contrary! – but we recommend using as a layering tool. Why not let the high-neck peep out from under blazers or coats? Keep trousers slick and tapered, so the whole ensemble looks put-together and less like a Nineties-throwback.

Sock it to them

The styling flourish that won’t break the bank: stock up on socks with bold stripes and wear with everything. White and black ones (think adidas, Nike) sing ‘sporty’ but stripes in feminine colourways still nod to the trend.