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 solowstyle.com.)

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.

Fashion foodward

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Hot attire for outdoor dining at the Taste and beyond

1 Grace Lehto

8, student and birthday celebrator, Lansing, Mich.

Tell me about your outfit: “My grandma (Grandma Rose) got a dress for me for my birthday.”

Do you feel comfortable? (shyly) “Yeah.”

Pretty? “Yeah.”

How else do you feel? “Happy.”

And the pink backpack? “My grandma (Grandma Lehto) made it to hold my (American Girl) doll.”

The back story: It’s a family tradition. Ken and Kelly Lehto have taken each of their three daughters — Grace is the youngest — to Chicago for their 8th birthdays and a shopping trip to the American Girl store.

Why it works: A little girl in a sundress always rocks.

2 Joyce Tam

21, graduate student, Chicago

Opening statement: “I just prefer skirts in the summer. It’s a fun season for clothing. … When spring and summer roll around, my wardrobe gets a lot more comfortable.” (She sewed the skirt herself!)

Why it works: Cute flats are comfy. (Target, bought two years ago.) A denim vest is a nice finishing touch. (From a friend “digging through her closet; she said it didn’t fit anymore.”)

3 Duncan Hall

62, on a grand tour of the U.S. with his wife (Joan, 57) and mother (Fiona, 83), from Staindrop, County Durham, England

Your hat … : “The best part is it just folds up and you can put it in your pocket.”

Why it works: Jaunty, distinctive, packable, and it keeps the rain and sun off.

4 Ellis Cowart

15, Jones College Prep student, Chicago

Do you feel as if you look good? (smiling) “Yeah.”

What he’s wearing: A loose linen shirt (Banana Republic, bought by his mom for a trip to Egypt); a wood bead necklace (“a rosary I got at Navy Pier, but the cross fell off”).

Smart accessory: If sun gets intense, there’s a baseball cap clipped to his shorts with a carabiner.

Why it works: A button-down beats a T-shirt any time, and linen is a nice fashion touch.

5 Terry Thielen

61, mayor of Upper Brookville, N.Y.

Describe your traveling style: “This is just low-maintenance, throw-it-together.”

But there’s great color in the necklace, and the green sweater matches your watchband: “With gray hair, you need color. Jewel tones and white, not cream. This lime green is a favorite color of mine.”

It’s not really lime: Husband Jeff interjects, “chartreusey-olive.”

Why it works: Crisp black and white classics are slimming and offer good coverage (unlike capris, which cut off the leg and are unflattering). Colorful accessories give punch.

6 Dawn Robinson

28, recent M.A. grad from the University of Chicago

What were you thinking when you got dressed today? “Just dressing for the weather. It’s been kind of unpredictable. A hoodie, cotton tank, shorts and my sneakers.”

Her aunt Pamela Todd, visiting from Detroit, chimes in: “But they’re silver shoes, and they pull together your silver earrings and silver hat!”

Why it works: Aunt Pamela is right. Silver touches add polish. A lightweight cross-body bag leaves hands free. Layering.

What

not to wear:

High heels:

Are you kidding? Sore feet can wreck your good time.

Too-short shorts:

If your body from waist to knees is not your best asset, try longer shorts. Patch pockets draw the eye to the posterior — not always a good thing.

Heavy backpack: Don’t be burdened with a donkey load of stuff.

Taste tips:

  • BYO water, and you’ll have more cash for food.
  • An umbrella can keep the sun off.
  • Bring something to sit on; a large garbage bag will do.
  • Look in the mirror before leaving home.
  • Don’t forget sunscreen.

Some Fashion Crimes In The Simpson Courtroom

Poor Marcia Clark.

It’s bad enough that she’s prosecuting the most mediagenic murder trial of the century.

As the chief woman on the O.J. Simpson murder case, she has faced relentless scrutiny, not for her prosecutorial prowess, but for her rather, shall we say, questionable taste in fashion.

They talked about her poodle ‘do. They talked about her mole. They talked about her legs. Mr. Blackwell of Worst Dressed List fame skewered her. Even Judge Lance Ito commented on her short skirts.

In frustration, Clark went out and got a makeover.

Still, while I applaud her right to look as bad as any male attorney, I must say this: Even with a makeover, Marcia Clark needs making over.

On Monday, Clark apparently decided to impersonate a waiter, donning a white Nehru jacket and black pleated skirt. On Tuesday, the day the trial really began, Clark did a turn as an ’80s Dress for Success career woman with a prim and lacy bow-tied blouse and navy power suit. And her hair is, well, now a shorter poodle ‘do.

But turnabout is fair play. The boys didn’t fare so well on the fashion front, either.

Prosecutor Christopher Darden (clad in black pinstripes) began the trial by announcing that he had the “toughest job in town”-leading the opening statements. That may be true, but his task wasn’t made easier by his monotone delivery and the 5 o’clock shadow crawling over his face and head.

On the Dream Team side, Robert Shapiro was inappropriately flashy in a denim-blue shirt, brown suit and zingy diamond-patterned tie. The Juice looked haggard in a slate gray get-up that washed out his complexion.

For Johnnie Cochran Jr., getting rid of the gold-rimmed glasses and pinkie ring would help. A lot. And F. Lee Bailey’s brown suit appeared to be festooned with dandruff flakes.

From the neck up, Judge Ito was a fashion “don’t,” with his ’70s aviator frame glasses, wimpy beard and Only-the-Hair-Club-for-Men-knows-for-sure hairdo. From the neck down, Ito was a “do.”

Then again, he was wearing fashion-forward black.

The Case of the Missing Nose

On the February issue of Mademoiselle, Kate Moss peers out from the cover, minus a nose.

Just what happened to the former waif’s schnoz? Was she the victim, perhaps, of an overzealous airbrusher? Did Johnny Depp bite it off during a hotel rampage?

“It’s there,” says Elizabeth Crow, Mademoiselle editor-in-chief, who insists that no airbrushing was used in any of their photos. “If you cover up the shadow that her hair makes, you can see that her nose is perfectly well there.”

Wow blouses four shirt styles to buy this spring

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Simple shirt? Forget it. This season’s button-ups are bold, blinging and bound to get you noticed.

Ruffle up

Let busy frills sit against a simple denim canvas. We love the contrast of boyfriend jeans with ladylike accessories, such as a top handle bag and low-block pumps.

Granny chic

For a maximalist SS16 look mix and match contrasting prints on blouses and pencil skirts. Choose one base note to co-ordinate accessories with.

Retro

Tuck a patterned pussy-bow blouse into high-waisted flared jeans for a classic retro vibe. Accompany with a suede shoulder bag and platforms.

Pop a collar

Embellished collars are an easy way to translate the trend into workwear. Wear with wide-legged trousers, and let the collars peep out over crew-neck knits in the cold.

How to wear the challenging colour that is cream

Hard to believe I know, but there’s an omerta observed by fashion editors (well, the newspaper-we’re-too-busy-filing-copy-to-care ones at any rate) that you should never try too hard at the shows. Why? Because nothing looks more row 5, than rocking up, head to toe in the season’s latest trends. Architectural ruffles or this spring’s off the shoulder top? As if.  More like, which of my many, many navy sweaters will I be digging out today?

But change is afoot: cream, once associated with bad British teeth, bad Kim Kardashian or the sort of Russian limo dressing suggestive of a life of wall to wall gophers and a devil may care attitude to your dry-cleaning bill is out in force on the frow.

If I’m being truthful, it’s the decadence of wearing cream that makes it so very appealing: it’s a two finger salute to my three year old’s grubby hands.  I know that my Harris Wharf coat is constantly dicing with a chocolate smeared fate but it’s worth it for the ‘ta-dah’ factor that wearing cream – even on pale, pasty complexions bestows.

For yes, cream is a challenge:  when wearing the aforementioned coat, I do not actually take a seat on the tube, and for obvious reasons it never comes with me to the playground. It is for meetings, dinners and the odd fashion show. If all this sounds neurotic, it is mostly worth it. In my layered up cream ensemble, I feel snappy, fresh and effortless – no matter that I may have have rolled out of bed five minutes before hand. My favourite  roll neck in cream (rather than navy versions) elicits three times the number of compliments at the school gates.On a drab February morning, nothing zings as subtly without you resorting to an overload of print, embroidery or Anna Dello Russo excess. It makes a welcome alternative to draining black, ‘groutfits’ or other somber neutrals. It is also more forgiving, less stark than head to toe white. By all means layer it up with white though – in fact, that is exactly how Rachael Proud, creative director at Raey whose spring/ summer collection is peppered with cream agrees that it looks most modern and impactful.Ivory, white and what fashion folk like to call ‘linen’ (as in the shade rather than the fabric) looks particularly fresh with its nod to a minimal 90s, New York aesthetic when it is layered all together. Steph Stevens, a fashion stylist with flawless taste, believes it can look fresh and expensive especially when combining cashmere, wool and silks but counsels against chiffon and cotton.Try a crisp Victoriana blouse (we’re waiting for Alexa Chung’s M&S collaboration, out on the 10th April) worn under Mulberry’s Carrick Aran sweater or one of & daughter’s assortment of  ‘linen’ coloured sweaters. Shoulder robe with a white Crombie-style coat and team with mannish navy, grey or black trousers or Vetements-style cropped jeans. Should you happen to be in the eye line of a Paris fashion pap, you will stand out among a sea of black. Simply perfect your middle distance stare. Another favourite is a shearling coat from J&M Davidson, which is all I’ve worn for the past four winters. When wearing something this shaggy though, there are certain things to remember: round necks and cropped sleeves are the way to go if you don’t want to look engulfed. The rest of your outfit should ideally include trousers and flats. Do not even think about a miniskirt or a pair of thigh-high boots. You’ll look like a prostitute. Or worse still, a civilian.

Kinnevik heiress defies sceptics with tech savvy fashion sense

Cristina Stenbeck sounds more like a Silicon Valley entrepreneur than the head of one of Sweden’s most venerable family-controlled investment groups, Kinnevik.

She speaks of hunting for technological “disrupters” and is paranoid about missing out in the hunt for entrepreneurs who have the next big thing. “Often, if they find you it’s a bit late,” says the 36-year-old.

Stenbeck is one of the most powerful business names in Sweden, heard in the same breath as the Wallenberg family or the Perssons behind fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz.

Yet Cristina Stenbeck was born in New York and speaks Swedish with an American accent, having learned the language of her father Jan only as a teenager.

She inherited Kinnevik at the age of just 24, not long after she had finished her studies at Washington’s Georgetown University, on Jan’s sudden death from a heart attack in 2002.

In little more than a decade, she has transformed the group into one of Europe’s leading investors in e-commerce, including in the continent’s biggest online fashion retailer, Zalando.

No stranger to fashion, her first job out of university was in Ralph Lauren’s direct mail and marketing department.

“That comes in handy now,” Stenbeck said at her office in London’s Mayfair district, where she deals with issues such as improving product lines and promoting more lucrative private labels as the new supervisory board chairwoman at Zalando.

“I have always been interested in fashion,” she told Reuters in a rare interview, wearing a navy blue dress, matching heels, her blonde hair tied up in a neat bun.

Kinnevik’s London office lies between the Zaras of Regent Street and Chanels of New Bond Street, while a Ralph Lauren store is next door.

Father Jan had already turned Kinnevik, which began in 1936 and built up chocolate, iron and paper businesses, into a media and telecoms empire when Cristina became the third generation of Stenbecks to run the family firm.

The dotcom bubble that sent stocks in Internet companies soaring around the turn of the century had just burst.

At first some wrote her off because of her youth; others, burnt once by the dotcom mania, disagreed outright with her push into e-commerce. But she grew into her role, and those near her describe her as stable, smart, alert and ambitious.

OUTPACING THE WALLENBERGS

Jan Stenbeck was responsible for modernizing Kinnevik, turning it into the giant behind the Tele2 telecoms group and the free Metro newspapers.

He famously broke down the Swedish state broadcast monopoly in the 1980s by transmitting from London, giving Swedes their first TV commercials and clinching rights for the 1989 world championships in ice hockey, which is wildly popular in Sweden.

Jan had made it clear early on that Cristina, the oldest child in the family, would take the reins after him and she got her first board seat at only 19.

Today she is executive chairwoman of one of Europe’s largest listed investment companies with a 75 billion crown ($11 billion) market capitalization. Kinnevik owns significant stakes in over 50 firms that span financial services, media, telecoms and online businesses in more than 80 countries.

Its share price has shot up over 1,000 percent since 2002 – more than twice the rise in the Wallenberg-backed Investor Group.

Unlike other family-run investment groups which tend to stick to what they know best, managing the same assets for decades, Kinnevik has no qualms about dumping old investments to fund new ventures and innovations. Industry makes up only one percent of its portfolio today.

Cristina, who lives in London with her British husband and three daughters, does not like to compare herself with her father but comes across as equally hungry for innovation.

It is under her leadership that Kinnevik has become the biggest investor in Zalando, a household name in parts of Europe which sells everything from stilettos to handbags and has been valued by some analysts at as much as $9 billion.

Stenbeck, who goes frequently to Stockholm where the rest of the Kinnevik team work, ranked 34th on The Sunday Times’ list of wealthiest women in Britain this year with 376 million pounds.

That figure is likely to climb if Kinnevik earns handsome pay-offs from investments in both Zalando and Rocket Internet which set the fashion firm up. Both are said to be heading for multi-billion dollar stock market listings.

TECH SAVVY

Stenbeck’s cool, measured tone could not be more unlike her father who was known for his loud, often abrasive style. But her voice quickens when she talks about unchartered business territories such as in Africa where Jan struggled to break into new telecoms markets.

“The fact that we are in Nigeria, and not limited to the fact that my father couldn’t get a license there – I love that,” she said. “These are new big-population markets.”

Pint sized Kardashian fashion

It wouldn’t be Kardashian fashion without animal print, so a new collection for babies by the three sisters (Kim, Kourtney and Khloe in case you’ve been living under a rock) comes complete with leopard-spot onesies.

But the Kardashian Kids assortment of caps, blankets, two-piece sets, jackets and dresses also plays with more typical munchkin motifs such as butterflies, stars and pastels with layers of lace, pearl-embossed buttons and georgette appliques. Tulle ruffles adorn onesies, gold polka dots dance across leggings, and butterflies flit across bloomer shorts. Designed for girls up to 24 months and priced at an affordable $15–$30, the line hits Babiesrus.com on March 14 and Babies ‘R’ Us stores on March 15.

Kourtney Kardashian took a few minutes between tending to her own children, Mason and Penelope, to tell Just Kidding about the new line.

JK: What was the first motif you dreamed up?

KK: Animal print is just a no-brainer because we love it in our women’s collection (Kardashian Kollection, available at Sears). But especially for the baby line we wanted everything really soft and comfortable. Whenever I’m shopping for my kids, I touch everything. It’s the first thing I do. So that was really important to us.

In what other ways did you put the Kardashian stamp on this line?

There’s a little lace bomber jacket with gold zippers, and our collection coming out in June is even more inspired by our women’s collection, with a biker jacket and a dress with faux leather panels down the side, with color-blocking like we do in the women’s collection. And tribal print jumps in. I had a kids’ clothing store for four or five years with my mom [Kris Jenner], called Smooch, and I leaned toward the trendiest pieces, whatever was happening in women’s fashion. It’s fun to see supertrendy pieces in supersmall sizes. It looks so cute. And it’s fun to have some of those pieces. I have a biker jacket for Penelope that’s real leather and amazing, but it’s not a practical piece. It’s really tight on her wrists and hard to put her in a car seat. So we did a version where the fabric is soft and easy and lightweight, and practical to put your child in all day. It’s washable.

Your grandmother had a children’s store?

For 30 years, yes, and she still has it in La Jolla. It’s called Shannon & Co. My sisters and I grew up going there every summer, at first hanging out, and my mom would shop and buy us everything. When we were about 8, we started working in the store; I don’t think we got paid. We’d come and hang out and help my grandmother fold and clean and organize the store. And she actually is the one who took me to the Mart [the California Market Center] in downtown L.A. for the first time to teach me how to do buying. I was about 24. There’s a children’s floor and we used to go and do the whole floor and set up appointments for the entire day, and it was really a lot of fun.

What’s life like being a working mom? How do you balance it?

For me, it’s just knowing that my children are definitely my first priority, which just makes me feel better about working. I like that in most of my jobs I can bring them with me if I want to. A lot of times they’d have more fun at home playing. But just having that option is nice. I try to just make sure that we have lots of quality time together, and setting boundaries is really important for me.

What is your most essential sanity-saver as a working mom?

I’m pretty calm in general. I never really freak out about much. And I’m pretty patient.

The most patient of your sisters?

Probably, about certain things. With our kids. With most things. I used to not be patient at all. My kids probably made me a lot more patient.

What is one habit that gets you through the craziest days?

If I’m really just having a crazy day with the kids, then I’ll take a nap when they take a nap. At least I feel a little refreshed when we all wake up.

Kirsten Dunst is the perfect poster girl for spring slip on loafers

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good news for loafer lovers, there’s a new relaxed style on the scene for spring. The backless model provides slip-on ease, avoids the issue of feet swelling in the heat and truly embodies the term ‘loafing around’. Kirsten Dunst has already got in on the action.

Stepping out for coffee in her native LA, the actress teamed a floral tea dress and cardigan with a pair of Gucci slip-ons. The Princetown slipper, which retails for £380, is an adaptation of the Jordaan loafer, brought in by Alessandro Michele as a modern update on Gucci’s classic Horsebit style.

For Gucci fans wavering between the Jordaan and Princetown, Michele is already one step ahead of you. Some of the coloured Jordaan’s feature a collapsible back so the loafer can moonlight as a slipper too.

Back to Kirsten. The 33-year-old might have been wearing her signature ditsy-dress-and-cardy uniform, but brought it bang up-to-date with those black slippers. The lesson? If you buy one pair of transitional shoes now, make it a pair of slip-ons.

See backless loafers, as worn by Dunst, as part of your off-duty weekend look. Pair with cropped jeans, a simple crew-neck knit and a neckerchief, if you feel it needs an extra flourish.Sleek, simple slippers, meanwhile, are smart enough to take to work once spring arrives. Pair with maxi skirts or wide-leg trousers and pare everything else down. Remember it was The Row who first introduced the slipper as part of the brand’s clean, minimal aesthetic. And who wouldn’t want to channel The Row, right?