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.
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.
“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.