As a blogger, I’m part of a beautiful community of creatives. We may share our ideas through a virtual network, but often times we have the opportunity to connect in person, sit down and chat, and really get the creative juices flowing! Grab your coffee and meet my friends, appearing as guest bloggers in this near-to-my-heart section.

Dressing Smart with UV Protection

Heads up, sunny skies are just ahead–and ShopNational is taking time to prepare so you don’t have to.

First, let us acknowledge that the sun is responsible for so many great things–from giving you that
special glow in your family photos to photosynthesis helping your flowers bloom. Just remember that while we’re out enjoying all the solar sensations of warmth and vitamin D, we could be damaging our skin without even noticing, increasing the likelihood of an annoying burn to getting skin cancer. (Not to mention, the last thing we want is our skin aging any faster than it has to!)

So, let’s do what we can about it.

This spring, ShopNational is rolling out dozens of new styles of women’s apparel that provide excellent UV protection, including new UltraSofts® as well as an activewear line, coined Wic-Tech™ after adding moisture wicking benefits to silky soft, fresh-feeling fabrics. These notable parts of National’s Spring Collection originated with a targeted vision of women living their best life in 2020, offering feminine, flattering style that’s comfortable enough for indoor-to-outdoor wear, a light chill to warming weather–whatever the day brings.

Ok, comfort and style are covered, but how good is the UV protection?

The Skin Cancer Foundation deems an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of 50+ to be “excellent”, casting a shadow over the next-best “very good” designation for UPF 30 to 49. Every UltraSofts® and Wic-Tech™ garment is rated UPF 50+, according to ASTM D6603. This excellent UV protection doesn’t wash out, being intrinsic to the soft, easy-care fabrics as they block at least 98% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.


Now that some light’s been shed on the topic and we see what a difference UPF can make, let’s kiss that UPF 30 clothing goodbye, and continue to be well in the little ways that we can.





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Meet Our February Fashion Influencer, Sylvie De Gil

Recently, I had the privilege of connecting with Sylvie of Sixty and Not a Granny. She has tremendous style and fantastic insight. Read more from our most recent influencer interview below!

It’s a new year and a new decade! Do you see any styles from previous decades making a comeback in 2020? If so, which one(s) are you most excited to implement in your wardrobe?

We are going to travel back in time, from the 70s to the 90s, to arrive in 2020 fashion trends. The bohemian style straight out of the 70s signs and persists along with long dresses, printed pants, and lace blouses for a vintage spring-summer. This season, head for the essential 90s with the baggy pants and a bustier top. And a 2020 fashionista will wear oversized blouses and midi dresses for a colorful summer.

Do you do any “spring cleaning” in the New Year to make room or to simplify your closet? What is your overall strategy in deciding what to keep (i.e. what are some classic staples you rotate year over year)?

I like to keep pieces able to create a versatile look, like casual or elegant. I have a busy life, so I want pieces simple to combinate easily.

I did two looks with only three pieces from the ShopNational collection! I composed two comfort outfits, one casual with their UltraSofts Mock Neck Turtleneck with Flat Front Pants, ballerinas for daily routine, and the same set with high heels to go for a gourmet dinner in a luxury restaurant. I just added a scarf and changed the shoes. 

One look for two different events. I love it!

I keep comfortable pants, tees and a lot of trench coats. I like oversized clothes or comfortable, with some room just in case I put on weight 🙂 These items are my basic wardrobe.

I encourage always to clean the closets. Don’t keep clothes you don’t wear. Give or sell them to “breathe.”

We’re starting to see that transition into spring in stores around town. What pieces do you carry from winter to early March/April? (any particular colors, patterns, etc.)

Trench coats, black, grey and beige. Black dresses with long sleeves wrinkle-free, a mix of breathable material, a lot of tees in Pima cotton, pants in bamboo fabric, and I keep my scarves. I like clothes with soft fabric. I like the UltraSofts collection with UV protection from ShopNational! It is my fashion “philosophy.”  My shoes are mostly boots.

I like black, beige, with some touches of green, white, pink. 

What is your FAVORITE fashion moment from 2019?

I am thinking about what happens in the fashion planet in 2019:

The research into specific sustainable materials like organic cotton, Tencel, for example, had grown.  Responsible denim and durable sneakers are also among the most popular products.

-The gender-fluid  “unisex” and “without distinction of sex” has inspired the creators and brands in line with the values ​​of these “woke” consumers.

-Influential personalities of 2019 have inspired the fashion world. An example: Meghan Markle.

After she wore five different shirt dresses on the royal tour of South Africa, searches for that category increased 45% in one month, reports Lyst. The Club Monaco dress was sold in less than 24 hours and the J. Crew skirt worn by Meghan has contributed to a 102% increase in searches related to this brand.

 “Incredible, right?”

fashion influencer sylvie

Sylvie De Gil of “Sixty and Not a Granny”

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Q & A with Julie Harbour

Meet fashion icon, consultant, and blog influencer, Julie D. Harbour of Stylish Paradox!  We so enjoy seeing her unique, innovative sense of style (check out what she did with this Sleep Dress by Shadowline® 😱), and recently I was able to grab her perspective on what’s trending for the new year and late winter months.


It’s a new year and a new decade! What trend are you most excited to implement in the coming months? And what trend do you foresee taking over closets this spring?

I’m really excited about the polka trend that is returning this year. I’ve always been drawn to polka dots, and as we know styles are always in and out of fashion.  I’ve never stopped wearing them, so it’ll really be style business as usual!  I can really envision the neon hues and crochets pieces being all the rage in 2020.

 Do you do any “spring cleaning” in the New Year to make room or simplify your closet? What is your overall strategy in deciding what to keep? (I.e. what are some classic staples you rotate year over year). 

Definitely! Although I regularly clean out my closet, there is something about the beginning of the year that gets me in gear for a new wardrobe beginning!

My thought is that there are certain essentials that are must haves for a well rounded wardrobe!  To mix and match with all the other garments I have in my closet, I maintain these pieces: a couple of classic white button down shirts, jeans, pants and skirts in black, blue and/or beige, 2 pairs of pumps in black and camel, loafers in black and camel, a classic jean jacket, black and red blazers and well made t-shirts in black and white.

 What are your go-to SHOES for the late winter months? 

My go-to shoes for the late winter months this year are combat boots, loafers and the classic pump.  Right now, I’m really crushing on my latest purchase; a pair of black, steel toed combat boots with pearl embellishments. They are so edgy, but feminine at the same time.

Are you prone to boots or close toed heels?

I wear both equally the same.  Since I do a whole lot of walking on the weekdays, I prefer my (low-heeled) boots.  On the weekends/evenings, especially for special events or occasions, I pull out my stilettos!

 What is your FAVORITE fashion moment from 2019?  

Personally, it was wearing the most beautiful black and white ball gown to my husband’s fraternity holiday gala.  Last year I decided I would never purchase an evening gown from an “everyday store”, but always buy from a unique boutique.  A boutique/place where it would be least likely that someone would show up to an event in the same gown I am wearing.


For more content from Julie, visit her blog at You can also follow her InstagramPinterest, and more to stay in touch!

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Here & Now with Eyes on the Prize

How are those new year’s resolutions coming along?

Many of us want to shed a few pounds, eat better, live healthier…those are all great and well, but why not start feeling good about ourselves now?

As you’re eagerly waiting for the pounds to slip off at the gym, something like a cooling bra could definitely help with being more comfortable during the process.  Also, don’t forget moisture-wicking fabric can make a difference in how you feel (stay tuned for the debut of our ladies’ activewear line next month).

Still waiting?  What are your thoughts on shapewear?  Pulling on a figure-slimming top or something for the lower midsection and thigh area couldn’t hurt in the meantime.  I remember that instantly solving my wedding-day-woes when I woke up and realized I had forgotten to diet.

And, this is important, don’t forget to treat yourself to comfort at the end of the day.  I think something we can all agree upon is that relaxing and having a few moments of peace wherever possible can really help soothe the sole.

Whatever your resolutions are, don’t forget to keep your eye on the attainable, but start feeling better now.

-Rebecca J. Kaplan

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For the Love of Lounging

As we continue to thrive in all winter has to offer – hot coffee, flattering layering attire, boots and winter bargains – one thing remains a favorite for us women year after year: lounging! Whether it’s curling up in a blanket in front of the TV or delving into a good book by the fire, I personally believe that the luxury of down time should be spent in as much comfort as possible.
Year after year, as needs for comfort can vary, I’ve found it to be so nice having a bit of variety in both the texture and thickness of lounging attire. Whether it’s reaching for a quick pullover gown, a bed jacket for extra warmth, or a light robe to cover up with, these things can really make a difference in the way we experience our evening!
With this in mind, this week we’ve gone through and singled out some robes, pajamas, and other loungewear that have received stand-out reviews, where women have spoken mostly to things like ease of maintenance, easy to slip on and off, and of course, super soft. As there’s a lot of winter clearance going on right now, I thought it would be the perfect time to share these with you all.

Cowl Neck Lounger by
National® – (pullover style, great for everyday lounging)

women's bed jacket

Smocked Bed Jacket by
National® – (just. velvety. soft.)


Chenille Gripper Robe by
National® – (soft textured chenille, Peter Pan collar)

women's pajamas

Sweet Dreams Microfleece PJs by
National® – (pull-on waist. 🔥Cozy coverage)

Longing for Lounging,
Rebecca J. Kaplan

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Back to Basics – Feeding our Own

As we reflect on the spirit of giving, what we know for sure is this-there is always more room to give. At National, we remember some principle standards for which our company was built on; the power of hand-ups, not just handouts.

When is a person apt to perform their very best? Why, it’s when their basic needs can be met. Then, and only then, can that individual focus on excelling to their full potential.

Here in our town of Lexington, we love to support our local food pantry. It is a community resource, well relied upon. We all receive so much joy and encouragement by contributing to this vital service.

Each one teach one, because happy bellies produce happy faces, going to happy places. 🙂

In just a few days, we will ease into a new decade. May we all continue to ponder the ways in which we can provide assistance to those we care about; addressing the basics: proper shelter, comfy clothing, and healthy food! We hope you enjoy some of the pictures below:



Let’s take care of each other in love and laughter, by feeding the soul!


Keep giving,

The National Family



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An Interview with a Style Performer

Ruth in the Long Sleeve Tunic Hoodie
Cuddl Duds®

Ruth Maldonado of Ruthie Annie Blog loves every stylish element that creates a wonderful wardrobe. She is inspirational, loves new trends, and styles the classics with grace. She definitely thrives on all things vintage, just see for yourself! We welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with Ruth as one of our recent Blog Influencer’s. She rocked her outfit in a series of styles that wowed our audience. Check out the interview below, with our very own Style Performer:

How do you define style, and what is your personal style description?

I define style as an individual’s unique fashion sense in putting together a complete outfit. My PERSONAL style would be classically comfortable, with a touch of boho and edginess.

When you begin your look for the day, how do you begin? (I.e. how do you source inspiration? A color, pattern, one piece?)

I usually have a color in mind that I’m wanting to wear based on a piece of clothing. I also start my day with my makeup and sometimes I build my outfit based around a dark smokey eye or maybe a shade of lipstick. I also think about what I’m doing that particular day as well,  for instance if I’m teaching an art class, I definitely go towards a more casual look; but if I’m going to be out and about for lunch etc. then I will pull out some special pieces that make a statement. If I am starting to feel I have nothing to wear, I will go to Pinterest and start looking at different color combinations for some inspiration.

Ruth styling her Printed Challis Pants

What is your absolute must-have staple item for winter?

Boots! I live in the Pacific Northwest and it is cold, rainy, and snowy during the Winter season. I wear boots every single day and love having a variety-from ankle boots, knee high boots and over the knee boots, to switch up my looks while keeping my feet warm and dry.

What trend are you most excited to incorporate next Spring?

I am so excited to incorporate bold patterns and colors in the spring! Bright colors are always fun to bring into the Spring season and combining that with 60s and 70s patterns is going on; it’s going to be welcomed after the darker shades for winter. 

Ruth rocks the Ribbed Fly Away Cardigan


We welcome the chance to see how you rock and roll into Spring 2020; thanks for joining the ShopNational family Ruth!


Style on,


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Sockin’ it to You

As with all things warm and cozy, our toesies deserve the very best. I am a firm believer in styling from head-to-toe. I want the bottom view to look just as good as the whole ensemble. Wouldn’t you agree?

During this season of warming up indoors, I am so eager to get my lounge on with a cup of hot chocolate or warm apple cider; while snuggling up in front of our beautiful fireplace in our new home. Fortunately, ShopNational has a new sock collection that completes my loungewear gear in the most posh way to-date. I chose a few of my favs for your viewing pleasure. Be inspired to cover your toesies with all things warm, cozy, and let’s not forget fuzzy this season with ShopNational!

Which ones are your favorites? Write me in the comments section below.

2-Pack Thermal Socks
Hot Feet(TM)

2-Pack Thermal Socks
Hot Feet(TM)

Plush Cabin Socks


Happy fuzzy feet,





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Stay on👉🏽Trend with the ♠️Classics

Our November, Blog Influencer, and our Style Performer, Ruthy Annie, BRINGS IT all week. She styles our clothing full of comfort and style with pure classic finesse, all while staying on trend! She truly is a welcomed and unique addition to the tremendous blog influencers we have been so fortunate to forge partnerships.

I am so excited to showcase her beautiful, whimsical, and ever-so-clever fashion styles. Ruthy Annie is our, “Queen of Styling Innovation”! Take a look below and pick your favorites. Feel free to choose them all, I know I have! 



Happy stylin’,




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Fall Style and Fashion Wisdom from the One and Only

The Only and Only, Phyllis Lerner


Recently, I caught up with the magnificent, Phyllis Lerner of followPhyllis. I had the opportunity to ask Phyllis a series of questions to inspire us for fall and winter. Phyllis gives us a glimpse into her world of seasoned fashion sense along with practical tips that will challenge our comfort zone. I was also thrilled to read how much Phyllis has incorporated National apparel into her everyday wardrobe. Read all about it here:

  1. Solid or print: what is your go-to (or does it depend on the day?)

I have always worn neutral, solid colors. I love the way colors play against each other. They can either blend together or create a bold, minimalist look. I am full busted and always felt like patterns made me look larger than I am. Once in a while I will purchase a blouse with a print, but I rarely end up wearing it. If I want to add a print or pattern to my outfit, it’s usually in an accessory. Unless, of course, that print is leopard-then I’m all in!!!


  1. Tis the season for layering! What are your staples for fall and how do you incorporate them?

When the weather starts getting brisk, I love to wear a fitted tee and skinny leggings under my regular clothing. I find that these extra layers keep me super warm with adding just a touch of bulk. I also love turtleneck dickies in the winter as they are not quite a layer but can serve the same function. Most days, I put my gym clothes on first thing in the morning and keep them on all day. Then I swap out a top or an accessory when I need to change up the look. One of your beautiful tunics would look fabulous over my workout leggings. Or, I might throw on one of your cardis over my exercise clothes and meet a girlfriend for lunch.


  1. What is your favorite piece from the UltraSofts® collection at National and how do you style it?

I am obsessed with the UltraSofts® collection from National. I just completed a blog post and I chose the fabulous UltraSofts® Criss Cross Tunic to feature. The length is perfect, and the beautiful neckline detail means no necklace necessary. And did I mention how soft it is??? I loved styling it with my pair of neutral patent pumps with crisscross detail to mirror the neckline. Gorgeous!

Phyllis loves her new Criss Cross Tunic by UltraSofts®

  1. What trend are you most excited to incorporate into your winter wardrobe?

OMG-there are so many fabulous trends this year that it’s difficult to pick just one! With the popularity of animal prints, leather and faux fur, fabric and texture are super important right now. I love them all, but the animal print trend is the one that I am embracing with open arms this year! I have a lot of pieces that I’ve collected over the years: coats and dresses and accessories but I always want more. Many women over fifty are afraid to try such a bold trend so I suggest adding an accessory to update your look. I love the Charmy Loafers from Hush Puppies® that I styled for a recent photo shoot. Leopard print and comfort – what better way to incorporate this fab trend!

Phyllis styling her daytime look for fall


I say, it’s time to shop! Thank you Phyllis for being a constant inspiration to women of all ages, and especially to our team here at National!



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