RACK of STYLE

As a young gal growing up in the world of retail, I hopped on the fashion train way too early. Despite my efforts to destroy any evidence of some of my early fashion choices, hints of my styling efforts creep up every now and then. Thankfully, I have found the straight and narrow of the styling world – in other words, I know how to work a closet! Check back each week for glimpses of my favorite fabrics, colors, and go-to styling tips!

Slip(per) and Slide Into Comfort

We planned a mini “staycation” this past weekend and cherished a few days with no plans, right here in our sweet town of Wilmington. I found myself enjoying the comfort of home in a new way – savoring the simplicity of a Saturday morning with pancakes, and taking time to water the garden with some intention (and snagging red peppers ripening like crazy on our biggest haul yet). Still in those hot summer days – typical for the Carolinas in mid-August; I reached for my most comfortable slides to wander around the house in and spend time out back.

As we round out the summer, I’m sharing a few easy slides and slippers to keep on hand for staycation weekends (ok…let’s be real. For anytime at all!)  If you’re looking for comfort and style or to complement your look, opt for the beautifully detailed black leather Delana Vanna Sandal. If you’re like me and craving time at home, grab a pair of Dearfoam slippers for comfort and support while enjoying relaxation. The printed Ryka sandal is ideal for a beach day or casual stroll around the neighborhood. Looking for an easy slip-on to get those steps in? Easy-Spirit’s floral slide has great support and traction while maintaining comfort and style.

Delana Venna Sandals Clarks®

 

Floral Scuff Slippers
Dearfoams®

Marilyn Sandals Ryka®

Seasonal Traveltime Walkers
Easy Spirit®

 

Which one is your favorite?

 

Happy fall,

Parker

 


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Our Seven Week Texas Treat

Occasionally, you are gifted a treasure you know will be for keeps. Here at National, our gift was and will always be, Ms. Kylee Willmoth. Kylee hails from Cypress, Texas. She attends Baylor University and we were privileged to have Kylee join our National team for seven weeks as an intern. Kylee is majoring in Apparel Merchandising with a minor in Entrepreneurship.

As I reflect on the last 7 weeks with Kylee, I recall how eager and thorough Kylee executed the tasks asked of her. The in-depth research Kylee conducted was so helpful to the Merchandising, Marketing, Planning and Forecasting, as well as the Technical Design teams.

While we do not want her to leave us, we are super excited for her to walk the Baylor stage in December and await her return to visit us often, we hope.

I captured many moments of Kylee’s hard work and fun times this summer. Kylee’s sweet smile and gracious southern demeanor is simply infectious. She leaves us with a lighter, brighter outlook on the world of fashion and design. I am confident we all have the sweetest of memories as we wish Kylee all the best as she begins her new career! Baylor University should be most proud.

Kylee working hard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a moment to smile!

Technical Design

 Fit Sessions with Kylee

 

Kylee creates design and pattern sequence storyboards

Fit Sessions are the best

Kylee gets National goodies

Kylee with Carol (CFO), Lynda (Owner and President), and Belinda (CMD)

Brava Kylee!

 

To new beginnings,

Ronelle

 


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Bold Colors of Fall

Halfway through August – I can’t believe it. I’m not sure where the time went, but I am embracing the calendar and counting down to fall. My closet remains in a state of transition, moving between sleeveless shirts and cardigans on the regular. Typically, I lean towards a muted color palette. But recently, I have braved the bold world of color and pattern to diversify my closet and brighten my wardrobe. Especially as we transition seasons, I am trying to incorporate the boldness of summer days into my daily style.

Our design team has embraced the beauty of fall and showcased it through detailed embroidery, unique silhouettes and playful pattern. Below are three particular options incorporating some of my favorite trends for this season. What are you looking forward to in this upcoming season?

Grommet Detail Knit Top
UltraSofts®

Embroidered Jeans
National®

Print Medley Dress
La Cera®


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In Her Own Stylish Words-Interview with Julie Harbour

Recently, we had the pure joy of partnering with the Los Angeles Image Consultant and Personal Stylist, Julie Harbour.

Julie Harbour rockin’ it LA Style

We asked Julie to choose dresses that spoke to her true style and we were blown away by how she fabulously styled them like a true fashion professional!

The Stylish Paradox Way

Julie in the Multi-Print Caftan

We couldn’t wait to learn how Julie beautifully executes style and grace, HER WAY:

How would you define “style”?

To me, style is what makes you stand out as an individual.  Many times, people are pigeon-holed into a particular style, ie, classic, romantic, edgy, etc.  I like being a little bit of all styles rolled into one.  Have fun developing your unique style!

From your closet, what do you first grab to “start” an outfit? (or, from where do you draw inspiration in crafting your personal style?)  

It may seem a little odd, but I generally start with shoes and work my way up.  And it can also depends on my mood for the day.  If I wake up feeling a little down, that means vibrant color!  Bold colors totally lift my disposition!

What is your go-to staple style/piece and how do you like to incorporate it?  

During my work week, it’s dresses of all types.  My favorites are Maxis and Midis, which can look more corporate with just adding a blazer. I love my red embroidered midi from National!  On the weekends, it’s distressed Levi’s.  They fit the curvy woman fabulously!

I tend to rely on neutrals in my closet. What do you recommend for folks starting to bring bold colors into their wardrobe? (I.e. how do you add to your closet and where do you start in making sure you pick the right color for your complexion?)  

For those who tend to shy away from color, I recommend beginning with a colorful scarf, bold bag or shoe and slowly begin incorporating color into your wardrobe.  Personally, dressing in colorful pieces give me a mood lift!  Because I have a deeper complexion, bold colors such as reds, hot pinks and yellows look great on me.  According to the color. 

Fall is around the corner. What recommendations do you offer for transitioning your wardrobe? 

I recommend light layering.  I love wearing jumper dresses for the office with a classic while button down, for a classy chic look and a jacket. If it warms up a bit during the day, off goes the jacket! 

Pretty Posh with Julie Harbour

 

We want to thank Julie so much for sprinkling her innovative and super stylish apparel creations on North Carolina. We love being a part of your audience!

-Parker & Ronelle

 

 

 


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Layered into the Fall

It’s August. How is that real? 2019 feels like it’s moving at lightning speed. I’m still not fully recovered from seeing my baby girl turn TWO. Yet here we are, a light drizzle falling outside my office window and the hope of cooler temperatures ahead.

The Carolinas experience seasonal shifts with a sort of whiplash inducing rapidity. Last week, we had a few mornings in the low 60s before moving right back into 90 degree afternoons by the weekend. As such, my closet maintains a steady array of sleeveless tanks and light jackets. Just in time for the transition to fall, our product development team has designed a few new styles and, of course, new color ways of traditional favorites. Below are my three mainstays – ideal for this particular season. Do you prefer a button up jacket or breezy cardigan? Share your must have in the comment section below.

Ribbed Fly Away Cardigan
National®

Stretch Twill Jacket
National®

Ruffle Knit Jacket
National®

 

Here’s to cooler days,

Parker


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Bright and Cheerful PJs

Good morning from the Carolinas! We are coming off of a warm and beautiful weekend in Wilmington-reminding me how thankful I am for air conditioning. Meanwhile, my sister and brother-in-law are cooling off at a conference in New England. While I do not have firsthand experience of the summer weather patterns in that area, I am keenly aware (thanks to her photos),  that not everyone is experiencing a summer heat wave like we are on the southern coast.

The geographic footprint of our customer base is as varied as our product offering. Whether you are enjoying an outdoor fire table in July, with views of Lake Champlain or keeping it lightweight in the 100% humidity of the Carolina Coast, we keep an array of fabrications to accommodate your needs.

Below, are three options suitable for varied climates. If you want a layered option, go for the Cuddle Me Cardigan (you know I prefer that Carolina Baby Blue). For something more “in the middle,” (think lightweight but full coverage), you may enjoy the Versailles Pajama Set. And if you’re like me, relegated to 90+ degrees with a side of sweat, look no further than our Button Detail Knit Pajamas.

Which bright and cheerful pajama set will you throw on this weekend? Share your pick in the comment section below.

Cuddle Me Cardigan
Softwear by Swann®

Versailles Pajama Set
National®

Button Detail Knit Pajamas
National®

Happy lounging,

Parker


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Interview with Classic Lifestyle Model – Barbie Holmes

Meet the oh-so-lovely, Barbie Holmes. Recently, we had the pleasure of collaborating with Barbie. What a special treat it was for us here at National to partner with such a positive, influencer on the social scene today. Barbie is a Classic Lifestyle Model and her style is worthy of imitation. Enjoy our interview with Barbie Holmes and live in the inspiration!

So, what first inspired your appreciation of fashion and style?

At a young age, I admired my older teenage sister wearing the all the bold colors, prints and funky fashion styles of the late 1960s and early 1970s. This was balanced by the classic, tailored styles of two of my mother’s favorite actresses, Grace Kelley and Audrey Hepburn. I continue choose a classic style with a bit of modern flair. Our mother advised us to shop wisely in finding quality, timeless apparel at affordable prices. These words of wisdom have served me well throughout the decades as a few timeless, quality pieces stand up to the test of wear and tear and can be styled and repurposed in many ways.

When you are developing a daytime look, where do you start for inspiration?

I look to the climate and purpose of the day. For a fun-filled summer day out for lunch, shopping sightseeing or wine tasting in sunny Southern California my go to is usually Smart Casual attire. I start with dressy capri or cropped pants, shorts, or a fun skirt or sundress. Lightweight tops solid colors or multi-colored patterns (florals are very popular this season) a bit of ruffle and/or embroidery jazz things up and open toed shoes or sandals are staples. I mix up accessories- hats, belts, sunglasses, hand bags, jewelry giving the same outfit new life. A light cover up is often necessary for cool ocean breezes. Transitioning to an evening look can be achieved by changing footwear to a higher heal, opting for a more stylish cover up, a silk scarf, a bejeweled belt, adding a statement piece of jewelry and wearing a darker shade of lipstick.

Do you have one particular item you incorporate more than others OR a classic piece on which you put the base of your style?

Black on both parts!  I own several pairs of flattering black pants in a variety of styles- capri, cropped, full length, straight leg, wide leg from which I choose depending on the time of year, the mood of the day, and the formality of the occasion. Paring black pants with a top or sweater in a variety of necklines, sleeve and waist lengths is easy because I think black goes with every color and pattern. You can never go wrong with a little black dress. I also own several in varying lengths and styles. Accessories can really set off or change the LBD look by adding a stylish belt, scarf, bangles, earrings and necklaces appropriate to the occasion.  With black as the base, I can then generate many outfits and looks!

If someone is trying to mix-up and shift their style, what do you recommend?

Where do we start?

I always start with color and pattern. In my opinion, it is important to feel comfortable in a style you are used to, bit more courageous by experimenting with color and pattern. Go ahead and be a bit bold with color and print after which changing a style may not seem so daunting. Experimenting with different styles of shoes can take an ordinary outfit in a number of new directions.  I have been pleasantly surprised when I take a few steps out of my comfort zone.

Fall is around the corner. What recommendations do you offer for transitioning your wardrobe?

Summer tops can still be functional by layering under light weight cover ups and cardigans in darker colors or autumnal palette tones. Dressy capris, cropped pants, knee length summer shorts and skirts or even floral print dresses can transition into fall with a smart blazer.  As the fall months can still bring warmth in the afternoons simply throw the blazer over one or both shoulders.  A variety of styles of boots and scarves always usher in the arrival of fall!

 

 

Thank you so much Barbie. We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with you; everyone should know how beautiful you are inside and out! 

 

 

 

 

 


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Lazy Days a Loungin’

Real talk: We spent the weekend in an attempt to potty train our baby girl. The weekend was filled with legos, building blocks, and plenty of cleaning. Whew! Potty training is not for the faint of heart. (But I have to say, that little bare bum sure is adorable).

Because we spent most of the weekend lounging, I spent all of it in easy-to-wear clothing that could transition from the couch to a scurry towards a potty in no time flat. My favorite silhouette for a relaxing weekend at home? A dress!

While you may not be in potty training mode this week, I am certain a component of your summer weekend will include lounging. In preparation for continued days of sunshine and summer schedules, I have selected a few options for comfortable and stylish lounging. Whether you prefer a neutral, solid tone or a vibrant pattern, the team at ShopNational has plenty of options for your summer days!

Calypso Caftan
National®

Long Knit Lounger
National®

Striped Hydrangea Lounger
National®

Keilani Floral Lounger
National®

Happy lounging,

Parker

 


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Staying Safe in the Sun

Last week, Thomas, Hatton and I spent July 4th in sunny Boca Raton, Florida. We were visiting my husband’s family. We relished long days in the pool and beautiful strolls along Deerfield Beach. However – despite my attempts to apply and reapply sunscreen consistently – I still found myself a bit too “crispy” by the end of our trip. It wasn’t until the end of our vacation, while repacking my suitcase, that I found my UV protectant cover up. I somehow threw it into a corner while searching for Hatton’s swimsuit (Lesson 1: pack and unpack more efficiently)! Given my 2:00 a.m. scratching sessions as this sunburn “cools off,” I can assure you…I won’t misplace my UV clothing again!

Thankfully for Hatton, I packed multiple UV protectant shirts and rash guards for her swim time.

One poor assumption I made during our time in Florida: “clouds are here, I’m probably safe.” Cloud cover does not inhibit UV rays. In fact, the precipitation often magnifies their intensity. Even a simple stroll around the block requires UV protection – no matter where we live! I can assure you that for the rest of our summer adventures, I am stocking up on UV products to make certain I am just as well cared for as my feisty two year old.

Below are a few of my newest UV additions. These options are perfect for daytime adventures and poolside chats. Which one is your personal favorite?

Stay sun safe,

Parker


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Interview with Blog Influencer – Amy Christensen of STYLIN’ GRANNY MAMA

Recently, we had the greatest pleasure to work with Fashion Stylist and Blog Influencer, Amy Christensen of Stylin’ Granny Mama 

Real Women, Real Life – A Faith & Fashion Blog

Beauty, Style & Grace with Amy Christensen of Stylin’ Granny Mama

I so enjoyed reading about Amy and learning about her very unique approach to fashion, style, trends, and all things that are REAL for her lifestyle. These were some of the areas I was excited to learn more about the gal behind, STYLIN’ GRANNY MAMA:

What first inspired you to craft such wonderful styles from your closet? And how do you go about selecting a “look” for the day?

What is your go-to staple style/piece and how do you like to incorporate it? 

I tend to rely on neutrals in my closet. What do you recommend for folks starting to bring bold colors into their wardrobe? (I.e. how do you add to your closet and where do you start in making sure you pick the right color for your complexion?) 

Summer is here, so, what trends do you anticipate for this year and how are those reflected in your summer wardrobe? 

___________________________________________

What first inspired me:

I grew up with two older brothers, so being a tomboy was a perfectly natural choice as a child. When I married and had children, I dressed like a typical mom…hair in a ponytail, mom jeans (which are now trendy, by the way), socks that matched my shirt…if you would have told me at that point, I would be a fashion blogger, I would have laughed in your face.

As my girls grew older, they developed their own sense of style and started to share with me things they thought were good, or more often, bad about the outfits I was wearing. I distinctly remember being at my in-laws for the holidays when my girls were both out of high school. At that point I was taking some of their fashion advice and had donned a particularly cute outfit. My younger daughter said, “Wow, mom! You are really stylin’!” I laughed and said, “Yup, that’s me! Stylin’ Granny Mama.” I had become a grandmother by that point so the name just seemed perfect.

What actually kicked me in the seat of the pants to start the blog, was my desire to write. I really want to be a published author. I was affiliated with a writing guild at the time and one of the pieces of advice that stood out to me was, start small, but get writing. I thought, why not. My older daughter was a photographer and my younger daughter a make up artist, so I had a lot of help getting started.

How do I go about selecting an outfit for the day:

In all honesty, I am a clothes horse. I love to thrift shop, or just shop in general, so I have plenty of clothes. The further I’ve gotten into this blogging adventure, the more I realize that I have a closet chuck full of sensational outfits, just waiting to be put together. I always pick my outfits out the night before, so I am not scrambling in the morning to figure out what to wear. I don’t really have a method, so most of my day to day outfits are picked out according to how I feel. On a cold drab day, I might feel the need to be cuddled in a cozy sweater and a good fitting pair of jeans. On a warm sunny day, I might choose a graphic tee and a moto jacket because I feel more confident and ready to chase after my dreams. Mood is often my main motivator for picking out an outfit. Occasionally, I’ll choose something the direct opposite of how I feel, because in doing so, it makes me feel better.

What is my go-to style piece:

Definitely jeans. I love my jeans and I wear them in all washes and all silhouettes; flares, skinnies, straight leg, you name it. I wear jeans to work and dress them up with a floral button up and a sharp blazer. I wear jeans for date nights with heeled boots, graphic tees and fun moto jackets. I wear jeans when I need to feel confident and tuck them into combat boots with a silky bomber jacket. Jeans are always my go-to.

Bringing bold colors into your closet:

If you have visited my blog, you know I love color. Each year since I have started blogging, I do a spring/summer and a fall/winter series, based on the Pantone Color Institute’s New York and London color palettes. I think the best way to bring bold colors into your wardrobe, especially if you are more of a neutral kind of gal, is to do it minimally and slowly; think accessories first. Start adding color to your closet by purchasing bright colored jewelry, scarves, bags or shoes. From there you could add a piece or two, like a bright colored sweater, say pink or yellow for spring, then a royal blue or rusty orange for fall. I am a firm believer that all women can wear all color. Sure certain shades look better on us than others, but just because one red doesn’t look good on me, doesn’t mean I can’t wear red at all. It is just a matter of finding the shade that looks right on you. My advice is go shopping with a girlfriend or someone you can trust to be honest. Compare how certain shades look on you and ask your shopping buddy what they think. Remember, the lighting in most dressing rooms is not complimentary. Buy a piece, take it home and see how it looks in natural light. You might be surprised how many colors really do suit you.

Summer Trends:

Whenever we talk about trends, I go to the web to see what is currently out there according to names like Bazaar, Vogue, or Cosmopolitan. I am not a trendy person, so what I like to do is research what the big names in fashion say and then pick the trends I find most suitable for me. Not everyone is able, nor wants to wear trends like the 80’s mini skirt or fishnet anything other than hose, but this summer offers a few trends that never go out of style: florals, bold patterns and soft pastels.

Fortunately, being the clothes horse that I am I have many of these trends currently taking up residence in my closet. Even though we are still having cool weather in the midwest, I am trying to incorporate pastels, florals and bold patterns into my clothing choices when I decide outfits for the blog and for my everyday wear.

National offers a variety of pieces that feature these trends. Florals are featured in pieces such as the Eric London Solvron Jacquard Cold Shoulder blouse (Item #20791) and the Gingham Floral Blouse (Item #20662). I love the bold patterns of the Tiered Shutter-Pleat Blouse (Item #20046), and the Aruba Print Top (Item #20730). Soft pastels are easy to find with pretty feminine pieces like the Eyelet Knit Top (Item #20733) and the UltraSofts Knit Tank (Item #8409).

I tell you what ladies, I learned so much from Amy and her creative flair for fashion styling. One thing is for sure, I will visit Stylin’ Granny Mama again and again for neat tips and tricks for all things fashion forward. I suggest you do the same! 🙂 Thanks so much Amy for working with us here at National!

Welcome new friend,

Parker

 

 


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