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!

Cozied up with Simply Noelle

Simply Noelle is one of our fantastic vendor partners, headquartered just down the road in Wilmington, NC! We have enjoyed developing a wonderful relationship with this company whose values align closely with National.

The Company develops beautiful designs with a nod to classic elegance and comfort. With flattering lines and cozy fabrications, Simply Noelle is the perfect complement to any closet. Below are a few of my picks for this time of year!

Whether you opt for a simple black knit top, a chic motif, a cozy flannel or a zip cardigan, Simply Noelle has the style for you! Which one is your favorite?


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Cuddle Up, Light a Candle, and Get Cozy

One of my favorite pass times this season is to choose a great book, whip up a warm drink, head over to my favorite chair, AND sink deep into the cushions. Nothing says ‘I’m putting on the brakes’ quite like this picture, eh ladies? There are two ingredients that are essential for true ‘chill out’ mode. First, light a candle to set the mood. Second, I must drape myself in the perfect cozy and cuddly clothes.

If you’re like me, I think of fleece, flannel, memory foam and all things soft and cushy. What are some of your favorite feel good fabrics to relax in? Check out this great article I found in the New York Times on books and candles. It delivers all the confirmation I need to set the stage.

You now have all the motivation to create your own scene for the ultimate day of relaxation. Here are a few of my favorite things to add to your relax-collection. National is always your perfect resource for ultimate comfort and style.


Fancy Knit Toasty Socks
Dearfoams®

Silky Plush Zip Robe
Carole Hochman


2-Pack Thermal Socks
Hot Feet

Happy Cuddling,

Parker


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6 Quick Tips for Cleaning Out Your Closet in the New Year

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions for 2019, knowing that I would probably break any resolution I made before the month was over. Instead I decided to focus on something tangible that I could actually accomplish in a relatively short span of time—cleaning out my closet. With its promise of a fresh start, January seemed like the ideal time to get my closet in order.

If you are anything like me, you have clothes in a multitude of different sizes that no longer fit, along with items that you simply never wear anymore or pieces that are stained, damaged, or need alterations. Since I have downsized to a one-bedroom apartment with limited closet space, I need to keep my wardrobe edited so that my closet only has the clothes that I love and regularly wear—and to make room for new stuff, of course!

After I decided to clean out my closet, I started researching the best way to go about it and found this article, 22 Tips For Cleaning Out Your Closet After 60 – Downsizing The Tried And True Way by Dawn Lucy on one of my favorite websites, Sixty & Me. I recommend reading the entire article, but if you don’t have the time, here are a few of my favorite tips from Dawn for cleaning out your closet:

  1. Make a list of must-have basics that you need
  2. Start with a basic color scheme, including your favorite neutrals along with pops of color
  3. Think about your lifestyle and what you’ll be doing in the next year and the types of clothes you will need
  4. Try on all your basic and must-have pieces and if they fit and are in good condition, hold onto them
  5. Get rid of the following:
    • Anything unflattering, uncomfortable or itchy
    • Items that don’t match anything else in your closet
    • Anything you’re simply sick of wearing or projects that have never happened (like those pants you have never gotten tailored)
    • Costume jewelry that has lost its luster and earrings that are too heavy to wear
    • Sentimental items or gifts that you don’t actually wear
  1. Give the rejects to a charity like Goodwill or The Salvation Army, or try selling them on eBay, Poshmark, or at a local consignment store

Photo Courtesy of Sixty & Me

I hope this has inspired you to go through your own wardrobe. I find that cleaning out your closet can actually make it easier to get dressed in the morning, so let me know how it goes, ladies!
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Touch of Style | Interview with Stylist Jodie

We recently connected with style guru and author of fun, Jodie. A resident of Denver, she shares her fashion inspiration with countless individuals through her blog, Jodie’s Touch of Style.

The National team immediately fell in love with Jodie and her fashionista counterparts, mother Charlotte and stepmother Nancy. We caught up with her last week to learn about her love of fashion and tips for styling with ease.

Q: What first inspired your love of fashion?

A: My first inspiration for my love of fashion had to come from my mother. That’s exactly why I include her in my blog.

My mom, Charlotte, who is the 80+ model on the blog, started off as a home economics teacher (back when that was a thing) and absolutely loved to make and create clothing. As a kid, she was constantly making us matching mother/daughter outfits. Which was cute, but then when I became a teenager, that went out the window. I went through a phase of hating anything hand sewn. You know?  At that age you wanted to be like everyone else and blend in.

Luckily, I came to my senses in college when I had no money, and would send her photos of clothing items that I would ask for her to make me. I remember having this green and white striped mini skirt that I would wear every Christmas that she had sewn for me. And no one had one just like it!! I think that’s when I realized the advantage of having custom made pieces and how fashion could make you feel so wonderful.

Q: When looking for staple pieces, what qualities do you seek in your garment? (fit, comfort, fabrication, use/purpose, etc)?

A: When I’m considering staple pieces, I feel like the fit is one of the most important aspects of a piece. Yet experience has taught me that a truly wonderful fit, almost always includes some alterations. I know many women consider that too much work, but it really takes an item from being ho-hum, to being fabulous!

The other aspect I really take into account is if a piece makes me feel good about myself. Now in saying that, many times that’s due to the great fit. But it can also be due to the uniqueness or interest that the piece brings to any outfit. Even though most people consider staple pieces as the basic pieces, I think they are the items you reach for time after time. And for me at this stage in my life, it tends to be the clothing that shows off my personality. Bold, colorful and fun pieces.

Q: What are your must-have pieces, and how do you style them?

A: I would have to say that my must haves are a couple of things. First is a wonderful pair of white jeans. I’m one of those who believes we can and should wear our white jeans all months of the year. So I depend on a couple of different pairs for different weather. Yet my white jeans need to be somewhat opaque and not see through. Most women depend on black pants, yet I think white ones pop other colors so much nicer. The lightness is part of my personality, since I am more of an optimist.

Another item I consider a MUST have is fabulous footwear. To me, shoes are a girls best friend because you can gain 5 pounds and they still fit. Okay, so that may seem a little silly to some people, yet great shoes never disappoint in boosting my mood. Truthfully, I rationalize that you notice your shoes quite a bit, since they are what you see when you look down. You can’t really see your necklace and earrings as easily (yet I don’t discount those pieces either, LOL). The best thing about living in modern society right now is that many shoe manufacturers have combined both comfort and style. I’ve worked with a couple of brands that make me realize it’s not worth putting up with uncomfortable footwear. Yet they are stylish to boot.

My latest must have is a trendy piece. The faux fur vest. I feel like it adds a some youthfulness to my look while keeping me warm. It also amuses my love of texture. The fact, that I call it trendy could be argued. I bought my first faux fur vest over 6 years ago, and they are still quite popular. I never think it’s bad to incorporate a little bit of trendiness into my looks. I’ll tend to buy the trendy pieces when they are on sale, but I will wear them with joy.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you can offer someone looking to jazz up their daily wardrobe routine?

A: Anyone wanting to jazz up their daily routine has only to add in a scarf statement necklace, or fun pair of earrings. The magic of accessories is they become the focal point of your outfit. They are there to pull in someone’s gaze and create interest in even the most mundane outfit.

Thank you for taking time to meet Jodie and peruse her fashion tips! What questions do you have for her and her fellow fashionistas? Leave some notes in the comment section below, and we will follow up with Jodie’s insights – sent directly to your email!

Cheers,

Parker + Jodie

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Cozy Up to My Favorites

The Carolinas have experienced a wide range of weather changes in the last week. With a few days of high 60s followed by chilly evenings in the low 40s, our closets are full of clothing suitable for layering.

Our pup’s last evening walk means some extra warmth to stay cozy in the chilly night air. I prefer a loose fitting shirt or cardigan made of plush fabric to layer atop a tank or short sleeve shirt. My favorite fabrications include brushed cotton, velour, polar fleece and thermal cotton.

Below are a few of my favorite warm selections from National. Which one is your favorite cozy option? Share your go-to in the comment section below!

Stay cozy,
Parker

 


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Last Minute Gift Ideas

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the house … not a present was wrapped and Mama realized she missed two gifts for people she loves and is now officially shopping last minute.

No matter how hard I try, somehow I miss a person! I find myself hunting quickly for a still perfect gift, because I’m not someone who likes to wrap and give for the sake of a holiday. Thomas and I spend most of our year keeping an eye out for thoughtful gifts, but despite our efforts we often need a little help.

If you are in the same place, fear not my friend. National has a wide variety of gifts for the ones you love—designs crafted with comfort in mind. I have curated a selection of my favorite last-minute gifts. If something catches your eye, simply click on the image to read more about its features. (And maybe grab one for yourself!)

Happy Christmas,

Parker

 

 

 
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Cozy in the Snow

In case you missed it, we got snow! With temperatures still barely above freezing, the Triad is still a vision in white. Thomas and I have kept a fire going in our living room and the cozy fabrics on hand for chilly night time walks. (Oh the joys of having a dog that enjoys the outdoors!)

During this time of year, I prefer chunky knits and thick fabrics that offer warmth and comfort. I trend towards easy-wear, open silhouettes that I can layer with lounge or dress options.  Given that our weather seems to change on a dime, I keep a few options at the front of my closet for this time of year. Click on the images below to read up on my favorite options. Of these, which one is your favorite? Share with me in the comment section below!

Stay warm,
Parker

 


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The Turkey Rebound | Pajamas for the Season

 

 

As I adjust to back into a routine of my favorite morning shake and healthy dinners (thanks to my meal planning application), I am counting down the days to Christmas – another holiday filled with family time and beautiful meals.

Mixed into our wait – weekends at home with our Christmas tree and stockings, anticipating the joy of the holidays with a wobbly toddler. We spent this past weekend decorating our tree, hanging all the decorations we could find, and tidying up from weekends of holiday travel. It was the perfect time to cozy up in my favorite flannel pajamas and snuggle up with my little one…well, for the five minutes she’d sit still!

Below are some of National’s pajama sets, each one made from quality fabrics with unique designs and beautiful trims. Whether you prefer an easy button set or lounge shirt and coordinating bottoms, the National team has crafted plenty of options to suit you. So gift yourself this season, and add some comfort and joy to your weekend wardrobe!

Stay cozy,

Parker


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Christmas in the Carolinas

The holiday season offers so much joy and tradition – and here in the Carolinas, we share quite a few unique celebrations to highlight Christmas. Most of my favorite occur just after Thanksgiving. Some last all season long. From the mountains to the coastline, our festive state has ample opportunity to enjoy the beauty and magic of Christmas.

 

The Biltmore Estate in Asheville features incredible holiday displays. Countless Christmas trees and specialty exhibits line the hallways of this magnificent estate. I recommend experiencing it through a candlelight tour – a prime holiday tradition!

What better way to experience Christmas by the sea than a holiday flotilla! On the Intracoastal Waterway, patrons line the bridge and surrounding streets to witness the spectacle of fully outfitted boats! Locals go above and beyond to make this an annual feast for light lovers everywhere.

My favorite tradition as a child? Tanglewood’s festivals lights! Tune into the local holiday radio station, sip hot chocolate from the warmth of your car, and drive through an unbelievable light display – one that lasts for miles!


And last but certainly not least, Christmas at Tweetsie! People flock from around the Carolinas (and southeast) to enjoy the annual Christmas Train Ride. One of Boone’s most popular attractions year round, the additional special events crafted for the holiday season draw an especially large and cheery crowd.

What are some of the traditions in your neck of the woods? Share some holiday favorites with me in the comment section below. I will always travel for Christmas fun!

Happy celebrating,
Parker
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Just in time for Christmas | Gifts of Comfort and Joy

Last week, our family gathered in Blowing Rock, NC for our annual “Thanksmas” celebration. You see, now that my sister and I are both married with little families of our own, we spend Thanksgiving with one set of parents and Christmas with the other – and swap the following year! We do our best to drive to our respective families for holiday hugs and cheer, but the choice to “swap” allows the kiddos ample time with all the wonderful grandparents (and of course, many yummy meals for us!)

This year, my parents knocked it out of the park with gifts and stocking stuffers. Top of the list? Cozy comforts like fuzzy socks, warm hats and fluffy scarves. I will be sharing my go-to options for gifting “comfort and joy” these next few weeks. To kick us off, I will take a cue from my sweet mama – the queen of gift selection!

She knows I am a sucker for a great scarf – it is my absolute favorite accessory for winter. Below are a few gifting options for a friend (or yourself) just in time for the festive holiday season! Which cozy selection is your favorite and why? Share with me in the comment section below!

Stay warm,

Parker

 

 
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