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.

Blue & Gray: Cool colors for cooler weather

As the days get shorter and the temperature starts to drop, I am inspired by a cooler color palette of blue and gray. It’s a tried-and-true color combination that is perfect for layering now that the fall is here. Whether you wear silver with navy blue or heather gray with dusty blue, you can’t go wrong when you pair blue and gray together. Gray is a versatile neutral that goes with all shades of blue, from pale aqua, to French blue, to deep royal blue, to denim blue.


We have a great selection of cozy sweaters and cardigans that you can layer over all kinds of shirts and blouses when it starts to get chilly out. Here are a few of my favorite blue and gray looks just in time for sweater weather:


Long Alaskan Vest by Simply Noelle®

Toggle Cardigan by National®

Mock Neck Zip Cardigan by National®

Touch of Heaven Tunic Sweater by Softwear by Swann®

Long Sweater Vest by National®

Ruffle Print Tunic by National®

UltraSofts® Embroidered Henley

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Lessons from Georgie

Today is my grandfather’s birthday. While our birthdays are a day apart, we always celebrated together. My mother has always joked that she tried very hard to have me on his birthday, but I was bound and determined – just like him – to have my own day. Even still, we were tied together in celebration as September babies – stubborn, loyal, driven and energetic.
On this day, my mother and I wanted to look back on our favorite “Georgie-wisdoms” – slogans, words and thoughts he held to and shared with us throughout our lives. Below, you’ll find just a snippet of his famous tag lines, and my mother’s memories surrounding each of them.
All work is honorable.
After graduating from the orphanage, Dad was brought to the nearest town, which was Lexington, with $5 in his pocket. The first job he was offered had a less than desirable reputation. He went to the superintendent of the orphanage, Mr. Bruton, and asked if he would be embarrassed for my dad to have such a job. Mr. Burton replied, “Eddie, all work is honorable. Do your best and do it to the glory of God.” My dad’s sincere appreciation for each and every job people do at National and elsewhere originated here. He took the job. He became the manager, and he started his own company – National – a few years later.
Isn’t life great? I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Each morning, Dad came to my office and shared this one saying. He believed that every day was a celebration and a gift to be opened. He was so grateful for every single one. Simple as that.
Treat every customer as if she was our only customer. 
This is the 65th anniversary of National – and this phrase has been our mission statement since inception. Dad believed that if we gave full attention to detail to every item we sold, and treated each person as if she was the only person we would ever have the opportunity to serve, then everything else in business would take care of itself.
Age is a number. It means nothing.
Dad was a health advocate long before it was in vogue. He ate “farm to table” before it was a trend and grew a lot of it from his farming knowledge gained at the orphanage. He got up every morning at 5:00 a.m., ran several miles, swam for an hour, enjoyed racing cars, and worked full time well into his 80s.
We’ve been blessed to be a blessing.
Dad always said one of his greatest blessings was being brought to the children’s home in Lexington at his parents’ death when he was nine years of age. He never understood why “important” business people took an interest in him, mentored him and invested such time in an orphaned boy.
When he enjoyed success in business, he believed he had been blessed to be a blessing. He made good on that by leaving a legacy of encouragement, inspiration and philanthropy that has impacted his community forever.
On this day, my grandfather’s birthday, I hope you find encouragement and inspiration in one or more of these phrases and carry on his joy and cheer through your own day today!

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5 Unique Web Exclusive Styles

I love expressing my individual style with unique fashions that you won’t find just anywhere, which is why our Web Exclusive items are my favorite fashion secret. You’ll find these styles only on our website and not in our catalog. Because they are exclusive to the web, these items are more fashion forward and trendy than the styles we normally carry in our catalog. When you buy a Web Exclusive item, you can rest assured that you won’t see someone else wearing the exact same thing.

Here are a few of my favorite Web Exclusive New Arrivals:

Crochet Placket Top by Antilia Femme®

Featuring an on-trend patchwork print, this blouse is sweetly embellished with crochet lace. I love this top with a pair of jeans for dinner out or the movies.

Medallion Print Sweater by Allie & Rob®

Super soft with a fun, colorful all-over print and fashionable asymmetrical hem, this shirt is lightweight and thin enough to layer under a jacket for fall.

Flannel Foulard Gown by KayAnna®

As it starts to get colder outside, this soft flannel gown is perfect for snuggling up with a good book or in front of the TV at night.  I adore the contrasting velvet trim along the placket and cuffs and the little velvet bows at the hem.

Gildy Slippers by Daniel Green®

Gildy Slippers by Daniel Green®

With their luxurious faux sheepskin lining, these slippers will keep your feet toasty warm. The textured TPR outsole means you can wear them indoors or outdoors to go check the mail or take the dog out.

Colette Bra by Q-T Intimates™

Colette Bra by Q-T Intimates™

Finally, a full-figure bra that is as pretty as it is supportive. This gorgeous, full-coverage bra has lightly lined, cut-and-sew seamed cups that give you the lift you need with underwire that is covered in soft, plush fabric for all-day comfort. We also have matching panties.

What’s your favorite? What would you like to see? Share it with us!

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5 Items You Should Be Looking for at Estate Sales

If you’re decorating your home on a budget (like me), estate sales are a great place to find hidden treasures. You can find truly unique pieces that fit your personal taste and style. In addition to estate sales, I love scouring vintage, antique and consignment stores for affordable furniture, art, and knickknacks. Here in Lexington, NC, we have some amazing little antique stores like Golden Antiques & Treasures and Magnolia Antiques & Gifts, where I have found some wonderful décor accents like mirrors and framed art. Garage and yard sales, along with flea markets, are also good sources for budget-friendly décor.

When you buy something that has been “well loved,” it is often in less-than-perfect condition. When buying pre-owned furniture and bric-a-brac, I try to look for items that are in good, usable condition or only slightly damaged, so they require just minor repairs that I can do myself. When it comes to furniture, I look for pieces that can easily be re-upholstered or refinished. I love wood furniture because it can easily be transformed with just a coat of paint.

According to Good Housekeeping, there are 5 Items You Should Always Look for at Estate Sales. Check out their article to learn more. I also recommend this article from Country Living on the  7 Trendy Décor Items You Should Always Buy Secondhand, and for inspiration, be sure to read: 9 People Share Their Best Estate Sale Finds.

Here are Good Housekeeping’s recommendations for the items you should always look for at estate sales:

1) Wingback Chair

2) Demilunes

3) Settees

4) Dough Bowls

5) Silver

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How to Wear Capri Pants

Don’t like showing your knees? Capri pants are a great option during the summer months. Whether you are on a cruise, at the beach, or just out on the town, capri pants are the perfect way to keep your legs covered while staying cool. They can be an especially good choice if you have spider or varicose veins that you don’t want people to see. Our friends at Sixty & Me show us how it’s done in their blog post, “Fashion for Older Women: Capri Pants for the Summer Months.”

Many women avoid capri pants because they are afraid the cropped length will make their legs look shorter or their calves look chunky. Check out Fabulous After 40 for advice on how to wear capris and still look “long, lean and stylish.” I also recommend “How to wear cropped pants: An extensive guide” on one of my favorite fashion blogs, 40+ Style.

Capris are not just for the older crowd. Capri and cropped pants look good on women of any age. Here are a few of my favorite tips for wearing capris:

  • Look for cropped pants or capris with a slim cut through the leg and narrow or tapered leg openings, which help to make your legs and calves look longer and slimmer.
  • Avoid cuffs and wide leg openings, like flares or bootcuts, which can make your legs look shorter and wider.
  • Avoid utility styles with pockets on the hips or thighs, which can make those areas look wider.
  • Choose pants that end at the narrowest part of your calf for the most flattering look.
  • Choose a color similar to your skin tone, like stone, beige, tan, or brown, to make your legs look longer. It makes the demarcation line between your pants and skin less noticeable and elongates the leg in the same way a nude-color shoe does.
  • Wear a wedge, flat-form or platform sandal to add height and make up for the length lost in the cropped pant.
  • Wear a shoe with a low vamp or in a nude color to help elongate your legs.
  • Keep proportions between your top and cropped pants or capris balanced. If you have a long waist, tuck in your shirt. If you have a short waist, try a hip-length top or a mid-length tunic with a slim-cut pant.

These are a few of the capri and cropped pant styles that are available from National:

UltraSofts® Cropped Pants

Donnkenny® Comfort Waist Crop Pants

Alfred Dunner® Pull-On Capris

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How to Wear One of the Season’s Biggest Trends: Patchwork Prints

How to wear patchwork.

Are you ready for the hottest trend this fall?


When you hear the word “patchwork,” you might think of your grandma’s quilts or patching a hole in an old pair of jeans. Think again! Playful patchwork prints are one of the biggest fashion trends for Fall 2017. If you love colorful prints or the boho chic look, then patchwork prints are definitely for you. The juxtaposition of different colors and prints make patchwork prints a fun and versatile addition to your wardrobe.

Not sure how to wear a patchwork print? Don’t be intimidated. It’s like wearing any bold print. When wearing a patchwork print, I recommend keeping the rest of your outfit relatively simple. (Remember, simple doesn’t mean boring.) Here are a few ideas to get you started:

With our Patchwork Print Skirt, I suggest wearing a solid colored shirt with a flattering neckline like our UltraSofts® ¾ Sleeve Boatneck Tee or our UltraSofts® Square Neck Tee. You can also try mixing textures by pairing the skirt with our buttery soft Faux Suede Shirt Jacket.

Our Patchwork Duster Tunic can be worn a multitude of ways. The duster tunic looks great when paired with a pair of casual pants or jeans for a bohemian vibe, like our UltraSofts® Knit Leggings or our Snap Leg Denim Pants. Add a long necklace like the Good Feelings™ Long Bead Tassel Necklace for a little sparkle.

The loose, flowy fit of the patchwork duster flatters any figure, but If you like a more defined waist, I love the Landes® Medallion Chain Belt worn loosely around the hips. The concho design adds a touch of Country-Western flair.

What’s your favorite patchwork look? Share it with us!

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My Favorite Web Exclusive Looks

Web Exclusive are items only carried online.

You never know what unique styles you may find when you shop our Web Exclusives

Ever feel like you are in a style rut? Break out of your daily fashion grind with our Web Exclusive looks, which are only available on our website. It’s a great place to check out the latest fashions and trends, like machine-washable faux suede and feminine floral prints. Here are a few of my favorite Web Exclusive New Arrivals to help you upgrade your style:

Crossover Top by Allie & Rob®
Who doesn’t love buttery soft faux suede? This adorable top features a fashionable crossover front with and asymmetrical hem and a flattering v-neck.

Floral Sleeveless Top by Antilia Femme®
With its romantic floral print and soft pastel colors, this pretty sleeveless blouse can be worn on its own or layered under a cardigan. You can button the notch neck all the way up or undo a few buttons for a more relaxed look.

Turquoise Drop Earrings by Renshun Accessories
These stylish earrings go with everything, from casual daytime looks to dressier outfits for a night out on the town. Featuring leverbacks, they are lightweight and comfortable to wear.

Maritime PJ Set by Carole Hochman®
Perfect for warm summer nights, these comfy, easy-care pajamas feature a sleeveless top and cropped pants to help you keep your cool.

Short Printed Satin Robe by Layla®
Nothing is more luxurious than a satin robe. This short bathrobe, which has a self-tie, inside security tie, and patch pockets, is ideal for the summer months. A Long Printed Satin Robe is also available.

Have a favorite Web Exclusive piece? Share it with us!

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How to Wear Prints & Patterns—That Flatter Your Shape

I get this question a lot, especially when the season is full of colorful prints and patterns that can easily be overwhelming. The best advice I can give is determine your shape first. Body shape, that is. Are you an hourglass, pear, inverted triangle, rectangle, or apple? By selecting the right print or pattern for your shape you can alter your appearance. You can even make yourself look taller!

Think about where you want someone’s eyes to focus. Here’s a helpful infographic from Monroe & Main

Think body shape first , before you pick patterns.

Create a flattering figure by knowing what is going to work best with your body shape.

Hourglass: Choose a pattern on top and a solid on the bottom or vice versa. Draw attention to your waist with belt or sash.

Pear: Darker colors to trim your hips on the bottom and a lively print or pattern up top to draw focus up and balance your assets. Tunics are especially flattering.

Inverted Triangle: Bold stripes or colorful patterns up top and lighter solids below. Also look for A-line skirts, they’re specifically very flattering on this body type.

Rectangle: This is me. I like horizontal stripes across the top. It’s why I love the Mia Dress. It also helps give my hips shape with its asymmetrical cut at the waist and its diagonal lines below. A great choice for petites, as it adds height too. A win, win for me!

Apple: Focus on de-emphasizing your abdomen as well as accentuating your breasts and legs. Choose breezy garments that offer a design at the top and bottom. Muumuus are a great fit here and have grown in popularity for their ease and comfort. Plus if you can find an all-over print with vertical details, I say grab it.

What’s your shape? Share some style suggestions you use to flatter your shape with patterns and prints.


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My Top 5 Cute & Comfy Shoes

I know lots of women who insist on wearing heels every day (despite the pain) because they consider flats to be frumpy. I used to be the same way, but as I have gotten older, wearing the latest hot shoe style has become less important than having feet that don’t hurt all day. Many women reach a point in life where sporting heels is not only impractical but uncomfortable and even unhealthy. However, just because you can’t wear a pair of trendy heels, it doesn’t mean you can’t still look hip and stylish while being able to walk comfortably.

At National®, we have a wide selection of casual shoes, active shoes, and sandals that are both comfy and cute. Here are a few of my favorites (and they are currently on sale, so hurry):

Hearts Sandal by Spring Step®

Hearts Sandal by Spring Step®

  1. Hearts Sandal by Spring Step®
    If you don’t like showing your toes, these leather sandals are a great option. I love the Mary Jane styling and heavy stitching detail. Plus, they have lots of padding for all-day comfort and support, including a padded heel collar and a cushy, removable insole that provides plenty of arch support. I also love that they come in Red.

    Janey II Walking Shoes-Seasonal by Grasshoppers®

    Janey II Walking Shoes-Seasonal by Grasshoppers®

  2. Janey II Walking Shoes-Seasonal by Grasshoppers®
    I adore a classic sneaker in the summer. These sleek, lightweight walking shoes combine traditional feminine styling with all the comfort you expect from Grasshoppers®, thanks to the removable Ortholite® sockliner, memory-foam footbed, and Purefit™ comfort cushion arch. If you don’t like wearing socks, these shoes provide moisture wicking and odor control with anti-microbial properties. They look cute with shorts, cropped pants, pedal pushers, even skirts. I especially like heathered jersey uppers in Light Gray.

    Traveltime Walkers-Seasonal by Easy Spirit®

    Traveltime Walkers-Seasonal by Easy Spirit®

  3. Traveltime Walkers-Seasonal by Easy Spirit®
    Athleisure shoes are all the rage, and these slip-on mules are my all-time favorites. Whether you are walking or running errands, these shoes are as comfortable at the end of the day as when you first put them on. With the casual athletic styling and pretty seasonal colors, these walkers are adorable with everything from yoga clothes to capris to lounge dresses.

    Skylar Espadrille Slip-On Shoes by Grasshoppers®

    Skylar Espadrille Slip-On Shoes by Grasshoppers®

  4. Skylar Espadrille Slip-On Shoes by Grasshoppers®
    If you like the look of an espadrille but want the comfort of a sneaker, these Grasshoppers® are the perfect choice. The jute trim provides the warm-weather look of a classic espadrille, while the flexible rubber outsole provides the traction, stability and durability of your favorite tennis shoe. The stretch elastic goring ensures an ideal fit and makes them easier to get on and off. If you are looking for a beautiful neutral color, I recommend Sandstone.

    3)Revive RZX Trail Walkers by Ryka®

    Revive RZX Trail Walkers by Ryka®

  5. Revive RZX Trail Walkers by Ryka®
    Walking (or running) shoes aren’t just for exercising anymore. Top designers have been showing athletic shoes with pants and dresses on the runway for the past several seasons. Not only do these Ryka® walkers come in fun color combinations, they are designed exclusively to fit a woman’s foot. The Anatomical Precise-Return footbed, EVA foam midsole, and Re-Zorb® heel pads ensure you are comfortable all-day long.

Whether you have had foot surgery or just reached the age where having happy, healthy feet is more important, you can wear comfortable flat shoes and still look fashionable. Check out the website 40+ Style to read more about wearing flat shoes.


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My Top 5 Travel Clothing Picks to Travel Right and Light

Summer means it’s vacation time. While I love traveling, packing and planning what to wear can be stressful. Having the right travel clothes makes it a lot easier. (Plus, I love any reason to go shopping.)

Whether you are going on a tour of Europe or a weekend beach getaway, you need comfortable, versatile clothes that pack well and don’t wrinkle. National® has a wide selection of easy-to-wear, easy-to-care-for clothes, shoes and accessories that are ideal for traveling, like our UltraSofts® line. The cotton-polyester interlock knit is a year-round weight that isn’t bulky so it doesn’t take up too much space in your suitcase. And it never needs ironing!

Because our UltraSofts® separates come in coordinating colors, you can mix-and-match and make several different outfits out of just a few pieces. With the right accessories, you can dress an ensemble up or down to go from sightseeing during the day to dinner in the evening.

Clothing options that travel easily. Easy to care for.

Pack Light. Pack Right.

Here are my 5 favorite travel clothing picks:

  1. Faeth Slip-On Shoes by Soft Style by Hush Puppies® Cute, comfortable and they go with everything! You can wear these with pants or jeans for a day of sightseeing, then pair them with a skirt or dress for a night out. I absolutely adore the quilting and the bow, and they are easy to slip on and off when going through airport security.
    Helpful hint: Shoes can take up a lot of room in your suitcase, so I try to take as few pairs as possible, which is hard for a shoe addict like me! I try to pick shoes that are good for walking and go with as many outfits as possible.
  2. Lissome® Lounging Pants and Lounging Tee Whether you are traveling in a car or on a plane, comfort is key. I like loose-fitting, stretchy pieces that you can move in. If I am on a long flight or drive, I want to be able to sleep so loungewear is perfect. These pants have an elasticized drawstring waist, and the scoopneck shirt is flattering and a great layering piece.
  3. Simply Noelle® Zip Front Jersey Knit Jacket Air conditioning can make it freezing in the middle of summer, especially on planes, so I always try to wear plenty of layers. (It’s better to have to take off your cardigan or jacket because you are too hot, then to be too cold and not have anything to put on.) This jacket has a touch of spandex for stretch, and I like the attached hood, which you can wear up or down.
  4. UltraSofts® Striped Grommet Tunic One of the best parts of traveling is the food. This generous tunic will still be loose and comfortable after a big meal, and the longer length provides plenty of coverage to hide any “problem areas.” I love the ¾-length sleeves and convenient kangaroo-style pocket. It’s perfect with our UltraSofts® Knit Leggings.
  5. UltraSofts® Cropped Pants Capris are great for traveling. They offer more coverage than shorts, but the cropped length makes them cooler than full-length pants. These crop pants have a comfy elastic waist and handy side-seam pockets. Pair with our Citicraze® Essential Button-Front Shirt or our UltraSofts® ¾ Sleeve Boatneck Tee and ballet flats for a classic Audrey Hepburn-inspired look.


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I am Parker. My mom, Lynda, is the owner and President of National Wholesale. We are a woman’s apparel company that I’m hoping you know about but if not, you’ll be inspired to learn. We’ve been around since 1952. And the business was started by my entrepreneurial grandfather, “Georgie” with the support of my grandmother, GaGa. I’ve been surrounded by clothing and hosiery since the day I was born. I've also been surrounded by the drive to stay in business, which means connecting with our customers.

So, this is my story.

And in a way, yours too. Welcome.

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