PEOPLE YOU MIGHT LIKE TO KNOW

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.

Yesterday, Today, and Always-Our National Family


“The National Family”

We are thrilled to announce that SHOPNATIONAL.com has been formally recognized by Newsweek as #1 ranked on their list of “Best Online Shops 2020” for Women’s Fashion (single brand). We have the honor of sitting alongside some incredible brands in the industry, including Chadwicks, Victoria’s Secret, and White House Black Market.

More than anything, I wish my grandparents could see this milestone – a tribute to their hard work, deep belief and commitment to our National family.

Founded in 1952, NATIONAL started from humble beginnings as a mail order business by Eddie Smith, my grandfather, in the town of Lexington, North Carolina. An exemplary American entrepreneur, “Georgie,” as he was known to most, cared for and evolved the company based on a customer-centric philosophy, and in 1999 at the age of 80, he was inducted into the Direct Marketing Association Hall of Fame.  

“The Early Days”
I remember these days so clearly….I strapped on roller skates and made my way through the warehouse as a little girl. The rows and rows of inventory made for perfect hide and seek territory. Many individuals in this photo are with National today and, therefore, my giant extended family for which I am so thankful.

 

Today, NATIONAL continues to thrive under the personal care of my gifted and compassionate mother, Lynda Smith. We  remain committed to offering a wide range of apparel and accessories, designed for the mature woman to provide them with all-day comfort and style.

We have long held to our mission –  “Living the Comfortable Life.”  The second-generation, family-owned business has thrived in the trade for over 65 years thanks to the commitment my Grandfather made to the customer – first and foremost.

“Family Leading Family”
Growing up in family business, I don’t remember the business suits and posed photos. I remember my Grandfather’s 6 a.m. visits to our house after his morning jog. I would come downstairs and find him in the sunroom with my mom discussing work, family and everything in between. Sometimes the conversations centered around really important, often difficult business decisions. Always, the conversations ended with a hug and a smile. Family first, no matter what.

“All in the Family”
In the years since business school, it has been an incredible journey with the National family in my role as business strategist. Collectively, my mom and I have evaluated key opportunities for the business and learned to work together with respect and excitement for all that is ahead. Not often an easy task in family business, but for us…thankfully…it’s (almost always 😉 ) pure joy.

So, how did we get recognized by an international publication for this commitment?Newsweek developed the rankings based on an independent survey of 20,000+ U.S. customers who were asked whether they’d recommend brands to friends or family. Respondents also assessed the brands on their communications, technical competence, service range, customer focus, and accessibility. More than 130,000 evaluations were collected.

That means – YOU

Our National customer, you shared feedback and supported National’s leap into the spotlight. More than that, you have walked alongside our team….our family…for generations. Thank you for being a part of the National family!

“Give Personal Care”
Mom taking time to read and answer letters from our loyal customers, our extended family!

 

 

With gratitude and love,

Parker

 

 


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Embrace the Blues with Fall Flair

National has all of the blues to lift your spirits this fall season. As I stare out of my big, picture window, I can’t help but be in awe of the transitional color of leaves and the slight chill in the air. The esthetic is breathtaking and I want to embrace the new memories. What gorgeous hues to consume and the freedom to linger in the element.

Another feature of fall is the ability to wear warmer tones, and embrace some the blue color that comes along. I have fallen in love with these outfits; a showcase of mix-and-match for sure. This allows for budget-friendly finds and whimsical wear!

     

Which one will you sport first? Let me know below!

Happy fall y’all,

Ronelle

 

 


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We are Spicing🌶Things🔥Up for🍁Fall

As this new season brings a little chill, National is heating things up with the fit and oh so fabulous—the one and ONLY, Phyllis Lerner of @followphyllis

Phyllis in her daytime look for fall

Phyllis loves her new Criss Cross Tunic by UltraSofts®

Looking fab in her Crochet Detail Blouse

Phyllis roars for her Leopard Loafers

We love partnering with amazing blog influencers who drive us to be better and @followphyllis is our team inspiration. Phyllis has us all in awe of her truth and tenacity! Live more authentically like @followphyllis and read her blog today featuring our new fall collection. Live more authentically like @followphyllis and read her blog today featuring our new fall collection.

Stay sassy,

Ronelle

 

 

 


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Celebrating Our History-Remembering Our Beloved Founder

It’s a Celebration-Founder’s Day. Mr. Smith had a true love and passion for bringing comfort and happiness to his customers’ lives. 

Humble Beginnings-Trust 1927

At 8-years-old, our founder Eddie Smith along with his three siblings find themselves parentless. Because their extended family can’t provide for them, they are sent to the Lexington Junior Order Orphanage. Here, along with 260 other children, they are raised as a family. These humble beginnings create a sense of responsibility and community in Eddie that will last him his lifetime. At the orphanage, he’s placed in charge of Sam the mule. When asked about Sam, Eddie would say,”It’s the best job I ever had.” From hauling in the milk, to taking out the trash, everyone depended on Eddie. Read more about the rich His-Story of Mr. Smith!

Today, we continue to celebrate🎉his legacy⚜️with classic favorites, which you’ll love for years to come!

 

Our Beloved, Mr. Eddie Smith

 

Happy 101st Birthday, we will love you always,

Your National Family

 


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Weekend Travel Essentials for Fall

A new season means new adventures and new memories are on the horizon. As fall approaches, there are many things I am excited to explore. That being said, when I think about travel, I must have the perfect travel clothing.

These days I keep it sweet and simple! My goto brand is UltraSofts® for easy travel gear. I have selected a few things I’ll be packing and I thought you you might enjoy how easy this fall collection folds with ease and requires no ironing. Yep, that’s right ladies, I’m talking easy, breezy fall travel clothing from National, for your next adventure!

Criss Cross Tunic
UltraSofts®

Diamond Print Pants
UltraSofts®

Criss Cross Tunic
UltraSofts®

Happy trails,

Ronelle

 

 


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Time to Add a Little Duster

With the cool weather coming our way, I have the perfect addition to your fall wardrobe. A Duster or Kimono works great this time of year. I have several of these in my fall closet. They act as the perfect compliment for your personal fall style.

Last winter, I even paired dusters with a light turtleneck. So they prove to be wildly versatile and super sassy! National offers many style choices and I for one, intend to snag them all. I will show you some of my favs below. Dusters and Kimonos are among the perfect transitional clothing for fall.

Chevron Duster Tunic
National®

Floral Kimono
LVS Collections

Animal Print Kimono
Jessica McClintock

 

Happy dusting,

Ronelle

 

 

 


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Embrace the Transition to Fall

With thoughts of the crisp air that is soon to flow our way, I believe we are all waiting with zealous anticipation. Boy, it sure has been a hot summer, right ladies? I am positive I’ve gone down a dress size or two with the amount of “moisture” released from this ol’ body (a girl can dream, now can’t she?).

I am super excited, as I’ve said before, to style my fall wardrobe. What tickles me even more, is National’s new fall collection. From warm and fuzzy, delicate and pretty, to a hint of the wild side, there are fall outfits to dress you for any occasion. Everyone loves a little leopard-oh don’t you worry, National has just the right amount of animal print to keep you on trend. Let’s not forget to accessorize, I’ve got the perfect new design of pearl earrings you’ll just love to showcase all season!

Here are a few of my favorites coming your way now:

Crochet Button-Front Blouse
Citicraze®

Animal Print Kimono
Jessica McClintock

Pearl Neckline Top
UltraSofts®

Pearl Dangle Earrings
Carol Dauplaise®

Charmy Loafers
Hush Puppies®

 

So, fill the house with cinnamon and pumpkin goodness because fall is knocking on your door. I know, I know, it still feels like a heatwave, but as I’ve said, a girl can dream, right? Ha! Ha! Ha!

Happy fall ya’ll,

Ronelle

 

 


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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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National Shapewear Day is Putting on the Moves

Having confidence in your clothes is a big deal. Thank goodness we no longer live in a time of 16th-century corsets and the types of fabric in classic shapewear that promote the loss of breath! We have come a long way baby!

Modern shapewear has been redefined and is created from some of the most advanced materials available. Did I say thank goodness yet? We can expect the construction of modern movement shapewear to be breathable, flexible, and made with durable fabrics. Bring on the wicking and cooling shapewear, I say! These days, it is for the safety of all living creatures, in my world, that I stay as cool and comfy as possible. Just saying… (wink)

I am a big fan of modern shapewear targeting areas I wish to promote less, and “gathers” me more, so I can have confidence in my dresses, jeans, leggings, pants, and tops. I am thrilled to talk about the sophistication of shapewear from National.

For fall fashion 2019, I want to rely on soft, modern, even with a bit of cotton shapewear that hugs and supports me; so, I can walk the catwalk [in my mind] all day. With fall dresses by National I can be comfortable and feel the oh-so-soft fabrics I love. Modernized shapewear enhances my dress outfits with ease.

Celebrate National Shapewear Day tomorrow, August 10, 2019. Why not join me in a little fall shopping for comfortable and affordable shapewear by National? I for one, will be on their webpage bright and early. 😊 Release your inner bomb-body ladies and celebrate the movement!

National Shapewear Day with Shop National

Shop the Cool Shapewear @ Shop National

 

Shape on,

 

Ronelle


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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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