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.

Say Yes to the Patio Dress

During these uncertain times, one thing that’s for sure is the warming weather’s becoming more and more reliable. And as the perennials return to bloom once again, this year, easy-wear patio dresses and muumuus are becoming a go-to style for women across the country. Hilaria Baldwin (wife of Alec Baldwin) has showcased their comfort and style recently, wearing National’s Print Sundress (special thanks to for coverage on Hilaria Baldwin in Print Sundress by National®).


National Print Sundress

Hilaria Baldwin posts wearing the Print Sundress by National®


As this season presents opportunity for all things new, adding bright & joyful colors and new styles to our wardrobe, around the house, and/or garden will make for a great pick-me-up any day of the week. As there’s a wide variety of patterns, colors, and cuts to patio and lounge dresses, here are some ideas for inspiration, as now’s the perfect time to get ready for the brighter days and sunnier skies just ahead.


print sundress

Print Sundress by National® – around-the-house style that’s great for any body type (as worn by Hilaria Baldwin)


patio dress

Printed Crinkle Crepe Smocked Dress by National® – (a flowy, wear-anywhere style)


patio dress

Santa Fe Crinkle Cotton Dress by National® – (beautiful influences of the Southwest)


sunflower patio dress

Sunflower Print Lounger by National® – (just. gorgeous.)


Daisy Denim Dress by National® – (flattering, flowery, & flounced.)


What’s your favorite type of patio dress? Share in the comments below!




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What to Lounge-wear?

Comfy women's pajamas


Snap coats, robes, leggings, pajamas…sometimes, they all seem to run together as much as the days we seem to be spending them in lately. After all, is there really a difference between “sleepwear” and “loungewear,” if we can do both in either?


As ladies’ fashion has evolved in recent years, it’s not uncommon to now see women running their errands in things like sweats, leggings, and comfy-looking tops in heather or stripes–then choosing to spend their downtime in the same comfort. These types of garments would typically fall under the loungewear category: cuddly-soft separates that feel appropriate to wear both in public and at home relaxing, with comfort as a main contributing factor. And, while this may look like yoga pants and off-the-shoulder sweaters today, the concept is nothing new. As far back as the early 1700s, the “dressing gown” served the same dual-purpose in the Middle East, worn mostly by the upper class as a special garment for leisure before making its way around the rest of the world in differing forms.


As loungewear continues to evolve, it’s popularly enjoyed today in bouncy, soft fabrics like cotton or modal, with a hint of stretch here or there depending on the desired look and feel.


Shadowline Sleep Dress



Sleepwear, on the other hand, has the tendency to be worn more at home than not: pajama pants with bold prints (cats, dogs, hearts, etc.) or plaid flannels, for instance. With features like notched collars, cowl necks, and side-seam pockets, sleepwear is generally crafted with the purpose of being non-constrictive and breathable, yet warm enough to help regulate body temperature to help with getting a good night’s sleep. The clothing type has come a long way, evolving along with fashion but with different influences, such as utility-based styling and personal preferences (more at These days, there are so many types of sleepwear that it can be hard to choose (help at, but there seems to be a little something for everyone, for every time of year.


As pajamas continue to evolve, big designers aren’t sleeping on the increased interest of their styling, and we might just witness a trend similar to loungewear.


shop national women's pajamas



Of course, there are no hard lines, and either can reflect your sense of style, but both should make you feel your best, wherever you are.


Rest easy,





What are your favorite types of garments for R & R and ZZZ’s? Share in the comments below!


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10 Ways to Combat General Boredom

Having the one-up advantage of many years of experience enables us to navigate through situations which are unknown and unpredictable. Sure, being cooped up can get a bit lonely sometimes, but silver linings tend to glow even when we don’t really think to look up. As we’re here, inside, protecting ourselves and others, around-the-house productivity is always an option! Here are 10 great things to help make the most given these ample amounts of extra time.


1.  Learn a new skill or hobby–or practice yours. Experiment in the kitchen? Start a new painting? Work on your vocal range? Learn key phrases of a new language?

2.  Watch TV & movies, or read a good book – try some comedy, informative or inspirational content to keep the spirits high.

3.  Exercise your brain with things like Sudoku, crossword puzzles, etc. (there are a lot of great free apps like Lumosity now available), or take an online class (Khan Academy or Linkedin Learning, for example), and continue lifelong learning to enrich the soul and mind.

4.  FaceTime, Skype, or dabble in social media to keep in touch. There are some amusing boredom-based quizzes going around; consider biting the bullet and participating in one, and perhaps recall upon a funny thing or two about yourself while getting to know the people on your friends list a bit better.

5.  Map out a diet & exercise plan. Whether it’s slipping more veggies into your diet (here’s a great suggestion from, practicing healthier cooking hacks (such as these everyday suggestions by, or getting out for a daily stroll, having a plan and a routine is a great, healthy way to make life more predictable.

6.  Research fun new makeup, wardrobe, and hairstyle ideas. Maybe try some of them out – no need to worry about being seen in public.

7.  Clean that one place of your living space you’ve been meaning to.

8.  Redecorate your least favorite room.

9.  Try some self-reflection tools and meditation to relieve the stress.

10.  Do something nice for the one(s) you think of during this time–make them a card, or send them a recipe or a small gift to brighten their day.


You aren’t alone! Many people are working 24/7 to resolve the situation: we’re in this together.
What are you doing to pass the time? Feel free to share what’s working for you in the comments below!



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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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