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!

Patterned and Playful

September. One of my favorite months of the year, because we’re that much closer to FALL! Because Hurricane Dorian approached Wilmington with a strong threat, we evacuated to the safety of the North Carolina mountains. We arrived to a 60 degree evening, a stark contrast to our typical 90 degree days in Wilmington. This is characteristic of the Carolinas – varied temperatures no matter where you live, especially as we approach the Fall.

To thrive during this particular season, I try to maintain a minimalist wardrobe. However, sometimes I need just a little extra to bring color and fun to my muted color palette. This season, I’ve added two patterned skirts to liven up my otherwise very predictable closet. Each of these pieces work beautifully with a black, white or bold color top. Additionally, they transition easily from a warm to cool day, with the addition of a chambray jacket or long sleeve shirt. The first skirt includes beautiful jewel tones, while the second skirt incorporates a few fall colors in combination with delicate pastels.

Which one is your favorite?

Crinkle Broomstick Skirt
National®

Paisley Patchwork Skirt
National®

 

Cheers,

Parker

 


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Patterned Shirts

Patterned to perfection – these web only exclusive options are lightweight, comfortable and stylish. Each one brings a unique trend element to the forefront.

The Jacquard Cold Shoulder top (on sale, by the way!) includes cutaway detail at the shoulder, 3/4 length sleeve, and a high-low banded hem. With a hint of spandex in the fabrication, this top holds its shape and color with every wash.

National’s Embellished Stripe Top by Ruby Road features a soft cotton knit with a unique stripe pattern and gold stud detail at the collar. Pair it with denim jeans for lunch with a friend or khaki slacks for a more polished look. Also by Ruby Road, the Paisley Patchwork Knit Top is a colorful and comfortable top with 3/4 length sleeves and studded detail at the collar. For a softer, more muted pattern, opt for the Horseshoe Floral Top with delicate pattern and a detailed neckline.

Which top is your favorite? Share with me in the comment section below!

Solvron Jacquard Cold Shoulder Blouse Erin London®

Embellished Stripe Top
Ruby Rd.®

Paisley Patchwork Knit Top
Ruby Rd.®

Horseshoe Floral Top
Ruby Rd.®

Stay bright,

Parker

 


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Easy as Embroidery

If you’ve known me for more than a minute, you’re keenly aware of my desire to remain both stylish and comfortable. Especially as a working mom of a rambunctious toddler, I strive for a minimalist closet that affords easy dressing (I.E. little to no time).

As we move into fall, I’m adding in options to transition seamlessly from one (very warm) season to a new (not as warm YAY!) season. These embroidered tops pair beautifully with denim shorts, white pencil jeans or dress khakis. Each top can be layered with a sleeveless tank as the weather cools. Both silhouettes are figure flattering, suitable for tall and petite women, and easy care.

Of the two styles, which one is your favorite? Tell me in the comment section below!

Southwest Embroidered Top
Given Kale®

Embroidered Peasant Top
Given Kale®

 

oxox,

Parker

 


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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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