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!

Adorable PJs

A look at my favorite cool and comfortable pajamas for the season

I don’t know about you but I like cozy pjs. They’re not just limited to nighttime; I also enjoy them while weekend lounging. And when I want to cuddle up on the couch, I want to make sure I’m as comfortable as possible.

Lately, I’ve found that, along with adding more throw blankets and candles to my home décor, I’m inspired to add new cozy pajamas to my wardrobe.

From matching sets to cute t-shirt nightgowns, here are a few pajamas that have caught my eye lately…

Ruffle Trim Plissé Pajamas by National

 

 

Moisture-Wicking V-Neck Nightshirt by Najerika Lingerie

Striped Shortie Pajamas by National

Lounging Tee and Lounging Pants by Lissome

Are you going to add a new pair of adorable pjs to your closet this season? Let me know which of the above styles is your favorite. And don’t forget to click the links to shop!


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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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Cute Sale Tops You Can Wear Now Through Fall

Cute Sale Tops You Can Wear Now Through Fall

Like anyone, I love shopping sales for a good bargain. In fact, I secretly hate paying full price for anything! I am also a big fan of transitional clothing that you can wear as the weather changes from one season into the next. In my world, there’s nothing better than getting a super deal on a season-less top that you can wear again and again.

When looking for transitional clothes, shirts with ¾ length sleeves are a great choice if, like me, you find yourself freezing when the AC is cranked full blast during the summer. You can wear ¾-sleeve tops right now when you’re in air conditioning, and as the weather gets cooler, you can layer them under cardigans and jackets.

I also recommend our UltraSofts® knit tops for transitioning between seasons. Our soft cotton-polyester interlock knit is not too thick and not too thin, making it the perfect weight for year-round wear.

Knit tops at huge savings.

Shop a collection of tops that will take you into fall with comfort and ease.

Here are a few of my favorite clearance tops that you can buy now, and wear right now through the beginning of fall (featured back row to front row, left to right):

Jacquard Cutout ¾ Sleeve Top by National®
The distinctive jacquard vine print, delicate laser-cut trim, and asymmetrical detail above the hem make this shirt stand out from the crowd.

¾ Sleeve Hampton Polo by UltraSofts®
The half zip and banded bottom make this polo shirt unique. I love the sporty white stripe along the collar, and the knit inset provides the coverage of a tank top without the extra layer.

Asymmetrical Tee by UltraSofts®
This long-sleeve top is flattering on any figure thanks to the scoop neck, longer length, and fashionable asymmetrical hem.

Ruffle Trim Top by UltraSofts®
I like to look feminine but I am not a fan of huge ruffles (too pirate shirt). This comfy top gets it just right with the subtle ruffle trim along the notch neck.

Lace Trim Tunic by UltraSofts®
I adore tunics because they are so forgiving. The pintucked front and contrasting crochet trim add just the right amount of sweetness to this one.

Have a favorite fashion trick for transitioning between seasons? Tell us about it.


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Packing Light for Getaways

I think I might be a rare type, but I love packing! Not always, but for big trips I feel like part of the excitement and joy in the experience of traveling is the time spent envisioning what you will be doing as you handpick the different outfits you will wear while away. Still, managing to pack everything you need while anticipating the weather, possible needs to dress up, AND still getting the bag to zip can be a challenge for anyone.

To put together a ready-to-go suitcase filled with what I would need for up to a week here’s a list of tips I try to follow:

Bring pants that dress up or down

Choose a color palette for your travel outfits made up of two to three neutrals and one to two accent colors if desired. I usually like to start with bottoms, selecting my most comfortable and wrinkle-resistant bottoms that will work for the destination. I like to have a couple of options both short and long. A couple of my favorite picks in this category include the UltraSofts Knit Leggings (great for dressing up or dressing down), cool and comfortable Drawstring Harem Pants by Simply Noelle, and the lightweight Chambray Drawstring shorts –taking  up barely any room in my suitcase. Maxi skirts don’t get much love on “what to pack” lists but they are my go-to favorite! Your legs are covered up, but can still breathe.  Maxi skirts are another item that can easily be dressed up or down, like this pick from Kaktus.

Choose shirts and blouses you can mix-and-match

Next, I’ll select my tops aiming to choose a mixture of a basic t-shirt or tank option, a tunic, and a dressier blouse option. Try to be dense. Folded is smaller than wadded. Folded and rolled: smaller still.

Add styling with layers

The number and type of these will vary dependent on where exactly you are going and the time of year. Having said that, it is never a bad idea to bring a light cardigan just in case. I recommend the UltraSofts cardigan—soft, lightweight and easy to slip-on when you need it. Adding additional layering options can also help create outfit options. For example, this Crochet Textured Jacket looks great over a basic tee or tank. Also, you many want to include a rain jacket in case you encounter an unexpected shower during your trip.

Give variety to basics with accessories

Traveling during the summer season means it is usually always a good idea to keep a pair of sunglasses and hat handy. The Rollaway Sun Hat is great for packing and can be tucked into a handbag or into your luggage for easy transport. I like to pack a lightweight scarf and necklace as well to dress up some of my basics. This is also a time to bring in those miscellaneous clothing items like your favorite swimsuit which might be nice to have just in case.

Stay tuned for how to mix-and-match these outfit options later this week.


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Strike a Pose: Find the Right Yoga for You

I remember my first yoga class well. I have never been very limber (I can’t even touch my toes), so I went with the main goal of improving my flexibility. The class was much harder than I was expecting. Since I am not the most naturally graceful person (in other words, clumsy), finding my balance was tricky, and I sweated a lot more than I thought I would.


Photo from Sixty & Me

But I loved learning the yoga poses (asanas) and the holistic aspect of it—the joining of mind, body and spirit. I enjoyed the mindful breathing and the physical and mental awareness it brought me. All it took was that one class, and I was hooked.

As I spent more time on the mat, I tailored the series of poses I did to meet my changing personal fitness goals. Because you can customize your practice according to your needs and ability, yoga is a very flexible (excuse the pun) form of exercise that is accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels. Even if you can’t stand on your own, you can still do seated poses. Yoga is for everyone!


Photo from Sixty & Me

There are several different styles of yoga, including Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar, and Bikram, which can make it very confusing when you are looking for a class or video. If you are new to yoga, I recommend Hatha. It is slower moving and requires you to hold poses for only a few breaths.  Its relaxing pace is perfect for beginners.

Gentle Yoga is ideal for older people, as well as anyone who is recovering from an injury or who has a physical limitation. Check out a 15-Minute Gentle Yoga Sequence for Seniors and Chair Yoga Poses for All Ages on the website DoYouYoga, and 5 Beginner Yoga Poses for Seniors on The Chopra Center (as in Deepak Chopra) website. The website Sixty & Me is another good resource for Chair Yoga videos and articles on Yoga for Seniors.


Photo from Sixty & Me

One of my favorite yoga websites is Yoga with Adriene by Adriene Mishler, a yoga teacher and actress from Austin, TX. Her YouTube channel has a huge selection of videos that address a variety of health issues, like Yoga for Migraines, Yoga for Sciatica, or Yoga for Wrist Pain.

She also has videos for different times of the day. You can do an energizing series of poses in the morning to wake up or a relaxing series of poses in the evening to wind down. If you only have 10 or 15 minutes, she has shorter practices called Yoga for Busy People.


Photo from Yoga with Adriene

You can practice yoga for a lifetime, and it provides a myriad of health benefits at any age. It can reduce high blood pressure, strengthen bones, protect your joints, improve balance and stability (which can help prevent falls as you grow older), curtail anxiety, boost your mood, and help to keep extra pounds off.

As always, please check with your doctor before starting this or any other exercise program.


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Easy Dressing: Comfy Summer Dresses

I love wearing dresses in the summer. Not only are they cool on hot days, they make getting dressed a “no brainer.” There’s nothing easier than slipping into a breezy frock and dressing your ensemble up or down with shoes and accessories. I especially like dresses that won’t wrinkle when I pack them for a weekend getaway to the beach or mountains.

Here are my favorite comfortable summer dresses (and they are all currently on sale):

Available in solid black, maroon or black with white polka dots (my personal pick), this adorable dress is oh-so-forgiving thanks to a ruched waistline. The easy-care polyester-spandex knit is wrinkle resistant, making it perfect for traveling. Pair it with our Classic Cardigan Sweater and wear it into the fall.

I love stripes, and the combination of horizontal stripes on top and diagonal stripes on bottom along with a v-shaped waistline make this dress super-flattering. Made of our easy-care, cotton-polyester interlock knit, which won’t wrinkle in your suitcase, it’s another good pick for traveling. Pair it with one of our nautical accessories. (See my blog post “5 Must-Have Nautical Accessories” for ideas.)

Why do I love this dress? Let me count the ways. First, it comes in a rainbow of beautiful colors. You can’t go wrong with any of them. Second, it is lightweight, all-natural crinkle cotton, which means there is no need to iron it—ever! Finally, it is flowy and easy to wear with a pretty ruffled hem and patch pockets to hold essentials, like my keys, cell phone, and some tissues.

If you haven’t joined our free e-mail list, sign up today and enjoy additional savings on our entire dress collection this Sunday, June 11.

 

 


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A Stylish Way to Cover Up at the Beach

Choosing the right swimsuit is an apparent way to amp up your shoreside style, but what goes over that swimsuit is just as important. Whether you’re spending the day poolside, lounging on the beach or are just dressing for warm weather, a bathing suit cover-up is a must-have for this sunny season.

Swimsuit cover-ups are perfect for staying out and about at the beach and protecting your skin after several hours of sun bathing. A tee or a towel may be your current go-to option, but you’ll be amazed how a beach dress can help you feel better, more feminine, and more stylish.

The great thing about swimsuit cover-ups is that many of them can also double as sundresses. I love it when I can buy one piece of clothing and use it for more than one purpose. The options are endless!

Right now, the trend of wearing more unique pieces to the beach is in full swing. Try a leopard-print caftan to achieve a fun, playful vibe. The graphic print is stylish and daring, sure to catch some attention on the sand. I love this lightweight long caftan style from Metropolitan, perfectly paired with our Roni Slide Sandals and Rollaway Sun Hat.

Consider adding a sun hat to your beach outfit as well. It really spruces up the look. Try a wide brim hat for extra protection for your face from the sun.

Boardwalk to beach or patio to pool–don’t forget to grab the perfect cover-up to go with that perfect swimsuit! See more of our favorite swim accessories here.

 


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Summer Color Trends

My 3 Favorite Color Trends for Summer

 

By Elissa®

 

Summer is the perfect time to add a fresh pop of color to your wardrobe. Wearing a bright, revitalizing color is an instant mood booster. It also helps you stand out in a sea of neutrals, like black, navy, and khaki. Think vivid, rich colors that remind you of fresh fruit, bright flowers, a Caribbean island, or the ocean.

 

The Pantone® Fashion Color Report for Spring/Summer 2017 includes shades reminiscent of nature like Pink Yarrow, a lively pink hue, Island Paradise, a refreshing aqua, and Lapis Blue, an intense shade of blue. Greenery, a refreshing yellow-green shade, is the Pantone® Color of the Year for 2017.

 

My three favorite color trends for summer are Fruit Punch, Marine, and Bright Turquoise. If you are unsure about wearing a bold color, think about buying a basic tee for starters. These colors complement a range of skin tones and are easier to wear than you think.

 

  • Fruit Punch

 

Bright pinks like Fruit Punch and Azalea always make me happy and appeal to my “girly” side. Putting on bright pink is an instant pick-me-up. Try pairing a top like our UltraSofts® Printed Tunic in Fruit Punch or a classic Donnkenny® Solid Campshirt in Azalea with crisp white pants. Our UltraSofts® Floral Delight Dress in Fruit Punch and our UltraSofts® Lightweight Stripe Dress in Azalea make for easy, one-step dressing.

Fruit Punch

 

  • Marine

 

Reminiscent of the deepest blue ocean, Marine blue is perfect for a day at the beach. Stay cool on hot summer days by pairing our sleeveless UltraSofts® Pintuck Top or our Kaktus® Solid Crinkle Rayon Tank in Marine with a pair of khaki or white shorts; or go for the nautical look in our striped UltraSofts® Sailor Top in Marine. Made of breezy, lightweight rayon, our Kaktus® Solid Crinkle Crepe Smocked Dress in Marine is perfect for dinner or a stroll on the boardwalk.

Marine

 

  • Bright Turquoise

 

Nothing says summer like Bright Turquoise, which always reminds me of a tropical paradise. Our UltraSofts® ¾ Sleeve Boatneck Tee in Bright Turquoise has a flattering boat neck and ¾-length sleeves to take you from summer to fall. Our National® Challis Pants and Challis Tie-Front Blouse in Bright Turquoise are made from a flowy rayon that drapes beautifully.  I especially love wearing dresses in summer like our Ocean Breeze Crinkle Dress in Turquoise or our Breezeway Crinkle Dress in Bright Turquoise.

Bright Turquoise


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Why Simply Noelle is the New Black (A story in versatility)

Back in the fall, we announced a new brand partnership with Simply Noelle. This collection was brought online in part because Lynda wanted to celebrate and support a fellow woman-led, North Carolina company and also because their designs are some of her favorites. Simply Noelle is based right here in North Carolina in the historic port city of Wilmington. Founded in 2005 by president and industry veteran Deb Groh, Simply Noelle is known for creating high quality and affordable products that women love to wear. The product line features exclusively designed women’s fashions, accessories, gifts and more.

Parker and Lynda visit Simply Noelle's headquarters in Wilmington, NC.

Parker and Lynda visit Simply Noelle’s headquarters in Wilmington, NC.

Simply Noelle has certainly made its mark on the apparel industry. The brand was recognized as a top company to watch in 2012 and as the top apparel line in 2013 by Giftbeat magazine. Simply Noelle continues to create flattering silhouettes in easy-to-care-for fabric, ideal for layering and perfectly versatile for all seasons. Simply Noelle’s designs appeal to women of all age ranges because of their ability to bridge together comfort and style, two things every woman appreciates in their wardrobe.

Since its arrival, our line of Simply Noelle products has steadily grown. We have added new lightweight items for spring and summer. The popularity of this brand is growing, and with that comes the addition of even more new styles from this designer. Keep an eye out for new Simply Noelle apparel available this fall. Until then, I’ll be sporting a personal favorite, the Trapeze Tunic (the Caribbean blue is perfect for summer!).

Want a Free Pair of Simply Noelle sunglasses?

For a limited time, with any swimsuit purchase on our site you will receive a free pair of Simply Noelle fashion sunglasses (plus a protective case to store them!) in your choice of brown or black. You can shop our full swimwear collection here.

If you are already wearing Simply Noelle designs, let us know your favorite pieces in the comment box below. And if you haven’t tried them yet, consider taking a look at our current Simply Noelle collection here. We think you’ll like these apparel styles as much as we do!


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Transitioning Layers

Dressing for this past weekend was a little tricky. On Friday, I kept it light and breezy in shorts and a t-shirt. Saturday morning, I bundled up in a long dress and sweater but found myself shedding the sweater and finding a sleeveless dress soon after the late afternoon sun set in.

Mornings can be chilly and afternoons blazing hot – so around here, we need layers! Personally, I opt for a sleeveless tank beneath a 3/4 length shirt or wrap to make for easy layering. Couple these items with a breezy skirt or lightweight pants for the perfect warm weather ensemble.

How do you prepare for the changing seasons? Click on the images below to see more of my layering pics, and share your recommendations with me in the comment section below!

Happy sunny Monday,
Parker

 


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parker

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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