Well hello legs . . . long time no see!  It has been a long winter, but things are looking brighter. Let’s take a look at the newest Summer trends, with a focus on the three items you absolutely must add to your clothing arsenal.  That’s right, not only am I giving you permission to add these pieces, I am suggesting that your closet is incomplete without them.  Don’t worry, I have your best interests at heart and I want you to be ready for whatever the season brings.

 

MUST HAVE #1: AN EASY, BREEZY SUMMER DRESS

When the weather heats up, the easiest thing to do is to reach for a breathable cotton-based dress to keep your look fresh and cool.  My top choice is the FOLKLORE cotton voile striped shirtwaist dress in shades of kumquat, watermelon ice, olive and white.  With ¾ sleeves and pullover styling, this is a ‘go to’ piece that I will need for the months ahead.  I love that the drawstring waist can be cinched or loosened for two completely different looks.  And, when I need protection from the air conditioner, I’ll add the light olive ARMY jacket, rolling up the sleeves for a casual look.  Tobacco colored wedges or a block heel sandal with a Strawberry Margarita pedicure will complete the look.

 

And for some sleeveless options, try the CORNSILK yellow stretch sateen shift, the white CIRCLES cotton lace shift, and the watermelon ice WATERMELON Battenberg lace paneled shift.

 

 

MUST HAVE #2: NEW WHITE ‘JEANS’

Your best friend calls and asks, “What are you wearing to the party?”  Raise your hand if you respond, “Oh I don’t know, probably white jeans and a cute top.”  If there is one piece of clothing you will wear over and over again, it is your white jeans, and you need an updated pair this season.  Try something a little different — the pearl BEACHCOMBER capri length jean will go everywhere a white jean will go, but the oyster colored coated cotton fabric just feels crisp and summery.

 

And who says a white jean has to be denim?  The easy fitting white linen EXCURSION pant has a flattering full leg.  They provide the perfect base for so many summer tops including the abstract floral print blouse GLADIOLUS  (shown above with the BEACHCOMBER jean) or the engineerd paisley print blouse, CALYPSO (below).

 

For a casual look, try either CRISSCROSS in cactus green or CHERRY in sour cherry mélange.  Both feature cowl necklines in front with crisscrossing straps in back.  And of course, white ‘jeans’ can also be shorts.  The crisp white BERMUDAS have a 9” inseam, making them versatile for a variety of occasions.  Try them with flats or pull on sneakers for a run-around daytime look or with a wedge heel for a poolside cocktail party.

 

 

MUST HAVE #3: A COOL SUMMER SUIT

Just because the weather is warmer does not mean that it is “all casual, all the time.”  You need a suit that is versatile enough so that the pieces can be worn separately, increasing wearability and decreasing the “cost per wear.”  The SEERSUCKER jacket in flax and optic white stripes is panel shaped to create that coveted hourglass figure.  Coordinate the jacket with the matching pants and/or pencil skirt.  For a completely different look, the SEERSUCKER pants can be paired with the RIO tunic or SPHINX tunic sweater.  Add a coral necklace for pizazz.

 

 

For another option, pair the admiral navy GULF cami and pencil skirt with the AZULE tweed fringed jacket.  Increase wearability by combining the GULF cami with the must have white “jeans” (see above).

 

 

The CONCRETE grey sleeveless blouse and ankle pants pair to create the perfect summer suit.  Simply pair with the AZULE or KATJA scarf to add a pop of color.  If the scarf becomes too warm, tie it around the handle of the white patent GREECE tote.  When the CONCRETE pants are not in use as a suit, pair with the BAZAAR voile watercolor print blouse and a fun pair of flat sandals.

 

 

Shopping for summer is so much fun!  I hope this list of “must haves” helps you get started.  Those 80 and 90 degree temperatures will be here before you know it and it always pays to be prepared!

 

Margaret Cavin has been an Etcetera Sales Consultant for 8 exciting years.  She loves helping her customers create a closet full of clothes they love to wear; when she’s not reading InStyle or rearranging closets, she spends her time running and staying physically fit.  A native Floridian, Margaret also enjoys exploring National Parks and learning about different countries and cultures.

 

Polyvore graphics and layout: Barbara Bisel

READ POST

The Athleisure trend started to hit the runways several seasons ago — and one thing is for sure, it’s not going anywhere for awhile. Yes, we saw sweatpants and headbands come and go in the 80’s, and yoga pants and sweatshirts have been around for a long time. But the new athletic-leisure style is more than a trend; it’s about function, comfort and versatility. From athletic specialty stores to celebrity fitness brands, we can thank the Millennial Madness and our fast-paced, high-tech lifestyles for this shift in fashion must haves. Athletic wear has seeped into our lives and it’s become more refined and welcoming for mainstream, everyday fashion.

 

 

When I first started seeing the wedged and platform sneakers and the banded sweat pants a few years ago, I wasn’t excited about the trend. I am all for comfort, and love casual clothing, but I have never been one to wear my yoga pants around town all day. But now a more sophisticated post-gym era has made it more socially acceptable to wear “work out” clothes to breakfast and lunch, and sometimes casual dinners. I am still not advocating wearing your workout clothes all day, but you can find sporty styles that look refined and work with your everyday wear.

 

 

The ETCETERA designers have not only mastered the athletic wear look, they’ve punched it up a notch (no sports pun intended)  –and kept it tasteful and pretty for all ages to embrace. I love that you can still have upscale active wear spliced with silk, leather or even high-tech fabrics and still look good sporting the trend, without breaking a sweat!

 

 

This Spring and Summer, here’s how you can master the athleisure trend:

 

  • GEAR UP WITH RACING STRIPES

One of my favorite Spring and Summer looks has always been stripes. This year, stripes are everywhere — and are remixed in fun new ways. I especially love the striped dress, VISUAL. It can be worn with sneakers, wedges or pumps. ETCETERA also has several irresistible, light-weight spring sweaters such as GOBI, PORTOFINO, and JAILBIRD. The PASSPORT top is also a darling striped piece that pairs perfectly with a cute skirt or high-waisted black shorts.

 

 

  • BOLD VARSITY COLORS

Another reminder, your athletic look doesn’t have to be black yoga pants! You can run around in bold colors or hit a homerun by mixing in other color trends such as red and navy (which is the new black) or yellow and navy. Our Summer trunk shows, which kick off on April 3rd, are full of amazing bold colors that will have you ready to cheer!

 

 

Although embellished sneakers are appealing, you can also create the athleisure look with espadrilles, sandals and heels. The designer shoe labels have joined the team, and are churning out some darling athletic-inspired heels, pumps and wedges too.

 

  • TECH-SPECIFIC TEXTILES

Another distinctive influence the athletic wear trend has had on the fashion world is with high-tech and performance-driven materials and fabrics. These newest fabrics are making garments and shoes stretchy, softer and more comfortable. ETCETERA has so many flattering, easy to wear pieces that move with the body. I just love the scuba tech fabrics found in the JORDAN dress and SANDDUNE Suit, and I know we will all love the ease and comfort of this Summer’s AQUARIUM  dress, too.

 

 

 

  • SPORTS-INSPIRED MESH

Mesh has come a long way since gym class. For Spring, designers covered all their bases using netted, perforated and fishnet fabrics on tees, crop tops and peek-a-boo skirts and hemlines. Drawing inspiration from the uniform of athletes, this high-tech open webbing weave, typically reserved for the basketball court, transitioned ETCETERA’s suits, skirts and tops into a league of their own this season. I especially love the white blouse, MESH, and the rib knit navy sweater, MARINER, with pointelle and mesh stitches on sleeves.

 

 

The rise of more feminine and ornate ready-to-wear styles is a welcome event for us girly girls. Summer will bring an influx of embellished sneakers, more sheen and luminescence applied to fabrics, pretty shaping, and beautiful colors – all Chic Athletique ideas to get in to the Athleisure  style  –  without compromising your finesse and flair. Enjoy being in the winner’s circle, ladies!

 

 Lynette Earley, Interim Area Manager

Lynette is one of Etcetera’s bloggers who will share her thoughts on trends, style, fashion and fun with her sunny, southern charm. When Lynette is not busy managing and recruiting as an ETCETERA ADM in central Florida, she is likely serving others in some way.  A self-proclaimed busy bee, Lynette is the consummate volunteer, teen-age boy mom, free-lance writer, pink freak and girly girl who loves traveling, reading, exercising, yoga, fashion, girlfriends and beach time!

 

 

READ POST

LESSONS FROM THE RED CARPET

March 17th, 2015

The lights are off, the carpet rolled up, the paparazzi have left, and the gold statues are beginning to collect dust, perched from the mantels of their new homes, while the impressions of the fashions remain.  The Super Bowl of Hollywood, the Academy Awards, are a year in the making and over in a day.  Much like the Monday morning quarterbacks of football, fashionistas abound with their take on the fashions and, ahem, a few ancillary details of the famous.  What can be learned from those who walked the red carpet?

 

TEN LESSONS FROM THE RED CARPET

 

  •  1. VIBRANT COLOR. After a dark and dismal winter, color is a welcome sight.  The celebrities wearing corals, pinks, reds, and greens brightened the somber Sunday skies.  Etcetera is full of color this Spring.  Look for seaside corals, florals in fuchsia, sunny yellow, citrus citrine and tangerine in the spring collection. Know your best color and wear it.  You’ll look and feel better even on the grayest of days.
  • 2. DEFINED WAIST. The Kardashians are not the only ones with hour glass figures.  As we read in the February 4th blog, Wave the Magic Wand, you can tweak your body simply by tricking the eye — define your waist and you’ll look instantly slimmer, sexier, and more put-together..  The favorite dresses of the evening, worn by Reese Witherspoon, Rosamund Pike, and Jennifer Hudson, hugged and subtly drew the eye to the belted waist.
  • 3. STATEMENT NECKLACES. Start with a clean canvas, then, add a stunning focal point at the neckline. Margot Robbie, Scarlett Johansson and Cate Blanchett all wore classic gowns with simple jewel or v-necklines to showcase their memorable jewels and draw our attention to the face.   Consider the BAROQUE, NEPTUNE or JORDAN dress as a backdrop for your own statement pieces.

  • 4. BEADING. Your accessory can be the dress.  Six thousand pearls stole the show on Oscar night, or maybe the 6000 pearls were temporarily stolen after the show?  Either way, Calvin Klein Collection’s lovely pearl dress was accessory and dress in one.  Want that easy look?  Etcetera has many value-added pieces from which to choose, such as the beaded WINDOWPANE suit, RATTLESNAKE tunic, and CITRUS dress.
  • 5. BACK DETAIL. Your exit is sometimes more important than your entrance.  Marion Cotillard’s Dior Haute Couture gown, banded just below her derriere, while risky, received “best dress from behind.”  Is your backside your best asset?  Try our INBLOOM, CAMELIA, or TANGERINE dress, and DARK and NEUTRAL jersey knit sweaters; all provide a lasting impression.
  • 6. BALANCE YOUR LOOK.  Human bodies are symmetrical, and we work hard at maintaining our balance; just look at the influx of yoga.  When it comes to balancing your look, consider your clothes, hair, and accessories.  Much about balance and proportion was discussed following the academy awards.
  • 7. TAKE A PIC.  We’ve all had a fashion faux pas or two at some point in our lives — our hope is to avoid one at a red carpet event. A friend of mine shared  that when searching for  just-right outfits, she takes “selfies” to see how they look photographed.  Have your Etcetera consultant snap a quick pic of you as you are trying on clothes.  It will help you decide what to purchase, then, later, help you recall the fabulous combinations you have to wear.
  • 8. PARENTS MAKE GREAT DATES.  No disrespect in this statement, but bringing your mom or dad to the Oscars is almost like bringing your dog.  It’s such an “awwww” moment.  Who doesn’t find a single guy who takes his mom as his date attractive?  Well, okay, it helps to be Bradley Cooper crushing his black Ferragamo tuxedo.
  • 9. MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS do disagree, and awkward situations can arise, even on special occasions, as they did for Dakota Johnson and Melanie Griffith on Oscar Night.  We cringe, reflect on our own dicey moments we wish we could  ‘do over’, then thank God for our mothers and daughters.
Getty Images
  • 10. WE’RE MORE THAN OUR DRESS.  I know I can speak for the 500-plus Etcetera consultants that we are continually inspired by the outstanding women we are honored to serve.  The relationships we gain from wardrobing our clients are why we’re in the business. Considering a career with Etcetera?  It will be one of the best, life-changing decisions you’ve ever made!

And the Oscar goes to….

 

JoEllyn Slott has been with Etcetera since 2001 as a Sales Consultant, Trainer, and most recently as a Sales Associate in Memphis, TN. Her goal is to create compliments for her customers, and Etcetera makes that easy!  JoEllyn enjoys traveling with her husband, following fashion trends, running, volunteering, and mothering her son and daughter.

READ POST

KICK UP YOUR HEELS

March 10th, 2015

Shoes, glorious shoes, what is there more handsome?  OK, I know, the lyrics from the Broadway sensation Oliver are about food, but beautiful shoes are gloriously delicious.  Don’t you agree?

 

Whether you’re a girl happy in her flats, or a girl who doesn’t feel dressed without sky-high heels, the range of Spring/Summer 2015 shoes does not disappoint.  In a word?  Diversity.  There is something for everyone.  To me, the perfect outfit is not complete without the perfect shoe.  Think of shoes as the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae.

 

What trends did we see on the runways?  As one would expect, there were unusual shoe designs and elaborate works, most impractical for the real world, but certainly great eye candy to enjoy.  However, those of us living in the real world can rejoice.  There are plenty of flatforms, platforms, chunky heels, gladiators, wedges, t-straps, sandals, mules, espadrilles, stiletto heels, sneakers, and oxfords for us to love.  And, we will be seeing a lot of fun embellishments like bows, feathers, shimmer, translucent heels, and animal and snake prints to delight and tickle our senses.

 

 

If the above designs are a little far from your comfort zone, let’s take a peek at shoes we can love . . . and wear!

 

THE CHUNKY BLOCK HEEL

What a great way to add a little height yet still have stability.

 

 

 

SOPHISTICATED FLATS

You’ve come a long way, baby, and times have changed.  In the past, women didn’t feel dressed unless they were wearing heels, but thank goodness designers understand that not everyone can walk in a pair of 5” stilettos.  Flats can be casual, or, with beautiful embellishments, can be elegant, dressy and fabulous!

 

 

 

GLADIATOR SANDALS

The popular television series starring the magnificent Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope brings gladiators to our living rooms each week.  Well, why stop there?  There’s a version for everyone!

 

 

 

COLOR,  COLOR, COLORBLOCK!

Add a little drama with a pop of bright color.  Spring is the perfect time of year to have happy feet!  I don’t know about you, but a bright color on my feet adds a little extra pep to my step, and I’m not alone – color was on the runways in full force.

 

 

 

WOVENS

Do you crave texture?  Then Spring 2015 is a season you are going to love; from colors to neutrals, a beautifully engineered woven shoe is yours for the asking.

 

 

 

PLATFORMS

When you think of platforms, do visions of John Travolta, Saturday Night Fever, and disco balls come to mind?  Most likely, the answer is ‘yes’, but platform shoes go much further back in history.  Platforms were used to raise the height of important characters in Greek theatre, and, in the eighteenth century, platforms were worn in Europe to avoid the muck in the streets.  Today, we love a platform shoe to give us the long leggy look of a stiletto with a little more comfort.

 

 

 

WEDGES

Who doesn’t love a wedge?  Style plus comfort – the perfect shoe for an outdoor wedding or city sightseeing.  They come in colors and prints, leathers, cork heels, and cute-as-can-be espadrilles.  If you are a fan of wedges, Spring 2015 does not disappoint.

 

 

 

Ladies, ETCETERA has delivered the most amazing Spring collection (a little birdie tells me Summer is phenomenal, too).  How very lucky we are to have endless choices of cherries to add to the top of our sundae. I’d love to stay and chat, but I need to call my contractor to talk about a bigger closet!

 

Claudia Phillips is an Etcetera Area Development Manager in the Tar Heel State of North Carolina. A Chicago transplant, Claudia is a born fashionista. While playing Barbie with her young girlfriends, Claudia loved helping the other “Barbies” get dressed for the big interview, courtroom case, or night on the town with Ken. A certified master stylist, Claudia loves sharing her expertise by training sales consultants to help in her mission to make America beautiful – one woman at a time.

READ POST

Festive Spring Fashion

March 4th, 2015

Spring holidays are just around the corner, presenting a need — well ok, an excuse — for a special new outfit. Even the most confirmed casual dressers who swear by their jeans and/or yoga pants can’t help but be inspired by the buds and blooms that start to appear this time of year. The Great Outdoors is putting on its finery, and so should you!

 

As clients moved through our Spring showroom, they were dazzled by all the possibilities for their upcoming Spring special events, and were thrilled to find so many standout options. Don’t wait until the occasion is upon you to start searching for something special…

 

EASTER SUNDAY

Traditionally, Easter has been a time to honor the special significance of the day by wearing one’s best to church. Fabulous hats, little girls in shiny white patent leather shoes, and  boys squirming in their first sport coat still make an appearance at many churches. Soft pastel shades express both the joy and elegance of the occasion; the FRINGED dress is a sumptuous blend of hibiscus, ivory, light pink, yellow, lilac, papaya, and silver threads, with self-fringed edges reminiscent of Chanel.

 

 

 

The CHARLIE cream tweed jacket and skirt are classic, sophisticated, and the perfect backdrop for beautiful accessories and heirloom jewelry on a special day, and the UPSCALE jacket and skirt hit the Spring gingham trend perfectly in coral and white.

 

 

PASSOVER SEDER

This traditional event calls for something classic but special. Seeing this dress hanging on the rack, a couple of clients were concerned about the horizontal stripes, insisting that they “never wear horizontal stripes — they make me look huge!”  After trying the Milano knit VISUAL on, however, they discovered that this dress is super flattering. Because of the varied width of the stripes, this dress is actually slimming and lengthening.

 

 

CINCO DE MAYO PARTY

The prevalence of Cinco de Mayo fiestas has grown over the years, and for good reason. Who can say no to a refreshing margarita, crispy tortilla chips, and homemade guacamole? Dress the part in Etcetera’s silk georgette CONFECTION blouse over sleek IMMACULATE white jeans. The APRICOT cardigan, in a luscious shade of papaya, would be another fun choice when paired with our IMMACULATE white denim skirt. The ribbed knit waist and gemstone/matte gold buttons make APRICOT truly special.

 

 

 

 

 

MOTHER’S DAY

Before we know it, Mother’s Day will be here, and whether you are expecting a special night out with  your family, or treating your mother or mentor on the big day, consider the striking simplicity of the TANGERINE sheath to turn a few heads.  For added drama, the back is softly draped and criss-crossed into a low-V.

 

 

The sheer, breezy O’KEEFE blouse would make a fabulous gift for mom. With it’s mix of blues, honey, ivory, and cocoa, it’s flattering on most skin tones. Pair it with our HARLEY white pant and a cute wedge sandal for a casual-elegant look.

 

 

 

KENTUCKY DERBY PARTY

Going to the Derby remains high on my bucket list, as much to see the fabulous millinery as to see the race. If you are fortunate enough to get to go, lucky you! The rest of us can still enjoy the day by attending or hosting a Derby party. Some ideas…

 

Our knit NEPTUNE dress is a waist-nipper, thanks to front and back princess seams and flared skirt. Elegant on it’s own, it’s a great basic that provides endless possibilities with imaginative accessorizing. A silver metallic sandal and accessories will provide pizzazz for any special event.

 

 

 

 

“Ravishing” is the only way to describe how you will look in the INBLOOM dress. Cheer your favorite steed to victory — in this dress, you’ll have plenty to celebrate!

 

 

For a totally stunning look, the PLAZA dress and jacket is a must for the Derby. The exquisite gold-infused French fabric and seaming detail make this dress an absolute showstopper.

 

Happy Spring, and may you find many occasions to celebrate!

 

 

Barbara Bisel, Wardrobe Consultant

Barbara is an almost-native Californian living in the San Francisco East Bay. Prior to joining Etcetera she was active in apparel design and construction, marketing, and philanthropic work primarily in the Arts and education. After having been Area Development Manager and Social Media Manager for Etcetera, she joined forces with the ultimate authority on successfully mixing unexpected combinations, Etcetera sales consultant Linda Zappala. Together they delight in providing personal wardrobing service and helping their clients to attain “Compliments and Confidence.”

 

 

 

READ POST

Subscribe