It’s an obsession!  I can’t walk by a counter displaying beautiful scarves without stopping to touch and drink in the luxurious feel of a beautiful scarf.  I don’t remember when this love affair started, perhaps my first trip to Paris when I noticed the always fashionable Parisian women sitting in cafés, engaged in conversation, and looking oh so uber-chic.

 

 

Why did they look so good?  What separated them from me?   Not wanting to stick out like the dreaded typical American tourist, I had done my homework on how to dress like the French woman.  Simple was key – simple black dress, simple cashmere sweater and black pants, nothing too flashy, nothing too colorful, and  never, ever, athletic shoes.   So, why did I feel I had somehow missed the mark?

 

And, then it hit me.  What separated my “almost-there” outfit from the cool, Parisian woman – a SCARF!

Men started wearing scarves in Ancient Rome, Chinese Emperor Cheng used scarves to identify the rank of warriors, and throughout history, many soldiers have worn identifying scarves. But, ladies, when we started wearing scarves, they became a real fashion accessory by the early 19th century (although, both for men and women).

 

There is a scarf for everyone and a scarf for every season and occasion.  I always travel with a very large scarf on an airplane. I really don’t want to wrap myself up in a blanket when I don’t know who used it first.  And, let’s face it, sometimes you don’t want to chat with the person in the next seat. So, hide under your beautiful scarf and pretend you are sleeping.  Etcetera’s SPRINGTIME scarf in luxurious modal is a generous 43” wide x 80” long – perfect for travel, not only on the plane but at your ultimate destination as well.

 

 

How does the addition of a simple scarf change an outfit?  Think of the scarf as the cherry on top of the perfect ice cream sundae. I love the clean, crisp, white WHISPER stretch cotton sleeveless shirt with the perfect summer-weight ISLANDER garment washed Capri-length jean.  Add the AZULE scarf in white, azure, and navy and you have a winning combination.

 

 

Scarves come in all shapes and sizes – light and breezy silk, cotton, and modal for spring and summer, and chunky knits and textures for fall and winter.  A good rule of thumb:  If your outfit is made up of solid colors, choose a printed scarf.  If you outfit is a print, go for a solid color scarf.

 

The most versatile scarves are either square or rectangle.  A rectangle scarf is easier to tie, but with a little practice, you’ll find the more versatile square will give you more options.

 

 

 

I absolutely love how these beautiful ETCETERA scarves have added just the right touch of pizzazz!

 

There are as many ways to tie a scarf as there are days in the year.  Some time ago, I provided a video that showed 25 ways in 4.5 minutes.  For the most part, however, you’ll have your top four-to-five go to ways.  Play, have fun, and choose which works best for you:

 

1. Use a rectangle or square – just fold the square into a rectangle before you start and, presto-chango, you’ll look marvelous.

 

 

So far, we’ve look at scarves in the traditional method of wearing them around the neck, but let’s think outside the box.

 

2. A scarf tied into a top is not only beautiful, it’s quite practical, especially when packing. Adorable over jeans, stunning under a jacket, what more could a girl want.  Below is one of Etcetera’s designers, Patrick Sleem, tying the WHIMSY scarf as a blouse —  amazing!

 

 

 

 

Tie two JENNA scarves into a wonderful summer top, or take two large scarves like AZULE or XENA and tie them into a dress!

 

 

 

3. Turn your scarf into a dress or sarong.  The bigger the scarf, the longer the dress or skirt.  Talk about a great way to accessorize at the beach – a cover-up by day, a dress by night.

 

 

4.  How about a vest or kimono?

 

5. Consider adding a pop of color to your handbag, wear it as a belt, tie it around your head or onto your hat, or even tie it into a hobo-style handbag.

 

 

This short video shows how to tie four scarves into 16 unique looks, working with cashmere, oblong, square, and pareo.

 

Lastly, the ultimate scarf video – 25 scarves in 4.5 minutes.

 

 

I hope when you’re running around town, you’ll take note at the women sporting a scarf and begin to think of the endless possibilities.  They can easily and affordably take your look from ordinary to sensational.

 

 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.

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DRESSING FOR YOUR AGE

April 13th, 2015

The “What to Wear in your 30′s, 40′s, 50′s…”  guide — how many times have you read one in a magazine? I’d like to put a different spin on that, and have you consider your lifestyle and what stage you are in in your personal fashion evolution. Increasingly, there is no right or wrong way to dress in each decade — we all age so differently, and ultimately our lifestyle, energy, and personal identity dictates our dress. However, there are some overarching phases that we go through that deeply influence our wardrobe needs and our clothing choices.

 

IN YOUR 30′s

This is your time to be bold, explore fashion, and develop your personal style. There are no boundaries: short, very fitted silhouettes, vivid prints and interesting textures — now is the time to try it all. Enjoy wearable art pieces like our AQUARIUM dress, with confidence.

 

 

Printed jeans are trending – try our REVOLUTION jean, inspired by an Aztec desert print. Mix texture and print with the sporty black mesh WEEKENDER top, featuring a neck-to-waist zipper in back that can be unzipped to reveal a glimpse of your lower back.

 

Steal from the boys: our GREYTONE tunic/shirt jacket suggests a Boyfriend shirt, but with more style. Wear it buttoned or open as a jacket over a slim-leg black or white jean (shown with our ASPHALT legging and SWISH white tunic blouse).

 

Show off your beautiful skin in a bare-backed dress, such as our safari-inspired HALTER cotton dress. Add a woven sandal, in keeping with the theme.

 

 

IN YOUR 40′s

Flexibility and versatility is key here. Chances are, you’re balancing a busy family schedule and work life, but don’t let that keep you from looking stylish.

 

Invest in classic styles in neutral colors. Most likely, you’re dressing on the run, so create interest with a colorful scarf, colorful or metallic shoe, or textured handbag. Our TABOO black knit dress is the ultimate throw-on-and-go dress, with an on-trend back cutout to keep it interesting — the white RIALTO cardigan is equally classic, but rich in detail.

 

 

Olive is the new neutral this Spring; with it’s fitted waist and subtly flared back, our ARMY jacket will be your go-to piece, over jeans, skirts, and dresses.

 

 

Add bold stripes to jazz up your classics, and pop them with colorful pants, such as our RAVE top and IMMACULATE white denim jacket with  our goldenrod yellow RENEGADE jean from the Spring collection.

 

 

IN YOUR 50′s

At this point, your kids are growing up, and your social life is starting to return…  yay! Time to indulge yourself, enjoy looking sexy, and find a new edge to your look. You understand your style, and you know how to show off your best features, so invest in pieces that do just that.

 

Investing in a well-fitting, flattering leather jacket is a must in your 50′s, in a soft taupy brown color that is flattering to so many skin tones. Have fun with fashion — you only live once — how about those stunning ANACONDA jeans with the elegant LAYERS blouse with your SADDLE jacket?

 

 

Buy beautifully designed pieces that can be worn a multitude of ways, such as our sour cherry-hued BING jacket, equally great with our UPSCALE skirt and BEE top, or our wide-leg linen EXCURSION pant and floaty GLADIOLUS top.

 

 

Fit-and-flare is your friend, designed to conceal the tummy. Enjoy this design in our flirty white knit BRAZIL dress, accessorized a variety of ways.

 

While you’re investing in clothes, don’t overlook the all-important goodies underneath that can make or break your look: a bra to give you a boost, and the right shape saver.

 

IN YOUR 60′S

Your style is now well-established, and you know which features are holding up and need to be highlighted. Invest in quality pieces that make the most of your assets.

 

Go for soft fabrics that move with your body, and balance the proportions of your top with your bottom, such as our GROOVY tunic blouse and AMMO black capri.

 

 

Invest in a Statement Jacket, such as our OYSTER ivory cotton basketweave swing jacket. A great jacket ups the style quotient of any great basic pant or skirt — shown here with our SEERSUCKER pencil skirt and LATTE sweater.

 

 

Update your dresses periodically, so you have something you feel beautiful in when special occasions arise unexpectedly. Our CANNON LBD is a showstopper, with cutouts that are so on-trend.

 

 

This is all good news — how exciting to know we can look and feel great throughout our lives. If my 35-year-old mommy-jean self had known that I’d be dressing better in my 50′s than at any other time in my life, I would not have believed it. Good news, indeed!

 

“I think women in America are so hung up on comfort, they walk around in clothes like they’re going to the gym… If you dress well, you will get people to sit up and take notice.”

- Charla Krupp, author of How Not to Look Old.

 

Barbara Bisel, Etcetera Sales Consultant 

Barbara was originally drawn to Etcetera because of her lifelong passion for gorgeous fabrics and exquisite design. 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 Carlisle-Etcetera, she became a partner in her local Etcetera agency. Based in the East Bay, they also see clients in Etcetera’s beautiful San Francisco showroom in the financial district, providing personal wardrobing service and helping their clients to attain “Compliments and Confidence.” Barbara is a member of the Association of Image Consultants International, San Francisco Chapter.

 

Polyvore graphics and layout, Barbara Bisel

 

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I wish I had been earlier in submitting this article as March was National Crochet Month! But better late than never. Our talented merchandising team inquired about the inspiration behind the Crochet pieces in our Spring & Summer 2015 collections and I was kindly asked to write a blog piece about it.

 

THEN AND NOW

As trends come and go, and ebb and flow, we often see the resurgence of Crochet in fashion. It is often the ‘go-to’ technique when designers are inspired by such periods as the luxe Victorian Era, the hippie-chic ’60s, or their own resort getaways to the islands. Crochet’s beauty is timeless and it is always exciting to see how the fashion industry finds ways to make it new again.

 

ca. 1890 Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

1960′s wedding dress crochet pattern

 

Crochet’s history is both mysterious and modern, being a much newer handcraft than it’s close cousins, Lacework and Knitting. And although many different countries and cultures claim Crochet as their own, it is safe to say the influence of these various craftspeople over the past few centuries has made an indelible mark on the evolution of this intricate medium.

 

Coachella style


DESIGN INSPIRATION… SPRING/SUMMER 2015

Instead of elaborating on the details of Crochet’s past, I’d rather focus on where it is currently and, more specifically, how we used this beautiful handwork technique in ETCETERA’s Spring and Summer 2015 collections. However, I have included a link to a great article that quickly summarizes Crochet’ short, but rich history for those who are interested.

 

Bora Aksu, Spring 2015 London runway

 

When reviewing the Spring 2015 runway shows, we see Crochet renewed in all types of exciting ways. Givenchy showed edgy, Victorian-inspired, chunky-laced Crochet dresses over thigh-high black boots.

 

Givenchy, Spring 2015 runway

 

Proenza Schouler made Crochet very modern as they created grid-stitch skirts and dresses in this technique paired with chunky sweaters or tailored jackets.

 

Proenza Schouler, Spring 2015 runway

 

Pucci’s ode to bohemian chic sent Crochet tank tops with low slung pants and super-chic patchwork dresses down the runway.

 

Emilio Pucci Spring 2015

 

When designing Spring 2015, our design team was very inspired by modern lace fabrics á la Burberry and Vuitton as well as the major trend of Bohemian Chic. Our biggest challenge was how to keep these pieces sophisticated and special. When thinking Bohemia, artisanal crafts like openwork knitting, crochet and lacework quickly came to mind. But we were aiming more for Venice, Italy than Venice Beach, CA and sourced intricate, beautiful fabrics and yarns to reflect this vision. And although they are not created by actual crochet, several fabrics & stitches used in our collection mimic crochet patterns within their elaborate lace fabrications. Some Spring 2015 examples are our BUDAPEST and ORNAMENTAL skirts, our GIGI top and our RIALTO cardigan.

 

 

 

For ETC Red Label, we tried to capture the  beachy-ease of the Hamptons and the weekend luxe of Santa Barbara. We wanted to answer ‘what would our client want to wear to a casual dinner while away in St Bart’s or flea marketing in Santa Fe?’ Thus was the inspiration behind our hand-crocheted WAFFLE cardigan, which epitomizes ‘Boho-Luxe’ in a casual, effortless way.

 

 

I was also given the task of developing a new, long Crochet skirt, as has been successful in ETCETERA’s fashion-past. I sourced a beautiful crochet stitch from a talented British textile artist and our MERMAID skirt was born.

 

 

And although it is made on a knitting machine, our Summer 2015 MACRAME tunic is a crochet-inspired knit and, with it’s fringed hem, continues our Bohemian ‘California Dreaming’ trend all summer long (top image).

 

CARING FOR CROCHET

Although we suggest dry cleaning our crochet pieces, you can carefully clean them at home. Try hand washing with a gentle detergent, rinse thoroughly, & squeeze out excess water without ringing or stretching. Roll in a thick towel like a burrito to absorb excess water & lay flat to dry. Once air dried, iron on proper heat setting as needed. To help recover the crochet when stretched out after wearing, feel free to throw the garment in the dryer  for 10 minutes or so on warm setting. Check the fit and apply more heat as needed but don’t ’over dry.’

 

Photo: Wool and the Gang blogspot

 

Crochet may be a current trend, but it is our goal to make these easy styles become cherished additions to our clients’ wardrobes that can be worn for years to come. By producing these styles in chic, neutral colors, they not only maintain their beachside inspiration, but become timeless keepsakes to be worn again and again. It is our sincere  hope that after seeing and buying our beautiful Crochet pieces this Spring and Summer, and perhaps after reading this article, you can fully appreciate and better understand the lovely and labor intensive craft that is Crochet.

 

Joel Childress, Knitwear Designer, ETCETERA  Joel Childress graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Clothing and Textiles Sciences with a focus in Apparel Design from the University of Texas at Austin. He worked in costume design in Los Angeles and went on to design knitwear for brands including White+Warren and Anthropologie, as well as his own eponymous luxury knitwear label that sold to better boutiques and specialty stores throughout North America and Australia. He joined the Etcetera design team in October 2013 as Knitwear Designer and is enjoying his job very much.

 

Polyvores, graphics, and layout: Barbara Bisel, consultant

 

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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

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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!

 

 

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