With Summer officially upon us, most would agree that the freshest, coolest look around is white. Nothing spoils that look faster, however,  than one tiny stain, or the yellow/gray dinginess that can happen over time to our favorite white jeans, blouse, or dress.

 

 

 

So, how to maintain that new white look?

 

1. Separate your laundry by color and fabric type: whites, pastels, bright colors, and darks should all be washed separately. Then within those color groups, separate delicate knits from the sturdier fabrics.

 

 

2. Use the optimal temperature. Wash your whites in the warmest water possible that can be safely tolerated by your fabrics. Water that is at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit is most effective for removing soil, however with knits cooler water is recommended.

 

 

3. Don’t overload your washer — clothes need to be able to move around, and there needs to be enough water to circulate through the fabric and carry away soil

 

 

4. If you have hard water, be sure to use detergent rather than laundry soap; detergent will cling to the dirt and prevent it from getting back onto the clothes and turning them gray.

 

5. Measure your soap or detergent carefully. Too much soap is hard to rinse out, so clothes don’t get clean; but if too little soap is used, perspiration and dirt won’t be removed. Either situation will turn whites gray.

 

 

6. Add an oxygen bleach that says it is “safe for all fabrics” to the wash water. Oxygen bleaches are a great alternative to chlorine bleach, which is corrosive in stronger concentrations and carries more health and environmental risks.

 

 

7. Pretreat stains: rub with stain remover, a wet bar of soap, or liquid detergent, and let sit in the hottest possible water (that is still safe for the fabric) prior to washing. To treat a stain as quickly as possible, my daughter carries a little Tide To Go pen in her purse.

 

 

8. If a stain doesn’t come out after the first wash, retreat and rewash again prior to putting the garment in the drier, as the drier will set the stain.

 

9. When in doubt, hang-dry. I always hang-dry anything that has any spandex, or anything that I have the least concern about shrinking. With a quick press with an iron, I’m good to go.

 

And now, for some White Inspiration! Do you have at least one fabulous white dress, white skirt, dressy white pant, and fabulous fresh white jean in your arsenal? If not, you can still order a great piece for Summer, but do it a.s.a.p., as the ordering deadline is July 13.

 

Our rayon blend pointelle knit HUSH tunic is elegant over a white jean or pant (HARLEY, below), or as a coverup over your swimsuit or yoga top.

 

 

Keep it COOL in a lovely little white sleeveless top, such as our WHITEWASH, ALLEGRO, or WHISPER over a white jean and strappy sandal, and toss in a pop of color with a great scarf such as our INDONESIA navy/sand cotton print or KATJA cornsilk yellow cotton/silk gauze scarf.

 

 

I’m a big proponent of getting a new pair of white jeans every Summer. Try as we may, those white jeans inevitably pick up some spot or discoloration — at least mine do, because I wear them so much! I love the slim fit  of this season’s IMMACULATE jean, and the ease of our SPHINX tunic

 

Sources:

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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When I think of Independence Day, images of parades and flags, picnics and cookouts, baseball and hot dogs, children on bikes decorated with streamers, and, of course, sparklers and fireworks roll through my mind in slow motion like the frames of an old time movie.  I think of family and patriotism – that attachment to our homeland, the United States of America.

 

 

I want to see the Fourth of July fireworks light up the skies from sea to shining sea — and where would be the perfect place to celebrate America’s birthday?  Washington, D.C., arguably the most patriotic place in the U.S.A., gets my vote, . So, we’re heading to our Nation’s Capitol for a weekend birthday celebration!

 

Day 1:  Thursday, July 3

The next few days are packed with activities, complete with crowds to navigate.  To brace ourselves, we are going to enjoy a quiet, romantic dinner at Fiola Mare on the waterfront in Georgetown.  It may be hot and humid, but I’ll keep it cool in Etcetera’s soft knit halter top LATTE and hand-beaded COSTARICA skirt.

 

 

Day 2:  Friday, July 3

Washington, D.C. is home to some of our most famous monuments, and no one should visit our nation’s capitol without seeing them.  Some make us sad, others angry. I know I will be overwhelmed with emotion, and filled with a sense of pride – thankful for those who have made our country what it is today, and infinitely grateful for courageous men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

 

We will spend the day walking, decked out in red, white, and blue, of course, and Etcetera’s white cotton BRAZIL dress will keep me cool as a cucumber.  I’ll throw the navy linen-blend cropped cardigan CLAMBAKE in my bag, just in case we encounter over-zealous air-conditioning along the way.

 

 

Day 3:  Saturday, July 4

Happy Birthday, America!  We’ll spend the day on the National Mall, starting with the National Independence Day Parade.  After all, what could be more American than a parade?  Afterwards, we’ll head to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and then to take a tour of Ford’s Theater.  Comfort is key, and Etcetera has the ideal pieces — BERMUDA shorts paired with the GULF camisole, and, for chilly air-conditioning, the BING jacket.

 

 

There was a reason we chose the W Hotel – their rooftop lounge and terrace view make it the ideal place to enjoy the fireworks. We already have our ‘Boom with a View’ reservation, so we’re good to go.  We’ll head back to the hotel for a quick shower, and I’ll change into Etcetera’s fabulous, figure flattering NEPTUNE dress, absolutely lovely for this birthday party!

 

 

Day 4:  Sunday, July 5

Our last day in D.C. wouldn’t be complete without taking advantage of at least one Smithsonian museum.  The Smithsonian Institution, called the nation’s attic, has 19 museums, 9 research centers, and a zoo.  DEMURE is the dress of choice – comfortable for museum hopping and for the plane ride home.

 

 

I know how I will feel when I board that plane, homeward bound.  I have a sneaking suspicion Lee Greenwood’s words will be playing in my head.

 

And I’d proud to be an America,

Where at least I know I’m free.

And I won’t forget the men who died,

Who gave that right to me.

 

And I gladly stand up,

Next to you and defend her still today.

‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I loved this land,

God Bless the USA.

 

 

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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A HOT SUMMER’S NIGHT!

June 9th, 2015

 


There’s nothing better than a hot summer night – not because the temperatures go up, but because it’s the perfect time for a great Girl’s Night Out! Don’t get me wrong — date nights are wonderful, but there’s something about being with just the girls. On GNO, the mood is usually on a totally different, celebratory level, and that means we get dressed up, be a little more girly, or experiment with fun new trends.

 

When it heats up outside, nothing is as easy-breezy as a dress or skirt. Etcetera’s Spring and Summer dresses and skirts are the perfect go-to pieces that will keep you ‘hot’ and cool all on the same night!

 

One thing for sure, one of the sportier and more sophisticated trends this spring is pleats — they are hot, hot, hot! I love how Etcetera’s fun and flirty BOUNTIFUL skirt jazzes things up.

 

For simple chic, who doesn’t love the perfect little black dress? TABOO is unassuming yet elegant, and will definitely help you make a splash on your diva’s night out!

 

 

If you prefer to go bold, then the AQUARIUM dress may be more for you. I love paring this piece with bright accessories. It’s a little reminiscent of the girls from Sex and the City.

 

 

Nothing says ‘hot Summer night’ more than HALTER, Etcetera’s sleek (tribal print)  halter dress. Not only does this easy summer dress pair well with flip flops or flat sandals, but I love how it transitions into a sexy little number for a night on the town!

 

 

Another great find is the CANNES blouse and skirt. Together, they create a sophisticated dress look – a Summer wedding stunner. Separately, these pieces make great Summer statements with simple pairings.

 

 

 

Last but not least, one of my personal favorites is the GARDENIA dress. It’s one of those soft, sweet, retro chic numbers that just makes you feel pretty, and want every night to be a girl’s night! Dressed up with heels or worn with simple flat sandals, this is a summer must have!

 

 


Oh, I can’t wait — maybe my Girls Night Out will be the planning of my next girls weekend away!!!

 


 

 

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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How many times have you heard that ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’? Logic tells us to be practical and not waste money on trends that are here today and gone tomorrow, particularly when it comes to expensive jewelry.  Well, let me assure you, a colossal cascading necklace, bedazzled choker, chandelier earring or chunky bracelet that will take your plain Jane outfit to show-stopping brilliance is indeed available in your price range, and is both a sensible and sensational addition to your accessory wardrobe.

 

What exactly is statement jewelry? Simply put, it is any jewelry that makes a big impact. How do I know that it is here to stay? History is a great predictor of the future. Let’s go back in time.

 

 

While big impact jewels may be fine and good for the royal family, not many of us run around town in a tiara.  However, stylish ladies have worn fabulous jewelry, both real and faux, throughout history.

 

Hollywood and the celebrity elite are as close as we come to royalty, and many stars have adorned themselves with precious jewels.  As a society, we tend to adopt the trends we see in the media, in the movies, in magazines, and on the concert stage.  Let’s take a look at our “royal” family starting in the 1920s.

 

 

 

Statement jewelry transitions extremely well to today’s fashions and lifestyles.

 

 

 

 

Who can forget the Gran Dame of Fashion, Coco Chanel?  She started the classic look of wearing multiple strands of pearls.  Talk about timeless!  This look is always spot on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big, bold, and beautiful pieces are not just for the runways or red carpets.  What could be better than layering a girlie sparkler over a masculine white shirt or t-shirt and jeans?  Modern, every day casual outfits go from dull to brilliant when we mix masculine and feminine elements together.

 

The white button-down shirt is a staple in every woman’s wardrobe.  Not only does it go with every skirt, pair or pants or jeans we own, the variety of necklaces we can wear with it is almost endless.  Feeling bold and beautiful?   Button up that shirt and make a statement with a large bib under the collar.  Not quite ready to shout from the rooftop?  Open the collar to expose a peek of your necklace.  And, you can never go wrong with a beautiful pendant.  White shirt, three ways.

 

 

 

Keep in mind, we are making a “single” statement, so don’t go all Carmen Miranda — let that impact piece take center stage.  If you choose chandelier earrings, you won’t need a necklace.  If you’re going with a bejeweled neckline, keep your earrings to a simple stud or opt for none at all.  Arm candy is visually exciting, so let those wrists be the focal point and keep other pieces minimal and simple.

 

 

Jewelry can transition your clothes from day to night, or PTA to ballpark, in the blink of an eye.  If you don’t have time to run home between events, take your accessories with you and change on the fly.  Take a look at how our TABOO dress goes from the farmer’s market to cocktails in less than 30 seconds!

 

 

 

 

 

There are few, if any, fashion rules when it comes to jewelry, but a girl can always use a few tips.  One good rule of thumb to remember is: high neckline, long necklace; low neckline, short necklace.

 

Let’s take a look at necklines.  While just about anything goes, if you’re conflicted or not quite sure, these tried and true pairings work:

 

V-Neck:  You can select a necklace that fills the space.  Shorter pendants will bring the eye to the collarbone and neck area, while longer necklaces and layered strands can emphasize the cleavage.  Just make sure your necklace lands above or below the base on the V – you won’t want the necklace to get caught behind the fabric.

Boat:  Try long multi-strands or pendants almost to the waist.

Cowl:  No necklace, go for statement earrings.

Crew:  A bib or collar necklace always works.

Halter:  Slim pendants.

Scoop:  Fill the space with feminine details – pearls, gemstones.

Square:  Angular lines are your friend, or a short choker.

Strapless:  Big and bold necklace, or none at all and go for statement earrings.

Turtleneck:  Substantial pendants, chains, beads. Avoid looking dated and frump with too dainty and delicate.  Necklaces should be bold and chunky or multi-strand.

 

Wear what you love – and let’s face it, that’s not the same thing day after day. Have fun — try different looks.  I hope I started your wheels turning, thinking about ways to use beautiful statement pieces to your advantage.  When I look in my jewelry box, the iconic Coco Chanel always reminds me . . .

 

YOU LIVE BUT ONCE; YOU MIGHT AS WELL BE AMUSING!

 

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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As we head into the Summer months and temperatures soar, is your skirt selection as complete as it should be? Many stylists advise, when you have a choice between wearing pants or a skirt, wear a skirt. It’s much easier to find a skirt that’s flattering; with pants, you have to consider the rise, the width of the hips, the legs, and how they fit the tush. Plus, don’t you feel more confident  – walk a little taller — wearing a skirt?

 

If that’s not enough to make you invest in a few great skirts, consider these advantages:

1. Skirts are more versatile than dresses — they can be paired with a variety of tops.

2. They are more flattering than pants or shorts.

3. Skirts are cooler than pants in hot weather.

4. They are better than pants at hiding VPL (visible panty line).

5. Skirts don’t have to be hemmed differently for flats or heels.

6. Skirts are simply more fun — be honest, twirling in a pair of pants imparts only a fraction of the joy as the same activity in skirts!

 

So, what are the basic skirts you need in order to float effortlessly through the Summer in style?

 

A WHITE  SKIRT

White is timeless, and what could be more quintessential ‘Summer’ than eyelet? There’s a reason celebrities are embracing full white skirts, and you should, too — they are  the freshest accompaniment to a little tank top or blouse. In our PANAMA skirt, our designers tucked eyelet panels behind the stitched-down inverted pleats, upping the flirt factor. I’m showing it below with our BLAIR black sweater (left) and ZOE print blouse (right).

 

A NEUTRAL UTILITY SKIRT

‘Utility Chic’ is a major trend this year; designers worked shades of khaki into their palettes in a big way, with designs echoing military garb. Etcetera reflected this trend with a chic 3-piece suit called SANDDUNE, which includes a great little run-around skirt, below (with HILARY tangerine cami, left, and AMBUSH silk blouse, right). Mesh inset into the hip yoke and flattering pocket placement elevate the style quotient of this versatile, essential skirt. Whether you’re pounding a scorching city sidewalk or seeking shade in suburbia, you’ll be happy to have a utility skirt like SANDDUNE.

 

 

A BLACK PENCIL SKIRT

The black pencil skirt deserves an A+ for versatility and style — a ‘must’ for every wardrobe. Not just for business, this essential piece can go casual to dressy better than anything else in your closet. Our flattering RALLY waffle knit skirt, in particular, takes you anywhere in style and is supremely packable for vacation. I’m showing it below with our silk floral POPPIES blouse (left) and our white perforated leather GOSSIP top (right) , but you could just as easily go casual with a t-shirt or tank top and flats.

 

A FUN FLORAL

Every girl’s gotta have a skirt that’s twirl-worthy for Summer, and our PERENNIAL fits the bill perfectly. I think “concert-in-the-park,” or “lunch with girlfriends” when I see this skirt. It picks up so many lovely shades, but our CRISS-CROSS sweater is a fresh choice, and don’t forget a light jacket like our BUNGALOW for air-conditioned spaces or evenings when the temps drop.

 

 

A CASUAL MAXI

I’m head-over-heels in love… with my black knit faux-wrap ankle-length DARKROOM skirt. This skirt is seriously the next-best thing after pajamas; but looks so much more stylish than the typical slouchy knit skirts in which women are running around in these days, thanks to the tapered silhouette, angled back wrap, and discreet mini underskirt that provides a bit of support. I can’t wait to wear mine next weekend at the Bottlerock music/art/wine fest in Napa!

 

 

As you can see, “basic” need not be boring. Let your Etcetera consultant know ASAP which of these beautiful essential skirts you need — even though the Summer trunk shows are over on June 3, she can still order Spring and Summer pieces for you up until July 13, pending availability. Stay cool, ladies!

 

 Barbara Bisel, Etcetera Sales Consultant 

Barbara was originally drawn to Etcetera because of her 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. Barbara is a member of the Association of Image Consultants International, San Francisco Chapter.

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