WE MEAN BUSINESS: Workplace Chic

February 24th, 2015


Whether you’re just starting a new job or you’ve had the same career for years, it’s not always easy to mix the words ‘work appropriate’ and ‘stylish’ in the same sentence. Most work wear certainly doesn’t scream ‘oh-so-chic’ when you put it on.


In fact, when I am working with clients, I continually hear women say that they want to focus on buying fun pieces — or that they have enough work clothes. I get it! It’s much more fun to buy a cute top that looks good with jeans. Unless you are working from home (in your workout clothes or pajamas), getting ready for work can sometimes become blasé — and it just isn’t as fun as getting all dolled up for a girl’s night out. But, no matter how conservative your office dress code is, it is possible to look effortlessly chic at work.




It’s time to banish those work-only outfits from your wardrobe and find some great, stylish pieces that make you look and feel good all week long. Hey, if you have to be somewhere 40 hours per week, you might as well look fabulous while you’re there, right?


So, the best advice I can give is simple: purchase great pieces that interchange for work and play! Start with the basics:

  • - A beautiful blouse
  • - A striking dress
  • - A fantastic skirt
  • - A bold jacket
  • - Perfect pants
  • - Eye-catching finishing touches.

Boom!  You have everything you need to look stylish — even at work!  Let’s get down to business:



Etcetera has so many fantastic blouses in this Spring  2015 collection, but FEISTY could be my favorite blouse this season. I just love how it looks with a sleek suit. I’ve paired it with the unexpected — the stylish PESTO suit, with its fringed blazer.


This blouse also adds life to our fabulous neutral slim pant, GYPSUM, or our cream pant, CHIC, and our black EVE skirt. Of course, this blouse rocks with a pair of jeans!






This year more than ever, women seem to be wearing more ‘power’ dresses to work.  Etcetera hits the mark with so many darling dresses this season, but for versatility, I am going with JORDAN.  This is a classic dress, with a twist (or shall I say, a tie) of sophistication that is both conservative and fun!  It’s perfect year-round and can be worn with any heel, wedge, sandal, pump, or bootie.





ORNAMENTAL is a sleek, sexy pencil style in a richly textured grid pattern. It makes a statement all on its own, with it’s sophisticated lines and shape. I also love how versatile it is, not only for the boardroom, but dressed up with sassy heels or paired with a tank or sleek halter.




Hmmm… so many great choices — I can’t pick just one! Since black and white is such a big Spring trend, I couldn’t help but pair these with some great jacket options. PAGODA has beautiful leather detail on the shoulders and pockets; WINDOWPANE has a gorgeous embellished neckline; and KIKI has distinctive hardware — all making these my faves for fun work wear pieces.




If your usual work look consists of plain black pants (or worse, khaki), it’s time to brighten things up! Of course, classic colors keep you going, and there is nothing wrong with a great neutral pant — but who says you can’t wear color or pattern to work? Kick it up a notch with ETCETERA’S on-trend grid-patterned CHECKMATE pants.  Their ability to be worn with any color makes them truly versatile, so you can wear them anywhere else you want!







The right finishing touch is sure to inspire conversation at the water cooler, and ETCETERA’s belts and scarves surely will capture a nod for promotion!



There you have it. Dressing well at work comes down to the details, and ETCETERA has a full range of work attire — from casual to professional — and even interview outfits. Looking chic in the workplace will not only help pave the road to success, but it will make you feel good along the way, too!


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!




I think it is a universal truth that every woman loves to be complimented on her clothes.  In fact, Etcetera consultants specialize in creating compliments for their customers.  It is fun to plan that perfect outfit and select pieces that will work back with other pieces in a customer’s wardrobe, sort of like finding missing puzzle pieces that fit just right.  However, I think that sometimes women yearn for that effortless look that says “I just selected a few lovely pieces from my elegant closet, threw them on, grabbed my designer bag and sunglasses and headed out the door.”


This is the way I imagine women like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston get dressed for their days.  We all know they have personal shoppers, stylists and unlimited funds, but I think that one key to the effortless look is a flattering neutral color palette.  I’d like to show you how to create this look for yourself by simply selecting your favorite neutral shade, whether it is golden honey, admiral navy or bridal white, and combining pieces that work for your lifestyle and personality.






In Spring 2015, today’s shopper will find endless selections of these anything but boring beige variations.  Pick the most flattering one for your complexion and lifestyle and have fun with the details.  Are you looking for a rocker chic look to get the paparrazi bulbs flashing?  Give the dune-colored BOCA suede front sweater a try, paired with the buff and white PALOMINO skinny jeans in vegan leather and denim.



Headed to a wedding or ladies’ luncheon?  Try the PLAZA ivory and sand giraffe jacquard shift and topper for a sophisticated and elegant look.


If you need a more casual look, try the NEUTRAL honey mélange sweater with the GYPSUM stretch cotton ankle pant.  And if you want to add a pop of color to this look, simply add the MARSEILLE scarf.  With practically every color under the rainbow in this silk habutai floral scarf, it is a perfect piece to update any spring wardrobe.







If you have selected navy as your neutral of choice, you are in luck!  Navy is everywhere and is such a fresh, youthful and hip color.  You can head to the office in the ADMIRAL stretch cotton blend jacket with mesh knit detailing.  It looks great paired with the ADMIRAL pants or the BRIGHTON crosshatch tweed skirt in shades of blue, black, natural and ivory.



Or for a simple, easy look, pair the ADMIRAL pants with the MARINER pointelle and mesh stitched sweater.  The sweater’s lace-like flattering details keep the look oh so interesting, and by simply adding the SULTRY or INDONESIA scarf, you’ve got a “go to” easy outfit that looks youthful and fun.  Concerned about finding the perfect navy pump?  Never fear!  Try a black patent sling back wedge or any variety of nude heel.  And of course, a spectator pump will add instant polish and dimension.





By now you should know that white, in all of its delightful shades, is all over the runway.  Whether you choose soft white, optic white, ivory or cream, wearing a column of white exudes peace, serenity and minimalism.  I like to think of the look as “unfussy elegance.”  If ivory is your “white” of choice, try the BISQUE knit sweater with its lace inset back panel, paired with the CHIC sateen trouser.  It may look simple from the front, but turn around and show that custom-made lace panel and “wow”!!!



For a sportier “athleisure” look, top CHIC with HOPE, the ivory knit sweater with zipper detailing and mesh side panels.



If you desire a more feminine look, try topping the nubby tweed CHARLIE pencil skirt with either the lace GIGI blouse or the stretch satin back pleated blouse BLYTHE.



If a true white is a better “color” for you, then try the easy fitting silk georgette LAYERS blouse with the HARLEY or IMMACULATE jeans.  If you need a more jacketed look, I recommend the white metallic peplum jacket BUNGALOW.  Just push up the sleeves, pop the collar and you are ready for any day to night occasion.




Now you are ready to give neutrals a try.  Get ready for even more compliments and don’t forget to grab your sunglasses and statement bag as you effortlessly glide out the door, ready to take on the world!


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 Art and Layout: Barbara Bisel






Dreaming of a sunny escape after the Blizzard of 2015?   What better way to banish the winter blues than by planning your Spring Break destination?  The top ten Spring Break destinations dot the borders of the United States and Mexico, proving we love sunshine, the ocean and its beaches.  Dust off your passport, book your tickets, reserve your room, and assemble your wears.   With your mind already on hiatus, let your Etcetera Sales Consultant help you with the work of vacation “wardrobing.”  There’s an exotic paradise just waiting for you!


First stop the airport, with all its hustle and bustle. Comfort is key, and keeping in mind your departing and arriving temperatures may vary by 80 degrees, layering is the way to go.  Start with the ankle-length Cargo pant in army green.  It has the roll-up hem option so when you hit the heat, you can bare your calves with ease.  Top the pants with the hand-knitted Flaxen sweater or Sanremo jersey-knit hooded tunic, so comfy you’ll want to sleep in it.  Be prepared with the Octane rouge red, easy fit windbreaker.  It’s water-resistant, if God forbid, you should experience a little liquid sunshine. Carry on our braided vegan leather it-bag, Shopper, large enough to double as your beach bag, and tie the silk Marseille scarf onto your bag or around your neck.  Through security – check!


You’ve arrived, and a stroll on the beach is just what you need after your day of travel.  Throw on your bikini and cover up with the easy-breezy Comet dress which can double as your dining al fresco dress.


Prefer covering with two pieces so you can leave on one or the other?  Pack our Immaculate white denim run-around skirt, A.K.A, your shorts alternative, with the light-weight, appropriately named, Beachglass blouse.  All three pieces give you great “wearability”, taking you from beach to resort to dining.


After a few days of R & R, your sun-kissed skin may be ready for a little shade.  Explore your surroundings by strolling through seaside shops, haggling at the straw market, or hitting the local museums, art galleries, and aquarium.  You’ll look as relaxed as you feel wearing the hand crocheted Mermaid skirt with our Lana tank and Marseille scarf or Sanddune short and Paige silk ruffle front cami.  Local treasures of every imaginable kind are waiting to be discovered and packed safely in your Shopper bag.




“When the sun goes down, we’ll be groovin’…

when the sun goes down, we’ll be feelin’ all right. 

When the sun sinks down over the water,

everything gets hotter when the sun goes down.” 



If your idea of nightlife is similar to Kenny Chesney’s and you’re ready to kick up your heels and dance until dawn, put your vibe on with our Tangerine, Baroque, or Citrus dresses.  The color of fresh fruit or bright white, you’ll want one of each to capture on Insta, #etcetera #springbreak #nightlifestyle.  Slip on the Hip gold metal chain crochet wristlet, the perfect size to carry your essentials, and not weigh you down.


Before you know it your blissful vacation is over and you regrettably have to face the reality of six more weeks of winter (what does a groundhog know?!)  To avoid looking awkward in the seasonal transition, reach for the dune suede-front sweater, Boca, or ivory stretch knit Hope top and pair it with our Bluemarine jeans, or better yet, Immaculate.  Who says you can’t wear white jeans in February?



Ahhhh…your tan is fading, but your memories are clear.  You had a slice of heaven; sun, water, sand.  How many months until summer vacation??  Gee, what shall I pack??


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.







Not too long ago, I wrote about how to determine your body shape.  Knowing if you’re a Triangle, Inverted Triangle, Rectangle, Oval, or Hourglass is very helpful when it comes to selecting clothes that can work best for your body.  (By the way, while you may have heard our bodies referred to as pears, apples, bananas and such, I personally don’t like to think of us as fruit salad.  Geometric shapes appeal more to me, but if you’re comfortable with fruit, go for it!)


Now that you have an idea of what works best for your shape, it’s time to add a few more tools to your toolbox.  Let’s chat about line, proportion, and scale – in other words, how to use optical illusions to create the most flattering looks for you!


Our goal is always to create the illusion of balance.  We can create optical illusions to trick the eye giving the appearance of a more balanced figure.  When we work with outside and inside lines together, we can trick the eye to see what we want it to see and camouflage what we don’t.


We’ve all had geometry to one degree or another.  Think of the principles you learned a long time ago and imagine how those easy principles can help you when you get dressed in the morning.  For example, do you remember this?



Let’s consider outside line first.  A garment that follows the shape of the body will be the easiest fit and will have the least amount of alterations.


But don’t paint yourself into a corner and think the only garments for you are ones that are the same as your shape.  Get out the toolbox, and let’s see how we can “trick” the eye to have it see what we want it to see.


Consider the inside line.  Inside lines move the eye up, down and across the body.  Vertical lines will narrow and lengthen, horizontal lines will widen and shorten, diagonal lines and curved lines will lead the eye across the body not allowing focus in one specific area.  They are a great way to camouflage.  Use these optional illusions to your advantage.




While the above examples are obvious, our fabulous ETCETERA design team, Tom, Joel, Petra, and Patrick, use these lines in almost every garment.  Pay attention to what these subtle but almighty lines can do for our figures.


Do you love stripes but think you can’t wear them? Be creative!  While it is true ETCETERA’s beautiful RAVE top will move the eye from left to right and widen, try it under a jacket.  Remember, outside/inside lines work together.  By putting the RAVE top under the KIKI jacket, for example, we created an illusion.  The stripes no longer move the eye from left to right, but the eye sees a ladder, moving up and down the body.



Time to move on to proportion.  Think of your shape (Inverted Triangle, Rectangle, Hourglass, Triangle, or Oval) as your Horizontal Body Shape.  Let’s talk about your Vertical Body Shape as well.  What is this?  The proportion of your top half compared to your bottom half.


Basically, there are three Vertical Body Shapes to consider:  Balanced, Short Torso/Long Legs, and Long Torso/Short Legs.  The girl with the Short Torso/Long Legs can look taller than she really is and the girl the Long Torso/Short Legs can look shorter.  The Balanced girl simply needs to make sure she doesn’t get her proportions out of whack when getting dressed.


Let’s determine your proportion.


  1. Find your natural waist, the narrowest point (where you bend).
  2. Wearing a bra that gets the girls up where they need to be, see if you can fit two hands under your bust to your waist.  More than two hand widths?  You have a Long Torso/Short Legs.  Less than two hand widths?   You have a Short Torso/Long Legs.  Right at the natural waist?  You are balanced.  Keep in mind that we are all eight head lengths tall.  So, if you have a long torso, you will have short legs.  And, if you have a short torso, you will have long legs.


How does this help us when we are trying to create the illusion of a more balanced body?  To tuck or not to tuck?  Or, where should my jacket/top end?


Look how our girl with the Long Torso/Short Legs looks more balanced and in proportion by simply tucking in her top.  When we leave the top out or do not hem it at the appropriate point, her legs all but disappear.  But tuck in or hem that top, magic!


What about the girl with a Short Torso/Long legs?  Tucking in her top makes her lower body appear out of proportion.  She looks like Steve Urkel!  Leaving her top out elongates her torso and brings her more into proportion.


(At another time we’ll talk about to crop or not to crop jackets . . . or how to make the jacket you love work for you!)


Finally, for today, let’s take one final look at scale.  The size of print is also important.  Larger prints work better on larger women.  Sometimes a larger print can overwhelm the smaller frame and small prints can make larger women appear even larger.  The same holds true with handbags and jewelry.  Keep the size of your frame in mind when selecting accessories.  While today’s oversized handbags and statement necklaces may be popular, do you really want the person you meet to remember your gigantic necklace or your face?


We can barely get through a day without seeing beautiful models and a celebrity striking enviable poses.  The truth is, even the most enviable of all these public figures rarely has the perfectly proportioned body and shape.  While a clever stylist has created the illusion, you can do the same!


Happy styling.


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.



January 27th, 2015

I have a passion for fashion —  it’s in my DNA. I can’t pass a fabric store without going in and soaking up all the glorious colors and textures. But long before I was able to indulge in fashion as a career, I got my degree in Human Biology. So, when our blog coordinator, Beth Wild, asked me to write about LOVE IN LIVING COLOR, I became intrigued by both the aesthetics and the psychology behind women’s clothing choices for the most romantic day of the year, Valentine’s Day.



Chances are, when you think of dressing for a Valentine’s Day date, reds and deep pinks first come to mind. Red is the color of romance and seduction — but why? Is it just social conditioning? After a little digging, I found fascinating studies showing that men perceive women wearing red as more approachable, warm, and competent. Incidentally, the same is not true for women’s perception of men wearing red.




In a study by the University of Rochester, men were asked for their reaction to pictures of the same woman wearing the same clothes but in different hues — blue, green or red. The conclusion: when wearing red, women were more likely to be invited on a date and be treated to a more expensive outing. Hmmm… sounds good to me! With that in mind, I have compiled a few rose-toned ensembles that we might say are scientifically proven to increase your chances of a romantic — and even lavish — date on Valentine’s Day!


Planning an evening at the best restaurant in town? The INBLOOM fitted sheath elongates the body, with a Baroque print that seductively wraps the sides of the body. The strategic engineering of the print creates an illusion of an hourglass shape from the front or back.



Equally flirtatious, the CAMELIA dress features Italian stretch cotton pique, with a form-fitting bodice and sweeping feminine flared skirt. The interest is in the back, with a discreet peek-a-boo cut-out triangle just above the waistband. Red ribbon piping showcases the design detail.


If black pants are your preference, the FEISTY silk satin georgette animal print blouse and EVE pant are a sleek alternative. Combining Rouge-red, Pucker-pink, black, Honey, yellow, and orange, FEISTY straddles that fine line between “elegant” and “seductive.”  Reminiscent of a YSL design, the EVE pant is constructed of a stretch tropical suiting fabric from Portugal; flattering to the curves, they gently start to flare just above the knee, with a striking tuxedo stripe down the side seam.



Nothing says “tropical” like the hibiscus flower; one of our everyday favorites, the PIQUE jacket is a vivid staple for Spring. PIQUE is unlined for maximum comfort and stretch, but beautifully finished on the inside; it has a set-in waistband and princess seams in back to minimize the waist, with a diagonal front zipper that is also slimming.  The RHUBARB sweater features a piqued V-neckline for an interesting scalloped effect. It looks great with the flattering IMMACULATE white jean and and works beautifully with the papaya, Pucker-pink, and Rouge-red ombre SPRINGTIME scarf.



The color PINK, combining red and white, symbolizes hope and evokes positive feelings of nurturing and compassion. Etcetera’s MISCHIEF Pucker-pink zip-up cardigan is cozy for the still-chilly temperatures of February and early Spring; an elegant “statement piece”, it, too, is shown over  the CHIC ivory pant, and also works beautifully with the  MARSEILLE Italian silk habutai scarf, with its patchwork of floral photos.



If your plans run to a more casual outing, you can still keep it romantic and luxe with Etcetera’s CONFECTION Pucker-pink silk georgette peasant blouse. Beautiful over dressy slacks or jeans, this will be your go-to blouse when you want to punch up the color and make a bolder, more dramatic statement. While the color pink generally connotes “sweet and innocent,” when it is pumped up to this intensity it has greater energy. Combine pink with blue, grey, or black to give it more strength and sophistication.


Whatever you choose to wear this Valentine’s Day, you know by now that we at Etcetera love color, and we love fashion — but most of all, we love our clients!


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.”