Last February, I spent a weekend attending classes by our local chapter of the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI). The clear highlight of the weekend was a workshop by Sue Donnelly, international image coach, who flew in from England just for this occasion. Sue’s mission – to make authentic style achievable in a way that is totally relevant, meaningful, and practical for each individual – has become my goal when I work with my clients.

Sue’s workshop especially hit home with me because her topic that day was styling 50+ women, a demographic I thoroughly love working with.  We discussed the psychological impact of our changing bodies and the fact that by 50 we have gotten so entrenched in caring for our families that making ourselves a priority feels somehow selfish. We become ‘invisible’ – no more compliments, no more second glances — and we get used to that, albeit with a bit of mourning at the loss of our identity.


Sue highlighted the three major traps that women in this age group fall into in order to deal with this new reality:


DRESSING TOO YOUNG: Fighting their changing image, some women jump on board with every trend, no matter that it’s designed for a 20 year old; the effect is more pathetic than alluring.



DRESSING TOO SAFE: The most common fashion faux pas is staying in workout clothes all day; or a uniform of jeans and t-shirt/sweater. *Note: wearing athletic apparel all day does not make people think you’re athletic.



DRESSING TOO OLD: Career women are especially prone to this, in an effort to look professional. Businesslike = Frumpy? AU CONTRAIRE!



With this in mind, I’d like to share a few looks my partner, Linda Zappala, and I created this week at our Etcetera Holiday show for my fabulous clients, who are all accomplished women – professionals, mothers, volunteers – and who deserve to look and feel great.


Linda is the Queen of Edgy Combinations. I love how she took our lovely, cozy PAYTON sweater dress and gave it a second life as a tunic over leggings (and threw our OMBRE scarf in for good measure). For the client whose top priority is effortless style and ease, this is the ticket!


One of Etcetera’s design philosophies is to create collections that blend from one season into the next. Linda paired the chic, QUALIFIED jacket and luxe ELK velveteen jean from Fall with Holiday’s PENNY blouse for an upscale casual look:




I love that women all around me are getting into yoga — toning up, and being more in tune with their bodies. One of the rewards is being able to wear a figure-hugging piece like our TOURMALINE velvet burnout top over a snug pair of jeans like our MERCURY foiled stretch cotton. A dynamic, fashion-forward friend who recently founded a new software app company was my muse for this outfit:


For a client who is phasing into a more casual work life, or our stay-at-home mom wanting an outfit to up her game for lunch and meetings, the KISMET blouse, paired with the KIMONO cardigan and MERCURY jean was a beautiful option, with versatile possibilities for each piece:



One of our clients is an executive for a professional sports team. This is a business where staying current is especially important, both in the office and at her frequent after-hours events. I can’t wait to have her try on our GOLDRUSH jacket, BACCARAT blouse, and SOLARIS pant later this week:


The showstopping LOLITA skirt actually hung in our showroom a few days before anyone thought to try it on. It looked so basic in design, and so satiny red, we just weren’t picturing it hanging it in our closet. However, as of this afternoon, we are fighting over it, and putting it on every client. The subtle detail, the cut, the great stretch in the fabric, all make this one incredible skirt. Put it with a sexy black top like our PERFECT mesh/velvet and a great pump, and prepare to be noticed… in a good way.


The ubiquitous Black Pant — how many pairs does one woman need? Well, however many you have, make room for one more pair. The GLISTEN black satin pant has a trim cut that is remarkably flattering on every woman who has passed through our showroom. It’s straight-cut enough to balance out a wider hip, and yet narrow enough at the ankle to go with any type of pump or flat shoe — definitely a case of “what’s old is new again.” We’re showing it here with the dazzling RADIANT Campari red velvet jacket, and BELLADONNA cable and sheer intarsia sweater. Oo-la-la!





Check out Sue Donnelly’s website,, for a full listing of her blog articles, and enjoy your own authentic, relevant, meaningful style.


Barbara Bisel, Sales 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.”


HOLIDAY 2014… A Sneak Peek

September 23rd, 2014

Aaah the holidays!!!  Yes, I am referring to the winter holidays which will be here before you know it!  The crisp nip in the air, the joyous spirit and the gatherings with friends and family.   Just thinking about it warms my heart and puts a spring in my step!  And of course, I start thinking of all the great fashion opportunities to break out Etcetera’s newest styles.  So, while you are lounging, working or playing in your Etcetera Fall selections, let’s take a peek at the exciting Holiday collection.




If you couldn’t get enough of Etcetera’s new Red Label sub-collection, then you are in for a treat!  The Holiday collection has 8 new gorgeous Red Label pieces and you are going to want them all.  The Red Label collection concentrates on cozy chic dressing for your everyday lifestyle.  Whether you are shuttling kids to school and soccer practice, running errands on the weekends or walking hand in hand through the fall leaves, you know you want to look great and Etcetera makes it so easy.



Consider adding either (or both!)  the aqua mélange BIMINI or powder pink RELAXING sweaters to your wardrobe.  These easy fitting viscose cashmere blend sweaters have “high low” hemlines and white gold zippers at the side seams. To feel them is to fall in love – they are so soft that we call them a “cashmiracle.”



Other legging toppers include JETSET, a black easy fitting cable and rib knit tunic sweater in a cotton blend; and HYBRID, an amazing one piece sweater that mimics the look of a cotton jersey cardigan layered over a woven crepe de chine button down blouse. Both are perfectly paired with any of Etcetera’s great legging options, such as the black flocked Tetris ATTRACTIVE.




9 to 5 (and 5 to 9!)


Okay, so of course it is easy to get excited about the comfy clothes we wear when we are having fun, but it is just as fun to dress for work in Etcetera’s newest pieces.  During the holidays there are endless social gatherings where a busy executive needs to be able to take her look from desk to dinner.  Might I suggest the black MAESTRO suit in stretch houndstooth jacquard with the ARTISTRY paisley silk georgette cami?  This 3-piece suit is professional enough to command attention in the boardroom, but perfect for an after-work gathering as well.  Just let your hair down or switch out your earrings and remove the jacket to go from corporate to cocktails in a flash.



I’d complete the look with either tall black boots or a pointy toe stiletto and the fuchsia BEJEWELED clutch, one of two new clutches in the Etcetera Holiday collection.  Bejeweled is a fuchsia satin clutch with a beautiful rhinestone flower clasp and BLING is a black satin clutch with a bow clasp; both are big enough to hold your essential items, phone, lipstick and money.


Similarly, the EXCALIBUR skirt suit in mini diamond metallic tweed can take an on-the-go professional wherever she needs to go.  Wear the suit jacket buttoned up and topped with the BOWTIE belt during the day; for evening switch it out for the black jersey cardigan KITTY, elegance in a sweater, with an attached silk scarf and lace trim.




I just love getting dressed up for parties during the holidays.  Even the most casual gathering for hot cider and cocoa can be an occasion to showcase a great look.  There are many options in the Holiday collection for any event, so be sure to RSVP Yes!


For a festive dressy party or an evening wedding, give the LUMINOUS scuba tech jersey sheath dress a try.   Featuring an “on trend” blurred rose exploded digital print in shades of black, gold, silver and white, LUMINOUS can also be worn more casually when layered over the crisp white OXYGEN blouse or topped with the DARKNESS cardigan and CINCHED belt (from the Fall collection).



Another dressy option is the elegant winter white DECADENT sculpted sheath dress.  This multi-textured dress features 3 different fabrics: a luxurious stretch velveteen, a stretch double weave, and a stretch cotton blend jacquard.  Keep the accessories simple and understated to complete the look.  A pair of diamond studs and a patent leather nude peep toe pump should do the trick!



Looking for a new LBD?  The knit lace trimmed PARIS dress is the perfect dress for every woman’s wardrobe.  The scalloped lace yokes at the front and back, along with the exposed back zipper make this a-line skirted party dress a “wow” piece.



For more casual gatherings, try the CARMEN sweater in Campari red with the black flocked BLACKROSE jeans.  You’ll turn heads coming and going with Carmen’s double split detail in the center back.



So, whether you are decorating cookies with the kids, or sipping champagne with the neighbors, there is something for you in Etcetera’s Holiday collection.  Be sure to book your personal appointment with your consultant so that you will be ready for all the fun occasions the holidays bring!


 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 and when she’s not reading InStyle or rearranging closets, she loves to run and stay physically fit.  A native Floridian, Margaret also loves exploring National Parks and learning about different countries and cultures.








The Denim Detox

September 16th, 2014

I challenge you to take the 30-day denim detox and embrace holiday fashion  with comfort, a little glitz and a lot of glam.  With the Etcetera Holiday collection soon to be at a showroom near you, what better time to put away the Levi’s (just temporarily) and prepare to put on your party apparel?


The holidays are the perfect time for a stylistic transformation.  With decorations and parties abounding, why not dress in accordance with the season?  The Etcetera Holiday collection has the latest trends: luxe outerwear and knits, bright and bold colors, trousers, and opulence!


I’m no Ron Burgundy or Al Roker, but based upon last year’s polar vortex and this summer’s record low highs, it’s a good idea to be prepared for chilly temps.  Layer-up with Etcetera sweaters DARKNESS, KIMONO, and HOODIETextured, chunky, waffle and cable knits are all over the runway, making these looks must-have rather than musty.  Top it off with MARZIPAN or MAGIC scarf creating the “shoulders look bolder” trend.


Looks for the holidays are all about vibrant color.  The Emmys’ red carpet was filled with red and the stars certainly did not blend into the walkway.  I am sure you’ll agree our SEDUCTIVE dress is every bit as stunning as the Carolina Herrera gown Julia Louis-Dreyfus wore.  The back is as striking as the front.  It’s a must have!  You will be guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.

Fuchsia and red are bold colors that stood out on the runway and will stand out on you.  Our RADIANT jacket with BARBIE, a fuchsia stretch cotton pant, can take you from the office to a holiday party in an instant.  Not only is our Holiday collection filled with red, but our Fall line is as well.  This is the year to own red outerwear.  The IGNITE jacket from the Fall collection makes a lasting statement even on the grayest of days (shown here with our ENIGMA dress and DIVA gloves).

Our Holiday and Fall collections are also on trend with a variety of blue and green shades.  If blue describes your mood, favorite gemstone, or conjures images of your summer beach vacation, this may be just the color to perk you up.  No need to be blue or green with envy when you have so many options from which to choose.  The sapphire blue MAZARINE jacket and pant will be your staple, along with the MERCURY jean and SARGASSO blouse. The BIMINI aqua cashmere blend sweater with the SIGNATURE scarf and ATTRACTIVE legging will take you back to your beach vacation in a flash.



With the wide variety of pants and trousers trending, you will not even remember your detox from denim. What to wear with booties, tall boots, thigh-high boots, oxfords, pumps, platforms, open-toe, peep-toe, lace-up shoes and sandals? Our designers are cognizant of our insatiable need for footwear and they’ve designed our pants with that in mind.  We have leggings and slim leg pants for the booties and tall boots.  We have straight leg, tapered leg, and wide leg for the oxfords and heels.  Concerned about pants that truly fit?  We can help with that.  Etcetera has pants, whether your body resembles Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, or Grace Kelly.  Your sales consultant will help you find the pant that fits you and your footwear fetish.



Whether you’re donning or imbibing champagne, it’s opulence all the way.  Light up the town with our GOLDRUSH champagne jacket and SOLARIS pant.  We have glitz galore!  Pair the silk charmeuse copper blouse, PENNY (no need for a necklace with its banded jewel and stone neckline) with our HIPSTER pant to rock the company holiday party.



Sip your mimosa wearing the TWINKLE sequined jersey sweater with our MERCURY gunmetal jean and must-have, new-to-Etcetera, BLING black satin clutch. What champagne doesn’t marry with lace?  A holiday dress that even Dom would be proud to toast is the fuchsia sheath FEMME with sheer lace trim (above, top image).  Whether it’s a bit of the bubbly color, luxurious silks, jewel and stone embellishments, clutches, sequins, or lace, Holiday has what it takes to transform your wardrobe into a winter wonderland.


You are sure to succeed with your 30-day denim detox armed and clothed with the trending Etcetera outerwear and knits, bright and bold colors, trousers, and opulence.  Before you know it, you will have completed the challenge and find yourself packing up your holiday décor.  The decorations may go back in the box, but your wardrobe will be forever transformed.


JoEllyn Slott, Etcetera Sales Consultant


JoEllen and business partner, Carolyn Crawford, have owned their own Etcetera agency in Germantown, TN, since 2001. They say their goal is to create compliments for their customers, and Etcetera makes that easy!  JoEllyn is a trainer for new sales consultants, and says she is honored to be a guest blogger, having not been published since her high school newspaper.









September 9th, 2014

Where did summer go?  Seems like just yesterday kids were getting out of school for the summer, attending graduations and June weddings, buying sunscreen by the gallon, and heading off for summer vacations with family and friends.  I thought summer was a time for relaxing, but I find I am always on the go.  Yet, here we are, in the blink of an eye, packing kids off to college and hitting the school supply stores for pens, pencils, paper, and markers.


Once everyone is settled, it’s the perfect time for a romantic weekend getaway, and it just might be what the doctor orders.  A trip that screams “This trip is all about us!”  In every corner of our great country, there is someplace special — someplace perfect for such a trip.  There’s Mystic, Montauk, or Mackinaw Island, Aspen, Sedona, Napa Valley, and the San Juan Islands.  And, for us southern girls, we love a trip to Savannah, Charleston, or Asheville.


It’s hard to beat Asheville.  An easy drive, Asheville has it all — great shopping, delicious restaurants, and even our very own chateau.  From four star accommodations to quaint and charming B&Bs, there’s something for every couple, and Asheville is one of the top art destinations in the country — hundreds of galleries.  You can watch artists at work and buy directly from them.


I’m throwing a few of my favorite pieces in a bag and I’m ready to go!



No trip to Asheville would be complete without a drive on the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway.  The drive is mesmerizing, curving through tunnels opening to sites from forests to open meadows, panoramic views, breathtaking overlooks, clear waterfalls.  Watching a sunset from the top of the Pinnacle at Craggy Gardens is a great place to sneak a kiss and remember how you got together in the first place!


The key for this drive is comfort AND style.  We will want to stop along the way and a girl has to look cute when she’s with her honey!  Today, I’ll wear Etcetera’s AMBER cashmere-blend jersey cocoon cardigan over comfortable TEXAS auburn stretch corduroys and the BOTANICAL stretch cotton/silk floral print blouse.  I think the turning leaves will be the perfect backdrop for this outfit.  Photo Op!



This weekend, we’ve picked the historic Grove Park Inn.  Built in 1913 with stone mined from Sunset Mountain, it’s a lovely spot for a romantic getaway.  It’s the perfect way to reconnect after a summer of family activities.


Tonight, we’ll have cocktails and dinner on the Sunset Terrace.  You simply cannot find a better view.  The fuchsia and espresso stretch ANIMALE dress is one of my favorites.  I’ve always loved a wrap dress, but they can be challenging to wear when you sit, walk, or are in a breeze.  Solution:  Etcetera’s Faux wrap ANIMALE!  Get the look without the worry.



Saturday morning, we awake to a busy day ahead, but first a little breakfast in bed is always good for the soul!  No trip to Asheville would be complete without a visit to Biltmore Estate.  This chateau-styled mansion was built by George Vanderbilt during 1889-1895.  At approximately 179,000 square feet with 250 rooms, it is the largest privately owned home in the United States.  And, I have no intention of skipping the winery. Be it ever so humble, let’s see what life was like for the Vanderbilts during the Gilded Age.  For such a rich backdrop, our TAPESTRY print pants topped with prussian blue TRULY stretch jersey knit top and YALE quilted puffer-front jacket is comfortable yet regal.  If born today, I imagine it’s what Mrs. Vanderbilt would wear around the house.



Our last night, and to make it special, we have reservations at the Dining Room located in the Inn on Biltmore Estate.  I know, to name a restaurant, “The Dining Room” is rather lackluster and unimaginative, but what they lack in creativity for their choice of name, they most certainly make up for it in their cuisine.   It’s time to pull out all the stops!  CHARISMA is my choice tonight.  The navy stretch satin in front and charcoal ponte knit back wedge dress is so beautiful.  I’ll take the WRAPAROUND charcoal knit scarf just in case I need a little extra warmth.



Sunday morning, and all that sightseeing calls for ultimate pampering.  I love the tandem, candle-lit spa massage at the Grove Park Inn.  Sip champagne and eat a few chocolate-covered strawberries, and this romantic spa experience will have you relaxed and rested.  (Or, like me, your batteries charged for an afternoon of art galleries and shopping!)  But just because you’re heading to the spa, doesn’t give you license to pad down the hall in a bathrobe.  After all, you never know who you will meet.  The FLARE light-weight stretch scuba peplum jacket, TRAVELER ponte knit pants, and ORZO sleeveless top present a polished look with no more effort than throwing on sweatpants.  I’ll take the GOSSAMER scarf for a little extra punch.



Ready for shopping!  We love being in the mountains, but the weather can change quickly.  Although the Boy Scout’s motto is “Be Prepared,” I’m convinced it was first said by a boy scout’s mom!  After all, women think that way . . .  men, well, not so much!  So, the key for today is layers (and a very large tote for goodies I find along the way).  I loved these layering pieces.  Chic and Sassy, ready for whatever the forecast.  Start with the VELVETEEN stretch cotton skirt in espresso and WHISKEY stretch modal jersey top in Paprika.  If there’s a little chill in the area, layer on INVESTED.  This vest is light-weight and the quilting is subtle and will not add extra pounds, I promise.  Throw on the paprika FLING scarf, and I’m good to go.  And, just in case there’s a little drizzle in the air, our HUNTED water-repellant stretch sateen trench coat will keep a smile on my face.  I’m ready to shop . . . let the games begin!



The drive down the mountain doesn’t disappointed.  It’s easy to see why they’re called the Blue Ridge!



Back home . . . and back to reality!  Oh well, I’ll have the memory of the weekend to help me plow through the piles of laundry.

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.




September 3rd, 2014

Next to blue jeans, there’s nothing quite as all-American as a plain white T-shirt. It’s versatile, it’s cool, and it’s the foundation of our wardrobes that can be incorporated in to just about everything we wear. Not to mention, a “tee” shirt can be worn any day of the year, during any season!


When we think of a T-shirt, tee-shirt, or tee, we typically think of that simple, short-sleeved shirt with a round crew neckline (usually, Hanes comes to mind). But the T-shirts of today — as we now know them — have come a long way! From the “T-shirts” that were introduced to us 101 years ago by the U.S. Navy (as an undergarment which was never thought to be worn by itself) to the colorful “tee shirts” that are must-have wardrobe staples — this wardrobe essential is a chic styling piece that we can wear in so many ways.


What’s great about modern tee shirts of today is that they are elegantly made and can be worn virtually with anything that you own. They can be dressed up and they can be dressed down — and you’ll never run out of ways to wear them.


You may be thinking your tee shirts just don’t have the coolness factor of the latest trendy tops. But when it comes to versatility, the classic tee shirt scores off the charts. Seriously, the tee shirt is a true wardrobe workhorse – even the plain (and not so plain) tee offers limitless styling potential. Here are several style tips to help you rev up your fall fashion rotation with just a tee:


1.) Dress it up!  Your simple tee and favorite jeans don’t have to be worn while you are watching a movie or football game . . . dress them up for an elegant day look or night on the town.



2.) Pair it with comfortable, but classy pieces. You don’t have to wear workout clothes all day to be comfy –instead wear a sleek tee and leggings with a darling cozy jacket!


3.) Understate yourself! If you opt for more than one strong, trendy piece (such as patterned pants, funky booties, etc.), throw an understated tee shirt into the mix to avoid trend overload.



4.) Dial it down! I just love a tee shirt with a sequin, beaded, leather or embellished skirt. A simple tee dials down the formality of your glitzier pieces and creates a more wearable, every day look.



5.) Work it! Who doesn’t love a comfy tee shirt under their suit!?  Zoom, Lana and Orzo (ETCETERA staples) are comfortable but elegant (sleeveless) tees under your suiting. I can’t tell you how many times I sell one of these pieces, and my client comes back asking for one in every color. This ‘tee’ is the working girl’s MUST HAVE.




6.) Lighten up! I love all black, but I also love to soften an edgy all black or monochromatic look with a white tee.


You also can’t go wrong with layering, tucking or embellishing your favorite tee. With ETCETERA, our  NECESSITIES tee shirt collection offers just about every neckline, sleeve length and color you need in your wardrobe. I personally love the boat-neck style and have added the new INDUSTRIAL (charcoal grey) and EGGSHELL (cream) to my wardrobe foundation this fall.


Whether you’re partial to the standard crewneck or the long sleeve V-neck, I know you will love how these soft Peruvian pima cotton gems look and feel!


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!