At the end of the 1970′s, image guru John T. Molloy launched his bestselling book, The Women’s Dress for Success Book. He argued that looking the part is the first step to being perceived as competent and professional, qualities essential to being promoted and maximizing a woman’s salary.

Photo: Dress for Success, Edith Head


Whether you are a dedicated fashionista and love to explore creative, daring new looks, or prefer to work in your sweats, in the business world there are a few rules that are a must for women who want to be taken seriously and get ahead. Our goal is to make it easy for you to have a look that is classy but stylish — polished, but with a twist that tells your audience that you know the rules but also are not a slave to convention.


First, some widely-accepted standards for professional dress:

1. The predominant colors should be from a neutral palette: black, grey, charcoal, camel, navy, or cream.

2. Save flashy accessories for after work — simple, sleek jewelry is best.

3. For footwear, go for low-to-mid heel polished pumps in a neutral color.


Now for the good news — with a bit of imagination (and help from your Etcetera consultant), you can let your stylish self shine while staying corporate-style savvy.





When you think ‘menswear,’ aren’t pinstripes the first thing that come to mind? Our designers perhaps thought so, too, but they’ve made our PINSTRIPE look new and comfy, using a soft flannel for the cuffed trousers and flattering flared skirt. They’ve paired these two options with a black cardigan trimmed in the pinstripe fabric to give a feminine touch to this traditional masculine style. Go for an oxford pump by day, and an edgier shoe plus amped up lip color after five to transform the look.


Equally classic is a grey suit, such as our HERRINGBONE jacket, pant, and skirt. The ETCETERA ‘twist’ in this case is in the design of the jacket. While it’s a classic double-breasted blazer, it has a nipped-in waist, thanks to princess seams in back; double princess darts in the front; angled pocket flaps; and accent buttons that start wide at the bustline and narrow at the waist. The Italian stretch ponte fabric lets you look sharp all day but  move with ease.


Pairing your neutral suit with a crisp white blouse like our FOAM blouse is always a tasteful option, but the great thing about a grey suit is it’s ability to be combined with so many other colors, such as our flattering BETHANY jacket. Well done, design team!



Stealing from the men, the JULIE suit is a perfect example of ‘less is more.’ Its tiny camel and black foulard pattern begs to be closely inspected and appreciated. Perhaps the most serious of our suits, it is also strong on ‘chic.’ A most important rule of thumb for styling women’s ‘menswear’ is to incorporate a bit of femininity for contrast — a lace-trimmed silk blouse for example. Contrast is an essential ingredient of successful styling.


Back in 1954, Coco Chanel launched one of the chicest and most revolutionary fashion trends with her iconic jacket. Mme. Chanel’s intent was to give women a more comfortable yet sophisticated garment, freeing them from the wasp-waisted style of the day. Our GAELIC suit, in paprika, pumpkin, espresso, blue, and vicuna tweed, brings Fall leaves to mind — elements of nature also a key inspiration for Chanel. Both the jacket and the skirt lend themselves to use as separates, easily combining with other Fall-hued tops and pants in this Collection.


Another Chanel-inspired suit in our Collection is the CHESS jacket and skirt, a black and winter white slubbed tweed. Both the  black faux leather trim and the wide waist band with contrasting trim fabric provide an additional element of surprise, a key ingredient in appealing fashion. The edgy nature of the CHESS jacket makes it fabulous over white or black jeans, again playing up the appeal of contrasting styles and surprising combinations.


To keep you from getting overwhelmed with tweed, our designers placed just a front panel of tweed on an otherwise solid black skirt — so flattering. And, continuing down the path of fashion surprises, the pants are constructed from the same trim fabric used in the jacket. All in all, the CHESS suit is one you would never find in a department store, and yet is a classic you will love for years.



I doubt that any suit has ever elicited as many gasps of delight as  the QUALIFIED suit when our clients try it on. Who would have thought that such a prim and proper, elegant little suit could have so much flirty, feminine je ne sais quoi woven into it’s Italian threads? Whether you wear the collar buttoned up and rolled, or open to release the collar wings, this suit somehow manages to instantly flatter the figure. The complex weave and Fall colors of the fabric suggest countless ways of styling this piece for work and weekend.


Now, having touted the glory of suits, in many areas our business clients come to us because we offer so many ways to break down the suit and coordinate it with more casual, contrasting pieces in the collection.  ”Business attire isn’t what it used to be,” shared a stylish, SF-based attorney on Saturday. She chose the QUALIFIED suit, but also purchased the BALSAMIC velvet jacket and MITERED pink sweater to wear with the skirt as another option. She’s also excited about all the possibilities for her BALSAMIC jacket — with jeans, or dressed up for the holidays.

The PEPLUM jacket, URBAN pencil skirt, and FOAM crisp white blouse offer another stylish-but-appropriate option for those who adore color:


“A woman’s success does not depend entirely or even primarily on how she dresses,” Molloy admits, “but dress is an important factor in most women’s careers. Research shows that when a woman dresses for success, it does not guarantee success, but if she dresses poorly or inappropriately, it almost ensures failure.”  I’m guessing this is equally true for men. Fortunately, we have the ever-visionary design team at Etcetera looking out for us, helping to guarantee our success.


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 talented consultant Linda Zappala, working directly with clients, providing personal wardrobing service and helping her clients to look their own fabulous best.



It’s hard to believe FALL is here! Well, the actual autumn season may still be a couple of months away, but for the fashion world and ETCETERA, Fall is finally here. We are kicking off the Fall season with our regional Previews for our sales consultants — high-fashion style shows and product workshops to prepare for another spectacular Fall season. I can’t wait!


As an area manager, I (along with other Florida managers and our regional manager, Mille Witmer) have been planning Florida’s Fall 2014 Preview for months. What has been the most fun about planning this Preview is working with local models (some of whom are our clients) to help showcase our beautiful fall collection.



Without a doubt, working on and attending our ETCETERA Preview is the best way for our stylists to successfully learn all about the Fall line.  After this week, they will be more than ready to start booking their appointments for their Fall trunk shows. I am beyond excited for my own Fall trunk show with my partner, Karen Baker!


So, what do I love about this collection? Let me tell you first hand that it’s an amazing assortment of darling dresses, sleek suits, sassy skirts and terrific tops. Not only is the Fall 2014 Collection full of fantastic, wearable separates, but our new Red Label casual pieces are incredible too! Now, more than ever, there is truly something in this collection for every woman, for every day.


I just can’t help but share with you some of MY faves. First, from the new ETC Red Label (of which I want just about every piece), one of my favorite looks is our rockin’ DIESEL legging and DOWNTOWN cowl-neck cardigan. These are two great ETC Red Label staples that are on the top of my Fall wish list.




Next, there are so many fabulous transitional pieces that are perfect for taking you through the end of Summer right on to the many fun Fall festivities, and beyond. I’m in love with the CHABLIS and GODIVA blouses — great, versatile sleeveless tops that will take you from work to weekend in a flash.


Another must-have transitional piece is the KAT blouse, a perfect day-to-night shell that everyone should own! It is an easy, chic piece that has a gathered, beaded neckline and can be worn dressy or casual.



As always, ETCETERA’s Fall 2014 Collection is right on trend and keeping in queue with all the fashion designers. They’ve created a collection that transcends seasons with bold colors such as Campari red and fuchsia.  Oh, and we can’t forget, Orange is the new black! I’m thinking the ETCETERA AMARETTO jacket needs to be on everyone’s wish list this season!

Not only will you see color this fall, but you’ll also see elements such as nature (in color and pattern), graphic prints (retro and modern), as well as mixed prints and textures. Of course, true to ETCETERA’s classic design, we have several statement pieces in each collection!  I just love the futurist dress, CHARISMA.

I could go on and on with my list of must haves, but I have to get back to planning our Preview here in the Sunshine State! Now that you’ve had a sneak peek preview, too, are you as excited as I am about the fall collection?


Be sure to make your appointment to see this line in person —you will absolutely love it. Fall shows and ordering begin July 18th. As we say in the south, happy Fall y’all!


Lynette Earley, Interim Area Manager

Lynette is one of Etcetera’s bloggers who will share her thoughts on trends, style, fashion and fun with a 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!




The summer selling season is in the rearview mirror and we are all enjoying our new ETCETERA pieces, confident that when we step out the front door, we look fabulous!  We are now gearing up for Fall and are heading to local consultant Previews to prepare for our clients.  From what we’ve seen so far, it is going to be our best product offering ever.  We are excited!


The “in between” season, the time after one season ends and another begins, is a great time to reflect on how ETCETERA impacts women all over the country.  I set out on a mission to interview both our sales consultants and our clients as to why ETCETERA is their choice to sell and choice to purchase.


Our sales consultants are the best in the business.  They come to us from all walks of life, yet they have many things in common.  Through prior work or volunteer experience, they have developed skills in leadership, management, and marketing.  They are trained by ETCETERA in the world of fashion — trends, fabrics, fit.  Most important, they are skilled as a fashion counselor and wardrobe advisor to their clients.  They make shopping fun, and, more often than not, become a close friend and confidant.  Some of our consultants have graciously shared what it is like to be an ETCETERA sales consultant:


There are many rewards to an ETCETERA career, but most rewarding are the relationships I have made with other women.


I love that this is a business built on relationships.  And for women who love fashion and/or have always wanted to own their own boutique, selling ETCETERA allows them to do that within a flexible time commitment, as well as the opportunity to begin making a profit with their very first show!  That rarely happens in traditional retail settings.



I love this business.  It builds character, sales skills, and professionalism.


I had been a stay at home mom for 20 years.  Having a background with another direct-sales company, I was thrilled when ETCETERA found me.  I was approached with the opportunity at the right time in my life.


I would highly recommend becoming a sales consultant with ETCETERA.  Its a fabulous opportunity to earn extra income with a flexible schedule that works around family life.


My career offers me flexibility and great income potential.  It is fun, the clothes are fantastic, and I love the friendships Ive made.  I highly recommend this job!


I love my clients.  I started with people I knew through school, church, and club.  Providing the best clothes and service they can count on brought me their referrals.  Im thrilled they dont want to keep me a secret.


Many of my clients are carpooling moms.  Ive already been calling them to tell them about our new Red Label.  Im excited.  Theyre excited.  Its going to be a great fall.  I love my job! ”


Thanks to our sales consultants who took the time out of their busy schedules to share their thoughts.  I found a very common sentiment — they love their clients, the relationships they’ve formed, and they love the clothes!  These are women of incredible integrity and not a single one of them would sell a product they didn’t believe in.



Even more important is our client — she is the driving force behind everything we do.  We listen to her opinions and want to serve her needs.  She is the VIP!  While every sales consultant has heard from new shoppers the hesitation to make an appointment time to shop, across the board, once the client gets in the groove, they prefer shopping by appointment and can’t imagine anything better.


It is the one thing I do for myself.


Its all about me!


Its one stop shopping! 


ETCETERA offers me a superior product to what I can find in my department stores and boutiques.


ETCETERA has great design, quality workmanship, and beautiful fabrics all at a great value.


My sales consultant keeps up with what I purchased from season to season.  She knows my closet better than I do. 




My sales consultant suggests new additions to my closet that work back to what I already own.  Thats a huge value and money saver. 


Im a hard fit.  My sales consultant knows what will work best for my body and always makes good recommendations.


You cant beat the combination of an amazing product and the very best customer service.


I love that my sales consultant is on top of the current trends, but I never feel Im wearing a one-season trendy look.  I feel confident that I look great.


My sales consultant has become one of my most trusted confidants.  What started as a business relationship has evolved into a wonderful friendship.  I trust her opinion and look to her for advice.


My mother-in-law is very hard to please.  I invited her to come shop the ETCETERA way with me.  She loves it!  Thanks, ETCETERA.  You earned me many bonus miles.


“I’m very picky and know what I like and don’t like.  My sales consultant knows that — she actually listens.  She’s ready for me when I arrive and has already preselected things for me to try on.”
“I hate to shop.  I don’t have time to shop.  I’ll do anything to stay away from any mall or retail store.  My sales consultant makes shopping fun.  It’s productive, efficient, and I always have a good time.”
“My schedule is crazy, yet my sales consultant goes through hoops to help me, and I really appreciate it.  It may be after 9:00 at night or before 7:00 in the morning when I can get there, but she welcomes me with open arms, a big smile, and a glass of wine or cup of coffee.  I have a ball and look forward to shopping with her every season.”  

“My corporate lifestyle, community involvement, and my family keep me busy.  I don’t have time to waste going shopping.  ETCETERA takes care of my every need and doesn’t waste my time.  Every busy woman should shop this way.”

“My sales consultant goes out of her way to make me feel special.  What’s not to like?”
Ladies, thank you. Never forget that you ARE special.
Our clients appreciate how ETCETERA saves them time, provides them with a product that makes them look amazing, listens to what they say, want and need, and gives them a standard of service that seems impossible to find anymore.
From every perspective, the most important element is the relationships formed with other women. It’s a very special “sorority” of women — women of all ages, all lifestyles, all backgrounds, who all love ETCETERA. After all, girls just want to have fun!

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.


Etcetera Red Label is the highly anticipated capsule collection of chic, easy, everyday  styles that  work for every woman’s wardrobe.  Consultants are preparing for a flood of orders on July 18, the day the Fall season officially opens, and have already reported a surge in clients pre-booking appointments for their Fall showing weeks.

I have seen and worked with Red Label myself, and will have to say I want all 23 pieces.  Yes, ALL.  I can see it easily becoming the backbone of my fall / winter wardrobe.  It starts with basic (and anything but traditional!) black, including a peplum jacket, pencil skirt, pants, and leggings – and goes on to include an ivory quilted microfiber vest, charcoal leggings, and 17 beautifully fashioned knits:  sweaters, tees, cardigans, a rugby-striped dress and a full-length skirt.


Design Director, Tom Walko, and Senior Knitwear Designer, Joel Childress, developed this premiere edition of Etcetera Red Label as a well-edited lifestyle collection, designed to coordinate with our existing Etcetera collection.


“Red Label is a response to requests from our sales team and clients, and from being aware of women’s busy lifestyles,” said Tom. “As you know, our main collection is more tailored, refined – perfect for most of your professional and social needs.  Red Label was designed for ‘you’ time, and created to address how women dress today, with effortless, everyday ease. It’s about living in relaxed, modern luxury.”


“Every woman, every day.  That’s the appeal,” said Joel. “While Etcetera has always filled the wardrobe needs of stylish professionals and community leaders, it has not really focused on our clients’ down time, or those women who pass on the collection, saying ‘I really don’t dress that way’.  Now, there is something for everyone – workday to weekend. “

“Red Label will work back with fabulous finds from our Fall collection, or can simply be paired with your favorite jeans and boots,” said Tom.


I agree!  That’s exactly how I plan to wear Red Label.


Super casual days when I’m working from my home office, running a few errands, and taking care of my family, I’m sure I’ll probably reach for my favorite jeans and add INVESTED over ENGAGING (above) — or maybe the Red Label FIRESIDE sweater (below) or BASIC…


… and I know I will absolutely live in PONCHO over MACADAMIA or BASIC over the collection EQUESTRIAN suede/knit legging:


Heading out of town for business meetings and work means packing smart, and getting multiple business-appropriate outfits out of a few pieces.  The Red Label FLARE jacket over the URBAN skirt or leggings will look great right out of the suitcase, and perfect as is.

However, these 3 black basics will do more than double duty when I add beautifully tailored styles from the main Etcetera collection, like the leather trimmed CHESS skirt suit, the Foam white blouse, and the deep orchid PEPLUM jacket.

Own it all now, or collect it one fabulous piece at a time.   You are going to love Etcetera Red Label!



Beth Wild, Social Media and Training Coordinator, Carlisle-Etcetera LLC.  Beth enjoys tech, fashion, writing and the art of organization - - and the people who inspire her to explore these fields.



With temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s, many of us are concerned with beating the heat and dressing to stay as cool as possible during the “dog days” of summer. But in the world of fashion, we must stay one step ahead of the season.  Before you know it, vacations will be over, school back in session, Vogue’s iconic (and enormous) September issue will be on the stands, and you will be ready for what’s new and what’s “now.”  So let’s grab a cool drink, turn down the thermostat and take a sneak peak at what I believe is Etcetera’s best Fall collection ever!


As an Etcetera Early Bird seller, I invite my customers to preview the Fall collection in May of each year.  They always look forward to the “wow” pieces in the collection, the ones that really stand out and make a statement, such as:

  • The black leather SWISH dress:  ultra flattering, it combines ladylike “fit and flare” styling with the edginess of leather, framed with ponte knit panels.
  • The ARTDECO architectural print shift: another special piece designed to generate many compliments.  At our Early Bird showing, we couldn’t resist calling it the Chrysler building dress!
  • The Campari red CANDYAPPLE.  With an empire waist and a full skirt, this transitional cotton blend dress has the added surprise of a bright gold zipper down the back.



Another luxurious trend for Fall is the combination of knit and leather materials in jackets like MIXER and STROLL.  MIXER combines black Italian leather with dark charcoal sweater knit in the sleeves and back (shown with ULTIMA skirt and SAMANTHA sweater).

Similarly, STROLL mixes espresso suede with merino wool jersey knit in the sleeves and back.  What a way to combine the richness of leather with the comfort of knit!  We’re showing it here with the rich AUBURN sweater and NAVAJO skirt:

Luxe was not limited to jackets though.  How about the multicolored BEATNIK striped rabbit fur knitted vest combined with the midnight blue RANGER stretch cotton velveteen pant for a hippie chic statement look!


I loved that there was plenty of color in the Fall collection.   Bright jewel tones like the violet of the PLUMBERRY peplum top paired well with the ZULU pencil skirt for a fresh look that can be worn even before the temperatures dip.  When they do, just add the WOODLAND moto-inspired jacket in spruce green and pull out your black leather boots.

Pumpkin was another favorite color, as seen in the GAELIC “Chanel-esque” jacket and skirt.  The BRANDY blouse in light pumpkin is the perfect lightweight sleeveless shell with its unique pleated bib detailing.




The GAELIC jacket and skirt work well as the anchor pieces for an ‘ETC Advantage’ wardrobe. An ETC Advantage combines one jacket with three tops and three bottoms to create 18 combinations for an amazing “cost per look” value. I’d select:

  • The BRANDY and CHABLIS blouses, and the WHISKEY mock turtleneck for the tops
  • The GAELIC skirt
  • The NIGHTBIRD and RAPTURE pants
  • Total cost of $1595 represents an incredible value since the cost per look for the 18 looks is only $88!


I’d certainly be remiss if I didn’t mention the new Etcetera Red Label capsule collection – 23 more casual pieces designed to be effortlessly chic and easy to wear.  I’m already dreaming of all the ways I will wear the FLARE scuba peplum jacket! The matching black ponte knit URBAN leggings are a “must have item” for every woman’s wardrobe, and are perfectly topped with any of the easy fitting sweaters such as WARMTH, TIBET or COZY, or, in warmer climates, the MIST cowl neck tunic in light charcoal.

So while you are chilling by the pool this summer, rest assured that Fall will arrive as it does every year, with a nip in the air and fresh looks for your closet.  Until then, stay cool and enjoy your summer!

Margaret Cavin is an Etcetera Sales Consultant, and has been a partner with Darlene Hampton and Frances Polley in their Jacksonville, FL, agency for over 4 years.  She started selling Etcetera as an Associate with the agency over 8 years ago, and also worked for a while as an Area Development Manager. As this blog is being published, Margaret is hiking the Basqueland of France and Spain with her mother.