Spring Outfit with ShopNational

I’m taking a brief break from my Pantone Spring/Summer 2019 series to introduce you to a clothing retailer called National. This is a sponsored post. National gifted me the clothing items in this post and gave me compensation for writing the post. All opinions are my own.

National is a family owned business that was started by Eddie Smith. After the influx of women into the workplace nearing the end of WWII, what started as a small mail order operation selling women’s stockings, has now grown into a prospering clothing platform specifically catering to women who like classic styles and clothes made for real life. National sells everything from cardigans and dresses to hosiery and bras. They have kept up with the times, moving from a strictly catalogue based clientele to the inclusion of a more recent online presence. Knowing the history of National, I am excited to bring this retailer to my readers.

The pieces I chose from National revolve around a spring theme, but will work well through the summer. The first few pictures will show the pieces as is, with the later pictures including my own accessories.

National Wholesale

The two pieces I chose are the Southwest Embroidered Top and the Spring Blossoms Embroidered Jeans. i have always been a fan of embroidery. It adds both texture and interest to so many different clothing pieces and these two from National are no exception. I saw the jeans first when I was perusing their website, after they contacted me about a collaboration. I fell in love with the embroidery, especially the splashes of yellow and blue. You can see in the pictures below, the embroidery is both on the thigh of the right leg and the lower shin area of the left leg. I like that the floral images are on both legs, yet in different places.

These pants are light weight and have an elastic waist and slimming front panel. I was surprised at how well they fit and how flattering they were. The straight legs could also be worn rolled up for a more breezy summer look. The only drawback of these light weight pants in the white is they are a bit see through. I chose to wear nude underwear, so it was no problem. Just don’t wear those red, hot pink or black panties, or everyone will know. Ha, ha. I ordered these in a large and the fit was perfect.

I chose the top because I thought the denim blue color went well with the blue in the pants. Once again, the embroidery was the selling point for me. This top has a southwest boho vibe, which I love. Look at all the details on this lovely piece.

National Wholesale

The v-neck boasts embroidery detail and fun fringe.

National Whole sale

The neck ties end in tassels.

National Wholesale

The embroidery on the elastic gathered sleeves adds a black and white color contrast.

National Wholesale

The shirt tail hem makes it perfect for wearing untucked.

National Wholesale

The fabric this popover blouse is made of is a fabric called lyocell, which is a form of rayon. It is machine wash and dry, so easy to care for. However, the fabric is not stretchy and the bust area is a tad tight. I ordered a medium and think I would have felt a tad more comfortable in a large. Overall, another great clothing piece from National.

Here is the outfit with my own accessories.


I really like these pieces and was pleasantly surprised with National. I have never been a big catalogue shopper, but now that National is available on line, I have a feeling I will be purchasing from them again. It is convenient, easy and quick, and their clothing and accessories are classic pieces easily worn by busy women like us.

I hope you will check out National. Right now they are offering my readers a discount. If you use the code Natl20Amy you will get 20% off your entire order and free shipping. This would be a great time to give this family owned retailer a try.

Have a great day.

Spring Trends - 2017

Every season we see a new parade of trends marching across the stage at all the up scale fashion shows. Many of the things we see on the runways are not necessarily trends that translate well to the everyday world of many women. We probably are not going to don our peek-a-boo tops for work (unless we work at a strip club...ha, ha) and our stripes may not be quite as gaudy or loud, however, there are a number of spring trends that are perfect for all of us actual women.

1. Stripes are stunning. You can wear them horizontal or vertical; seaside or oxford; wide or narrow; stripes are everywhere. Stripes are our friends. You might not think so, but let's do a quick review. Horizontal stripes have long been touted as making us look fatter, but narrow horizontals can actually make you look thinner. Vertical stripes tend to elongate our frames. My theory is this, you can wear whatever you like. I wear horizontals on the top and verticals on the bottom. However, If it is a piece I absolutely adore, I will forgo my usual way of doing things.

2. Florals are fragrant. Light florals, dark florals, floral dresses, skirts, tops, leggings, jackets and pants; basically you can easily find a bouquet of floral patterned pieces just about anywhere. I like floral patterns, but I am picky about how much, how large or small and what color combinations. There are patterns, that for me, are just too busy. I don't want to get dizzy looking at what I am about to put on.

3. Blush is beautiful. Pale pink is all the rage and is showing up everywhere from shoes and bags, to coats, tops and jeans. You won't have to look too far to see pale pink sneaking onto store shelves and clothing racks. Not all of you may feel you can wear this light color, but as with any color, never say never. Pale pink can show up as a cute cross body bag or a comfy pair of sneakers. Just a touch of it in your wardrobe can make you trend savvy.

4. Raging ruffles. They're back! Romantic ruffles. How do you feel about ruffles? I used to have a white silk blouse that had ruffles around the neck and down by the wrists. It was a regular pirate shirt. I loved it at the time, but once the trend came and went I let it go! I should have kept it. Ha, ha. I'm okay with ruffles, but I like to do them in moderation. 

5. Perfect perforations. Another trend that I like is perforations. These little decorative holes are showing up on bags, wallets, sandals and shoes. I also like to think of crocheted or knitted items as perforated clothing. They are basically clothing with little (or big) holes in them.

6. Cool khaki. Khaki is the new neutral, or maybe it is an old neutral, as it has been front and center before. This color works great as a pair of pants or shorts, or as a skirt or dress. The piece that I think of most often when I hear the word is the trench coat. 

I gave you a few samples under each category just to give you ideas. What follows are just a few outfit ensembles that I did by shopping my own closet. 

flat lay - spring trend ideas

Blush jeggings, pin striped jacket, floral long sleeve button up, Pink Yarrow jewelry, gold sandals and clutch. Pattern mixing has gotten even easier with the smooth blend of stripes and florals.

flat lay - spring trend ideas

Olive utility jacket, striped 3/4 length sleeve tee with embellishment, gold jewelry, frayed hem crop jeans, blush fold over bag and blush flats. Olive seems to be making a stand in the fashion world and will be sticking around as another versatile neutral. Distressed jeans are big right now too. 


Crocheted fit and flare sweater top, blush lace trim cami, fringe multi strand bracelet, gold floral necklace, perforated red bag, tiered floral tea length skirt, sandals. The fit and flare trend is back as well, meaning dresses and tops are more fitted through the bodice and waist, then flare out. The tiered skirt also seems to be making a subtle come back, which I love, as I have several of these. This is a great skirt for the summer, giving full coverage, but not needing a slip underneath. 

I hope to show you some of these outfits, in the flesh, at some point down the line. While I didn't cover all the trends, I hope that this was informative in letting you know more about what is going on in the fashion world this spring. 

Let me know what you thought of this post in the comments section below. Your comments help my blog to grow, so I appreciate the input. 

This post contains affiliate links, which means when you click on a shopping link, I get a few cents. If you purchase something through one of the links, I get a little commission. All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday linking up with Rena of Fine! Whatever...., Catherine of Not Dressed as Lamb.  

Chasing Away the Winter Blues - Week 2


My little series this month centers around styles and ways to chase away the winter blues that often accompany long weeks of cold and gray skies. For those of us who suffer with Season Affective Disorder, anything to give us a bit of a lift is well received. Last week I talked about wearing bright colors. You can see that post here. Wearing bright colors, not only gives us a lift because it makes us look light and cheery, but it reflects light into our faces and light is one of the essential things missing in these winter months. 

Another thing I like to do when I am feeling blue is force myself to get out of the house and do something different. Saturday was my 53rd birthday. My two daughters Rebecca and Rachel decided to plan a day out with me. 

We started our day, getting our make up done by my younger daughter Rachel, who is a make up artist. You can see her Instagram page here

chasing away the winter blues - a day out
chasing away the winter blues - a day out

The first pic is me getting made up and the second is my eldest. And yes I was taking the pictures with her fancier-than-mine, camera! Rachel was already done before we got there. While Rebecca was being done, I took a picture of another cutie. 

chasing away the winter blues - a day out

Rebecca added a few other cutie pictures of Rachel's pets.

chasing away the winter blues - a day out
chasing away the winter blues - a day out

Here are the three of us read to shop!

chasing away the winter blues - a day out

We went up to Ann Arbor, MI which is less than an hour away. Since it was lunch time when we got there we went to a famous Ann Arbor eatery/deli called Zingerman's. 

chasing away the winter blues - a day out

When you first walk in you see a typical deli with glass cases full of a wide variety of meats and cheeses. We didn't stop for a look, but continued further into a maze of walls, doorways, signs and displays, to the ordering station for lunch. The menu was on the walls up close to the ceiling and held every possible configuration of beef, pork, turkey, chicken, fish and so on. A bit on the pricey side we ordered the small size of our sandwiches and we were glad we did. 

chasing away the winter blues - a day out

Rebecca ordered the chicken while Rachel and I got turkey. It was amazing. It was all we could do to open our mouths wide enough to take a bite. The bread was grilled and crispy and the toppings varied from avocado and tomatoes to pesto and peppers. We certainly did not need the large size. Ha, ha.

After lunch we headed to Arborland Center, a strip mall that houses stores like DSW, Marshall's, Maurice's and Ulta. Recently I won $100 in gift cards from Jodie on Jodie's Touch of Style, for Nordstrom. Seeing as we do not have a Nordstrom in our town and the fact that I like to try things on, especially at a store I have never shopped at before, the girls did the online research and found a Nordstrom Rack at Arborland Cener. 

I did find a few nice things at Nordstrom Rack, which I plan on featuring in a later post. Rebecca even found a nice, warm winter coat to replace her old one and Rachel found some make up and a jacket for her son. Success!

After Nordstrom we ran across the street to a thrift store. My girls learned their love of thrifting from me. They both are trying to keep a budget and being able to get clothing at thrift stores really helps. Rachel found a cute stained glass lamp for $10 and I found a velvet, knee length jacket from J.Jill for only $6. 

Since we still had a few minutes before we had to head south to meet the men for dinner we stopped at Maurice's. I had never been in this shop and it was cute. The clothing seems to span generations which I like. There were things my daughters would wear and things I would wear and the prices weren't too bad either. Click here to check out their online site; Maurices.

chasing away the winter blues - a day out

This was one of the cute dressing rooms at the store. The clerks actually write your name on the door. Rachel got two pairs of pants for work. Rebecca and I didn't buy anything, not because we didn't want to. I will definitely be visiting this store again, either in person or on line. 

I had Rebecca snap a few more pics after we got back so you could see my outfit for the day.

chasing away the winter blues - a day out
chasing away the winter blues - a day out
chasing away the winter blues - a day out

The outfit consisted of black knee high boots, dark wash skinny jeans, charcoal gray cowl neck top, maroon fly away cardi and a retro styled fringe necklace.

I hope you enjoyed coming along with me and my girls on my birthday, chase away the blues, excursion. I had a good time with my daughters. And that night for dinner we met my husband, son-in-law and grandson at a favorite Italian restaurant for dinner. 

Thanks for visiting the blog and be sure to leave some love in the comments section below, or follow me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. 

Check back on Thursday when I will reveal an Awesome Accessory that I got for Christmas. Have a great day.

Monday linking up with Catherine of Not Dressed as Lamb. Tuesday linking up with Shelbee of Shelbee on the Edge, and Jess of Elegantly Dressed and Stylish. Thursday linking up with Nicole of High Latitude Style. Friday linking up with Nancy's Fashion Style

Beautiful Blogger Bests

This is the third column I am adding to my fashion blog. When I started thinking about blogging my daughter told me I needed to follow other blogs to see how people set up their pages, what they were talking about and so on. I have simply fallen in love with some of the other blogs I follow. 



I have found ideas, inspiration, motivation and encouragement through other bloggers. So in honor of their wonderful blogs and their great ideas, I have decided to do a feature once a month focusing on an idea that I saw on another blogger's post, by showing you my own version of their idea. Of course I want to give them all the credit, so I will be including links back to the original posts that inspired me.

Here are a few of the fashion bloggers that I love to follow:

Jodie's Touch of Style - Jodie is a retired cosmetic dentist. She has taken fashion, interior decorating and design classes and uses the things she has learned to enhance her knowledge of fashion for women over 50. I love how Jodie uses three generations of models; herself (50's), her step-mom, Nancy (60's) and her mom, Charlotte (70'). Many of the items you see, she has found at thrift stores, which is right up my alley. Jodie is a sweet, down to earth person, who wants to encourage all women to find their own style. I will be featuring a number of ideas from Jodie because I have learned so much from her. 

Designing From My Closet - Janeane is a beautiful soul. Being an interior designer she has easily translated that ability into her fashion. She, like Jodie and myself, loves to create from her own closet, using pieces that she already has, or buying more inexpensively via thrift stores, using coupons and Poshmark. Janeane has inspired me in so many ways and has made me think more about intentional dressing. Dressing not just for an occasion, but looking at our style as a way to convey an image, emotion or message. 

With Wonder and Whimsy - Liz has her own style and I love to see what she posts each time. Her style is full of color, lace and well, whimsy. Liz is not afraid to try new things and doesn't let her beautiful red hair keep her from wearing certain colors. She looks beautiful in them all! Whether she's styling an outfit up or an outfit down, Liz creates a cohesive look that inspires and motivates me to give new things a try. 

A Pocketful of Polka Dots - Jennie is an administrative assistant and a blogger. She is the mother of 4 boys and hit a point in her 40's where she decided to do things differently, going from wearing mainly black to all sorts of color. She loves shoes and you'll love her collection too! I haven't been following Jennie for quite as long as the others, but I really like her style. Being a fan of casual dressing, I love her take on wearing jeans, Converse sneakers, tee- shirts and blazers. 

Not Dressed as Lamb - Catherine is a well known, award-winning,  blogger from the UK. Her sense of style is supported by the idea that no one should tell you what you can and cannot wear...no matter how old you are. She has no fear of mixing colors, patterns or textures. She knows how to bring a pop of color to a more subdued palette, but can also create an awesome outfit around something as unique as a pair of yellow pants. Catherine believes women should be able to wear what they want, when they want and look stylish while doing it.  

These are only 5 of the bloggers I follow and there are many more out there including Elegantly Dressed and Stylish, High Latitude Style, Petite Over 40, JoLynne Shane, Grace and Beauty, Fifty is Not Old and more. As I learn and grow as a fashion blogger, I hope to expose those of you who follow me to even more of the beautiful bloggers that inspire me. The more I read and learn, the more I can't wait to try new ideas. 

Be sure to check back next month for my first Beautiful Blogger inspired post. Have a great weekend!


Spring Colors: Rose Quartz, Serenity and Iced Coffee

Today I am stylin' rose quartzserenity and iced coffee. My color palate is usually darker or brighter colors, but for the sake of showing off the Pantone color line, I paired this rose quartz blouse with a leopard print skirt. You might say the skirt whispers the iced coffee in its spots. I then added gold jewelry with just a hint of serenity in the form of bracelets and a necklace. The simple clutch is charcoal gray with gold trim.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Trumbull, Makeup by Rachel Christensen

I like the clean look of black hose and black pumps with this outfit. It makes the outfit perfect for a night out with my hubby, a spring wedding or Easter morning church service. 

Find the Look:

Top Ideas - Kohl's $30, Loft $59.50

Skirt Ideas - Macy's $49.50, Kohl's $36

Clutch Ideas - Kohl's $40, Lord & Taylor $48

Shoe Ideas - Kohl's $54.99, DSW $29.95

Jewelry Ideas - Kohl's Necklace $28, Etsy Bracelet $15

I hope you enjoyed viewing this outfit. If you follow me on a regular basis, I would love for you to show me your Spring outfit ideas. Find a light pink top in your closet and pair it with those crop pants you just picked up at the store. I'd love it if you picked colors from Pantone's Spring color line up, but any Spring outfit would be fine. Send me a pic on Facebook, or to my email and if I get a few pictures I'll post them on the Sylin' Granny Mama Facebook page.

Now for our next Closet Clean Out Tip.


Closet Clean Out - Tip 4 - Pants:

You might feel that I am being repetitive, but that is because I am. A huge part of cleaning is organizing. If you already have a system in place then you may not need much incentive to get your closet in ship shape. But many of us, just need a plan. I have found, for me, the best plan involves organizing as I clean. 

I have my pants separated by style. I keep my pants folded in a bureau of sorts, but you may hang yours. I put my skinny leg jeans together in one cubicle; my boot cut or straight leg jeans in another cubicle, and dress pants in a third cubicle. Several years ago, I went through all of my pants. I tried on every single pair and got rid of many that didn't fit, or that I had a, "What was I thinking," response when I looked in the mirror.

Jeans and slacks should compliment, not draw attention to. Now, the world of pop and movie stars may disagree, but an actual woman wants to look nice, put together and once in a while sexy. A good fit will either lift and define or skim, depending on the look you are going for. If you have pants in your closet that make your thighs look like bumpy sausages, then put them in the donation box. Work pants should be appropriate for your job. I can wear many things because I work at a university bookstore, but we do have a dress code. If I wear leggings I have to wear a top or tunic that covers my behind (which is the only way I will wear leggings). I am sorry ladies, but leggings that look like skin may be comfortable, but they are not appropriate out in public. Do you really want everyone to know every curve of your bootie, where nothing is left to the imagination? If you want to be comfy that's great, but at least consider wearing something that covers.

As you go through your pants think about, where will I wear these? How many pairs of boot cut, straight leg and skinny jeans do I need to have? How many pairs of dress pants do I  need to own? Think about colors as well. Will you really wear all seven pairs of pink crop pants or would one or two be enough? 

Believe me, ladies, I am preaching to the choir. I love to shop and I am continuously paring down my closet. My method to the madness is if I go shopping and buy four things, I try to get rid of four items in my closet. It doesn't have to be match for match, skirt for skirt, but no less than four items. 

I hope these tips are helpful and that you are getting a great feeling of satisfaction as you clean and organize. 

Next week, Spring Outfit Number 4 and more Closet Clean Out tips. Enjoy your Easter!

Spring Colors: Lilac Gray and Buttercup

Photo Credit:  Rebecca Trumbull , Makeup by  Rachel Christensen

Photo Credit: Rebecca Trumbull, Makeup by Rachel Christensen

Today you'll see the second outfit in my Spring color series. The color emphasis is on Pantone's Lilac Gray and Buttercup. I found the button up at a thrift store. We had a hard time finding a similar color, but here is a possibility. The bag I found on clearance at JC Penney and I really like it. This purse is roomy, but not overwhelming. I have a tendency to put everything in my bag. The muted color enables it to be carried with many other outfits, and the gold chain gives it a classy look without making it heavier. We found a similar bag at Kohl's.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Trumbull, Makeup by Rachel Christensen

The buttercup tee (another thrift store find) has an embellished neckline which goes well with the gold on my bag and shoes. We found a similar embellished tank top at Macy's. The skirt, simple black leggings, shoes, and yellow bangle are all second hand store finds but we were able to find you some inspiration from some other stores. Here is a skirt from Kohl's, black shoes from DSW, and a bracelet option on Etsy. As you can tell, I love to thrift shop. If I had been born in an earlier century, I would have been a pirate! Arrrrrrrrrggggg! I was excited to see that the low chunky heel is making a come back!

Obviously, the outfit could be retrofitted for summer simply by getting rid of the leggings and wearing a cute pair of sandals or espadrilles. Carry the button up as a covering for overly air conditioned shops or restaurants and you are all set.

Since, this blog is all about inspiration, I would like you ladies to start digging for treasure in your own closets. See if you have any of Pantone's Spring color line up. Throw an outfit together and have someone take a picture. Then send it to me via a Facebook message or you can email it to me. If you take a pic on your phone you can just text it to my email at guineapigtrekie@yahoo.com. I would love to see how I have inspired your fashion sensibilities and you might even get your pic posted!

Now it's time for our next Closet Clean Out Tip.

Closet Clean Clean Out - Tip 3 - Skirts and Dresses

I really do not know why I have so many skirts and dresses. I think it stems from my upbringing. Being raised in the church we always dressed up for Sunday service. As far as that goes, my mother used to make me wear dresses when I was in elementary school. Being a tomboy I grew to loathe skirts and dresses, although, I never stopped wearing them to church...until recently. However, I still do wear a skirt for work once in a while and if my husband and I splurge on a show I dress up.

Once again, I would say, start by organizing. You can arrange by color, length or type of skirt, or seasonal. The same goes for dresses. If you have room you might want to hang from shortest to longest. Organization is for your benefit, so figure out what is going to work for you. As you begin to organize take a hard look at what skirts and dresses you have. Do you love it? Does it fit? Is it in style?

Actually that is not a valid question any more. What isn't in style? Mini vs. maxi, plain vs. print, plaid vs. floral, a-line vs. pencil, pleather vs. leather.....anything goes! Style is what you make it. A dress you wore in the 80's may no longer be in style, but if you throw a chunky sweater over it, or add a black moto jacket and a pair of over the knee boots you can make it work. That's not something I have to worry about, since I can't fit into any dresses that I owned in the 80's. Ha, ha.

I have found that if I am unsure about a particular item, I put it in a pile, then when I have a significant number of items I try them all on. The item has to answer several questions: Does it have a slimming or smoothing effect? Is the pattern or color complimentary? Could I pair it with other items I have to make it work for me, like wearing a dress with a jacket or sweater over the top, or wearing a skirt with a wide belt and a tee shirt or tank top. How can I update my look if it is something I really love? I am getting better at putting things in the donation box if I am not absolutely convinced it works for me.

I hope as you reorganize your skirts and dresses you will be thinking about some of the things you have read here on my fashion blog. As you saw today, I paired a skirt with leggings, something I have never done before. Think outside the box, after all, you are women and we are more like spaghetti than waffles.

Be sure to come back next week. We'll have another Spring outfit and more tips on cleaning out our closets. 

All photos by Rebecca Trumbull, Makeup by Rachel Christensen

Me? A Fashionista? Get Serious!

When I began seriously thinking about starting this blog, I laughed at the idea of talking about fashion.  My adult daughters would back me up when I say, I have not always been a fashionista.  I still have a long way to go. And posing in front of a camera, don't make me laugh!  Seriously, I am the one, who in every picture, has some strange contortion of the mouth. Either food is involved or I am talking passionately about something. I mean really!  Every picture. My husband of 28 years assures me that I am a beautiful woman, but the camera has yet to agree with him.

Photo credit:  Rebecca Trumbull

Photo credit: Rebecca Trumbull

With a new found interest in fashion, I began looking at magazines, noticing what people were wearing and perusing a number of blogs centering on women after 40. I am no expert, as I have already confessed, but I am fairly certain many women over 40 don't look like many of the bloggers that are posting pictures out there. Granted, I have only looked at a few blogs, but so many of them are pictures of thin, attractive women who are able to pull off skinny jeans without worry. This only fueled my desire to create a blog for actual women.

I am one of those women.  I am slightly (okay, so maybe moderately) overweight, my skin is beginning to look  like parchment and my hair feels more like dry grass than silk.  I am not a fashion guru and I have no desire to walk the streets of New York City in high heeled booties.  Sneakers, yes, or even a pair of stylish riding boots, but heels?  No way. Working part time, parenting adult children, loving on a grandson and working at a marriage, my style has developed just as I have developed as a woman.

Most of my clothing comes from second hand stores, although I do have a few favorite retailers that I will mention at some point. I am so new to blogging, I am still figuring out how it works, so bear with me. Rather than give you incentives to buy what I buy, I would like to encourage you to shop in your own closet. Most of us have too many clothes! God bless you women out there who don't like to shop. It is an addiction just like sweets and I hope to eventually get on that wagon too!

My desire is to show you how to feel good about yourself whether you work outside the home or inside the home; dress in suits or jeans; use top of the line make up or none at all.  The truth, ladies, is that God made women His piece de resistance. That's right, you are a jewel. Granted, some of us need more buffing than others, but I hope that you will find things on this blog that will help you shine.