07 Aug 2015
August 7, 2015

OFFICE ELEGANT . . . Magic with Separates

Written by my Etcetera colleague Barbara Bisel.


Dressing for success in Fall 2015 means different things to different women. While some work environments call for a dressed-up-matching-suit look, many, if not most workplaces call for a more relaxed ensemble. Nonetheless, the suits our designers have created this season are anything but staid. Owning any one of Carlisle | Per Se or ETCETERA’s jacket-skirt-pant combos will give you endless possibilities for work, whether your day includes presenting to the board of directors, grinding out a report at your desk, or hopping on a plane to see a prospective client. For this blog, we’re focusing on items from the ETCETERA Fall Collection.


Topping the list of style trends for women’s business wear is the grey pant/skirt suit — the ultimate statement of strength and independence. Our Etcetera designer tweaked this menswear-inspired look in our SHALE suit with beautiful design details, including exposed pickstiched darts in the short blazer-style jacket, and black vegan leather trim on the narrow-leg pant. Clients love the supportive but comfy stretch in this Turkish fabric; the contrasting Orchid lining keeps this suit from taking itself too seriously, and is tres’ on-trend. We love hearing gasps of delight from clients when they see this Orchid pink lining peek out as cuffs are flipped, or the jacket is removed.

To contrast the masculine element with a feminine touch, pair this suit with ETCETERA’s orchid/black/pink python print silk SNAKESKIN blouse. The shirttail on this delicate blouse is slightly longer in the back, so it looks stylish left untucked, but is sheer enough to tuck into a skirt or pant.


Give yourself more options by adding the SHALE pencil skirt, seen below, with flattering princess seams and hand pickstitched dart detail. When my financial services client tried on this skirt last week, we loved how the deep Orchid lining of the skirt created extra interest just inside the back slit when she walked. The fuchsia silk EXPRESSION shell, or the maroon/black/grey abstract BLOOMS silk blouse with mother of pearl buttons, feels sumptuous, and beautifully complements the hematite grey suit.



While your style may be monochromatic, why be boring? Mix textures and patterns to create more interest, with our LIAISON short jacket in a shade called Dark Inkwell.  Pair it with the SONJA top and INKWELL leather skirt with stretch twill panel back. The ANDROMEDA pant in Moroccan stretch poly twill is a retro look with the LIAISON jacket — so elegant with the ivory silk georgette/knit back JESSICA blouse. We love how the silk sash on the JESSICA blouse can be attached three different ways for a variety of draping styles. These pieces are from our ETCETERA Collection.


The retro-feeling navy and camel striped silk blend pointelle knit LINEAR sweater is the ultimate in understated chic; but trust me, heads will turn when you pair it with the INKWELL leather skirt and CASHEW Italian brushed wool easy-fit jacket.



One of the more intriguing designs in the Fall collection is the Italian knit tweed PROGRESSIVE jacket, with its creative, architectural angles shaping the back. For a business-casual look, pair it with the taupe bi-stretch cotton MALT pencil skirt with its flirty exposed back zipper, and ivory silk-rayon jersey RIESLING sleeveless sweater.


While the PROGRESSIVE jacket is a tailored look for work, the soft knit fabric makes it versatile for casual wear and travel — stash it in your carry-on and emerge fresh and ready to go when you reach your destination. Try pairing it with our body-conscious ribbed stretch silk blend CAROB sweater and elegant ivory POSH pant, created from a yummy-soft non-wool flannel from Portugal. Or, try the VAIL ivory turtleneck and SMART malt-brown bi-stretch cotton equestrian-inspired pant with your PROGRESSIVE jacket.



One of my favorite clients came in last week and fell in love with the stunning BARK suit. Ooo-la-la — Mme. Chanel would so approve of this classic suit, and the way it looked on my client. Julie happens to be a very tall, slim blonde who acquired a fabulous sense of style during the 20 years she spent living in France. The fabric is a multi-colored tweed, trimmed in vegan leather. The BARK jacket also incorporates another big trend, reminiscent of the ’70′s, seen on the runways — the patch pocket.

The pencil skirt is form-fitting, with an exposed gold zipper down the entire length of the back.  Julie selected the classic ganache brown silk/rayon blend TWIG sweater, with elbow-length sleeves and tubular seam detail.


The BARK jacket was equally eye-catching on a teeny, petite client who bought it to jazz up the brown pants she already has in her closet:



If you  love your basic black, ivory, and brown separates, our designer Tom Walko created the stretch cotton BELMONT jacket, with its yoked and gathered/flared back, especially for you. I’m showing it below with our super soft ZURICH silk/rayon jersey turtleneck sweater and GATSBY black A-line skirt, which features a flirty zipper and pleated chiffon panel that gets revealed as the zipper goes up!


If you know Etcetera, you know that we are all about getting the biggest bang for your fashion buck. Invest in beautiful, quality pieces, and take advantage of the way our designers have created endless possibilities for mixing and matching your separates.

Happy Fall Shopping!

Barbara was originally drawn to Etcetera because of her lifelong passion for gorgeous fabrics and exquisite design. Prior to joining Etcetera she was active in apparel design and construction, marketing, and philanthropic work primarily in the Arts and education. After having been Area Development Manager and Social Media Manager for Carlisle-Etcetera, she became a partner in her local Etcetera agency. Based in the East Bay, they also see clients in Etcetera’s beautiful San Francisco showroom in the financial district, providing personal wardrobing service and helping their clients to attain “Compliments and Confidence.” Barbara is a member of the Association of Image Consultants International, San Francisco Chapter.

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