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Upscale Elegance In Clothing, and a Concern for Women’s Health

Many of the “ladies who lunch” in Fayetteville have been quietly building tasteful wardrobes with exquisite clothing from the Carlisle Collection. Made of high-quality fabrics, with impeccable detailing in the construction of the garments, these clothes aren’t found at Belk. They’re not purchased at Saks Fifth Avenue or Neiman Marcus on out-of-town shopping jaunts. These clothes have been shown and sold in the comfortable homes of affluent Fayettevillians for more than 25 years.

Laura Downing is the current representative for the Carlisle Collection. The very prototype of a “soccer mom,” Laura is a youthful and lithe young woman who enjoys fashion and fine clothing. She says over the past quarter century, the clientele for Carlisle clothing has evolved a bit. No longer just well-to-do socialites, many professional women who want to look “put together” and convey an impression of quality are among her customers. Four times a year, the Downing home becomes the showroom for Carlisle, with customers stopping by to see what’s new – and what will add to the items they’ve bought in previous years. Scheduled appointments for her customers maintain their privacy. Knowledgeable about fashion trends and her customers’ lifestyles, Downing offers helpful guidance about what works for her clients.

Martha Jessup is a Carlisle client and has been for years. “I’ve been wearing these clothes for twenty years,” she says. “And what I like most is the consistency in the colors, from year to year, and the consistent way the jackets and skirts fit.”

The consistency in colors is a real wardrobe expander. Mrs. Jessup spoke of recently buying a green blouse that perfectly matched a skirt she’d bought nine years ago.

Most Carlisle clients come to rely on the guidance of the Carlisle representative. Laura Downing offers her opinion on what flatters her clients and what will work with the clothes they already own. Such guidance from someone who knows style and fashion is a welcome bonus to being a Carlisle client.

As one might expect, the clothes are expensive by any standard. Sweaters and other separates may cost as much as $450; dresses and suits much more than that. But the prices aren’t because of high overhead in a crowded shopping center; with these clothes, the prices reflect the classic design, the unusually high quality of the fabrics they are made of and the workmanship in constructing them. Most Carlisle items can be worn for years because of their timeless design and superior fabrics.

The Carlisle line includes accessories, too, and among the intricately detailed belts and jewelry, the colorful silk scarves, one will find a special scarf. It’s the Fabric of Hope scarf, one that bears the pink ribbon motif of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. A portion of the sales from this scarf are donated to the foundation which is a leader in the fight against breast cancer. In the past five years, the Carlisle Collection has raised more than $1,300,000 for the fight against breast cancer.

To make an appointment with Laura Downing for the next showing of Carlisle Collection clothing, call her at 484-3659.