Carlisle Collection, carlislecollection.com; 212-246-4275. This classic, jacket-driven line averages $275 a piece, though jackets cost $395 to $1,000. While some clothes are traditional in shaping, unexpected details, like a bow-tied belt on a bright red skirt, stand out. Per Se, a subset of the collection, has more fitted, trend-conscious pieces.
Doncaster, doncaster.com; 800-669-3662. The oldest direct-sales company in the country, Doncaster has been selling clothing through trunk shows since the 1930s. Its classic, tailored look is defined by luxurious fabrics. Color palettes are similar each season, so customers can build on wardrobes. The average price of items is $220, though jackets run as high as $650.
Etcetera, etceteranyc.com; 212-262-6432. A younger, hipper line owned by the parent company of Carlisle Collection. Includes pieces in animal prints; embellished jeans; and cotton-and-wool blends with Lycra. Many items are in the $100 range and are designed to be mixed with clothes from previous seasons.
Juliana Collezione, www.julianaonline.com; 800-535-0214. This line has a European feel. Prices range from $140 tops and $240 to $300 pants to jackets that cost $395 to $695. The clothes work for both career women and ladies who lunch. The clothing, with its clean lines and bold designs, has the feel of Armani, though more casual pieces are reminiscent of Ellen Tracy.
Nina McLemore, ninamclemore.com; 212-319-7700. McLemore says her typical customer is 50 years old and has an income of more than $100,000. Women who buy her line, which features quality fabrics and classic designs, wear pieces to charity functions and board meetings. Jackets, some of which have a relaxed or boxy look, cost $200 to $600, pants and skirts up to $395, and her most expensive jackets up to $800.
Worth Collection, worthny.com; 800-worthok. With prices similar to Carlisle and Doncaster, Worth also offers classic pieces. The spring line features jaunty sailor-inspired items in red, white, and navy. A burnished gold dupioni skirt suit with beaded appliqué could be worn for multiple seasons. Cashmere sweater sets pair with flirty chiffon skirts. A fitted white pantsuit with a detachable, oversize bow is a fresh update on a classic.
Bosom Buddy Bags, bosombuddybags.com; 410-823-3669. Purses are made from raffia, cashmere, alpaca, leather, ultrasuede, and other fabrics and embellished with real fur, vintage brooches, feathers, and more. Some bags run as high as $250 and are so fancy that they’re best for evenings out. Odds are no one on your block will have anything like them.
Mostly Monograms, mostlymonograms.com; 301-493-8470. This preppy line includes toile bags, silk purses, and grosgrain-ribbon-trimmed flip-flops. Most items can be monogrammed. Men’s choices include leather belts. A jewelry case that looks like a miniskirt when folded is a deal at $18.
Queen Bee Designs, queenbeedesigns.com; 703-329-6768. Allison Priebe Brooks creates chunky necklaces featuring stones such as quartz, citrine, coral, mother-of-pearl, and jade. Brooks is known to discount jewelry up to 50 percent at some shows, and she does custom design. Prices generally run between $100 and $200.
Beaux et Belles. Children’s clothes that can be customized with appliqué, embroidery, smocking, or monograms. Some designs are cutesy, but clients can make clothes as simple or as busy as they like. Susan Thompson-Hoel, a local representative, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; the New Orleans company can be reached at email@example.com. The company has no spring line because of Hurricane Katrina.
Discovery Toys, www.discoverytoysinc.com; 800-341-toys. Educational and developmental toys, books, and games. Prices run $10 to $30 for many items, including computer software that teaches about the human body, though a foldable fabric playhouse for preschoolers is $70.
Kelly’s Kids, www.kellyskids.com; 800-370-9221. Traditional children’s clothes that can be monogrammed. Some designs, such as a green-and-pink floral pattern, can be a bit overwhelming; one article from a set might be enough. Prices are around $30 to $40. Colorful accessories for spring and summer include gingham sunhats and striped headbands.
Lilly’s Pad. Susanne Seidman sells bib and burp-cloth sets of her own design. Doodle Time Smocks are designed with messy art projects in mind. She also sells place mats, tablecloths, and “messy mats” for crafts. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Livie & Luca. Creative rubber-soled shoes for kids feature appliqués of flowers, soccer balls, and more. Most shoes are $27. E-mail email@example.com or visit livieandluca.com.
Orient Expressed, www.orientexpressed.com; 888-856-3948. Hand-smocked dresses and jumpers, including Easter designs, for children and infants. Prices run $25 to $68. Call the New Orleans–based company to find an area representative.