By Beth Melillo

Winter 2012-2013

Fashion Week may have come and gone, but recently I had the opportunity to learn about a new fashion tip that I wanted to share. It’s all about collars that can really make your outfit. Wait ’til you hear the details about how to wear them. They’re great for holiday gifts, too.

Beth Melillo: Congratulations on your new business! What a great concept. Please tell us about CeCe Toppings and how you came up with this unique, stylish accessory.

Jamie Turquie: Thanks Beth! CeCe Toppings collars is an idea that originated from a necessity for style. I had a bunch of incredible button-down shirts and some amazing fitted sweaters that I loved. I really wanted to wear them together, but wearing shirts under sweaters is bulky and uncomfortable, and it’s also not a figure-flattering look. So I thought of a simple idea, and I could not believe that no one had already thought to reinvent the dickey! I literally took one of my button down shirts and cut off the bottom part so all that was left was the collar. Then I brought fabrics I liked to the tailor and had collars made from them. It just such so happened that Alexa Chung was photographed in a very chic Peter Pan collar from Louis Vuitton. Marc Jacobs started also featuring the Peter Pan in his collections right around the same time, and that’s when the trend officially took off. It was serendipitous. I started out going to trunk shows at friends’ homes, and when I saw that women were buying several “Toppings” at a time I knew I was onto something.

BM: It’s so inspiring that you took your sense of fashion and style and launched your own business. Please tell us what the moment was that pushed you to go after this dream, and also what you look forward to.

JT: There was not just one moment, but more like a series of epiphanies that led up to me starting my own business. Moving from Manhattan, and feeling somewhat stranded in the suburbs with two young children, propelled me to want to do something creative. I was also inspired by seeing a few friends become successful entrepreneurs, as well as witnessing my husband’s unbridled enthusiasm about the momentum his new business venture was gaining. I felt like if they could do it, why couldn’t I? Ultimately though, it was the positive responses I got from my friends about the concept of being able to wear stylish collars without shirts that encouraged me to keep going with my idea. I have always been a big believer that inventions that are necessities are the ones that make it, and I am hopeful that CeCe Toppings collars are accessories that really are necessities in every woman’s wardrobe.

BM: Please describe the variety of styles and provide the fashionista with some advice on how to go about wearing your collars for day, night, weekends, etc. Any recommendations?

JT: CeCe Toppings collars come in three different styles: classic, Peter Pan, and a ruffle with a detachable tie that you can wear in different ways and interchange with ties from other colored ruffled collars. I have patterns and styles that range from animal prints, to trendy throwback 70′s geometric, to more classic looks like checks, stripes, and solids. There is a style that will appeal to every fashionista and that can adapt to any trend. CeCe Toppings collars allow everyone to experiment just a little more with their wardrobe choices.

BM: How do your collars best accessorize someone’s outfit?

JT: CeCe Toppings collars can transform an outfit by taking it from day to night; they can dress up or dress down any outfit, making it appropriate for either a night out or a day at the workplace. For example, a simple black V-neck sweater has a completely different vibe when worn with a black lace ruffle collar verses a denim classic collar. CeCe Toppings also just came out with yellow and white check classic and Peter Pan collars, which are perfect for Spring.

BM: Where can we buy these must-have accessories, and what was your strategy to reach every women’s closet?

JT: Women can purchase their collars at the CeCe Toppings website. I have a blog up that gives tips on what clothes to wear them with and what fashion shows are featuring this look. I sell in many specialty stores across the country, such as stores in Palm Beach, The Hamptons, and Brooklyn. Online retailers in London and Russia also sell CeCe Toppings.

BM: How has the feedback been so far? As the holiday season approaches, it seems these would make for ideal gifts? Any recommendations?

JT: Feedback so far has been amazing. I have been very lucky to have such great business from magazines such as O, Glamour, and Vogue. I’ve also been featured in fashion blogs, trunk shows, and now PMc-Mag, and have gotten referrals from friends as well. Having repeat customers is one of the best parts of this business. It shows me that someone really enjoys the product and is wearing it a lot. I think Cece Toppings make a perfect holiday gift. They are something different that one can’t just find anywhere, yet they are also a wardrobe necessity for any woman. The price point is also great, starting at forty dollars. A collar goes with anything, and you can pick a style that goes with someone’s taste to make a very personal gift. You can also pair a CeCe Toppings collar with a cashmere sweater for something extra special. What a great gift that would be to receive!

BM: Do you plan to do any collaborations?

JT: As far as collaborations go, I would be positively thrilled to do something with J.Crew. I think Cece Toppings would be such a perfect fit for them. They have such a fantastic sweater department and have recently expanded to include all sorts of gorgeous and unique accessories. Their entire team is brilliant in understanding how women want to look and feel when they get dressed.

BM: What’s next? What should your new stylish fans look forward to seeing?

JT: I have recently expanded the line to include more dramatic and dressy collars in linen, lace, and eyelet, and I plan to keep expanding and integrating more textures and trims to keep the CeCe line constantly evolving and transforming outfits in unique ways.

BM: Thank you for the fashion insight! I can’t wait to wear my new CeCe Toppings collars with my sweaters this winter!

Jamie Turquie is the creator of CeCe Toppings.


CeCe Toppings Official Website

Written by Beth Melillo

Edited by Jonathan Metzelaar

Photography Courtesy of Jamie Turquie

Design by Marie Havens


All Photography Courtesy of Jamie Turquie

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