Monday, September 18, 2017

Checks, braids and hats...

Tried it tucked in for one photo - tidier but too much black... Didn't wear it this way, guess that's good?

Activity: Volunteer ministry

Sweater: LOFT, thrifted (similar)

Tee: H&M (similar)
Skirt: thrifted (similar)
Shoes: Madewell via ebay (similar)
Hat: from Ecuador vacation (similar)
Earrings: sterling hoops (similar)
Watch: Apple watch, gift (exact), leather band via eBay
Scarf: thrifted (similar)
Bag: Kelsi Dagger, thrifted (similar)
Sunglasses: LOFT (exact - on sale!)
Lip: NYX lip cream in soft matte in Sao Paulo (exact)

What is it about approaching fall that puts me in the mood to wear black and white outfit combinations?  Am I the only one here?  Looking back on my summer outfits, it was a pretty neutral season for me, but mostly ivory, olive, brown, blue, black, etc.  Now I suddenly crave the crisp combination of black and white, especially with a touch of cognac.   

I'm not gonna lie, this was my favorite outfit to wear of any outfit over the past several months.  The funny part is, it was all based on this scarf, which I had completely forgotten about until I was rummaging around in my (giant) scarf collection for a separate reason the night before.  Finding that one piece made my next day's outfit an easy choice (love that!).  Adding the cognac accessories gave the outfit a little more interest.  And can I mention that I'm happy fall is here so I remember to wear my oxfords again?  So comfortable!

What's your favorite part of dressing for fall fashion?

Here are some options for you:





Thursday, September 14, 2017

Trending (again): paper bag waist

Oh, I see you, tripod....

Activity: Meeting for worship, lots of errands afterward (Does ANYONE sell 9 volt batteries when your smoke detector starts chirping?)

Tee: Merona, thrifted, old (similar)
Skirt: Banana Republic, thrifted (similar)
Shoes: Mossimo via ebay (similar)
Bag: Ann Taylor, thifted (similar)
Necklaces: Sterling silver collar, thrifted (similar), chunky bead necklace, made by me (similar)
Bracelet: Vintage - my grandmother's! (similar)
Earrings: Diamond stud, gift (similar)
Sunglasses: LOFT (exact)

I recently read that paper bag waists were coming back.  I am old enough to remember the original paper bag waist trend of the 90's (perhaps there was a trend before that, but that one I wouldn't remember....).  I did not partake in the 90's, although I always admired the look.  I just didn't feel I had the body type to carry it off, plus my style was much more baggy, so it wouldn't have paired well with this look. 

I didn't really plan on trying this trend, but having that trend forecast in mind, I thought I would at least try on this beautiful silk skirt at my new favorite Goodwill location (Just too many good things to choose from!).  I've also heard purple will be big this fall, so bonus, right?  But, in reality, I did really just like the skirt, and thought it would be a risk-free proposition at only $5.  I don't think the pictures are that flattering.  And, honestly, perhaps it wasn't that flattering in real life, although I felt like it looked nicer than the pictures show.  But either way, I'm glad I tried a new look, especially a departure from my beloved pencil skirt.  

To be fair, I must mention that the unsung hero of trying new fashion silhouettes is the plain, fitted tee in a neutral color (my go-to is this black one in a slightly dressier fabric than just a plain cotton tee).  Without that blank canvas, you really couldn't assemble a new look - at least without the dreaded "shopping to find something to match an item you already own".  That rarely works!  So I do try to have one of these around for those occasions, even if it isn't so exciting by itself.  It would be good to have a short-sleeve version and a long-sleeve version, to be even more versatile.

What new looks have you tried (or wanted to)?

Monday, September 11, 2017


To make it more casual, just change shoes! 

Activity: Errands, housework, school drop off (in the slip on sneakers)

Top: Gap (similar)
Jeans: LOFT, cropped and frayed by me (similar)
Bag: LOFT, thrifted (similar)
Earrings: gift (similar)
Bracelet: ebay (similar)
Lip: Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche lipstick in Pepper via Sephora (exact)
Sandals: Pour la Victoire via DSW (similar)
Sneakers: Dolce Vita via ebay (similar)

Two casual looks in a row!  Must be a record. I wear casual outfits pretty often, as most of us do, I just rarely get outfit photos of them.  

This monochromatic look is difficult to photograph, but it looked cuter in person (at least I thought so).  I decided to try the block-heeled sandal with it for some of the photos because I had thought this look might work for a simple casual date night look, with just a shoe change, and I wanted to scout it out.  That would make this look very versatile to take traveling, since it could be worn for a casual day look with comfortable slip-on sneakers for walking, and simple sandals (which are also quite comfortable) to throw on before heading out to dinner.  Plus obviously each of these pieces could be worn with pretty much any other item in your suitcase, making it extremely flexible.

I also felt very "San Francisco" in this outfit.  I often call SF the New York City of the West Coast, its fashion sense is much more akin to NYC than LA, in my opinion.  And there is a LOT of black.  And a lot of monochromatic black looks.  I am rarely drawn to that look, but I really liked this outfit and plan to bring it, or a similar variation of it, on my upcoming Midwest trip.  Though, I might choose a non-sandal version of the dressed up shoe, depending on the weather forecast!

How do you feel about monochromatic outfits? Yay or nay?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Updated fall color palette

Activity: School pickup run

Top: LOFT  (exact - color is called "opulent ruby")
Jeans: LOFT, old (similar)
Shoes: Kenneth Cole via Nordstrom Rack online, purchased a couple of weeks ago (exact style in available colors)
Earrings: gift (similar)
Watch: Apple, gift (exact), with cognac leather band purchased on eBay
Bag: Gigi NYC via ebay (similar)
Sunglasses: LOFT, last week (similar)
Lip: Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche lipstick in Pepper via Sephora (exact)

What's in my fall color palette? Basically, the color of this top, whatever you call it - LOFT calls it "opulent ruby",  but ruby, opulent or not, is not how I would describe it.  I also found sunglasses in a similar tone (these, also from LOFT), and I can't wait to find ways to pair this color with blush.  Turns out I'm not very original, as I've seen this color combination mentioned by others recently, but in all honesty, it was just a color I was instantly drawn to, especially for this fall.  I love how the faded tone works with my faded black skinny jeans, and I'm looking forward to trying it with a soft, faded gray jean also.  For a person who owns 3 non-neutral colored tee shirts, none of which see much wear, I'm amazed how much I'm wearing this tee.

Can I also give a shout out to these slip-on sneakers?  My black slip-on sneakers, worn in so many posts (seen here, here, here, here) as well as for so many non-posted outfits over the last year, are showing major signs of wear.  It's rare I actually wear out a shoe before I get tired of it, but that's how much I've loved my first pair of slip-on sneakers!  I started looking for some replacement options recently, and came across this shoe on major sale in my seriously favorite color, mushroom taupe.  They have a bit more of a platform than my previous pair, but I love the twist knot detail, and they are seriously comfortable.  A thrifted basket bag was my summer 2017 signature wardrobe item, I think these shoes will be my signature fall wardrobe item for this year. 

What colors and styles are you planning for this fall?

More items in this color scheme, in case you like it, too!

More twist knot shoes for your shopping convenience:

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Little white dress dressed up for fall

Activity: meeting for worship

Jacket: Michael Kors via ebay (similar)
Dress: Old Navy (similar)
Sandals: Tod's, thrifted (similar)
Bag: thrifted (similar)
Earrings: Robin Undira boutique in Sonoma, CA (similar)
Lip: NYX soft matte lip cream in Sao Paulo (exact)

This outfit basically came about when I was trying to purge my closet (by which I mean I was attempting to get rid of things, but making excuses why I should keep them - clothes hoarder much?) and came across this dress.  I hadn't worn it at all this summer after having it altered at the end of last summer, and I wondered if I should donate it.  Of course, in true clothing hoarder fashion, I leaned toward keeping it, and with a reminder of the existence of the dress, decided to wear it the next day.  Adding the cognac leather jacket felt right (fashion wise as well as temperature wise, as it was cold here that day, as usual!).  

Do you have one of these jackets?  I highly recommend it for versatility and making that "casual-cute" outfit look easy.  Just toss on the jacket, over a dress, pants, jeans, and you have an outfit (see another outfit created with this jacket here.  There were a lot more, but apparently I didn't blog them!).  

Here are some purchase options for you, if you're ready to "fallify" your summer outfits: (autumnize? fallification? too much, I know - my spellcheck is going insane...) 

Jacket (various price points included):





Monday, August 28, 2017

The head that wears the crown...

Isn't this the cutest invitation?

Here's a closer look at my DIY flower crown, made from 2 clearance flower stems from a craft/fabric store for a total of about $4:

Occasion: Mexican-fiesta theme bachelorette party (actually a lingerie bridal shower)

Top: Old Navy swim coverup (similar)
"Camisole" underneath: Brooks Maia sports bra via Title Nine (exact) (NOTE: I love this bra, not only as a sports bra - which it is, and a good one - but also as a "camisole" layer under low-neck tops.  I plan on buying another in black soon. I've had this one for ages and it still looks great.)
Jeans: Merona, thrifted (similar)
Sandals: Boden, thrfited (similar)
Earrings: via ebay (similar)
Flower crown: DIY by me (similar)
Bag: thrifted (similar)

Can I tell you a secret?  I have always wanted to wear a floral crown...  However, I'm not exactly a Coachella girl.... plus I heard that flower crowns were so 2016 (lol).  But there's something about my inner 5 year old that has always thought it would be the coolest thing ever to a) wear a crown that is b) made of flowers. Both good things, in my opinion.

Fast forward to receiving this adorable invitation for a friend's lingerie bridal shower.  The additional card enclosed said to wear Mexican clothing, flowers and lots of love (appropriate since the bride's husband to be is Mayan).  On my bucket list of clothing items to buy someday is an embroidered Mexican/Central American top or dress, but since I haven't found it yet, nor would I have time to look for it before the shower, I thought this embroidered gauze swimsuit cover-up that I already own might fit the bill.  For flowers, I'd have to look elsewhere, but that's where my DIY flower crown idea came into being.  

This is the simplest floral crown ever - simply one wire-stemmed stem wrapped into a circle, with 3 flower tops plucked off a second stem and gorilla glued into place.  I mean, seriously, how much abuse is a floral crown going to take, right?  And who knows if I'll get another legitimate chance to wear it again?  

All I can say is, if I do get a chance to wear a crown again (of any type), I'm in.  

As a bonus, here's my favorite picture from the party itself:

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wine country ready

Activity: Driving to and visiting wineries in Sonoma, CA

Dress: Old Navy (similar)
Sweater: LOFT, thrifted (similar)
Bag: thrifted (similar)
Shoes: Dolce Vita, thrifted (similar)
Earrings: Ann Taylor (similar)
Bracelet: Magnolia Farms store, Waco, TX (similar)
Sunglasses: LOFT (exact)

Can you tell the weather in SF and Sonoma are radically different? I tried to grab some quick outfit photos as we were getting ready to leave, but I definitely needed my top layer at that point!

A casual summer dress is my favorite Sonoma wine-tasting outfit.  Comfortable, cute and ready for some warmth!  I wore this same dress last year, but since I rarely get to wear summer dresses in SF, it was ready and waiting for me again this year, freshened up with some new accessories - my basket bag, metallic flat sandals and fringe earrings.  After heading to Sonoma for wine-tasting a few times now, I feel like I have a handle on the "dress code".  (There isn't one, you'll see all different outfits, and they are all fine!  It's pretty casual there.)  But I love to find something that fits my slightly dressier style (after all, grown-up outings are kind of a big deal for me), but also completely fits in where I'm going.  This outfit seems to fit the bill.  

I also highly recommend flats for the daytime tastings, as certain wineries (like one of my favorites, Buena Vista Winery in the city of Sonoma) are set a bit back from the parking area, so there'll be a little walking involved, sometimes on cobblestone-like surfaces, as well.  Plus, it's easier to carry out your wine purchases in flats! ;)  More seriously, you might want to do a winery tour, especially if it's your first time in Sonoma, and heels are a bit ridiculous in the vineyard area...  The wineries all close between 4-6 pm, so you can wear your non-walking shoes for going to a restaurant later that night, if you so desire.  I wore my kimono robe (seen in this outfit) and platform wedges with skinny jeans for our dinner out, and felt fancy(ish), yet appropriate.  (Forgot to grab a photo of that outfit, though, sorry!)

Have you gone to a wine tasting?  What did you wear? Do share!

Here are some similar items if you're looking for an outfit like this:








Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bright pleats

Activity: Meeting for worship

Blazer: Ann Taylor (similar - on sale!)
Dress: Banana Republic, thrifted (similar)
Shoes: BCBG "Parade", via ebay (exact style in current colors, similar color)
Bag: thrifted (similar)
Watch: Apple, gift (exact - on sale right now!)
Earrings: Renegade Craft Fair, Chicago (similar)

After a few neutral posts, here's a bright one!  We had a week or more of gray weather here in San Francisco, so it was time to pull out the bright dress.  It's amazing how color can cheer you up!  (It also doesn't hurt when said dress is as comfortable as a nightgown, but looks better...)

Here are some similar options, if you like this look:  
(If you like anything, act fast, as many things are only available in limited sizes now due to the change of season sales, I had to search to find these items!)





Monday, August 14, 2017

Summer simple

Activity: Meeting for worship

Top: Merona, thrifted (similar)
Skirt: thrifted (similar)
Shoes: Mossimo, thrifted (similar, similar)
Bag: thrifted (similar)
Necklace: sterling silver collar, thrifted (similar) chunky beaded necklace (I made it) (similar)
Bracelet: gift (similar)
Watch: Apple, gift (exact)
Lip: ColourPop ultra matte lip, Mars (exact)

I was recently looking over some of my old blog posts, and I'm amazed how much less color I'm using lately.  But, somehow it just seems right.  In any case, I've always liked the idea of basic summer items (like a simple crewneck top and eyelet skirt) in neutrals.  It's such a classic look that never looks dated.  Adding the bright lip added just enough interest to this neutral look.

Don't worry, though, I haven't gotten rid of all my bright clothing, it's just waiting for the right day...  Maybe tomorrow!

How do you feel about color these days?  All neutral or all color, or some of each?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

My friend said I should blog this outfit... ;)


Occasion (worn as shown in first photo): Volunteer ministry work (involving walking, hence the flats and cross-body bag)

Dress: via eBay (similar)
Jacket: Old Navy (similar)
Belt: Gap (similar)
Sandals: Tod's, thrifted (similar)
Flats: Crown Vintage via DSW (similar)
Basket bag: thrifted (similar)
Crossbody bag: Linea Pelle, thrifted (similar)
Watch: Michael Kors via ebay (similar)
Earrings: Ann Taylor (exact in red, similar in black)
Lipstick: NYX soft matte lip cream in Milan (exact)

Some of my California friends have recently discovered that I have a blog via my blog Instagram account (@joannasdesign - I haven't figured out how to link it directly from my blog home page yet...).  I find this slightly embarrassing, because I always feel a little vain taking and posting photos of myself, something I have always avoided in my personal social media accounts - and, being honest, since I'm way older than social media, something I've avoided since well, forever.  I just never took pictures of myself, or at least, very rarely.  I was famous for complaining about people who always had to stand in front of the famous tourist attractions and take a photo.  To me, the photo should be about the attraction, not about me.  My artistic integrity was offended.  (Yes, I was super fun to be around in my late teens). 

I once went on a 3000 mile road trip with 3 other girls across at least 5 states, and I was the main photographer.  We passed through all kinds of picturesque sights, things that none of us had ever seen before, and in some cases, haven't seen again. We took enough pictures that it took $60 each to develop and print each person's set of photos (yes, again, I am older than dinosaurs).  I suppose it was about 6 rolls of film? maybe more? I only remember the amount we paid, not the number of rolls we developed - but guess how many pictures had people in them? Maybe 10.  Out of like 200 prints.  I'm pretty sure my friends were a little miffed that they paid all that money for prints of mostly scenery (not that I forced them too, they wanted them - remember this was back in the day when you couldn't see your photos until they were printed, so they had no idea what pictures I had taken).  But not me.  I was thrilled that I had so many scenic shots, shots not ruined by people standing in front of them.  

More than twenty years later, the pictures from that trip that I enjoy looking at most are primarily those few shots with people in them.  Live and learn, right? (I am also much more fun to be around now, I promise you.)  Although I don't think a world of only selfies is a good one, it's all about the balance.

So a reeeeeally long story later, here's the point.  My friend has discovered my blog, and this morning told me I should blog the outfit I was wearing.  (I love you, Evy!) I had considered it, but since I blogged a similar outfit using this dress in the past (here), I was going to skip it this time.  But, although I don't blog every outfit I wear in life here (mostly because I just don't get a chance to take photos), I do like the idea of being more true to life with OOTD-type photos, versus planned outfits taken only for blog photos, which so many fashion blogs seem to be becoming.  They are still beautiful (far more so than my blog will ever be), but really seem fake to me.  It's also really not useful to me in my daily struggle to get dressed, which was the initial reason I even started reading fashion blogs in the first place.  So, if you like this outfit post, thank my friend Evy.  

By the way, since most of you probably don't live in a place where you need a coat layer in August, I added the additional photos of the dress unlayered, with sandals, as would be appropriate for the season.  I was also thinking that the differences in these outfits show 2 possibilities: 1) how to transition this dress to fall, and 2) how versatile a dress like this can be when traveling.  Change out the flats and cross-body bag after sightseeing all day and you're ready for an evening out!

Out of curiosity, why do you read fashion blogs?  I'd love to hear!

Here are some similar outfit options for you: