This summer, my niece Ashley asked me if I would design a fabric for her senior Homecoming dress. She wanted a watercolor floral in pinks, purples, and blues.

I started with some quick watercolor sketches from photos I had taken last spring of my birthday peonies and some lilac photos (also from last spring) that my sisters, Blair and Jill, had sent me from their yards. Two of my favorite flowers and they don’t grow in New Orleans!

watercolor sketches1

I scanned them in to my computer, vectorized and re-colored them, then turned them into this pattern:

first watercolor floral pattern swatch1

We both liked it, but thought it needed less leaves and less white space to really pop on the dress. So I played around with a few more variations of it before we finally settled on this pattern:

watercolor floral pattern swatch1

She had envisioned the skirt to be made of light colored tulle, so I wanted to make sure that the pattern on top was bolder and colorful.

dress pattern idea1

Then I ordered the fabric (on Spoonflower):

watercolor floral satin1

I sent it to her and after a drama where it got stuck in the mail for two weeks (and we thought it was lost!), she had it made into the dress and wore it last weekend for Homecoming. I think it turned out wonderfully!

ashley and cooper1

Ashleys dress1

It is so exciting to see my designs on fabric, but even more special to see them worn for a special event. I’m honored to have had a part in your senior year, Ashley!

P.S. Aren’t her and her boyfriend so cute? They remind me of Drew and I when we were in high school. So sweet! Ashley was in elementary school when Drew and I started dating! :)

On Clothing

February 23, 2015

clothes color edit crop

How many things do you have saved in the back of your closet for the one day that you “might” wear them? Have you ever noticed that you NEVER pick out those clothes to wear?

Last fall we did a deep clean of most of the rooms in our house. Our house is small and it feels so good to go through it and get rid of anything that isn’t meaningful, we don’t like, doesn’t serve a purpose, and doesn’t have a place. The one place that I didn’t take the time to thoroughly go through however, was my closet. It wasn’t a mess of epic proportions, but it was crowded with too many things that I didn’t wear, didn’t like, didn’t fit correctly, or never had a reason to wear.

I’ve been inspired lately to take a more minimal approach and really try to make sure my closet is only filled with pieces I love, want to wear, and ones that bring me confidence and joy. Sort-of my own take on the capsule wardrobe phenomenon. So that means clearing out clothing that I’ve outgrown, both in size and style, clothes that are worn out and have seen better days, and pieces that are leftover from my high school and college days that are too casual to wear to work (and I don’t find myself wearing on the weekends either).

Something that I’m really enjoying about myself as I get older, is my ability to better understand the things I really like. One of my greatest discoveries are the clothes that I’m comfortable in.

Here are some of the clothing guidelines I’ve discovered about myself:

  • No v-necks or anything else with a low neckline. I’m just too busty and I feel uncomfortable in shirts with low necklines, even if I wear a tank top underneath.
  • I look better in boatneck or scoopneck tops. Going along with the point above, I feel better and worry less about my appearance when I’m comfortable in a top with a higher neckline. I also think they look better on me in general because they take the focus away from my bust. I also just love the classic look of a boatneck top.
  • I can’t wear strapless tops or dresses. As I’ve said, I’m a busty woman who needs some major support up top. Strapless bras just don’t provide enough support for me and I’m constantly pulling up at the top of my dress and re-adjusting. For years I had this super uncomfortable backless, strapless bra (that looked more like a corset, complete with boning in the sides) that I used under my prom dresses. I have no desire to ever wear that again. I just wish I’d realized this one before my wedding (I’m so embarrassed at the top of my dress when I look back at my wedding pictures!).
  • I like clothes that are fitted, but not so tight they look too small. Again with the busty thing, if I wear clothes that are too loose, I just look fat, but I don’t like wearing clothes so tight that they look too small or are uncomfortable.
  • I like pieces that are versatile – business-casual enough for work, but casual enough for weekend wear. I can’t afford to have two closets, one for work and one for weekends, so I like to have pieces that I can dress up or dress down. Luckily I work somewhere where this works well for me.
  • Over the years I’ve realized there are certain colors I’m drawn to and that look better on me: black, white, grey, cream, taupe, pinks, teal/mint, plum/lavender, and gold, and ones that I should stay away from in clothing (for the most part): red, orange, yellow, and green.
  • I like simple tops and basic tees in neutral colors (solids or small scale patterns) that I can pair with a cardigan or sweater, colored/patterned scarves, plain jeans or colored skinny jeans, leather boots or flats, and simple gold jewelry. (that is pretty much my daily wardrobe).
  • Nothing too flashy, scratchy, uncomfortable, no falling off the shoulders or anything else that is annoying and distracting from whatever else I’m doing.
  • No high heels. I just don’t wear them and when I think I might want to, I put them on only to realize again how uncomfortable they are. Only flats or low wedge heels for me!
  • I really like tops with ¾ length sleeves. I get cold so easily that I feel most comfortable in those. I always bunch up the sleeves on long sleeve shirts past my wrist (because the sleeves at my hands get annoying) and I never wear short sleeve tops without a cardigan (because I get cold, and I don’t feel like it looks very professional for work).
  • I very rarely (like never) wear dresses or skirts. In the last year, I wore a dress to my grandpa’s funeral and when we went out to eat at a nice restaurant for Drew’s birthday. My legs get too cold, or they look too pale, or I feel like I need to be wearing uncomfortable high-heels to complete the look. It is fine if I have a couple dresses for special occasions, but I know when I go shopping, that spending money on them isn’t a good return on my investment.
  • I only wear neutral-colored shoes. I really do. I only wear shoes that are leather, black, nude, grey/silver, or gold. I don’t know how many pairs of pink flats or sandals I’ve bought just to realize that I never wear them. If I want to make a statement with a color I don’t want it to be on my feet.
  • Same with purses. I generally use the same purse for years (I am not the girl who wants to switch out purses to match each outfit), so I want it to go well with anything I put on, which means being a neutral color. I only buy high-quality (I want it to last!) and in a simple style that I really love. My current purse is a beautiful leather cross-body.
  • I never change my earrings. As pretty and appealing as colorful, dangly earrings can be, I’ve learned over time that I never wear them. I have sensitive ears and cheap earrings hurt my ears. So I stick with my diamond studs. I seriously haven’t changed my earrings since my wedding day almost three years ago (when I did wear dangly pearl earrings).

It look me years of buying clothes and then never wearing them or feeling self-conscious about them before I got to these “rules.” Why wear something if it is constantly going to make you keep second guessing your appearance, make you feel self-conscious, or make you lack confidence? I don’t know about you, but I have better things to do with my time. I can’t spend my whole day focused on my feet hurting from the shoes that are cute but uncomfortable, or the sweater that is a pretty color but keeps falling off my shoulder showing my bra straps, or how cold my legs are because I’m wearing a dress. It is so nice to embrace who I am and what I’m comfortable in and ignore the “I could look good in this” or the “that looks great on her, maybe I should buy it too” mentality. Another great thing about knowing what I like and what looks good on me, is that when I spend money on something, I’m much more likely to buy something that I’m going to wear (and want to wear) rather than something that is going to get donated the next time I do a closet purge.

Things to consider when buying something: Are you buying this item because you really love it and want it to become a part of your everyday wear? Does it fill a need in your wardrobe? If you had to wear one outfit for the rest of your life would it be that one? Or are you just buying it because it was “okay” and on sale? Being on sale is one of the biggest culprits for me! But what is the point in spending any money (even if it wasn’t as much as it could have been) on something you don’t love? I love this quote, “Don’t buy anything on sale that you wouldn’t consider at full price.”

I also really love the way that Sherry from Young House Love thinks about her closet (from this classic post, oh how I miss YHL!). Her words, “Don’t water down your wardrobe. I like to look at it as an “overall closet average.” Say I have ten outfits I love love love in my closet. I’d call them all favorites and on a scale of 1-10 I’d score them all a ten. That makes my overall closet average a ten. Then say that I see a sweater I kind of like (let’s say I’d give it a seven). And it’s on sale, so it’s tempting. The way I completely resist grabbing that sweater – which I’m guaranteed to like less than everything else in my closet – is to think of my closet average. Right now my overall closet average is a ten. If I get that sweater and it’s a seven, it’ll bring my entire closet average down, and I can just picture myself choosing other things on my hanging bar over and over again since it wasn’t something that I love love loved from the start. That helps me hold out for things I really truly love and stops me from grabbing anything I probably won’t wear or appreciate as much.” (here is another great post from Sherry on closet clutter).

I want to feel comfortable and confident in all the clothes in my closet. So major purge happening now! Tell me, is this the way you look at your closet too? Have you figured out that list of what you love/don’t love on yourself? I have to say, knowing what I feel comfortable in is not only great for everyday, but when I go shopping I immediately know whether I’ll like something enough to even take the time to try it on or not. Knowing what I like saves me time and money in so many ways! This guide from The Everygirl is another great resource for closet cleaning (7 questions to ask yourself when cleaning out your closet).

P.S. There are many places where you can donate your clothes to make sure that they go to good use after you are done with them. Look for local homeless or women’s shelters in your area. Many churches have donation bins that go to those in need in your community.

What I Wore #3

November 27, 2013

I’m back with another outfit post. Time for “What I Wore Wednesday:”

Nov 4 - Nov 26 with watermark

I feel like my outfits this month better describe my personality (simple, lots of jewel tones, neutrals and patterns) than the ones in the last outfit post I did. I also have been embracing the whole “natural wavy/curly” hair look more and only curled my hair once this month. I’m starting to like it better natural. I feel like it feels more “real” or something. Not that I seem fake when I curl my hair, but I like the low-maintenance but still pretty sort-of thing (plus I haven’t felt like waking up earlier to curl my hair!).

In general, I’m pretty boring when it comes to my hair. It is either down or in a ponytail. Any hair suggestions for naturally wavy/curly hair that has a lot of volume?

See past outfit posts here and here.

P.S. Most of my outfits are put together with pieces I’ve had in my closet for years, so I’m not including sources for that reason (most wouldn’t be available anymore), but feel free to ask me in the comments if you have any questions about where I got something, I’d be happy to answer!

pleated poppy

linking up here for What I Wore Wednesday

What I Wore #2

November 2, 2013

I got such positive feedback on my first outfit/fashion post, here, that I thought I would share more outfit posts on here occasionally. So behold, what I wore the last two weeks:

Oct 20-Nov 2

Unlike my first post, which were all work outfits, this post includes some outfits I wore on the weekends as well. Although I would hardly consider myself a fashion anything, I do like these posts because photographing them (and sharing them with the world) makes me consider my outfits a little deeper and encourages me think outside the box, to try to not wear the same exact thing everyday. For instance, that pencil skirt–I’ve had it for several years and never worn it. And that raspberry striped button up that I’m wearing under the polka pot sweater–it was one of my speech suit shirts from high school that I haven’t worn a single time in the last five years. It is seriously making me reconsider my closet, y’all.

How much thought do you put into putting outfits together? Where do you find fashion inspiration?

I really can’t believe I actually look forward to getting ready for work in the mornings. I never thought I’d say that!

P.S. Most of my outfits are put together with pieces I’ve had in my closet for years, so I’m not including sources for that reason (most wouldn’t be available anymore), but feel free to ask me in the comments if you have any questions about where I got something, I’d be happy to answer!

Business Casual

October 18, 2013

Alternate title: “Most Pictures of Myself in a Blog Post Ever”

Just about a month ago (on the 23rd of September, to be exact), I started a new job. An amazing opportunity that God truly opened up for me. I’m now the Web & Publications/Communications Coordinator for a local church. I do mostly graphic design work–designing/formatting/printing the Sunday bulletins, the quarterly magazine the church does, various invitations for different church programs and events, brochures, flyers, directories, reports, devotional booklets, etc. I also manage the website, (currently also working on a website re-design), create and send out weekly e-newsletters, create digital display ads, do some copy writing/editing, and manage social media/marketing, amongst other things. I really, really am enjoying the work I do and the people I work with are great. It is definitely a position in which I get to use my artistic/creative side, my English/copy editing side, and my graphic/web design skills. It is the perfect place for me right now.

One big change about leaving the house to work (all summer I worked from home for our business), is not only getting to talk to real people during the day (YAY for social interaction!), but actually having to get dressed up for work. The part of a daily routine where I wear put-together outfits, do my hair and actually apply make-up, is one that had taken a backseat for the last four years. College was just such a busy/stressful time for me, full of several health issues, sleep deprivation, and a lot of worrying about things more important than my daily appearance. I’m a pretty simple, low-maintenance girl when it comes to that type of thing (If I’m not going to work, some sort of event where I need to look presentable, or getting my picture taken, this girl has naturally wavy hair and no make-up on whatsoever). I’m totally not one of those people who are too afraid to leave the house or go to the grocery store without being dressed-up.

So anyway, when my first day of work rolled around, I got out my camera and tripod and set it up so that I could take a picture (to document the fact that I curled by hair and put make-up on for the first time in months) and that sort-of turned in to a month-long photo project documenting my business casual attire.

Behold, the most amount of selfies you’ve ever seen of me:

business casual outfits with watermark

Photographing my outfits every day made me start to push them a little outside my normal boundaries as well. I’m totally a “recipe” dresser by nature. My normal daily outfit (during school or before I was working) went something like this: favorite pair of jeans, favorite pair of flats, gold watch, simple gold necklace, plain tank top, fitted top, coordinating cardigan. Other than switching it up in the winter with scarves and the summer with sandals, my daily clothes-wearing didn’t ever differ much. Now that I’m in a more professional setting where blue jeans and flip-flops are a no-go, and since I was taking pictures everyday (and didn’t want every picture to look the same by wearing practically the same thing), I’ve really gotten back into thinking more about putting together outfits that look nice, while still being cute and comfortable.

Another added benefit–getting a lot more use out of some pieces in my closet that I haven’t worn much! I did still keep several aspects of my typical outfit recipe: wearing mostly flats, plain tank tops, gold watch, fitted tops, cardigans, but I’ve switched up the pants I wear quite a bit (instead of pulling out my favorite pair everyday–although I did wear my fav tan corduroys more than the others), I’ve varied what shoes I’m wearing more often (even wearing some short wedge heels sometimes), I’ve been more thoughtful about wearing different necklaces/jewelry (although I’m still a pretty keep-it-simple jewelry wearer, I like gold and pearls!), and given more thought to other accessories like belts. I even wore a dress or two!

I’m actually quite enjoying (and dare I say, looking forward to) getting dressed up and ready for work!

P.S. I’m not including outfit sources on here, since a lot of my clothes aren’t new and still in stores. I usually shop at Dillard’s, Macy’s, Target, Gap, Old Navy, & Banana Republic though. If you have questions about a specific item, feel free to ask me in the comments!

P.P.S. I’ve been blogging for over three years (September 4th was my 3 year blogging anniversary) and this is my first fashion post. (That might tell you a little about how high of a priority it was in my life!)