How To Be Bold With Your Style

In a previous blog post, we talked about ways to discover your personal style, you can read about it here! Today, we wanted to talk more about finding ways to be bold with your style. Once you begin finding your style and aesthetics, your choices become much more intuitive and organic. You find a rhythm and tune to your daily outfits, but to continue to let your style flourish and stretch in all directions, you need to occasionally take risks with your outfits!

Maybe it is something you wouldn’t usually wear, makes you feel slightly uncomfortable, or is a pairing of garments you never considered before. This is brilliant! This threshold of uncertainty and anticipation is where your true artistry will begin to emerge and shape. Creatives are meant to challenge the norm and take risks. Give yourself permission to find the micro-risks in your personal style regularly. 

Try to start out with a bold outfit once or twice a month. Something beyond your comfort zone. Let yourself get creative with what you already have or pop into your local thrift store for some hidden gems to spice up an outfit. Then, as you get a bit more comfortable with this, challenge yourself to have a bold outfit once a week. When you get to this point, you will begin to notice your daily outfits changing too. Congratulations at this point you have just pushed your personal style to a new place! Try to keep track of your outfits with some pictures on your phone, it is exciting to look back on how your style has morphed through the weeks and months of this task.

It isn’t always easy to take risks, but there was a quote I once heard in a film where they said “Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” Take those 20 seconds of courage to put on that bold new outfit and walk out your door. You won’t regret it!

Maui Wedding Creatives!

We are so excited to share that we have joined the Maui Wedding Creatives! For those of you who haven’t heard of them, they are a group of like-minded creatives aiming to elevate the Maui wedding industry through community, education, transparent business ethics, and client-centered practices. Though Maui is an intimate island, the wedding industry is abundant! You can easily become overwhelmed and lost in the many vendors that specialize in wedding planning, floral design, make-up, photography, videography, catering, bridal attire, and more. There are just so many talented creatives working across this island–how lucky are we?!

We are incredibly grateful to be a part of a collective that supports and uplifts one another in this wonderfully abundant industry on Maui. At JOA we are big supporters of building a community with creatives that share similar values. We have a small yet mighty island and supporting one another in their creative and respective practices is so important. 

Maui Wedding Creatives also offers an incredible resource for future couples in understanding the wedding industry and all it entails, particularly on Maui. We love seeing their blog filled with so much valuable information from creatives across different fields. Discover all you wish to know, didn’t know you should know, and more prior to planning your wedding. 

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Maui Wedding Creatives at or via Instagram @mauiweddingcreatives_ ❤️ Have a look at the numerous talented creatives a part of this collective. And stay tuned for our Instagram takeover on their account in June! We will share more about what we do at JOA and some of our tips for finding your dream wedding dress!

Creating a Sketch of Your Wedding Dress

Brides deciding to go the custom wedding dress route might be entering unfamiliar territory into the creative process. Have no fear though! It is an invigorating and thrilling experience, and your dressmaker will guide you through the entire process. Sometimes brides like to come in with a sketch or design of their ideas before beginning the creative process. It doesn’t matter if you are an incredible drawer, the goal is simply to just get a rough idea of what you are envisioning. If you would like to start creating some dress designs, then here are some tips to help you build your wedding dress sketches:

  • Use a pencil so you can easily make edits + adjustments to your sketch
  • Use a real sized croquis as your base. A croquis is a body template that designers use to sketch over. The traditional croquis are 9-heads long which gives an unrealistic elongated form, if you search for ‘real size croquis’ on google you can find some more realistic body templates. Print out one of these body templates and then use tracing paper to lay over the printed croquis and start creating your dress design on the tracing paper. This will help you get a more realistic and accurate design.
  • Don’t be afraid to get messy and just let your ideas pour out onto the paper
  • If you’re stuck, start simple, decide the silhouette of your dress first (A-line, mermaid, ballgown, sheath, trumpet, etc.), then go towards cut designs, larger details, shape of the bodice, length of train, and more
  • Leave the intricate details for the end
  • Create multiple different sketches, then go back to them and see where ideas overlap, and where you can add in new ideas
  • Once you’ve arrived at a base sketch that you love, make and print multiple copies of this sketch or use another sheet of tracing paper to lay over this sketch. Now you can play with layering the different details; selecting colors, adding embellishments, and more. Giving yourself multiple options and versions is always helpful in creating your dress design
  • Having an idea of fabrics is never a bad idea, but meeting your dressmaker in person and getting to see and feel fabrics will make the decision making process much easier
  • Lastly, don’t worry if your dress sketch isn’t perfect, your dressmaker will help you realize your dream dress and before you know it the design and details will be perfect!

Enjoy creating your sketches and maybe for some brides this is your very first go at creating designs–how exciting!! We hope these tips help you find your creative flow and help you create your dress design. And if this seems completely daunting and intimidating for you, no worries, your dressmaker will collaborate with you to co-create the dress that best suits your aesthetic, personality, and style!

5 Things to Know Before Investing in Your Wedding Gown

Upon being engaged, one of the first things Brides want to do is choose their wedding gown! It is such an exciting and thrilling time–and the time surely moves quickly in the months moving forward to your wedding day. In all the excitement and joy, decisions can happen spontaneously and quickly. So before you invest in your wedding gown, we wanted to share some of our tips to make sure you are making the right choice for you and your wedding day!

    • BUDGET – always # 1, but really consider your budget before jumping into that gorgeous gown that might be far off of your budget. Often Brides account for the cost of the wedding dress but they forget to budget in bridal alterations. At minimum you will likely need a hem and a bustle added. Bridal alterations can range from $200 to $800, depending how complex your alteration needs are. It could be that you end up wanting to restyle part of your gown or embellish it with more details. Our advice is to give yourself some cushion room in your budget (including dress and alterations) so you don’t end up exceeding your budget.
    • Designer, Custom, Vintage, or Hybrid – There are numerous options when choosing your wedding dress. You can buy a brand new designer wedding gown, you can get a custom made wedding dress, you can get a vintage wedding gown, OR you can have a mix of these. Don’t limit yourself to just buying from a boutique, consider what makes sense for your context. Maybe using your mother’s vintage gown and layering new details onto this gown is what will give your gown the meaning it deserves stitched between each thread. 
    • LOCATION + Seasons – this one is a big one, if you’re considering having an outdoor wedding in the summer then your dress will surely be different from a bride having a wedding on a snowy winter day. Perhaps you will want to go more towards lighter fabrics and sleeveless dresses, or maybe you will need the reverse.
    • Time – give yourself time to find the right wedding dress or to create your own custom dress. Do not save your wedding gown shopping to the last minute. Even if you purchase a wedding dress from a boutique, it is likely that you will need some alterations, and if you have a long train you will likely need an Alterations Specialist to create a bustle for you. Allowing for plenty of time will make the wedding dress process all the more enjoyable!
    • Trust your gut – There is so much our bodies are able to tell us. Listen to your gut and trust what your body is signaling to you. Working with honest and trustworthy vendors is so important! You don’t want to feel like you are being tricked, you want to be able to trust that the people you are working with have your best interest at heart. Trust your gut when you are making the final decisions on your wedding gown. You will know when you have found the right dress!

This is such a wonderfully exciting time in the wedding process. Happy wedding dress shopping Brides! We hope you find exactly what you are looking for. JOA is available for any custom wedding dress requests, bridal alterations, or wedding dresses that need some extra embellishments. We would love to assist you through this exciting journey and time in your life!

A New Wave of Elopers

The pandemic has brought on a new wave of eloping couples. Many brides and grooms with large weddings decided to go forward with elopements. Prior to the pandemic, adventure and destination elopements were becoming more and more popular. Now, frankly they are the safest option with the unpredictability of the pandemic, and they might have always been the most romantic. 

Though having family and friends to celebrate these milestones in our lives is always so special, for this particular moment, sometimes it is even more important to truly devote this day solely to your partner for life. Your wedding day is a rite of passage into this next chapter of your life alongside your partner. Elopements offer a total immersion into the deep, unconditional love of you and your partner on your wedding day. 

For local brides and destination brides, Maui is an awe-inspiring island filled with the most beautiful and magical places. There are so many gorgeous spots waiting to be explored! In the chaos of the wedding day, prepping, planning, following the day(s) of events, there isn’t much time to truly indulge in the moment and take in all that Maui has to offer. When you choose to elope on Maui, the island becomes your oyster and there is much more space to enjoy Maui’s beauty in your own rhythm and time. 

Why elope?

  • It is usually much more affordable (depending on your destination of choice)
  • It is significantly more romantic and intimate
  • Your love is united with a day truly devoted to your love for each other
  • Your elopement will most certainly be a day long remembered
  • There is more flexibility in terms of dates, planning, and locations
  • It is a thrilling adventure 

Why elope on Maui?

  • There is endless beauty in every corner of this island
  • There are numerous professional elopement planners 
  • You will find incredible elopement photographers ready to capture your special moments
  • Being a hot-spot for destination weddings, Maui has a surplus of wedding vendors ready to assist with wedding attire, floral arrangements, hair, and more. (Check out for various vendors)
  • It will be a true and unforgettable adventure
  • People don’t say Maui is magic for nothing
  • Maui offers the opportunity to elope and honeymoon all in one place

This past year we have had the opportunity to work with several Brides that had planned elopements. Below is a picture of Bride Hayden with her husband and Bride Priscilla with her husband on their elopement adventures. Local and destination brides, send us a message if you are in need of an Alterations Specialist or Dressmaker for your wedding attire. Email Happy eloping!

All About Bustles: Single French Bustle

Up next in our bustle series is another French Bustle, however, a slightly different version from our previous french bustle blog. Here we have a Single French Bustle. Dressmakers also refer to the French Bustle as a Victorian or Under Bustle.

The bride we worked with came to us with an A-line style wedding gown. This type of silhouette works very nicely with a single french bustle. A-line wedding dresses usually have a more fitted bodice paired with a voluminous skirt that flares out from the waist. This combination paired with a single French bustle is very charming! Other great silhouettes for Single French Bustles are the modified A-line and the ballgown silhouette.

This particular single french bustle created a beautiful mirrored image in tandem with the low back scoop of the dress. A great example of how every bustle is entirely different from the next. The dressmaker and bride may want to compliment the silhouette, the patterning or embellishments on the gown, the design and cuts of the gown, or they may want to make a bold statement with the bustle. It truly will always vary between the desired aesthetics and the gown. Bustles are the moment to add that final touch, the cherry on top, to your dreamy gown!

Pictured below is a past bride we worked with in her beautiful gown she found at a sample sale. Check out our past blog about finding affordable gowns at a sample sale! Here you can see how the single french bustle elegantly suits the style of this wedding gown. For more bustle ideas visit our past blogs in the All About Bustle series. Happy Bustling!

Mālama Maui Nui’s Art of Trash 2021: Featuring Sophia Gallegos

Our Sewing Assistant Sophia Gallegos participated in Mālama Maui Nui’s Art of Trash Virtual Trashion Show this year! She received ‘Honorable Mention’ for her fabulous College Junk Mail Paper Dress. We chatted more with Sophia to share some background about her outfit, her inspirations, and her reflections. The virtual event runs from April 3rd through the 30th via Check it out to see all of the other trashion outfits and vote for your favorite one!


Q: What was your trash art created out of?

A: I made my trash dress out of all of the college junk mail I received. I had a huge stack of it and I didn’t want all of the paper to just be thrown away so I used it to make a dress.

Q: What was your inspiration for creating your trash dress?

A: I had a design for a dress in my head that I wanted to make out of fabric but I didn’t really have the time to actually create it so I just did it out of paper.

Q: How did you go about creating this dress?

A: I basically just stapled everything together and the ruffles on the sleeves were definitely the most time consuming because they were like little paper pleats that each had to be stapled on in a row over the shoulder. I started with the bodice though, to make sure I got the fit right and then then the skirt was just a lot of accordion folds.

Q: Did this trash art fashion show inspire any future projects for you?

A: Yes! It’s so much fun to make dresses out of paper because it takes way less time than the actual thing and I already have more ideas, but I’m not sure if they will become reality or not.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

A: I made this dress when I was bored and because I didn’t want to waste trees, but I think it’s important to mention that recycling is an easy way to help the planet and one of those things that’s not a huge lifestyle change so I would encourage people to recycle and be a bit more aware of what they buy and what kind of trash it will leave behind. 

Thank you so much Sophia for sharing more about your paper dress with us! We can’t wait to see what other trash art you create in the future! And we hope this inspires others to be more environmentally-conscious about their trash and purchases. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the trash art at and cast your vote for your favorite art piece and trash outfit!

Link to Virtual Trashion Show Video – 

Link to Sophia Gallegos Dress – 

Link to vote –

Sophia on Instagram –

Sewing Tips + Tricks: Creating a pattern from your garments

Introducing our newest blog series, Sewing Tips + Tricks, where we will share with you various sewing secrets and techniques for the absolute beginner or the more experienced. Starting off the series is a method for creating a pattern to replicate your favorite garments!

Our sewing student, Akari, had a sari top that she adores and she wanted to try and copy the top in her sewing lessons. Jennifer started teaching her how to copy the sari top by using the draping method. The draping method is an excellent and friendly way to gather the intricate details of your garment and create a pattern. It is typically done using muslin. 

To begin, you drape muslin over the top while it is on a dress form. Then, you build in all the darts, seams, and design lines. You can use a pen or pencil, and some sewing pins here. This is where you want to be as precise and meticulous as possible in order to truly capture the original garment. Take your time and try to mark every detail of the garment. After, take the muslin off the dress form and turn your muslin copy into a pattern. And.. Voilà! You are on the way to successfully replicating the pattern of your favorite garment. 

The next step in replicating your garment will be cutting out the pattern in fresh muslin and sewing it up as a test garment. Afterwards, you will be creating your final garment. We will share more sewing tips + tricks on this process as the project progresses with our sewing student Akari. Stay tuned for more! And have a go at creating your own pattern in the meantime!

Discovering Your Style

Have you ever wondered what type of style you have? Or maybe you just feel like you don’t have a style? For some, personal style comes easy and naturally. There is an intuitive trust to follow what speaks to one’s creative heart. But to others, clothing is more practical and perhaps clothes are more about functionality not necessarily creative expression.

Discovering your unique style is another outlet to let your personality shine through every inch of your being. Once you begin experimenting with what aesthetics make your heart sing, you will find the pure joy and playfulness in creating an outfit each day. As we get older, we forget to play, we can take life too seriously and forget the fun that can exist in the most mundane tasks. Getting dressed in the morning can be a task of creating, painting, coloring your outfit for the day. Finding what speaks to you; what combination of fabrics, shapes, patterns do you want to merge, what vibe do you want to portray, who are you today?

If you don’t know where to start or you want to explore your style further, then you are in the right place. Here are some of our top tips for discovering your unique style and continuing to explore it:

    • Re-discover your own wardrobe – when we are in a rush in the mornings we often just grab a ‘go-to’ outfit or something simple. Set aside an afternoon to just revisit your clothes and PLAY! Put garments you have never put together before, combine colors and patterns, layer your clothes, or just randomly put together a few outfits. When you find some outfits you love, then take a picture of it so you can remember it for the future.
    • Create a Pinterest board you can search endlessly on Pinterest for different fashion styles and ideas. The best part is that pinterest will start to give you suggestions for your board. Start to build a collection of images that inspire you, maybe its a particular aesthetic, or maybe it is multiple aesthetics and styles. This is great! You are building your own style.
    • Be bold – don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd. As you become more comfortable with your style, you will begin to feel more brave and bold in your choices. Challenge the current trends and norms of fashion. For all you know, you may be starting the next fashion trend!
    • Thrifting! visit a secondhand store for even more fashion inspiration. Finding some vintage clothing is always a great way to revive your style and find some very unique pieces. 
    • Repeat & Restyle If there are garments you adore, then great! Repeat! Wear these again, but find a way to restyle it! What else can you pair your favorite pants with? Can you create an entirely different aesthetic with a different top paired? 

We hope this empowers you to explore your own personal style further! And for even more fashion inspiration, tune in to our social media accounts every other Friday to catch our Studio Style Day. Our Sewing Assistants Sophia, Lisa and Elaine model their style and share their favorite outfits. Catch their previous outfits on our Facebook and Instagram! 

All About Bustles: English Pick-up Bustle

Up next in our bustle series is the English Pick-up Bustle! Previously, we have shared the Ballroom Bustle and the French Bustle. Today, we want to dive into the elegance of an English Bustle.

The English Bustle is a wonderful bustle solution for wedding gowns that are fitted through the hips and have a long train. It is often very flattering on sheath, mermaid, and trumpet silhouette wedding gowns. If the fabric on your dress has a very straight fall, the English Pick-up Bustle can create these beautiful waterfall-like columns to compliment the clean and classic look of your gown. A simple, yet sensational bustle!

The English Pick-up Bustle is created by picking up the train and pinning it to the outside of the wedding gown. The dressmaker will take fabric from the middle of the train and pick it up to pin on to the wedding gown. The number of pick-ups and pins will vary depending on your fabric and length of train. From the pinned point the rest of the train elegantly drapes down and floats just above the floor–ready for the reception and to dance the night away of course! 

Pictured is the Bride Danielle with her wife Holly. Danielle is wearing her gown that was originally one size too big and we altered it to fit just right. We created an English Pick-up Bustle for this sheath silhouette wedding gown. The long train makes it perfect for this elegant pick-up bustle. 

Every bustle is entirely unique from the next. When you buy or create your wedding gown, it won’t come with a bustle. The dressmaker or alteration specialist will create the bustle of your choice for you. We created this blog series to help inspire you to see different ways a bustle can live on a gown, to give you ideas of the infinite bustles out there, and to share the bustles that work best for certain silhouette style gowns. If you haven’t already, check out our previous ‘All About Bustle’ posts!