Streets Fashionista: Joanna Zurn

Categories:      Fashion
Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 at 7:03 AM
Streets Fashionista: Joanna Zurn by Leslie McAllister

I may have touched on this before, and if so, forgive me; it is a topic I am passionate about. It’s just that when people approach me with fashion questions, I reply the same each time: “Trends are one thing; style is where it’s at.” In other words, style is what makes you stand out. Trends are just fads people follow. Style is your personality, what makes others find you alluring, mysterious. Style is what attracts people to follow blogs or flip through magazines; we are, after all, a visual society.

So define style.

For me, it’s not playing into trends. There is a psychology to dressing. We are fascinated by how people choose to put outfits together, and we are enamored of others that dress unexpectedly and unconventionally.

Alas, there is a formula to it, one that after years of flipping through glossy pages, watching runway shows, and studying my peers I have unlocked. Start with you, then add a vintage piece, couple great hair with great makeup, inject a splash of bold color and killer shoes, and then top off with a smile; that, my dears, is what equals Style. And if you take that to the second power, then, fashionistas, we have nonstop class happening.

Who? Joanna Zurn

Where? The Ladies Only Luncheon at the Kahkwa Club

Why Joanna? The lovely woman just drips with style. Wearing vintage St. John, a vintage Chanel button bracelet, and an adorning Bakelite bangle, Joanne pairs her own personal style with classic vintage pieces. She stays warm, wrapped in a vintage oatmeal wool coat with a fox fur collar and keeps our attention with a beautiful smile.

What We Want to Know:

Describe your style. I suppose I would consider my style feminine with a hint of fashion forward. I have never considered myself a fashionista, but I do love to experiment and play with fashion and trends. I would not say my wardrobe is totally defined by a certain style. I choose my outfit according to my mood and/or occasion.

What is your perfect outfit? A fitted pencil or A-line skirt, coupled with a colorful v-neck sweater or a tailored button down shirt – I like Brooks Brothers tailored/fitted ladies shirts – opaque hose, boots, and fun jewelry pieces or a scarf. Accessories always make or break an outfit.

What article of clothing or accessory defines you? I think I look best in a fitted dress. I like wrap dresses. I don't think one piece of clothing or accessory defines me, however, l like versatility and my wardrobe reflects that.

If you were a fabric, which would you be? I love cashmere. It’s warm, soft, and very functional. It keeps you warm, but it also adjusts to your body temperature.

Name three favorite pieces in your closet. I have a black leather jacket that I bought in Turkey about five years ago. It’s lightweight, and it has a patterned leaf design. I have worn it over and over again, dressed it up or down, and I always get compliments. I have a cashmere sweater that was given to me from my then mother-in-law in Buenos Aires. It is one of my most treasured garments. It has withstood the test of time; 20 years old and still looks beautiful. My mother gave me a pair of large gold hoop earrings many years ago. They are my go-to earrings, the quality and craftsmanship of them is lovely and they go with any outfit.

Over the phone you told me about the Trask Teen Board being a big part of your youth. You mentioned that it was an honor for a young woman to be chosen for it, and it was an opportunity to model for local department stores, like Trask’s Can you tell me more? Well, now we are going way back, Leslie, but it was one of the highlights of my junior and senior high school years. When I was in 9th grade at Wilson Junior High I was selected by my teachers and the guidance counselor to represent the school at Trask's Department Store. Every junior and senior high school had one representative and we did modeling and fashion shows in the store. Our photographs were taken professionally and hung in the junior department! As representatives of your school, you were selected based on your grades and extracurriculars. One aspect of being on the TTB was that each girl could choose to work in the junior department on the weekends and collect points (not money) for the hours you worked. At the end of the year, the girl with the most accrued points was made president of the board for the following year and was given a gift certificate from the store.

Worst and best new trends? Worst: Crop sweaters are on trend, but are longer in the back now, ugh, and they are wearing them with leggings. Not good for any woman at any age, in my opinion, of course! Best: Peplum dresses and tops – very cute and feminine. Lace is also very popular right now.

Joanna divides her time between working and teaching at the Neighborhood Art House, performing in various plays and musicals at the Playhouse, and loving on her gorgeous Maine Coon kitty, Gatsby.

Find me out on the town and challenge yourself to get noticed by the Erie Reader! Leslie McAllister can be contacted at, and you can follow her on Twitter @ShopJuJu. 

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