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How to Style a Brown and Lace Spring Outfit for SIA: Book of Hours + DIY Jewelry

Salazar at 14 Shades of Grey is the curator for this round of Style Imitating Art (SIA), and she selected a 14th century Book of Hours by unknown French artists. She says she's been on a medieval kick lately, and the intricate lacy cutouts along the page borders of this book really sets it apart from other medieval manuscripts. She sees both lace and crochet as on point for this challenge, but also thinks the illustrations in the book could serve as a source of inspiration.

Style Imitating Art selection
Source: 14shadesofgrey.wordpress.com




My immediate reaction was "too bad I don't have any lacy cream-colored items to wear for this challenge," but I turned to my digital closet's Beige/Ivory/Cream/Tan folder to see what I had to work with instead. Of course, I re-discovered my thrifted ivory lace jacket that I typically wear in the summer and realized that with the unseasonably warm April weather we're having, I could probably make the jacket work! My digital closet also offered up a pair of lace/eyelet cream Skechers sneakers that I only wear for ultra-casual walkabouts or exercise, and while I tried to dismiss them from my mind, I couldn't un-think the possibility of styling them in a "normal" outfit for the first time.

SIA outfit plan

With the lacy cream pages of the book represented, I created the base of my outfit in brown to match the book cover: an inner column consisting of a brown short-sleeved T and brown straight leg jeans (one of my Pleasing Pairings). Although dark brown is a color we typically associate with fall, there is no law against wearing it in the spring and summer too. After all, trees retain their brown bark when they are blooming as well as when they're bare! With the light color and warm-weather-appropriate open weave fabric of the jacket worn over the brown column, the outfit doesn't look like I tripped on a time machine and stumbled from November to April. (This is my second "fall colors in spring" response to an SIA challenge this month; it was not intentional!)

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 4/22/24

Wearing these sneakers in the outfit was definitely outside my comfort zone, but I'm not sure there's ever been a time to style sneakers in an outfit than during a "sneakers with everything" fashion moment. This is probably not something I will start doing on the regular, but I enjoyed the double-lace action of the sneakers in this particular outfit, and I am glad I tried it out.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

In another departure from my usual styling, I decided to button up the lace jacket (rather than leaving it open in the front) to create a clean backdrop for the many-shades-of-neutral leopard print scarf. One of the benefits of an open jacket worn over an inner column is that it creates a pleasing vertical integrity rather than cutting your body in half where the jacket ends. But with my scarf worn long this way (method 1 here), I added my own vertical line that softened the impact of the potentially harsh vertical line between the light colored jacket and dark colored pants. I would call this combination "just flattering enough."

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

Leopard print is not an obvious spring print, but it's a classic that works in every season. I liked the mix of black and every shade of brown from cream through taupe through dark brown on offer in this scarf as a bridge piece to connect the ivory and brown colors of my outfit. I have other scarves that combine cream and brown, but the all-neutral color scheme of this one felt just right for the inspiration artwork.


My daily bracelet stack is based on a paper bead bracelet set in the same colors as the scarf, though I didn't intentionally create the bracelets to match it. I just find a lot of value in accessories that help bridge the black/brown divide, which can be a little hard to come by in stores aside from animal prints. This made a DIY paper bead bracelet set that brings black, brown, tan, and gold together in an intentional-looking way an obvious project for me. To the two paper bead bracelets, I added four other neutral DIY bracelets: a mixed metal spacer bead bracelet (with silver, gunmetal, gold, hematite, and bronze colors), a brown tiger-eye bracelet, the black glass bead bracelet with silver and gold spacers you see all the time, and a rose brown glass bead bracelet with gold rose-shaped spacer beads (see what I did there). {bicone paper bead tutorial} {stretch bracelet tutorial}

DIY paper bead bracelet set

The top paper bead bracelet started out as a Coldwater Creek catalog page featuring a beige, tan, and black skirt outfit. Naturally these rolled up into nice striped beads in that color scheme.

Paper bead page to bead example

I made the bottom bracelet beads from this full-page image from an alumni magazine. I loved the rich tones of brown and black in this photograph. I covered the white paper cores with gold marker applied to the edges, which lent a pretty gilded look to the rolled beads.

Paper bead page to bead example
Paper bead page to bead example

I chose a new pair of DIY bead soup earrings in a brown and antique bronze colorway for a subtle finish to my outfit. I stacked two colors/sizes of glass pearl with bronze spacers and a larger brown oval glass bead for a very simple design.

DIY bead soup earrings

Now for the main event: our Rabbit Imitating Art selection! I love the heathery visual texture of a rabbit with an agouti (wild-rabbit-looking) coat, and I thought the subtlety of this Chinchilla rabbit would be a nice accompaniment to the artwork.

Rabbit Imitating Art selection

But I really didn't think that through, did I? The artwork is a book, and the book has pages made of paper, and rabbits...well, as you could easily imagine, rabbits love to nibble on paper. So this is as much a Rabbit Ingesting Art as a Rabbit Imitating Art. Perhaps one of the unknown French artists responsible for this lovely Book of Hours was a lapin who delicately nibbled the lacy texture in the pages?? For a fun exploration of the rabbit in the Middle Ages, check out this post complete with drawings of killer rabbits in medieval manuscripts.

SIA artwork improved with rabbit
Book of Hours "improved" with rabbit

To close out this post, I'm showing a couple of OOTD featuring this ivory lace jacket that I haven't previously shared. As you can see, I typically wear the jacket open rather than buttoned as part of a straight up summer outfit.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 7/29/20
Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 7/13/22

I can't remember if I've shared these extra large gold hoop earrings that came in a grab bag of beads/findings (Boss's Bead Bag from Fire Mountain Gems), but they are a lot of fun. It's interesting because I'm sure they are intended as a starting point for adding wire-wrapped beads or something, but I think with their large size that they look great plain.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

Thanks for joining me today for this Style Imitating Art + Rabbit Imitating (and Improving) Art post!


To see other outfit interpretations of this artwork, check out the review on 14 Shades of Grey.


Do you have any lace or crochet items that you wear in the spring/summer? Do you wear dark brown in the warm seasons? Do you ever wear sneakers in not-entirely-casual outfits?


Blogs I link up with are listed here.

14 commentaires


Di Cook
Di Cook
25 avr.

Salazar chose an unusual and challenging, but absolutely gorgeous work of art for this week's of SIA! You have pulled off a beautiful interpretation! I love your lacy jacket and how you combined all the brown tone neutrals in your outfit. I have some lace and crochet items in my closet that I wear year round that could represent the extraordinary cut out pages in the book, but there is very little brown in my closet. I rarely wear sneakers, but have one pair of white lace ones that I purchased last year that I really like for summer. Your eyelet ones are so cute! I hope you are keeping a close eye on that bunny, because history would not…

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
26 avr.
En réponse à

Yes, I'm guessing the museums/universities that house the great manuscripts of history have a strict No Rabbits policy for good reason! There is something really satisfying about a pair of sneakers with a pretty feminine vibe, isn't there? That blend of sporty utilitarianism with feminine sweetness really appeals to me. Have a good weekend, Di!

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Shelbee On The Edge
Shelbee On The Edge
25 avr.

Sally, your lace jacket is so pretty! What a great topper for spring and summer. I am not a big fan of sneakers either but these eyelet ones are so darn cute and they look great with this outfit! All the browns and whites look fresh and cool for the transitional season, too. I love that in your version of the book, the bunny ate the pages into the lacy cutouts! Go Bunny! Well done, my friend.


Shelbee

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
25 avr.
En réponse à

Haha, thanks, Shelbee! Bunnies are so "helpful," aren't they?

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mlrbanks57
25 avr.

Your lace jacket is beautiful, Sally! I really like it with these sneakers and think you should wear them together more! I think your brown column of color is a wonderful backdrop for the lace jacket. I thought this was one of the more challenging SIAs. But, the bunny is definitely up for the challenge!


https://marshainthemiddle.com/

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
25 avr.
En réponse à

Thanks, Marsha. It's funny, I don't have much brown in my wardrobe but I seem to pull those few pieces out more than I'd expect for SIA challenges; I guess artwork often contains brown!

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jodie filogomo
jodie filogomo
25 avr.

You found a winner for this photo. I love my sneakers with dresses and skirts, but I still have a hard time wearing them with pants. Maybe a wider leg pant would do it---I'll have to try it soon. XOXO Jodie

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
25 avr.
En réponse à

I think sneakers look great with wider leg pants!

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dame.eleanor
24 avr.

I love that lace jacket! It looks like it would be super useful in summer (and shoulder season) outfits.


Thanks for the link to the blog post. For anyone else who reads it and is interested, yes, that absolutely is the reason why "coney" started to be pronounced with a long o rather than rhyming with honey; further, its associations are why bunny and rabbit became more common words for the beastie, rather as we now use "cat" rather than "pussy," which was perfectly fine in 19th-century children's books but sank in associations during the 20th. I also want to thank you and Salazar for the link to the essay about the Walters lace manuscript. Despite being a medievalist with…

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
26 avr.
En réponse à

It's true that the stereotypes work against you...unless a person embraces the Dark Academia aesthetic, she isn't going to think first of a British professor as a fashion idol :)

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