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Lightening a Brown Outfit for SIA: Feathered Tunic + DIY Bead Soup Earrings

Terri at Meadow Tree Style is the curator for this round of Style Imitating Art (SIA), and she picked a feathered tunic created by Chimu weavers in northern Peru that dates back about 500 years. Terri selected this artwork from the textile collection at the Chicago Art Institute, noting that the "knee-length, sleeveless garment is composed of a plain-weave cotton cloth completely concealed by thousands of brightly colored feathers. This is a garment of a very powerful and wealthy person." I thought this was a quite nice color palette for fall, and of course, I absolutely love the inclusion of animal motifs in this piece.

Style Imitating Art selection

Although it's a less dominant color in the tunic, I decided to create my outfit around the brown tones (such as the two outer birds in the middle row) because I wanted to try another brown column of color look. I wore a brown column for the last SIA, and Di from the Di-alog blog had commented that she finds herself "looking for ways to lighten up the overall look when wearing this color." I definitely can relate to that interest in lightening up or brightening up a dark brown outfit, so I thought I'd give it another shot with this style challenge. With the cream and rusty orange colors in the artwork, we have some options.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD SIA: You Come First

I selected the same brown T, jeans, and flats as before; as I've said before, I really like identifying pieces that work well together ("pleasing pairings") and using them in various outfits. Then I pulled out this thrifted silky scarf that feels just perfect for capturing the color palette and animal graphic elements from the inspiration piece. If you wear scarves but aren't buying them second-hand, you're missing out! I bought this one on ThredUp in Dec. 2019 for $2.40.

SIA options

To make my outfit a bit more fall weather appropriate, I once again layered a jacket over my brown column. This time I picked a sandstone coral knit jacket that coordinated with but did not exactly match the orange tones in the scarf. This more muted shade with a hint of pink to it is a much happier color for me to wear near my face compared to true orange, and I thought it did a nice job of lightening and brightening the look. (Note that I am not rocking some kind of intentional peasant woman-meets-Princess Leia hairstyle; this is just how my hair looks when I have it twisted up to air dry after washing it!)

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 10/30/23

I wore my scarf hanging loose around my neck (a variant on Method #2 in this how-to-wear-scarves post) and used it to frame a mixed metal floral necklace. The coppery tones in the necklace repeated some of the warm rusty brown colors from the leopard scarf and helped fill in some of the space above the V neck of the top.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

My all-DIY daily bracelet stack started with a paper bead bracelet set in sandstone coral, brown, and gold (see page to bead post with outfit #2 here). I supplemented the stack with four glass bead bracelets in coordinating colors. {Bicone paper bead tutorial; tube paper bead tutorial; stretch bracelet tutorial}

DIY Bracelet Stack

My earrings are a pair of DIY bead soup earrings I made to coordinate with the paper bead bracelet set, once again just stacking beads on a pin, rolling a loop, and attaching an ear wire.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

I first found the two splattered paint glass oval beads in my bead soup to use as my focal beads, then added on two pairs of glass pearls, a pair of little bicones, and some spacer beads. (I'm not sure why I made these on eye pins instead of head pins, but I'm going to call the bottom loop an aesthetic element rather than a mistake.) Although I used gold spacers in my bracelet set, I chose to use antique bronze findings on the coordinating earrings. Y'all know I'm not the most matchy-matchy when it comes to jewelry sets, so having a mix of metals that are not identical but are similar in being either warm toned (gold, bronze, brass, copper) or cool toned (silver, steel, pewter, gunmetal, platinum) works well for me. I would also readily make something in rose gold to coordinate with either a warm-toned or cool-toned set.

Design bead soup earrings for a paper bead bracelet set

I wore this outfit at what turned out to be Peak Fall Color here in St Paul. We had a lot of yellow, red, and green this year, creating gorgeous views from my balcony. We don't always have this much green in late October, so I enjoyed the combination quite a bit!

Peak color in St Paul 2023
St Paul, MN - 10/29/23
Peak color in St Paul 2023
St Paul, MN - 10/29/23
Peak color in St Paul 2023
St Paul, MN - 10/29/23

Now for my favorite part of the post: choosing our Rabbit Imitating Art bunny! I put the feathered tunic image up on one monitor and my archive of rabbit photos on the other, and I scrolled down through my photos until I found a bunny whose overall appearance jived with it. This sleepy Mini Lop rabbit with a luxurious dewlap (functioning as a built-in pillow!), delightfully fluffy reddish fur above the ears, and a deeply heathered brown-and-white broken fur pattern in the highly apt "blanket" style was a terrific match to the tunic colors and design.

Rabbit Imitating Art selection

When our drowsy rabbit found this tunic, she arranged it for itself, loafed out on top of it, and promptly fell asleep, confident that she is well-camouflaged in this position. Her body is just the right size to cover up the animal designs on the front...and that's okay because if you have a rabbit, what other animals do you need? When she wakes from her nap and hops away, the feathered tunic will 100% be a feathered-and-furred tunic!

SIA artwork with rabbit
Feathered Tunic "improved" with rabbit

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 Meadow Tree Style.

Do you have a favorite accent color to lighten/brighten up brown or other dark neutrals? Do you like to mix metals in your jewelry? Do you have any furry friends whose shedded fur blends itself into your clothing, upholstery, etc.?

Blogs I link up with are listed here.

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