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OOTD: Style Imitating Art - Decline of the Day by Emperor Ham Nghi

Salazar at 14 Shades of Grey selected this Impressionistic landscape for the challenge because of its history: it was painted by Emperor Ham Nghi of the last feudal dynasty in Vietnam. What struck me immediately about this painting was the unexpected combination of the dark shades of brown and green with denim blue and various muted light colors washed across the sky. The earth and trees look shadowed while the hills gently glow blue and the sky holds onto its last, weakening light.

Decline of the Day by Emperor Ham Nghi (source:

I was very quickly able to select items from my closet for each of these aspects of the painting:

(1) Sky: striped sweatshirt in muted spring colors

(2) Earth: brown quilted vest

(3) Trees: olive-green Starfish knit pants

(4) Hills: blue denim shirt

But will this random-seeming assortment of garments cohere into an outfit?

I was astonished to find that I really loved this unexpected combination of colors! It definitely helped that the resulting outfit fits firmly within the comfortable style parameters of my winter WFH outfit formula.

OOTD 2/21/2022

The shirt collar + V neck pullover clearly called for a layered necklace instead of my more usual winter scarf. First I selected the short dark bronze charm necklace featuring birds to repeat the color of the vest and echo the nature theme of the painting. Next I added my go-to gold tassel necklace to add a vertical element to the look and to harmonize with the muted yellow stripe in the sweatshirt. For the last necklace, I wanted something chunky and colorful so I pulled out the DIY glass bead necklace I made in December from beads included in my Boss's Bead Bag from Fire Mountain Gems...and I could not believe how well it coordinated with the outfit, bringing together so many of the colors of the various pieces! We have multiple greens, two browns, a yellow, a peachy-blush, and that gorgeous bright blue center bead that is the more saturated cousin of the denim blue. It's funny, I still believe that I would never have put the colors of this outfit together were it not for the inspiration painting, yet I sort of already did when I made this necklace. Well, in any case, I would absolutely, truly never have put these garments together into a single outfit without the SIA challenge!

I pulled my hair back with a gold headband and arranged it so that the darkest part of my hair showed in front with a gentle wave, mimicking the undulating landscape. I chose brown leather earrings with brass chain tassels to fit in with the charm necklace and vest, and I created a rose-brown lipstick by combining a brownish raisin color with a burgundy color. By good fortune my eyeglasses fit well into this color scheme with their rose gold and brown components.

My bracelet stack was initially the first four from the left, all DIY projects: yellow-brown stone, green paper with gold, brown tiger-eye with gold, and rust/burgundy patchwork paper with gold. But two days earlier the last part of my Valentine's Day gift from Robot arrived in the form of the rusty red agate bead bracelet with the rabbit charm (which of course I managed to have hanging backwards in the photo!). While the silver was a bit at odds with the other metals in the outfit, I couldn't resist adding a bit of bunny goodness to my outfit and reinforcing the rust color from the paper bead bracelet next to it. (The variant metal color is my "free to vary" element in this outfit, I think.)

My rabbit selection this time wasn't as immediately obvious to me as it sometimes is, so I started to peruse my bunny photo collection and right away saw this pretty girl with the rich, dark coat edged in a lighter warm orange-red-brown...which reminded me of the contrast between the dark ground and the warm peach-orange light at the horizon in the painting. This is the distinctive Tan breed, which sports the coloration known as the "tan pattern": a pure color (black, blue, chocolate, or lilac) on the head and body with lighter fur at the "edges" and on the belly. While other breeds of rabbit also can have the tan pattern, the lighter areas as typically white or cream; the Tan breed has the beautiful red color in the pattern due to the presence of a recessive gene that creates more red coloration.

Tan Rabbit

To see other outfit interpretations of the Decline of the Day painting, check out the round-up on 14 Shades of Grey.

What element(s) of the painting strike you as inspiration for an outfit?

Blogs I link up with are listed here.

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