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OOTD: Style Imitating Art - The Thousand Quilt by Elizabeth Shippen Green

Terri at Meadow Tree Style is the curator for this round of Style Imitating Art, and she chose an illustration circa 1900 by the American artist Elizabeth Shippen Green that offers a lot of interpretive options.


It's no surprise that she was attracted to this image showing a daughter creating a quilt while her mother looks on as Terri is a retired art teacher and accomplished textile artist who works in a variety of media. Around here, she is known as the "sheep sweater lady" because last year I showed my husband her blog post for an SIA challenge wearing an amazing sheep sweater...that she designed herself...and knit herself...from wool she spun herself...from sheep that she herself raised. (Impressive, right?!)

There are so many wonderful aspects to this illustration that could inspire an outfit:

--Mother figure: white, feminine, lengthy dress/skirt, high contrast

--Daughter figure: pulled back hair, red top

--Quilt: black, bright colors, clean lines, blocks of color, regular geometric print/pattern, draping

--Room: brown, camel, textured dark green, white with pink and green floral design (vase), gold, delicate elaborate detailing

The quilt, the centerpiece of the work, caught my eye as a great starting point for an outfit. I didn't have any immediate ideas from my wardrobe, so I consulted my handy digital closet (i.e., folder with photos of all of my clothes and accessories). I looked at pants first but nothing looked right. I somewhat reluctantly turned to the skirts next (reluctantly because I've been enjoying the simplicity of wearing pants vs. a skirt with tights this winter) and hit the jackpot with my circus striped pleated skirt! It checked so many boxes: black, bright colors (the blue, green, red, and yellow in the quilt pattern), stripes (a regular geometric print), and draping. In the winter I wear the skirt with black tights and black buckled ankle boots, so that part was settled.

I purchased this Target Who What Wear skirt new with tags at Goodwill for $3.99 in October 2018. Apparently it originally retailed for $29.99 (and it came with a matching shirt, which I don't have, but I love the idea of the two-piece dress). It's funny...this skirt still shows up for resale when you google "Target who what wear striped skirt" (for way more than I spent). Bloggers seem to like wearing this skirt with a tucked in black top, and I see why. I like it a lot with a black blouse or sweater myself. In the Kiwi capsule wardrobe post last March, I showed this skirt styled for winter with combinations of black, red, and cobalt blue...all great options. Red in particular would mimic the look of the daughter's outfit.

But I wanted to try something different for the SIA so I went with a dark green-teal pullover sweater with a slight grey marl effect knitted into it, which reminded me of the speckled appearance of the wall of the room. This doesn't look like much of an experiment, perhaps...wearing a green sweater with a skirt with green stripes...but I had never considered wearing this kind of subtly patterned top with the boldly striped skirt before.

With skirt, sweater, tights (well, I am lazy this winter so I went with black leggings instead because they're easier to put on!), and boots selected, I had only to consider a topper piece and scarf...because it is early March in Minnesota and hence still very much winter! The black velvet vest I wore for the Rembrandt SIA in January would be a good option, but really, can you expect me to pass up the opportunity to wear a quilted vest for this SIA??

Now for the scarf...sigh. For some reason, this skirt challenges me when picking out scarves. I knew I wanted the scarf to be worn long and flowing, which means any print/pattern would be highly visible. I will wear print scarves with this skirt, but I tend to like them worn in a way that the print is not as noticeable. For wearing long, I tend to go with solid scarves, and that just felt wrong (i.e., boring) here. So I went very slightly out of the box to try this lightweight white scarf with rose gold metallic polka dots, which I felt brought in an element of the mother's floaty white dress to the look. And I liked it! A typical piece of print mixing advice is to select prints that share two colors in common, which is very sound, but sometimes two unrelated prints will work surprisingly well together...and I think that's the case here. (Thanks for the inspiration Terri & Elizabeth Shippen Green!) The scarf also added some value contrast to the outfit and lightened things up around my face, which works well with my pale skin.

OOTD 3/7/2022

You knew there was a bracelet stacking coming, right? I went full in with the black + green + red color scheme, Christmas-y or not. In addition to the ubiquitous gold tone bracelet from Amazon, I have 5 DIY bracelets: red with white snowflake tube paper beads made from a sweater image in a catalog; black glass beads with gold and silver spacers, red glass beads; red and dark green plaid tube paper beads made from a catalog image; and plain black glass beads. (The two tube paper beads are from my Christmas Red/Green/Black/Gold Set. Snowflakes are still very much on point in St Paul right now; we had over 4" of snow this weekend things are looking freshly white outside.)

The daughter's simple pulled-back hair-do was very easy to replicate, and though mine is lighter and less red, it still seemed to resonate with her look. I put on red lipstick to add a bit of matching color to my face. The earrings are the kind of fun detail that gives me a small jolt of pleasure...they are clear crystal squares that replicate the shapes of the quilt design.

(I wasn't sure how to describe the pattern in the quilt, so I went to google and did that thing where you're like, Hmm, what should I enter? I guess I'll try X. And X turns out to be the thing you were googling for. I tried googling "log cabin quilt pattern" and I think that may be an accurate description. I'm not a quilter at all, but the quilt in the illustration seems to match those search results pretty well.)

Just for fun, here are three previous OOTD for spring/summer featuring the circus tent striped skirt. Black, green, pink, gold, and leopard print are warm weather favorites with this skirt.

As for my rabbit selection...I searched my photo archive for a bunny that has the white body with black on the head to resemble the mother figure in the illustration. I found a sweet Netherland Dwarf rabbit that fit the bill. And I don't know, I just simply could not resist the temptation to "improve" upon this artwork by adding in the missing piece: a sweet bunny loafing/dozing at the bottom of the quilt. (If the bunny seems big for a "dwarf," yes, I took some artistic license with the sizing!)

The Thousand Quilt "improved" with rabbit

To see other outfit interpretations of The Thousand Quilt, check out the round-up on Meadow Tree Style.

What aspect of the artwork resonated with you as style inspiration?

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