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Outfit Creation in My Digital Closet for SIA: Grand Canyon + DIY Paper Beads

Salazar at 14 Shades of Grey is the curator for this round of Style Imitating Art (SIA), and she picked the 2016 travel poster for Grand Canyon National Park by the artists at DKNG Studios. Salazar has a love of travel posters and thought that "this one, with its warm colors and strong, graphic lines, can be fun to interpret in a cold-weather outfit."

Style Imitating Art selection

When I saw this artwork, I knew immediately that my interpretation would include these two pieces:

1) A thrifted scarf in woven stripes of orange, coral, pale lavender, and smoky purple that mimicked both the colors and striations in the canyons. ($2.99, thrifted at ThredUp, 5/20)

2) My paper bead bracelet that I made from a calendar image of a rocky landscape in the same color scheme. (I believe this one is also a US national park but I don't know which one.)

First two pieces selected

My scarf is in the color I call "sandstone coral" that matches several pieces I own from CJ Banks in that color, but I chose to add a boost of brightness and texture with this open weave pullover sweater in "neon coral/peach" ($8, Loft, 5/20). I pulled out the darker warm tan/brown colors from the poster with my tall cognac boots ($126, Sam Edelman/Nordstrom, 11/14).

Sweater & boots selected

Those four pieces I chose from my memory, but when it was time to pick a skirt/dress to wear with them, nothing jumped out at me as the obvious choice. So I turned to the dress and skirt images in my digital closet and grabbed some contenders. Looking at my options, I decided against the solid skirts because I was in the mood for a scarf/skirt print mix (though any of them would have worked well for this challenge). I had recently worn the navy pleated skirt with this sweater, so I eliminated that option. Of the remaining orange/brown/teal print skirt and navy print dress, I decided to go with the dress ($12, CJ Banks, 9/20) for three reasons...

Skirt/dress options

1) The dress was the higher priority item for wearing. I had only worn the dress 5 times but the skirt 14 times, and the cost per wear on the dress was much higher. The skirt is also a four-season option for me while the dress is best suited for cooler weather, so the window of opportunity to wear the dress is shorter.

2) The sweater has an open weave so it has to be layered over something. With the skirt, I'd need to pick a top and figure out how to make the layers settle right. With the dress, I could pop the sweater over it with no fuss.

3) I really like wearing navy with the cognac boots, and I thought the navy of the dress would add more depth and color contrast to the look than the mostly brown/orange color in the skirt.

With those pieces in place, I could easily pick my earrings and fill out my daily bracelet stack. Here's how the outfit looks using the images from my digital closet. One thing that jumps out here is that the color intensity of the "neon" sweater is much greater than that of the scarf and dress, which share a more muted quality. I wasn't entirely sure whether the difference would be too high for me, creating a look that felt unbalanced, or whether the difference would be enough to generate some interest and energy without overwhelming.

Outfit in my digital closet

This is the point at which the digital closet runs into its limitations. I can get a very good idea of the outfit from the images alone, but eventually I do need to put the pieces together physically. (Textures don't appear as prominent in the photos as they do in real life, and color can be a big hit or miss. For example, with the sweater, you'll see that it photographed darker and brighter in the stand-alone image than it did in my outfit of the day.) And even then, you never really know how the outfit will turn out until you put all the pieces on yourself!

I prep my outfits for the coming week every weekend, and that gives me an opportunity to see the pieces physically together and decide that they look good & continue with the plan or decide they don't work together & substitute something else. This outfit passed the "looks good together on the hangers" test so I didn't make any revisions.

My last opportunity to tweak the outfit comes when I put it on as my outfit of the day. (This includes any revisions needed due to changes to my plans for the day or the weather.) I was actually very pleased with how the outfit looks on! Even though it has something closer to a 1/2 to 1/2 than 1/3 to 2/3 vertical ratio, I found the proportions pleasing enough. The bright sweater is cheerful and fun without overwhelming the other pieces. The print mix of scarf + dress is a bit unusual but I think it works (the two pieces share the muted coral/orange and pale pink/purple colors, which helps).

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 12/4/23

Here you can see better what I meant about the open weave of the sweater. It's definitely made to be layered over something else. I actually have a sleeveless tank and a long-sleeved T (which I wore for the last SIA, so it happens) in sandstone coral that I typically wear underneath it, but it was really great to just throw it over the dress.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

Isn't the print on this dress fabulous? I love a nature-based print, and this one is so intricate and swoopy and moody and reminiscent of a William Morris wallpaper design...I just love it. It's also a really interesting mix of colors such that you can take an outfit in the direction of warmer tones of yellow, peach, and orange (as I did in this one) or cooler tones of pink and light blue.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

My all-DIY daily bracelet stack started with the paper bead bracelet made with the striated stone calendar page and one of its friends from that bracelet set. I added the stand-alone dark navy/gold paper, dark coral 8mm glass, and 8mm lapis lazuli bead bracelets to complete it. {Stretch bracelet tutorial here.}

DIY Bracelet Stack

I didn't document the paper I used for the top paper bead bracelet (the tube one), but here's what I did in making the beads for the bottom bracelet. I actually cut off the top of the paper with the lavender-blue sky before cutting my strips so that my beads would have the rich warm colors of the stone. If I'd been making the beads specifically to coordinate with this scarf, the sky would have been perfect, but for the sandstone coral/brown/gold color scheme I had in mind, I eliminated the sky color.

DIY paper beads

It's too bad I didn't get a good photo of how the earrings look on, but they are a pair of DIY earrings made from two gorgeous Czech glass ammonite beads in navy with a gold wash that I purchased from Bead Box Bargains. I like ammonites (and all kinds of fossils), and Czech glass shaped beads are wonderful for creating easy earrings. I just put antique gold scrollwork spacer beads to frame the top and bottom of the ammonite-shaped bead and called it a day.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

Here is a trio of other OOTD featuring this striped scarf, paired with closely matching "sandstone coral" pieces in the first two and worn for contrast in the last one.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 5/23/22
Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 4/2/22
Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 2/12/21

Now for my favorite part: revealing the Rabbit Imitating Art selection! I really could have gone with the orange striped Japanese Harlequin rabbit for the second SIA in a row, but instead of choosing based on the rabbit's fur color or pattern, I looked at the how the bunny was positioned. I loved the beautiful execution of the classic Bunny Loaf position here so I picked this lovely female Chinchilla rabbit. Now you may be thinking--Wait, a chinchilla is a rabbit?! No. A chinchilla is a rodent. The American Chinchilla rabbit is a breed of domestic rabbit that is named after the chinchilla rodent because the rabbit has a coat that resembles that of a chinchilla. Rabbits are lagomorphs, not rodents, so chinchillas (the rodent) and Chinchilla rabbits (the bunny) are not related and do not interbreed. How's that for confusing?

Rabbit Imitating Art selection

The original travel poster featured a kayaker on the river, moving between the canyons, but through some kind of inexplicable rabbit magic, our Chinchilla rabbit in her perfect Bunny Loaf is now floating on the river, comfortably relaxing and completely at her ease. Now that's a sight I'd travel far to see!

SIA artwork with rabbit
Travel poster"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 14 Shades of Grey.

When it comes to outfit creation, are you more analytical, more intuitive, or somewhere in between? Do you prep in advance or pull something together in the morning? Do you wear the dress + sweater combination in colder weather?

Blogs I link up with are listed here.

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