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Red, White, and Blue Stripes for July 4 and SIA: Betsy Ross

Shelbee at Shelbee on the Edge is the curator for this round of Style Imitating Art (SIA), and she selected the 1927 oil painting "Young Betsy Ross" by American illustrator Paul Stahr. She picked this artwork because she thought it would be "fun to choose an inspiration piece with a bit of United States history." However, Shelbee discovered that the story that Betsy Ross created the second official US flag at the behest of a committee including George Washington is not accepted by modern scholars. Even if this artwork is based on an American myth rather than rock-solid history, it still makes a very appropriate inspiration piece leading up to July 4.

Style Imitating Art selection
Source: shelbeeontheedge.com





I like wearing red, white, and blue (especially navy) all summer long, as well as in other seasons. Sure, it's a patriotic palette for Americans, but I like the color scheme on its own merits. It's bold and it has fun nautical vibes, especially when it involves stripes. But my stripes are navy and white, rather than red and white...and while this isn't a deal-breaker, I wear navy and white stripes + red regularly, so that didn't feel like much of a challenge. So I turned to this white cotton button up shirt with stripes in 6 colors as the foundation of my outfit. It even has yellow stripes to bring in the color of Betsy's dress in the painting.

Style Imitating Art selections

From there it was quite easy to build an outfit by styling red jeans and a bright medium blue T under the striped shirt, worn open as a very lightweight topper piece as I recently discussed in my summer layers post. This is my first time to wear this t-shirt (in an interesting blue color that Christopher & Banks called "splash blue") with red; I don't think I normally would ever have put these colors together because they are both so bright, but with the striped shirt worn over it, the splash blue is much less prominent. So even though this is a very simple look, following a tried-and-true outfit formula, the SIA challenge did get me to try something new. I like the result!

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 7/1/24

With the prominence of yellow in the painting, it made sense to me to select gold as my metallic color. My red flats with gold buckle detail matched perfectly and feel reminiscent of the buckled shoe styles that were popular in the early days of the US. This article about calamanco shoes shows a pair of red buckled wedding shoes from about 1765 for comparison.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

Because I already had a lot going on with colors and prints in this outfit, I decided to keep my necklace relatively basic, pulling out a red/gold multi-strand seed bead necklace that I made back in the summer of 2021.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

Outfit total cost per wear (not including earrings and bracelets, which I don't track): $2.80! All of these pieces are older ones that have been worn numerous times, and they were purchased at thrifted or sale prices:

-Red skinny jeans, $2.99, thrifted Target, 3/2019, 12 wears, $0.25 CPW

-Splash blue T, $8.10, CJ Banks, 7/2020, 10 wears, $0.81 CPW

-Striped shirt, $19.98, Lands End, 9/2020, 19 wears, $1.05 CPW

-Red buckle flats, $53.56, Me Too/Nordstrom, 8/2013, 78 wears, $0.69 CPW


Despite choosing gold as my metal, I wore a paper bead bracelet set using silver! Not sure how it happened, but I accidentally grabbed the red/blue/silver set I made for this shirt rather than the red/blue/gold set (details with the first outfit here). But with the additional bracelets with gold spacers I added to my stack, I ended up with a mixed metal look, which was acceptable. {stretch bracelet tutorial} {bicone paper bead tutorial} {tube paper bead tutorial}

DIY paper bead bracelet set

I wore a new pair of DIY stacked bead soup earrings in a color palette of red, white, blue, and black. I used colorful heishi beads as spacers between the glass beads, which is a nice alternative to metal spacers. These earrings use black headpins and ear wires instead of a metallic color like gold or silver so they have a metallic-free color scheme that is very versatile.

DIY bead soup earrings
Design bead soup earrings

Now for my favorite part of the post: our Rabbit Imitating Art selection! I know that we just featured a broken mini lop in the Basket of Flowers SIA, but this lilac-and-white rabbit was intensely interested to inspect Betsy Ross's flag and I could not deny her.

Rabbit Imitating Art selection

While Betsy was putting the finishing touches on the flag (with the frankly bizarre astral projection of George Washington looking on), Lilac the rabbit jumped up on her lap to inspect her work. Although Lilac found the sewing quality to be up to par, as a gentle nip and tug at the fabric did not cause immediate damage, the design of the flag was definitely lacking. As Lilac attempted to convey to Betsy how inadequate this whole "stars and stripes" design concept was through a series of thumps and disapproving looks, Betsy continued sewing obliviously, only occasionally asking Lilac to settle down.

SIA artwork improved with rabbit
Artwork "improved" with rabbit

At the height of her frustration, Lilac made a quick stop in the kitchen to procure some fruit and vegetable samples to arrange on the fabric, adding both more colorful vibrancy and symbols worthy of veneration to the design. Unfortunately, Betsy was merely baffled by this display of produce and giggled, calling Lilac "a sweet silly little thing." The ghostly spirit of George Washington was of no help because he became distracted thinking about how he might next rotate the crops at Mount Vernon for maximum yields.


But Lilac thumped so loudly that soon, every rabbit in the vicinity descended upon Betsy Ross's home, and finding an astonishing array of fruit and vegetable laid out upon the flag, commenced to eat it...fabric and all! Thus did Betsy Ross's rabbit Lilac first invent the salad bar in the year 1777. But since history is written by people with fingers rather than paws, the human-centric myth places the salad bar as a mid-20th century development, but at least they got the American invention part right. Next time you eat from a salad bar, lift a carrot in thanks to Lilac the mini lop 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 Shelbee on the Edge.


Fellow Americans: did you learn about Betsy Ross's flag as fact in school as Shelbee and I did? Non-Americans: does the Betsy Ross flag myth sound totally strange? Everyone: Would you wear star and/or stripe motifs? Would you wear fruit and/or vegetable motifs? Would you wear blue with red?


Blogs I link up with are listed here.

16 Comments


berryjacqui38
berryjacqui38
2 days ago

Love the patriotic outfit Sally, I love wearing the same for our special days which they mean the most. X Jacqui.

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
a day ago
Replying to

Thanks, Jacqui - it's fun to dress for holidays in the special color combos!

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michellechurchman
6 days ago

I love this outfit, Sally! And I had no idea that rabbits played such an important role in early American history. :D

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
5 days ago
Replying to

Right?! A lot of things get left out of the history books, haha. Thanks, Michelle!

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mimifce
Jul 05

I love these challenges so much: very fun to see why you chose each piece of your outfit.

www.chezmireillefashiontravelmom.com

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
5 days ago
Replying to

It's really a lot of fun to create outfits for these challenges!

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Shelbee On The Edge
Shelbee On The Edge
Jul 05

Hahahahaha, Sally, your bunny narrative for this one was absolutely brilliant! But so is your outfit. Well done, my friend. I love the colorful striped shirt paired with red and blue. It really allows the yellow to stand out, too. Your jewelry is totally on point as it always is. Such a joyful outfit! I also found George's astral projection over Betsy's shoulder to be really bizarre. There were lots of Betsy Ross paintings to choose from, but I really liked her yellow dress in this one. This was super fun once again!


Shelbee

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
5 days ago
Replying to

Thanks, Shelbee! The yellow really brought something extra to the red, white, and blue color palette, and we seemed to all have a good time working with this artwork.

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thegreybrunette
Jul 05

I love all these items together, Sally! The shirt with the additional yellow stripe really ties it all together! Fabulous!

Hugs

Suzy x

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
5 days ago
Replying to

Thanks, Suzy - that colorful striped shirt has been a really good player in my wardrobe!

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