top of page
  • Writer's picturesallyinstpaul

Style Imitating Art (SIA): Strawberry Tea Set by Childe Hassam

Terri at Meadow Tree Style is the curator for this round of Style Imitating Art (SIA), and she selected this beautiful light-filled painting in the "window" series by American Impressionist painter Childe Hassam. Terri notes that Strawberry Tea Set (painted in 1912), like the other paintings in the series, features a window covered in a thin curtain that lets in light, a lone woman dressed in a kimono, and a table in which light is reflected. She observes that she "hope(s) it can inspire the closet hunt"...and I think she's chosen a great piece to get us thinking creatively.


With the name Strawberry Tea Set in mind, my first thought was to wear something with a strawberry motif...of which I have none. But when I actually looked at the tea set, the design didn't really look like a strawberry to me. Instead it looked like a coral/orange and green floral design, and immediately it clicked: Aha, I have just the blouse! I pulled this Loft blouse ($6.00, 7/2020) out of the closet, and indeed, I think we have a match.

Next I decided on a green cardigan to mimic the woman's kimono (since I don't own any actual kimonos!). This 3/4 sleeve cardigan with a marl knit (Coldwater Creek, $14.97, 7/2020) seemed to have the right sleeve length and open front, and while the texture isn't a perfect match, it is similar the inspiration. For my bottom piece, I chose a camel-gold silk skirt (thrifted Talbots, $5.59, 2/2020) that is reminiscent of the mustardy-gold curtains. I really like how these 3 pieces look together! It has a loose, body-skimming silhouette like the woman's dress + kimono, but it isn't overwhelmingly voluminous.

OOTD 7/11/22

The most challenging thing about this painting for style inspiration is that I really wanted to mimic the no necklace/no scarf neckline of the woman in the painting...but that is SO counter to my instincts! But I decided to try it, and guess what...I survived! After my "no necklace" selection, I decided on my brown Frye pointy-toed flats ($110.99, 4/2014) to pull in the brown wood of the table, chairs, and wall. This was also a bit of a struggle because the cardigan's marl knit is green and black, but I was happy with how the brown flats worked here.

Though the woman is wearing white earrings (pearls, I assume), I decided to repeat the brown leather of the shoes by wearing brown leather leaf earrings with brass chain tassels. Wearing no necklace, I thought a larger statement earring felt right, and I like using the top 'n' tail strategy of repeating the shoe color in the upper part of the outfit. I pulled my wavy hair into a very loose ponytail to give it a similar appearance to the woman's hair. I can't tell if her hair is cut short or put in a bun. I knew a bun from my hair would be way too large so I stuck with a ponytail so it would look similar at least from the front and angled to the side. I tried for a "contemplative" expression but hit closer to "spaced out" instead...oh well!

Forgoing the necklace was as much of a jewelry sacrifice as I could make, so I did add a DIY bracelet stack to my outfit: paper tube beads (from an alumni magazine photo of a tiled museum floor), brown tiger-eye, mixed stone beads, golden stone beads, and paper bicone beads (I don't recall the image).

Here are three summer OOTD photos I haven't previously shared on the blog that feature the camel skirt or green cardigan. First is an atypically neutral outfit from last August with the camel skirt, brown T, and ivory lace jacket. The layered necklace was a fun combination!

Mint T + black capris - Summer plus size outfit idea for women over 40

The camel skirt and brown flats make another appearance in this OOTD from last October (that transition season in which we dress in fall colors but still wear lighter pieces). The layered necklace is again based on gold metal and centered on that sweet sloth mama-and-baby pendant. I am wearing both the woodland critters top and coordinating scarf as a headband. Is it print mixing if it's the same print? Maybe it's print matching. I actually made the two paper bead bracelets from my SIA outfit above to wear with this top!

Mint T + black skinny pants - Summer plus size outfit idea for women over 40

My third OOTD is from last June...and notice what a different color palette I'm wearing! I don't follow seasonal color palettes rigidly, but I do overall like to wear softer, cooler colors in the spring-to-summer period, then brighter colors in mid-summer, then warmer colors in the summer-to-fall period. I like the soft garden green + light watermelon pink combination a lot, and it's always a pleasure to see this floral button-up worn as a shirt rather than as a shirt-jacket (which is my more typical way to style it since it's got more of that "crisp" feeling to the fabric that is a bit stiff-feeling when it's buttoned up). And is it just me or are my pink flats extremely similar to the ones Lesley wore recently in her pink + BW polka dot outfit?

The rich brown woodwork in the painting inspired my Rabbit Imitating Art choice of a brown Holland Lop rabbit. Don't you love her varied shades of brown and the way the vertical fur pattern on her body resembles paint strokes? And I could not resist the fact that she is standing upright and angled to the viewer like the woman in the painting.

Brown Holland Lop rabbit

When the bunny heard "strawberry," that was all she needed to know...or so she thought. After working her way up to a good vantage point for inspecting these delicious fruits, she was very disappointed to learn that there weren't any berries at all! Only some kind of objects that aren't edible in the least. "Hmph, I don't see what's so interesting about's not even food. Oh...I must be a toy. Well then, when she's done looking at it, I will just hop over onto the table and check it out. I don't think it's chewable, but I can push the pieces around into new arrangements. And it just might be interesting to see what happens if I nudge one off the edge of the table..."

Strawberry Tea Set "improved" with rabbit

To see other outfit interpretations of this artwork, check out the review on Meadow Tree Style.

Do you like wearing fruit prints? How would you have interpreted this painting into an outfit?

Blogs I link up with are listed here.

bottom of page