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Styling a Button Up Shirt for SIA: Juan Gris's Tablecloth + DIY Paper Beads

Salazar at 14 Shades of Grey is the curator for this round of Style Imitating Art (SIA), and she picked the 1915 Cubist panting "Still Life with Checked Tablecloth" by Spanish artist Juan Gris. Salazar says she likes the graphic quality of Gris's work and thought the colors and checkered pattern "feel very suitable for the summer-fall transition." I agree that the combination of the cheerfully summery green-and-white checks with the dark brown wood is just right for September.

Style Imitating Art selection

When I saw the painting, I knew that Salazar would wear her green large-scale-checked "picnic skirt," but I did not have any immediate ideas, since my wardrobe is 100% free of green check prints.

Since that very literal interpretation of the artwork was out for me, I next focused on the brown wood floor in the painting, which I could represent by wearing my brown leather flats that get a lot of wear this time of year (and that I wore for the previous SIA also). I then decided that I'd separate the check print from the green color and add both elements in different items. My bright green pants were a straightforward way to add the color, but I stumbled a bit after that. I could wear my brown T with a checked shirt over it, but I didn't like the idea of either a black check or navy check shirt with the brown and green. It's not that you can't mix brown with other neutrals successfully, of course, but I wasn't feeling either of these combinations in this case.

Brown + green with check prints

So I went back to the painting for more inspiration. This time, I noticed that in addition to the more obvious green checked tablecloth, the top of the table has a checked section in shades of peachy tan...and as it happens, I have two other checked shirts in my wardrobe: one aqua/white and one salmon/white. When I put the salmon check shirt with the green and brown, I had a sort of random color combination going, but I thought it had potential. I removed the brown T from the equation, leaving a colorful salmon + green outfit grounded with brown shoes. With my base outfit squared away, it was just a matter of selecting accessories to finish the look.

Green pants + salmon check shirt

I don't wear a button up shirt like this by itself as often as I layer it, either over a tank/T in warm weather or under a sweater in cold weather, so it was actually interesting to me to wear it as a stand-alone top. (Actually, this is the first time I've worn this particular shirt on its own!) I did do a couple things to style the shirt. First, I rolled up my sleeves as I almost always do, this time to elbow length. Second, rather than leaving the shirt-tails completely untucked, I folded under the bottom edge of one side for a faux half-tuck to add just a touch of asymmetry...which I thought worked with the fractured, angular nature of the artwork. I like how a rolled sleeve and/or a "lazy" kind of tuck create a relaxed, lived-in vibe in an outfit.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 9/11/23

Although adding a scarf is probably my #1 go-to method of bringing together a disparate set of colors, I was in the mood for a layered necklace look instead. So I brought out necklaces that repeated the various colors in the outfit: a floral pendant with a salmon-pink center (a hand-me-down from my Mom); a dark green glass bead necklace and a seed bead/oval bead necklace (both from Fire Mountain Gems); a white and brown wood bead necklace (made by a friend); and a white glass pearl/tassel necklace (made by me). I have a lot of rounded shapes here, which I thought could stand in for the grapes in the center of the painting.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

I selected clear crystal earrings in a square shape to reinforce the "check" motif.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

I haven't yet written a post in my shoe color series about finishing a colorful outfit with a neutral shoe, but this outfit is one example of that. Because the brown is so prominent in the painting, I wanted to add a bit more of it to my outfit (hence the wood bead necklace), but it wouldn't be necessary!

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

For once, I am NOT wearing a paper bead bracelet set! But I am wearing a stack of bracelets (all-DIY), including a stand-alone paper bead bracelet (i.e., one that isn't included in a particular set). I absolutely had to have a paper bead bracelet because there is a newspaper in the painting! I enjoyed going through my bracelets to find ones in brown, warm pink, and green colors to coordinate with my outfit. This resulted in a mixed metal stack, and while I often add a mixed metal bracelet to help sell it as intentional, I thought this somewhat haphazard mix of metals felt in the spirit of the hodgepodge of items on the table in the painting.

DIY Bracelet Stack

The paper bead bracelet started life as this thick alumni magazine page with a variety of green font colors against a dark, warm green (dark olive?) background. Because the text is very large, it doesn't come across as letters/words when the strips are cut and rolled; it's just areas of color. I edged the paper with silver marker to cover the white paper core, which gave the beads nice silver striping along with the different green tones. I really enjoy that I took a page from an article called "How to Think About the Planet" and upcycled it into a very wearable bracelet!

DIY Paper bead page-to-bead example
DIY Paper bead page-to-bead example

Now for the part we've all been waiting for: our Rabbit Imitating Art selection! Given the warm, dark brown wood in the painting, I looked for a brown rabbit in my archives, and this Flemish Giant doe with the huge cocked ear volunteered.

Rabbit Imitating Art selection

But lest we mistake this alert, listening ear for interest in my thoughts on styling button up shirts...once she is positioned in the painting, it's clear that she's keeping an ear out to monitor for the sounds of anyone daring to encroach upon HER TABLE, WHICH IS HERS ALONE, AS IS EVERYTHING ON IT, SO STAND BACK OR SEE THE GIANT RABBIT DEFEND HER TERRITORY. It's impressive what a rabbit can communicate with one ear and some side eye. We've all seen That Guy at the coffee shop who appears to have moved in for good, keeping the table occupied all day while he slowly sips that one little cup of coffee, right? Well, he's not nearly as imposing or as adorable as this rabbit! I think the bunny's staying at least until the grapes run out.

SIA artwork with rabbit
Juan Gris's Still Life with Checked Tablecloth "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.

Do you wear button up shirts? Do you prefer solids or prints for your shirts? Do you wear check prints? How are you styling outfits for the summer to fall (or winter to spring) transition?

Blogs I link up with are listed here.

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