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Summer Outfit Idea: Styling a Striped Linen Skirt for SIA: Suntan

Salazar at 14 Shades of Grey is the curator for this round of Style Imitating Art (SIA), and she picked the 1973 painting "Suntan" by French painter Françoise Gilot, who is best known as Pablo Picasso's muse though she was also an artist herself. (Shelbee writes a great summary of Gilot's life in this post, which accurately states that "Picasso sounds like a real dick, eh?") Salazar chose this painting because Gilot recently died at age 101, so she thought "this would be a great opportunity for us to learn more about her works and celebrate her life and career." I agree that the bright color palette of black, white, and vibrant mustard yellow is both striking and not clichéd for summer.

Style Imitating Art selection

My first thought upon seeing this painting was along the lines of "Um, I don't really wear mustard yellow," followed by "...but I do have that linen skirt with the same color scheme and stripes that mimic some of the geometric elements of the painting." This is the second SIA in a row in which I've identified a print skirt in my wardrobe that captures several aspects of the artwork and thus serves as the foundation of my outfit. My striped (lined) linen skirt is Who What Wear brand from Target, thrifted at Goodwill for $3.74 in October 2018. (Hard to believe that was over 4.5 years ago!)

Painting and skirt with similar patterns

To hew closely to the painting, I should have worn this skirt with black and white...which I totally could have done (and have done, as you'll see later in the post). But instead I wanted to wear navy because (a) it is my preferred dark neutral for summer and (b) I have a new navy cap sleeve pleated blouse from Lands End to wear before the heat of high summer arrives. The blouse was purchased for $7.49 in December 2022, in the same giant sale as the floral linen top I shared in the "Floral Forms" SIA last month.

Navy blouse from Lands End

I decided to make a little modern twin set by topping the navy blouse with a navy elbow-sleeve cardigan from Loft. Not all navy colors are the same, of course, but these two shades go together well (and honestly, I am happy to mix various versions of navy in an outfit most of the time). Because the blouse is longer than the cardigan, I decided to try doing a full tuck on the blouse...which if you've been around here for a while, you know is a rarity! This skirt is a bit big in the waist (which I don't mind at all because it's very comfortable that way) but the cardigan obscures any gaping at the waistline. I thought this looked fine, and I did come closer than usual to creating the eye-pleasing Golden Ratio, following the Rule of Thirds, in which the top of the outfit takes up 1/3 the height and the bottom of the outfit takes up 2/3 the height (or vice versa). (Jodie talks about the 1/3 and 2/3 proportions a lot on her blog, and Carol showed some examples of 1/2 and 1/2 versus 1/3 and 2/3 on herself last summer.)

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 6/13/23

The outfit only had that small amount of mustard yellow from the narrow stripes in the skirt, so I added gold to my look to supplement it. A shiny collar necklace (worn with an extender chain to hang a little lower) and a long tassel necklace made for an easy gold-tone layered necklace. I also wore my (previously derided) gold flats from Amazon (the first time I've worn gold shoes with this skirt) to round out the gold beauty bundle.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

The gold shoes also create a bookend effect with my hair, which I pulled back with my go-to sparkly gold headband. For earrings I chose my white pearl studs because for me, when in doubt, go with white pearls.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

It only occurred to me after the fact that I could have worn my mustard ballet flats with this outfit instead of my gold ones, so I need to keep that in mind for the next time I wear this skirt. This photo, while it exaggerates the pinkness of my legs somewhat, is a reasonable representation of the irony involved in my wearing a bare leg skirt outfit inspired by something entitled "Suntan." My skin looks halfway to a sunburn year-round (unless it's more than halfway).

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

I added a tad more color with my daily bracelet stack (all DIY), based on a new paper bead bracelet set I made to coordinate with a fall blouse I have, using a color palette of navy, rust, tan, and gold. I made the 8mm beige wood bead bracelet to go with this set. The dark navy bicone bead bracelet with the gold flower beads is a supplemental bracelet to work with any of my navy/gold sets. I finished off the stack with the square lapis lazuli bead bracelet and the camel stone bead and gold spacer bracelet (to represent the mustard yellow). I liked how the mix of colors, textures, sizes, and materials of beads came together in this stack.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

Both of the multi-color paper bead bracelets in the set started out as pages from the same fall Christopher & Banks catalog that had several sheets that worked with my color palette. The top bracelet was made from this page, which I cut top to bottom to make triangular strips. I used a gold marker to cover up the sides of the model's face and the white core of the paper along the edges before rolling the strips into 1" bicone beads [tutorial].

Paper bead page-to-bead example

The bottom bracelet was made from this page, which has a rust background instead of beige. I cut the strips side to side from the bottom of the page and covered the white core of the paper with copper marker along the edges. I love how a bit of the design of the model's print blouse shows up in the rolled beads.

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

I like that this striped skirt has both black and navy in the print so it can be worn with either neutral. I don't wear a lot of all-neutral outfits, but they are easy to create with this skirt. Here is a fairly representative sample of how I've worn it in the past for some additional summer outfit ideas.

Either of these black-and-white outfits would have made a fine choice for the "Suntan" artwork with their bold optic prints.

Plus size summer outfit idea for women over 40
Left OOTD 7/11/19; Right OOTD 8/25/21

I must have liked wearing the outfit on the left because two months later, I wore it again, only switching out the silver pendant for a multi-strand white swag necklace.

Plus size summer outfit idea for women over 40
Left OOTD 6/19/19; Right OOTD 8/15/19

This outfit has the same top, skirt, and shoes as the two above but switches things up with a white cardigan and a serious statement necklace...which definitely gives it a different look.

Plus size summer outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 8/20/20

Now for our Rabbit Imitating Art selection! I knew immediately that a Japanese harlequin rabbit with delightful black, white, and orange stripes would be my choice to accompany this painting. This particular bunny is holding her head high in a way that is quite reminiscent of the woman in the artwork so I thought she'd be the perfect addition...

Rabbit Imitating Art selection

And can anyone disagree? Everyone knows that the stylish woman of the era needed a rabbit hat, and while some less-refined individuals wore hats made from fur that was removed from the rabbit (UGH!), the fashion-forward icons of the age knew that nothing is as chic as a rabbit hat consisting of an entire living rabbit! Anyone can wear a fur hat; wearing a rabbit hat, though, is a sign of the true sophisticate.

SIA artwork with rabbit
Suntan "improved" with rabbit

Thanks for joining me today for this Style Imitating Art + Rabbit Imitating Art post!

To see other outfit interpretations of this artwork, check out the review on 14 Shades of Grey.

Do you like to wear mustard yellow? Do you like high contrast black and white prints? Do you rock a suntan in the summer? Do you follow the 1/3 and 2/3 proportion advice? What do you think about doing a full tuck of your top into your skirt/pants?

Blogs I link up with are listed here.

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