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Styling Double Denim/Chambray for SIA: Interior with a Book

Terri at Meadow Tree Style is the curator for this round of Style Imitating Art (SIA), and she picked the 1959 painting "Interior with a Book" by American artist Richard Diebenkorn. Terri selected this artwork because it is one of her all-time favorite pieces to view when she visits the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; she says she "can just get lost in all those blues" (and I can easily imagine it).

Style Imitating Art selection

Dark blue/navy/denim with just about any shade of green is one of my favorite color combinations, and upon seeing this painting, I immediately thought of two pieces that I could build my outfit around. First is a yellow-green 3/4 sleeve cardigan that I thrifted from Goodwill for $3.50 back in February 2016; it stands at 18 wears for a current cost per wear (CPW) of $0.19 (!). The cheerful bright color of this cardigan makes my heart sing! It has survived many a closet clean-out because I just love it so much, especially with navy. This color picks up the warm, light green grass in the painting. Second is my denim-colored ankle pants from CJ Banks purchased for $15.30 in February 2021. At 29 wears and a $0.53 CPW, these pants are one wear away from hitting my 30+ wears & <$1 CPW target. The pants represent the darker blue paint inside the room...and they even have some tan/brown buttons at the bottom to mimic the color of the wood and the hills in the painting.

Green cardigan and denim blue pants

I had initially thought to wear a brown T and brown flats to continue with the wood/hills color. But I knew that (a) I wanted to add a scarf that tied the colors together and (b) I don't have the right summer-weight scarf to do that for navy + brown + light green. So I decided to wear my sleeveless chambray blouse instead, creating a double denim/chambray look (aka denim/chambray inner column) underneath the cardigan. I'm sometimes dubious about wearing multiple blue denim pieces in one outfit, but this combination was far enough away from the Texas tuxedo look that I really liked it, even more than I'd expected. This choice had the additional benefit of bringing in a faded lighter blue color to work with the variety of blues in the panting.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 8/14/23

With those pieces in place, it was easy to choose this silk square scarf in a coordinating color palette that has stripes to represent the many straight lines in the painting: the windows, the walls, the table, the horizon, etc. I added the mixed metal palm pendant because its curved shape was reminiscent of the rounded top of the chair in the painting.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

I love wearing these world's easiest DIY hoop earrings with this cardigan because the warm green tones of the glass pearls coordinate beautifully with the yellow-green of the sweater. And I was glad to get some round shapes into my outfit to represent the round plate at the bottom right of the table in the artwork. In the last SIA, the waves of my hair reminded me of the rippling water and sand; this time, they stand in for the undulating landscape outside the window.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

I went with a low-key double stripes print mix with these navy striped ballet flats from my Big Year of Payless Ballets in 2015 (recently discussed here) since the straight lines in the painting are so salient to me. The brown edging and bow on these shoes, furthering the wood/hills color, were a happy coincidence. With these shoes and the striped scarf, my outfit is officially combining navy and black prints for an SIA yet again! I usually am more uptight about not mixing those colors, but I love how the SIA challenges prompt me to sometimes de-emphasize color choice in favor of other elements like shapes, textures, and patterns/prints when creating my outfit.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

Shockingly, I did not wear a paper bead bracelet set with this outfit! Instead I put together an all-DIY bead bracelet stack based on the colors of the stripes in my scarf. Lime green and dark blue (blurple) were supplemented by aqua/sky blue, mustard, ivory, and black. I also added a mixed metal spacer bead bracelet to give the stack a more intentional flavor. I enjoyed the unusual color combination in the stack and the matchy-matchy quality of the bracelets and scarf taken together.

DIY Bracelet Stack

I didn't quite incorporate every element of this artwork in my outfit (for example, the trees, beverage glass, and most significantly, the book didn't make their way into my look), but I did hit most of them:

The Sky

-Blue color: chambray shirt

The Landscape

-Green color: cardigan; earrings; scarf

-Undulations: waves in my hair

The Windows/Walls

-Darker blue color: denim pants

-Straight lines: scarf; shoes

The Chair

-Rounded shape: palm pendant

The Wood/Hills

-Brown color: buttons on pants; edging and bows on shoes

The Table

-Lighter blue color: aqua/sky blue stripe in scarf; aqua bead bracelet

The Plate

-Circular shape: round glass pearls and hoops of earrings

For today's Rabbit Imitating Art selection, I chose a rabbit with a strong "straight line" element as well as some splotchy dots to reflect the various shapes of the painting: the English Spot rabbit!

Rabbit Imitating Art selection

Our bunny immediately got up on the table to check out what treats may be available on the plate. Once he's done eating anything of value, I expect he'll turn to the beverage glass and book. I anticipate that he will nudge the glass off the edge of the table with his nose, then turn his attention to the book. An interior with a book might be just dandy, but an interior with a book and a rabbit can be trouble! (My rabbits enjoyed the photography of Annie Liebowitz and dense econometrics textbooks, among other things, if the nibbled spines and pages are anything to go by.) Will he chew the pages for a while, then pick up the book and fling it with his mouth? Nudging and flinging are rabbit specialties!

SIA artwork with rabbit
Interior with a Book "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 Meadow Tree Style.

Do you like blue and green together? Would you wear a column of blue denim/chambray? Do you like silk scarves for summer? What do you think the rabbit will do next?

Blogs I link up with are listed here.

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