Friday, February 25, 2011

Inspiring Interpretations: Reader Submissions

To recap:  last week, I introduced a new feature called Inspiring Interpretations.  Our challenge in this activity was to draw inspiration from a photo by creating an outfit out of our own interpretation of the image.  The only rule?  If we already owned a piece of clothing in the picture, we could not use it.  In doing this, we hoped to develop our creativity by interpreting the inspiring images we see rather than simply rushing out to buy the exact same pieces depicted.

Our first Inspiring Interpretations photo was this one, from Tara at Little Girl, Big Closet:

As a reminder, Tara said of this outfit:

This outfit begins and ends with my grandmother.  Leaf green---which, by the way, is a very difficult color to create an outfit around---is her favorite color.  The inspiration for the outfit came from the letters she wrote me, which, along with my precious memories, are all I have left of her, now that we are estranged.  To me, the vintage-looking cut and print of the skirt evoke a sense of nostalgia that seems appropriate when thinking of a long-lost friend.  The solid black cardigan was meant to add a somber touch to the ensemble, as a nod to what our relationship has now become.  The mix of riotous color and heavy blackness mirrored my mixed emotions on the occasion of her birthday, which was when I wore this outfit.

Your submissions were outstanding!  I was struck by the way everybody pulled different elements from Tara's outfit because everyone was inspired by different aspects of it.  The most amazing part of this activity to me is the fact that all of us based our outfits on the same exact picture, but no two of our outfits look alike!  Check out the wonderfully wide array of your interpretations behind the cut...


I follow Tara's blog and when I first saw her outfit I just fell in love with the look.  So I tried to come up with an outfit from the ones that I have in my closet.  I wore this on Valentine's day :).
Top: Loft
Skirt, Cardigan: Jcrew


I wanted to play off the whimsical print in Tara's Air Mail Skirt, so I chose the most whimsical piece in my closet, my Sugar & Cream Dress.  I also imitated her pop of color in the shoes, though with a more muted color since the tea cup pattern is not as vibrant as her skirt.  These are the Nine West Sarno pumps in Burgundy.  I also added my black Jackie cardigan from J Crew.  Finally, I was inspired by Tara's references to her grandmother, so I wore a necklace given to me by my maternal grandmother and a ring passed down from my great great grandmother on my father's side.

Kristin (Lovely Apidae)

This photo of Tara (and actually all of her photos) has a soft, romantic, elegant feel to it, and that is what I decided to use as my inspiration. There are so many directions I could have gone, but I just kept thinking about the overall vibe of the photo and that's what stuck. So, with Tara's soft, romantic, and elegant inspiration in mind, I went to my closet, and this is what I came up with! I also really like the green in Tara's outfit, so that played a role as well.
Dress: Anthropologie Beda Dress
Cardigan: J. Crew Jackie
Belt: Anthropologie Snakebite
Socks: Sock Dreams
Shoes: Chie Mihara Loti


What stood out to me in the inspiration photo was the patterned skirt, leaf-green top, and bright shoes. I tried (and I think succeeded) in revitalizing a skirt that's been relegated to Mother's-Day-brunch-type activities the past few years by adding the leaf-green top and bright purple shoes. Like the black cardigan in the inspiration, the brown jacket ties all the color together.

Lori (Lorispeak)

Tara's outfit jumped out to me, because she was able to tie in the amazing color of her shoes so seamlessly into the oufit. I don't often think to about how shoes can make an outfit. So this past Saturday, I based my outfit around a pair of shoes! I also love how feminine and vintagey her outfits always are, so I tried to keep that vibe in this outfit too. Luckily, I actually had something that was the bright orange that was in the shoes!

Lisa (Respect the Shoes)

I don't have any deep-rooted feelings as to what got me to pick my outfit pieces, but that bright grassy green stood out in my mind, as well as the contrast with the black. Plus I wanted to give a bit of Lisa spin to everything and not look as if I was taking the outfit challenge too literally!
Top: J. Crew merino scoopneck
Tank: H&M
Skirt: Anthropologie Blue Robin twilit
Belt: Anthropologie city safari
Shoes: Keds spright
Necklace lucie0ellen via Etsy

Leana (@runner_leana)

My jumping off point for the outfit was Tara's outfit being inspired by her grandmother. What better piece is there than one named the Matriarch Skirt? I chose to echo her detailed green shirt with my own green/grey Headwaters Tee and topped it with a black cardi from J. Crew. Heavy black tights are a necessity because it is still so cold here! I learned that my mirror is really dirty and that finding the right lighting to best show off an outfit is hard!

Debra (I Dream of Anthropologie)

Here is my interpretation of Tara's look. And how I twisted it.  I loved the whimiscal print of her skirt, but I don't think full skirts look great on me. (They seem to highlight my middle area.) So I chose my Abronia Pencil Skirt to mimic the feel of the print.    Then, I loved her detailed top, that pulled from the colors in the skirt, but was not literal. So I chose this Gap tank that I already had, but had not thought of using with this skirt.
I liked her use of a cardigan that was neutral, and shoes that were colored, so I went with this J Crew cardigan and a pair of green suede Nine West pumps. Again, I never thought of that. I wanted a belt, but don't have any with the bow detail (although I love it), so I kept with the neutral in mind of the cardi. Last, I added two necklaces I picked up dirt cheap at the Loft, and a ring also on clearance at Banana Republic.

Jewish Girl

What jumped out at me about Tara's photo was mainly aesthetic:  I liked the white + green combo.  I bought this white skirt at the BCBG outlet in Atlantic City for $8 in December and it has since languished in my closet. (I seem to get myself in trouble with $8 skirts). Tara's photo suggested a great way to finally wear my white skirt: with a brightly-colored top (I am a fan of leaf green, personally) and bright shoes.  I also liked the whimsical pattern of the skirt, so I chose a whimsically-patterned dress to wear as a top with my $8 skirt.  It was cold out, so I threw on a green top under the dress for warmth.  
Learning about the influence Tara's grandmother played in her outfit inspired me to add a necklace that once belonged to my great grandmother, Malka, who died long before I was born.  (My first initial is also an "M.")  While looking for a spot to take pictures (with Stephanie, above, before we had brunch) I spotted this little coin-operated ride and it made me think of going to the mall with my grandmother, who often babysat me as a child.  (Yes, both my mother and my grandmother strolled me around the mall for hours in my toddlerhood.  That explains a lot, no?)  I was glad I could pay tribute to both of them in one outfit photo!

Thirteen (Thirteen Pounds)

When I saw Tara's pic, I thought of springtime. I chose a watercolor-print top to represent the first signs of Spring.
shirt, velvet pants- banana republic
tank- jcrew
shoes-sweeping stitch heels, anthro

Anne (My Own Little Spot)

OK, when I saw Tara B's outfit I thought:
interesting color combo
interesting texture combo&
So I tried to create and outfit that fit those descriptions!
silk shell- Ann Taylor
velvet blazer- J. Crew
suede belt- Anthropologie
cotton skirt- Anthropologie
shoes- Steve Madden

Katie (Dress Like A Cute Scientist)

Inspiration: Two things jumped out at me in Tara's outfit: the bright colors, and the symbolism for her grandmother. My own grandmother recently passed away, and her relationship with me was very complicated. This is my attempt to express how I'm feeling about her death through my clothes. The gray dress represents my thoughts and emotions from the past week: thinking about what she meant to my life has made my own world seem very gray. But the outrageously bright cardigan and tights remind me that I am not my family's past and I am not bound to their fate. The sparkly band around my head reminds me that I am special, my life has value, and only I have the power to make the positive changes that I want so badly. Like Tara's mix of "riotous color and heavy blackness," my outfit mirrors my complex and contradictory emotions toward my grandmother, and wearing this outfit helped me to make peace with her life and death.
Outfit Details
Anthropologie Dreamy Drape Dress
Anthropologie Twinkle Headband
Macy's tights and boots
Target cardigan

Mich (The Top Drawer)

The first thing that caught my eye about Tara's photo was her gorgeous use of color, and the whimsical pattern of her skirt. I tried to incorporate similar colors and a fun pattern into my outfit.

Sarah (That Damn Green Dress)

So when I saw Tara's outfit, I immediately thought of the vintage chairs skirt I was inspired to buy this fall from Dethrose Vintage. It looked so cute on her, but I never felt like I was making it work. I also thought it was interesting how Tara characterized this colour of green as difficult to wear. I totally understand- it used to be my favourite shade and now I have a couple of lovely gifts from my sister in this tone that I've never been able to wear properly! It turns out the rust tones that I've seen matched with mint lately are perfect for taming this green too!
In this outfit:
vintage chairs skirt, via Dethrose Vintage
vintage leather belt
leaf green (lime green?) henley
rust silk scarf from Urban Outfitters
Clarks Erda sandals

Jen (vintageglammz)

I loved Tara's outfit (as I always do), but to use things from my current wardrobe proved a bit of a challenge. What I realised was that I didn't have to copy Tara's outfit piece-by-piece. So instead, I chose certain elements of it and went from there - the black waistband, the black cardi, red shoes...and painted my fingernails red - who says the clothing is to be the only source of inspiration? :-)
Dress: Ojay Australia
Cardi: SES Australia
Shoes: Payless Shoes Australia
Necklace: Dotti Australia
Belt: Chinatown Sydney

Thank you to everyone who participated!  These submissions were such a thrill to read, and I know they will serve as sources of inspiration in their own right.  I can hardly wait for our next round!

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