SIA interpretation: The Sculptures of Bernini

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to my fellow Americans! It’s a national holiday, so no work for me today, and I will be spending a bit of my day rereading King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” in quiet contemplation of his memory and legacy. A truly great and honorable man, and his vision and message still ring as true today as they did during his lifetime.

It’s also time for my interpretation of the first Style Imitating Art (SIA) challenge of 2017! Salazar @ 14 Shades of Grey chose a very interesting inspiration, something “a little off the beaten path but still classical,” by selecting the collective works of Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680).

Browsing the full list of his works, I was struck by the fact that Bernini not only used different kinds of marble for his main sculptures but also designed the backdrops, or niches, surrounding the sculptures. His astonishing work reflects a range of textures and color tones, including shades of white, grey, red, gold, brown, and bronze. That was my starting point, to put together an outfit with complementary neutral tones.

To visually represent what I’m referring to in my inspiration collage, I selected two sculptures and backdrops with a range of textures and colors:  Blessed Ludovica Albertoni (1671–74) in the Church of San Francesco a Ripa, Rome, and Mary Magdalen (1659–63) in the Chigi Chapel, Siena Cathedral, Siena.

Librarian for Life + Style | SIA interpretation of the sculptures of Bernini

Credits:  Photograph of “Mary Magdalen by Gian Lorenzo Bernini” by sailko is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (top left) ; Photograph of “Blessed Ludovica Albertoni by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Altieri Chapel, San Francesco a Ripa, Rome” by ho visto nina volare is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (bottom left)

The color tones in my inspiration outfit include bright white (tee shirt + boot socks), winter white (midi skirt), nude (ribbed tights), bronze (shawl), and cognac (tall boots). I also had the idea of taking photographs against a stone wall backdrop that would enhance the neutral color palette of my outfit — and give a playful nod to the use of natural stone in Bernini’s sculptures. 😉

Librarian for Life + Style | Coordinated neutrals of winter white, bronze, and cognac

Librarian for Life + Style | Coordinated neutrals of winter white, bronze, and cognac

Librarian for Life + Style | Coordinated neutrals of winter white, bronze, and cognac

I also have several different textures in my outfit, including my wool skirt with floral appliqués, ribbed nude tights, and pointelle textured boot socks. By the way, the boot socks are new! (And thanks to Daenel @ Living Outside the Stacks, a fellow librarian style blogger, for recommending Target for over-the-knee boot socks.)

It was a coooooooold day, but I felt very warm in my boot socks and wool skirt. 🙂

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of ribbed tights, boot socks, and cognac boots

Librarian for Life + Style | Coordinated neutrals of winter white, bronze, and cognac

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of ribbed tights, boot socks, and cognac boots

I also included different textures in my accessory choices, wearing my porcelain earrings dipped in metallic silver and my polymer clay scarf pin that my husband gifted me this summer.

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of ceramic jewelry, earrings + scarf pin

Librarian for Life + Style | Coordinated neutrals of winter white, bronze, and cognac

Librarian for Life + Style | Coordinated neutrals of winter white, bronze, and cognac

Last but not least, the photos below have no link to the SIA inspiration challenge, but I wanted to share what overcoat I wore on my way to and from work. I wore my teal houndstooth overcoat to “pop” against my work outfit of all neutrals. Although my overcoat is quite long — and soooooooo warm! — I loved that my skirt was still long enough to peek out beneath my coat. 😀

I also think this is the first time you’re seeing me wear this A-MAZING coat with a work outfit; I’ve only shown it with casual outfits on the blog before this.

Librarian for Life + Style | Statement overcoat over an outfit of neutrals

Librarian for Life + Style | Statement overcoat over an outfit of neutrals

Weather:  Freeeeeeeeezing

Where:  Teaching day at the library


  • Skirt:  Banana Republic, fashion-swapped a few years ago
  • Tee:  ?, old
  • Boot socks:  Target, new
  • Scarf:  Kmart?, super old
  • Boots:  Marc Fisher via Macy’s, old
  • Overcoat:  Thrifted in Portland last year
  • Earrings:  Gift from my friend Stephanie,  Zoë Comings
  • Scarf pin:  Gift from my husband Sam, Joan Tayler Designs

similar long-sleeved tee  //  similar midi skirt  //  similar bronze scarf  //  exact boot socks  //  similar cognac boots

Librarian for Life + Style | Neutrals outfit collage

And there is still time to participate in this week’s SIA challenge! Everyone — bloggers, non-bloggers, all genders, all ages, even pets! — are welcome to participate. Just send a pic of an outfit inspired by this week’s SIA artwork to this week’s curator and co-host, Salazar @ Get your photo in by tonight, and Salazar will include it in her round-up tomorrow on her blog, 14 Shades of Grey.

Linkups:  Hello MondayVisible Monday, #iwillwearwhatilikeShoe and TellConfident TwosdaysTurning HeadsWho’s Wearing What WednesdaysTrendy Wednesday, What I Wore Wednesday, I Feel Pretty Wednesdays, Top of the World, What I Wore to Work/Summer StyleThursdays Fashion Files, Thursday ModaFashion FridayPassion for Fashion, Fun Fashion FridayCharming FridayFriday Favorites, Fancy Friday




8 thoughts on “SIA interpretation: The Sculptures of Bernini

  1. Mike

    Thanks Jen! And a Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day to you as well. My organization is also closed in honor of the holiday. And what a great holiday it is.
    I watched the movie, “Gandhi”, a few weeks back and it made me think of Dr. King as he was also an advocate for promoting non-violent resistance in the face of oppression, as Gandhi did decades before him. A truly great and respectable man. I too will take some time to reflect upon his legacy; being thankful for all of the freedoms that we have today.

    Great interpretation Jen! I see that you also went with the cream/white combo for this SIA, which I think works just wonderfully. It’s a very nice look for you. Wonderful job!

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      Yes, Martin Luther King, Jr. studied Gandhi’s methods about non-violent protests. Rereading his “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” yesterday, I was struck anew by how he emphasized how non-violent protests are still active, and you have to be prepared and train yourself to NOT react to others in violent ways. I also read about how Civil Rights protestors used dress in very specific ways as a central part of their activism.

      1. Mike

        Yes, most inspiring to know that Dr. King was an admirer of Gandhi and his work on non-violence and his courage to carry out what he believed in.
        I didn’t know about the Civil Rights protestors using their attire as a part of their efforts. That’s incredible. Always something new to learn.
        I wish to read more about Dr. King as well as Gandhi. It would be interesting to study the similarities and differences between these two men and how they both, essentially, changed the world.

        1. Jen @ Librarian for Life + Style Post author

          I’m a librarian, and you mentioned wanting to read more about these topics, so here are some readings that might be of interest:

          This entry on Gandhi from Stanford’s online encyclopedia of Martin Luther King, Jr. details how Dr. King came across Gandhi and how influential Gandhi was on the progressive African American community,

          This article from a couple of years ago, when the film Selma came out, is a fascinating look at how dress and style were a major part of the Civil Rights Movement, and how the costume designer for Selma put together different costumes. Protestors used “dress as a central element of their activism.”

          And this is a more in-depth article entitled “Fashion Statement or Political Statement: The Use of Fashion to Express Black Pride during the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements of the 1960’s” available online at

          Enjoy! 🙂

          1. Mike

            Thank you Jen! I really appreciate you passing this info along to me. I’ll check it out! I look forward to it!
            I’m currently on a reading project; reading through all of the US presidents’ biographies in order, but once I finish, I am planning to find some biographies both on Dr. King and Gandhi and read those as well. 🙂

  2. Salazar

    This looks great Jen! I didn’t even notice the embroidered flowers on your skirt, but they really add some interesting pattern/texture to the look.

  3. Pingback: SIA: The Sculptures of Bernini | 14 Shades Of Grey

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