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Fashion Inspired by Art: Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s “The Swing”

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IT’S OCTOBER, GUYS.

I know I’ve told you all this before, but I love fall. Fall is my favorite. Fall is my boo. I love watching the leaves change, visiting cider mills, picking pumpkins, and Halloween; I love apple cider, pumpkin spice lattes, and Fireball Fridays; I love sweaters and booties and leggings. Fall is my happy place. If that makes me ‘basic‘, so be it. I change for no one.

That being said, fall colors are so dark. Don’t get me wrong, I love oxblood, cognac, and navy, but sometimes it feels like my entire fall wardrobe is like a watercolor washed with muddy water – everything is muted and blurs together. I can do moody, but I don’t want to be drab.

Luckily, fall pastels – soft, feminine colors, like peach, mint, baby blue, and lilac – have been a thing for a few years now, and while head-to-toe pastels are as striking as ever, pairing deep fall colors with pastels is a fresh way to add contrast to any outfit. In today’s Fashion Inspired by Art post, I’ll show you how using examples from Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s “The Swing”:

The swing fragonard
Jean-Honoré Fragonards’s “The Swing” (1767-8) via Wikimedia Commons. (Click image to enlarge.)

Look familiar? If you’re a Disneyphile (who isn’t?) you might recognize it from a number in Frozen. It also played an important part in the development of Tangled; the animators modeled the movie’s visual style after the painting, including Rapunzel’s iconic dress.

Outside of our Disney obsessions, “The Swing” is one of the most recognizable paintings done in the Rococo style. It’s also a perfect example of how pastel colors pop when juxtaposed with rich jewel colors and muted tones.

About Fragonard and “The Swing”

In 1767, a young French nobleman commissioned painter Gabriel Francis Doyen to paint a portrait of him and his mistress, who was married to another man. Doyen was concerned with the immorality and ‘frivolity’ of the painting, and passed the commission on to a younger painter – Jean-Honoré Fragonard.

Fragonard, born in 1732, studied painting with masters from the age of 18 and won a prestigious Prix de Rome scholarship at 30. When he returned to France, he found himself in demand with the wealthy and aristocratic members of King Louis XV’s court. He was not one to shy away from potentially controversial and erotic topics; he famously painted for scandalous women, such as Madame Du Barry and the ballerina Marie-Madeleine Guimard.

Thus, the painting – though seemingly sweet and innocent at first glance – is very cheeky and erotic. The woman in the center is pushed on the swing by her husband, the older man on the right in the background, but she swings high enough that her lover, the man on the left, is able to glance up her skirt. The painting was embraced by the French court upon its reveal, but was later used as an example by Enlightenment aesthetes, who argued art should illustrate the morality and virtue of man.

Outfits inspired by “The Swing”

My favorite part of this painting is the heightened contrast created through Fragonard’s use of color. The peachy hue of the woman’s dress looks lush and suggestive against dark greens and navys, and the brightness of the sky creates a fabulous illusion of depth and openness against the lush foliage that frames the composition.

This high-contrast concept can easily be translated to fashion; rather than combining pieces with dissimilar styles, like edgy pieces with feminine pieces (looking at you, leather jacket and floral dress), unexpected color combinations are a fresh and chic way to branch out and experiment with your style.

Peach and Pine

Fragonard peach+pine
Flower Crown, Sweater, Perfume, Backpack, Boots, Ring, Dress

So, you guys know I’m all about spikes and leather and leopard, but I’m seeeeecretly a big girly-girl at heart. I pretty much swooned when I found this dress on Modcloth – how absolutely gorgeous is it? The lace, the color, the sleeves – I die. This is the peach-perfect base for our most faithful look, made even lovelier with the addition of warm cognac leather accessories.

The contrasting element is this distressed pine-green sweater, which can be worn over the dress on cooler days, but would look even cuter tied around your waist on that last sunny Saturday in October. Opulent, girly touches, like a golden flower crown and a jade ring, tie this look together, while a swipe of a sweet floral perfume will make you feel like you’re floating through a French garden.

Mint and Sage

Fragonard mint sage
Necklace, Eyeliner, Nail Polish, Brogues, Sweater, Shirt, Jeans

Colors that are complementary (opposite each other on the color wheel) are great for creating dramatic and dynamic looks, but colors that are analogous (closer together on the color wheel) are great for creating subtler looks that are still unexpected and fresh. This outfit uses the analogous colors that make up the lush verdure that borders “The Swing” to create an ensemble that’s equally polished, edgy, and cute.

The sweet, trendy mint color of this cropped sweater is amplified by dark and punky colored jeans. This outfit would be just fine without the white blouse underneath the sweater, but I love how cool collars look underneath comfy sweaters – especially when paired with a trendy statement necklace, like this spikey gunmetal chain. A smeared chubby liner on your lids, a neutral pair of brogues, and a swipe of a luxe metallic polish complete this comfy, class-worthy look.

Sky Blue and Oxblood

Fragonard sky blue oxblood
Necklace, Coat, Shirt, Boots, Bag, Tights, Highlighter

I love the color sky blue – to me, at least, it’s the most prominent and vibrant color in “The Swing”, and it plays an important part in creating the illusion of distance and space in the painting. I wish I wore this cool, sophisticated color more - especially because it looks so sharp with a fabulous, warm-toned fall color, like oxblood.

The clean, minimal silhouette of this shirtdress is swingy and flowy enough to be flattering on any shape, while a pair of opaque tights makes it fall-appropriate. A silver statement necklace perfectly complements the dress’s neckline, while sophisticated neutral accessories add to the minimal vibe. A touch of strategic highlighter will give you a soft, glowy look.

If you’re tall and worried the shirtdress won’t be long enough (or you just want more coverage) a pair of oxblood, navy, or forest green leggings will look just as fab (bonus points for luxe textures, like velvet or brocade.) The coat could easily be replaced with a structured cardigan or blazer if it’s not yet cold enough for heavy outerwear where you are.

What do you think?

How do you feel about “The Swing”? Would you wear pastels in the fall? How would you incorporate them with your personal style? Let me know in the comments below!

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Women in Music: Little Mix

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Women in Music features female artists who are either up-and-coming in the music world or are already taking over the industry. Not only is their music hype-worthy, but their personal style is something to admire as well. These successful women are definitely worth watching!

Little mix photo
Photo Credit (From left to right: Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Jesy Nelson, Jade Thirlwall)

Little Mix is a pop girl group from England who gained fame after becoming the first ever group to win X-Factor UK. Although they didn’t know each other before the competition, the girls now have an incredible bond that has allowed them to work together to create two studio albums. Their first album, DNA, earned them the highest debut U.S. chart position by a British girl group, a record formerly held by none other than The Spice Girls.

Little Mix’s pop-R&B sound has offered them comparisons to well-known girl groups, such as TLC and Destiny’ Child, and these ladies have proved time and time again that they have the chops to perform even without backing music. Just check out their a cappella skills in this video. Their songs range from fun dance music to emotional power ballads with girl power anthems and tight harmonies; it’s hard not to love their powerful vocals and versatility.

Not only have they gained recognition for their music, but also for their fashion choices. Little Mix has been featured in magazines such as Glamour UK, and have inspired enough girls with their style to have their own line of cosmetics!

Want to get into Little Mix’s music? A few songs you should check out to get a feel for their sound are “Wings,” “Move,” “Boy,” and “How Ya Doin’?

Below are outfits inspired by the personal style of each member of Little Mix. Scroll down to check them out:

Jade Thirlwall

Little Mix Jade fashion
Product Information: Top, Blazer, Skirt,  Shoes, Bow, Socks, Bronzer

Jade’s style is typically either very cute and girly, very casual and cool, or a little mix of both (see what I did there?). She likes to incorporate Disney characters, bows, and menswear items, like blazers and suspenders, into her looks. Jade’s makeup always gives her face a beautiful golden glow, which you can recreate with a little bit of bronzer.

This Jade-inspired outfit consists of an adorable Bambi-themed crop top, a skater skirt, and a structured blazer. A pair of black creepers – she has been spotted wearing them many times – paired with ruffled socks make for a great contrast of edgy and girly, and no Jade look is complete without her signature bow.

Leigh-Anne Pinnock

Little Mix Leigh-Anne fashion
Product Information: Top, Jeans, Heels, Earrings, Necklace, SunglassesEyeliner

Leigh-Anne’s outfits are usually very crisp and clean or a bit more laid-back with a hip-hop vibe. She also tends to go for at least one piece in a drapey fabric, whether that be a boxy crop top (like the one above) or flowy harem-style pants. Some of Leigh-Anne’s go-to pieces are high-heeled sandals and basketball shoes, hoop earrings, snapbacks, and graphic tops/pants.

Snag her style by pairing that floral crop top with trendy boyfriend jeans and strappy heeled sandals. Accessorize with a silver statement necklace and sleek hoop earrings, then slip on a pair of oversized shades. For the finishing touch, create a flawless winged eye with liquid liner – it’s Leigh-Anne’s signature beauty look.

Perrie Edwards

Little mix Perrie fashion
Product Information: Top, Bandeau, Shorts, Shoes, Hat, Eyebrow Palette

Perrie’s style tends to flip-flop between bohemian and rockstar. She wears a lot of florals, fringe, and colorful pieces, then edges them up with things like Doc Martens, cool jackets, and hats. Although Perrie’s makeup is ever-changing, one thing that seems to have stuck is her strong, filled-in eyebrows, which you can achieve with a simple eyebrow powder duo.

This ensemble consists of a sheer paisley top with fringe on the bottom (wear the lace bandeau underneath for coverage), ripped denim shorts, and studded ankle boots. Finish the look with a wide-brimmed hat; a piece that is quite unique to Perrie’s style.

Jesy Nelson

Little Mix Jesy Fashion
Product Information: Top, Leggings, Beanie, Boots, Lipstick, Mascara

Jesy’s style is pretty straight-forward. Black, black, and lots of black. Her sporty-punk look features grungy boots and basketball sneakers, jersey-esque shirts, as well as mesh and leather details. Unlike the other girls, Jesy’s outfits almost never stray too far from her typical mostly-black wardrobe. As for makeup, Jesy can always be seen with heavier eye makeup and super-full lashes.

You can rock her look by wearing a sporty top, leggings with faux-leather paneling, combat boots, and a black beanie. Top it off with a dark red lip and some thick eyelashes.

What do you think?

Are you a fan of Little Mix? Which of these looks is your favorite? Would you like to see more posts like this in the future? Know of any female artists that you think should be featured in this column? Let me know in the comments!

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Looks on Campus: Marina – Kent State University

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Meet Marina! Spotted in the student center after a long day of classes, her bright attire caught my eye. Although she claims she doesn’t pay much attention to fashion and trends, it is clear she cares a lot about looking great. Marina presents a very positive, well-dressed image to her peers.

Kent State University student street style

Marina 101

Name: Marina

Year: Junior

Major: Occupational Therapy

Let’s Talk Fashion

Who or what inspires your style? “My roommate, because she majors in Fashion Merchandising and I love her style.”

Where do you like to shop? Forever 21 and Express.”

What do you do for fun? Do you have any unique hobbies? “I like to hang out with friends, [go] running, and go to the movies.”

What are your favorite trends right now? “I am really into skater skirts right now.”

What fashion advice would you give to other students looking to improve their style? “Don’t think too much! Just go with what you like and that’s all that matters.”

Do you have any favorite designers? If so, who? “I honestly don’t know much about designers specifically; I just like certain styles of clothes.”

How would you describe your style? “Very typical girly! I love pink dresses and skirts. Dressing up is always my favorite.”

Why did you choose this particular outfit? “The weather was nice and I really love this skirt.”

If you could raid anyone’s closet, who would it be and why? Kim Kardashian, because I love the clothes she wears.”

Elements of Marina’s Outfit

1. Floral Print Skirt

Kent state student wearing a floral skirt

The weather on campus for the past few days has been cold and dreary, but today’s warmth was a pleasant surprise. Marina took full advantage by rocking a bright pink floral skater skirt. The length was perfect for a day around campus and the girly print made quite the stylish statement.

2. Studded Top

Fashionista at Kent State University

Marina’s casual white tank looked great tucked into her bold skirt. The studded detailing around the collar adds additional flair without competing with her skirt.

3. Gladiator Sandals

College trend gladiator sandals

These golden gladiator sandals brought Marina’s entire look together. The braided straps look so chic. In fact, these sandals look more like accessories than footwear!

We want to know what you think:

Do you like Marina’s warm weather style? What do you think about her bold floral print skater skirt? Are you loving those sandals as much as we are? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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