We Prefer To Call It Appropriation

January 28th, 2011 § 19 comments

We Prefer To Call It Appropriation, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Cardigan: Old Navy
  • Dress: BCBG Outlet
  • Belt: thrifted
  • Tights: Target
  • Booties: Steve Madden Ollie Booties, via DSW
  • Necklace necklace: Tickette, birthday gift from husband

End Notes:

If you’re thinking to yourself, “Self, this outfit looks verrrrry familiar,” then your eyes are not deceiving you. Even though none of the individual items are identica, I lifted it pretty unabashedly from recent outfit of Jess from What I Wore.

Now, let me tell you a little story about copying and contemporary art. In 1979, the artist Sherrie Levine got a copy of an exhibition catalogue by well-known documentary photographer Walker Evans. Evans’ photographs, which was accompanied by James Agee’s text in the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, profoundly shaped notions of the rural poor in the 1930s and continue to resonate today as iconic images of American hardiness. Levine took photographs of Evans’s photographs, and then displayed the resulting images — without further manipulation — as her own, titling the series “After Walker Evans.” Levine’s work is now considered a quintessential example of postmodernist photography because of her use of appropriation as a means of dismantling modernist notions of originality and authorship.

Basically, I just wanted to let you know that the contemporary art historian in me would prefer to call this outfit not a “copy” of Jess’s, but instead “After Jessica Quirk.”


(Though I need to work on that quintessential hip pop pose she has.)

I usually relegate this dress to my spring and summer wardrobe, but I love how it takes on a whole different character with the rich purple cardigan and black tights. I’m actually wearing two pairs here, my lace tights over a pair of black opaque ones. It’s a subtle textural component that doesn’t translate well to photographs (especially ones hastily snapped in the cold!), but I liked the little bit of extra interest.

To bring the black of the tights and booties further up in the outfit without going all matchy matchy on the belt, I wore my black and gold Necklace necklace from Tickette, which I’m pretty sure makes any outfit a little bit cooler. I love this as a fresh winter look to help get me out of the January wardrobe doldrums.

I would love to see outfits that any of you have “appropriated” in fairly literal fashion from other bloggers or catalogues! Send links or images our way, either in the comments or to chic [at] academichic [dot] com!

Necklace Necklace, originally uploaded by academichic.

We Prefer To Call It Appropriation, originally uploaded by academichic.

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§ 19 Responses to We Prefer To Call It Appropriation"

  1. Heather says:

    During the 30×30 challenge I “appropriated” an outfit of Kendi’s here: http://innercupcake.blogspot.com/2010/11/day-4-of-30-or-what-ive-learned-from.html (Kendi’s linked here: http://kendieveryday.blogspot.com/2010/05/you-cant-always-get-what-you-want.html)
    And they’re both patterned after (faux-thropologie outfits of) a shirtdress that I think L. has worn on the site!

  2. Kelly says:

    I use magazines and catalogs for inspiration all the time. I figured that is what they are for! I will try to send a couple of pictures later.

  3. Catherine says:

    I love Jess’s style! And I copy you ladies (and her too) all the time. No shame. I don’t really take pictures though…

  4. Samantha says:

    Legit ‘lol’ at the appropriation justification :) Though my favorite appropriation which I wrote my undergrad thesis on is Vik Muniz’s “Action Photo (after Hans Namuth)”

    Obviously next time you have to include peanut butter/jelly, sugar, trash, Bosco chocolate syrup, etc.

  5. Katie W says:

    Dare I say I like the fit and style of your outfit better than Jess? I love that you used a gold belt!

  6. Terri says:

    I have yet to appropriate an entire look, but bits and pieces–YES! I am keeping a folder of inspiration pics so I’ll bet it will happen before this blog year is out.

  7. Such a great color combo–made even more chic by the awesome necklace.

  8. notacomputeruser says:

    I have a tunic that I love – I found it at a store that I normally don’t go into because it’s way too expensive. A few years ago they had a 70% off sale and I finally got the tunic – it’s green wool with a darker green parachute material hood.
    When I went to China in MayI took it with me and had it “appropriated” in black wool and a black and red silk hood. When I went back to the shop this year during their sale I was wearing my version of it. They admired it but didn’t realise that it was a copy of something they had sold. The best was when I walked by the shop in China where I had it made a few days after picking it up – they had 6 versions of it in different colours their window!

  9. ash says:

    i “appropriate” looks all the time – there’s so much inspiration everywhere!

    i love the colors in this. it’s making me want to work my spring clothes to be winter-ready! :)

  10. Angeline says:

    Love it! Appropriation is the highest form of flattery, no?

  11. Melissa says:

    Love your take on Jessica’s outfit. The “necklace” necklace is AWESOME!

  12. Kristen says:

    I really like that necklace. It’s great.

  13. Iris says:

    I love the necklace, your hubby has good taste :)

  14. Jessica says:

    I am a little late on seeing this post – but bravo! You look wonderful! I love how you used a gold belt!

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