One of the themes of Artful Home’s holiday apparel is velvet—luscious, sensual, feel-so-good velvet. Artful Home gifted me the Olivia Velvet Tunic designed by Lisa Bayne, and said, “Hey, Brenda, we saw how you styled the red plaid Ainslie Dress. Now let’s see what you can do with a tunic.” (Not exactly those words, but something sorta close.)
I was ready for the challenge. First of all, I’d been lusting over this tunic in antique peony when I first saw it in the catalog. And I was excited to be working with this proportion again. It’s been a while since I’ve worn a tunic.
The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to pair it with my leather pant-slash-legging. Velvet and leather? Oh, yeah! That’s a classic fabric duo. But now I needed to get to work and accessorize this outfit.
Let’s work out the mechanics, first
The Olivia Velvet Tunic’s silhouette is straight with deep side slits. It’s semi-sheer, which is so pretty, but it does need a layer of modesty underneath. That’s no problem for me. I have black, full-length slips in different lengths. My shortest one was perfect.
Style Note: I’m not sure why there are so many people adverse to owning full-length slips. They’re so comfortable to wear! Clothes glide over them. Nothing sticks to the slip, so you get a nice clean line. I didn’t want to just wear a tank: You’d still be able to see through the tunic to the crotch of my pants. Give me full coverage, and then I’m not being self-conscious about clothes when I should be having fun.
If you aren’t fussy about modesty, just wear a camisole and you’ll be fine. If you want more of a black-out background behind the tunic and don’t have a full-slip, wear a black camisole and a short black half-slip. My father always said, “If you can only think of one solution, you’re not thinking hard enough.” You’re right, Dad.
So many necklaces; which one will be right?
There are two reasons why I want to add a necklace to the Olivia Velvet Tunic.
1. The patterned velvet is gorgeous. I fear someone will get mesmerized by the fabric and not get around to seeing my eyes. Adding a focal point at the neck will help lead people’s eyes up to my face.
As a mature woman, I want to be sure someone’s glance is making its way to my face. I’d probably feel the same way if I was an immature woman. Necklaces are strategic tools for pointing direction.
2. Adding a necklace from my collection is an opportunity to bring my personal touch to the garment and really own it.
I tried six necklaces before discovering the one I wanted to wear
I thought I’d choose my necklace by channeling Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Well-known for the decorative collars she wears when she’s presiding on the Supreme Court, I pulled out a necklace that was collar-like. It’s gunmetal with round disks. I tried it the front way first. Nope. Then I tried it backwards, which I’ve done in the past. Both were negatory—too urban for this pattern.
Next, I decided to try a long necklace.
Ouch, the black beaded one nearly hurt my eyes when I looked at it. Too stark and dark. The knotted Lagos-like rope necklace receded into the print. I wanted some presence, not a disappearing act.
Pearls, I thought. What about pearls?
I started with a chunky pearl necklace. Actually, I have two of them and thought together they could be the one. But I discovered the latch is broken on one of them, so I tried the single strand. No excitement there. I tried layering two long sets of pearls. They looked cheap—and not at all graceful—against the Olivia Velvet Tunic.
Wow! I was striking out! This antique peony tunic deserved so much more from me.
That’s when I considered Mother’s pearls. They aren’t Mother’s pearls, but I was with her on a shopping trip in Fargo when I spotted them. They were in a consignment store owned by Mom’s next door neighbor at the lake. I’m guessing it’s a vintage piece. These bulbous pearls hold heartfelt value to me, because I never got to shop with Mother again. She unexpectedly passed away a few months later from complications that started with a fall in her master bathroom. Tragic.
I know that’s very sad, but this necklace is a bundle of joy. It’s all love. When I put it on, it was perfect. I was as tickled as could be.
Should I add a shawl or a scarf to the Olivia Velvet Tunic?
My focal point was fixed with Mother’s pearls, but then I started wondering if I needed more adornment. Maybe a shawl? Something to drape over my shoulders? Something soft, graceful, and womanly?
I like having the back of my neck covered in wintertime. It keeps drafts away. I pursued shawls, but couldn’t find one that really connected to Miss Olivia Velvet Tunic.
Think, Brenda, think. I remembered a large, fluid square scarf I have that I’ve always turned into a triangle, then wrapped the outer edges toward the center to create a long, oblong scarf. I reached for it, and knew it would work.
It has a black background just like in the patterned velvet tunic. The beige droplet shapes on the scarf related to the round pearls in the necklace. Together, it was unexpected.
Suddenly I felt like myself: a little quirky, creative, put together, happy.
I centered the silk scarf at the back of my neck and let the ends be loose. I love how those ends go beyond the hem of the tunic. It looks so luxurious this way. Can I just tell you how sensual this makes me feel with the combo of velvet, pearls, and silk scarf?
I finished the outfit by adding my silver lunch bag, my large sparkly ring, and a favorite iron and stone cuff by Pat Flynn, shown here, from Artful Home. The Olivia Velvet Tunic’s bracelet-length sleeve makes it perfect to adorn your wrists with cuffs or bangles. Everything was working together.
I added my patent leather Mary Janes by Paul Green for some shine.
And there it is, my friends. This outfit reflects my style and is easy-to-wear, head-to-toe. I feel like a princess.
When an outfit feels right, we can go anywhere and do anything, because we’re confident in our own skin. How great is that!
Thanks to Artful Home for giving me this opportunity to style the Olivia Velvet Tunic. Thanks to Lisa Bayne for designing it!
So tell me: How would you style this tunic? How would you make it your own? Are there accessories you lean on to help tell your personal story? Do share!