A Natural Hair and fashion lifestyle blog based in Sonoma County, in the heart of Wine Country. Amber serves up inspiration for winery tourism, vegetarian recipes, style, and skincare.

Dressing With...Manet

Bar at Folies Bergere, 1882
"Dressing"  for this painting is a bit tricky, you see. For this woman painted is no ordinary woman. A black dress is simply too classy and uncomplicated. No. There is much more to Manet and the outfit we create for this painting. Take a good look at this woman - we are free to look at her, but no more. She will let us in that much. Behind her (and this is my interpretation, not scholars)* is her reality: she goes through the motions of interacting with customers, but in her mind everything stands still. She is miles away. What is she thinking of? 
She is no ordinary bartender. When she dressed this afternoon (for it is now long past midnight), she carefully slipped her grandmothers brooch onto a short satin ribbon and tied it about her neck. Her jacket is velvet with lace trim. She adjusted her copper bracelet. On the way to work a flower man closing down his shop gave her his leftover flowers; some of which she slipped into her neckline.
Getting dressed earlier was easy for her - she probably even dressed with a smile. But now...was it a thought? A customers look? A scent?
Something has reminded her of...
Let's get dressed for the bar.
*note: it is commonly believed that the two figures behind the woman is a reflection (she stands in front of a mirror)

Le Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe, 1862-3

Artists are always ahead of their time. 
Imagine the "horreur" of the public when Manet's painting "Le Dejeuner..." premiered. 
I remember my first time seeing it: I was 15 years old, and it was hanging on a (rare) well lit wall of the Musee D'Orsay (it now hangs at the MET). And while I at first saw nothing unusual about the painting (which will perhaps attest to my overexposure to American Pop culture), I am sure that we all can state the obvious: she is naked, and the men are not. The woman in the background is what all wet dreams are made: in white and in water. 
Back to the naked woman. Let's call her Martine. She looks like a Martine. 
First off, I want to know what moisturizer she uses. Her skin has the most incredible glow, which in turn makes the men in their high collared suits part of the drab and not so interesting forest. 
I like her. 
She knows she "nekked", and even looks directly at you. Like it was us the onlooker, who is causing the interruption, not her. There's no shame; she's comfortable in her own skin.
Woman's Liberation.
So who was ahead of their time then? Manet, or our Martine? 

Let's Lunch, shall we?

Dressing with Manet, Luncheon on the Grass

Dressing with Manet, Luncheon on the Grass by ambersmouthwash featuring diamond earrings

To see my other Dressing With....posts, click HERE and HERE.


  1. What a cool post! I never thought of the painting as they were looking at us like we interrupted them. That's pretty cool!

  2. This was such an interesting read! I absolutely love the way you interpreted both paintings and then incorporated that into the outfits. Terrific!

  3. This is an awesome post! You really did a fantastic job of picking out items to match those gorgeous paintings. :)

  4. Great inspiration here! You're thoughts on the paintings are very cool xxx


  5. хороший блог журнал!))

  6. How interesting!! You should do this more often!! I love the ideea!!

  7. love this post!!! those earrings are so pretty!


  8. very inspiring, I love old paintings like these!


  9. Hello, how’s it going?! Love Heels??

    You should definitely check out my new shoe design BlogSpot! All my designs are hand-drawn too!
    I am hoping that my illustrations will help me further my career in the industry! Take care x


  10. I've never seen an outfit inspired so well by art - this is genius. I love the floral touch to the bartenders outfit
    It would be mine

  11. I like this site^-^


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A Mused Blog | A Northern California Sonoma County Blog