Last Updated on 2022-08-30 by okiki Lydia
When you’re heading to an art show, what do you wear? Do you want to be noticed or blend into the crowd? Should you put on your nicest clothes or wear something more casual? These are questions that every artist has asked themselves before going to a show, and with good reason: it’s important to feel comfortable, but at the same time, you want to look like yourself!
We’re here to help with some tips on how to dress for an art show.
If you’ve ever been to an art show, you know that it can be a little daunting to figure out what to wear.
On one hand, you want to look like you belong there—like you’re a part of the art world and not just someone who wandered in off the street. On the other hand, you also don’t want to have a wardrobe so wild and outlandish that people start looking at your outfit instead of the art.
What to wear to an art show
A good outfit can make or break your art show experience. Whether you’re attending a gallery opening, or just going to a friend’s house for a showing of their latest collection, there are some things to keep in mind when selecting what to wear.
The most important thing to remember is that you want to look nice—but not too nice. You don’t want to wear something that will distract from the artwork! Keep it simple and classy, with a splash of color if necessary.
If you’re attending an opening at a gallery, the event will probably have its own dress code. Check in with the organizers ahead of time so you don’t end up looking out-of-place among all those other people who are paying attention to what they’re wearing.
We’re going to be honest with you: we’ve been to a lot of art shows. And we’ve seen some really bad outfits.
So we wanted to share with you what not to wear when you go to an art show. We’ve also got some tips on what you should wear instead, so that your outfit doesn’t distract from the art, but also doesn’t make it look like you’re just there for the free wine.
We’ll be talking about:
-What NOT to wear, including black jeans and white sneakers (yes, these things are happening)
-How much skin is appropriate (we don’t want the exhibition curator thinking you’re there for other reasons)
-What colors are best and worst for an art show (don’t wear green unless you really want people asking what’s wrong)
Art shows are a great way to connect with other artists and to see their work. They’re also a great place to get inspired, or at least to make sure you don’t get too comfortable.
Art shows can be intimidating, especially if you’re not familiar with the artists’ work or the art scene in general. But there are ways to make sure that you feel confident and comfortable while attending an art show:
What To Wear To An Art Show
So you’ve got some cool gallery opening on your calendar or an art show date, but you don’t know what to wear? We’ve got you covered.
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J. Renee Blandi Slingback Pump
Beige Leather Pumps
Today we answer the questions you’re bound to ask yourself at some point in your sartorial life: What to wear to an art gallery? Can you wear casual clothes to an art show? What to wear to an art museum date?
To help us get to the bottom of the art gallery style etiquette, we’re joined by Anna Puzova, style blogger with an extensive background in fashion, Rosie Lai, stylist and creative consultant, and Tracie Marie, fashion blogger behind Tracie Marie Please.
Q: So there’s no particular dress code for art galleries. But do you have any style advice for attending an art show or your go-to outfit combinations for art events?
Anna: I can’t say I do have a go-to combo or some special formula for art events or galleries. But I think there are some factors to consider, like the level of the art event (something typically local, a neighborhood kind of, international level more…), your personal style and whether it was a pre-planned or a spontaneous idea. See, if it’s a pretty local art gallery event and you know locals are more used to slightly dress up, then you won’t really risk to show up in a track suit (unless you are, like Kanye West or a part of a certain culture) and turn yourself into the most discussed topic. Or vice versa. Speaking of personal style, it’s about being dressed event-appropriate but still looking authentic. So my general advice will be to research an exhibit or an event, its direction and maybe required dress code and still stick to your personal style, add your own twist to this sort of outfit combination.
Rosie: People used to dress up for the opera and to a certain extent still do. I think there’s something about going to see art that demands a level of sophistication and respect in what you wear. And just as the MET Gala is an excuse for celebrities to dress extravagantly, I think attending an art show can also be an excuse for you to make slightly bolder sartorial choices. I’d pick one item to exaggerate, whether it’s a top with a dramatic silhouette or a skirt with a bold, graphic print then tone the rest down with a black blazer and heels.
Tracie: My go-to outfit combination would be a pair of sleek trousers, probably black, a lightweight top, and chunky heeled peep-toe sandals, or maybe a pointed toe heel. It’s very sleek and simple!
Black Suede Pumps
Women’s White Dress Shirt, Navy Silk Tapered Pants, Black Suede Gladiator Sandals, Red Leather Satchel Bag
Beige Leather Pumps
Q: How about the style don’ts? What should you avoid wearing when you’re going to an art gallery?
Anna: I wouldn’t be brave enough to advise sport-ish clothing when you consider attending an art gallery. But again, you know, lines are so much blurred these days so you can see people walking around wearing a hoodie or track pants or whatever else. This is also a personal style thing. So it’s not such a strict ‘don’t’ in terms of art galleries.
Rosie: I’d personally avoid sneakers, sandals and torn denim if possible. Basically anything you’d wear to the beach or a sports game I would stay away from.
Tracie: Dirty shoes or flip flops. I feel like when it comes to footwear you should be really put together! And obviously you wouldn’t show up in sweat pants.
Q: Can you wear casual clothes to an art gallery? Can you think of art show-ready outfits that are more on the casual side?
Anna: Yes, I think casual stuff might work. I also see semi-formal and smart casual style variations to be good ideas for art galleries. I would play around formal pants, casual-like top or bodysuit, classy high heels and blazer/cardigan/biker jacket. Yes, I think this could be that go-to combo for less glamorous gallery events.
Rosie: Depending on the time of day and where you’re located, sometimes it’s simply not practical to dress to the nines. In those cases I think accessories come a long way in elevating a casual look. Even a simple day dress can be transformed with embellished flats and a chunky necklace. Shirtdresses and jumpsuits can be the perfect easy-chic base for any art gallery—just add a pretty clutch and fun flats and you’re good to go.
Tracie: I think you totally can if it’s done in a put-together way. Like wearing a tailored suit with sneakers. Sneakers can easily make an outfit more casual and add a bit of personality. You can also always look chic by adding a pair of great heels to a jeans and a t-shirt outfit combination as well!
Women’s Tan Open Cardigan, White Ruffle Short Sleeve Blouse, Black Leather Skinny Pants, Black Suede Pumps
Why not wear a tan open cardigan with black leather skinny pants? As well as super comfy, these items look good combined together. Introduce black suede pumps to the mix to instantly shake up the getup.
Tan Open Cardigan
Frame Le Color High Waist Skinny Jeans
Q: What about art museum dates? Is an art museum a good idea for a date and if so, what would you wear to one?
Anna: Why not? It’s always interesting to share an art gallery moment with another person and discuss the exhibit. You can get to know each other better. Plus, if you know that your date is interested in art, you can turn it into a lovely surprise. Art gallery date dress code is fully up to you, your taste and style. Unless there’s an outlined dress code of course.
Rosie: I think both parties would have to be interested in art or else a museum date could get very boring very fast. But if I were to go on one, I would probably wear a lace or sheer black top with a fun, printed midi skirt. Then depending on whether it’s day or evening I’d wear flats or heels respectively.
Tracie: An art museum is a lovely idea for date! Depending on what season it is I would probably wear a breezy dress with booties and a nice jacket.
Women’s Black Leather Biker Jacket, Beige Swing Dress, Beige Leather Pumps, Dark Brown Sunglasses
This pairing of a black leather biker jacket and a beige swing dress is ideal for off-duty situations. A pair of beige leather pumps will take your getup down a
White Pearl Necklace
Q: Any advice for men? What does a guy need to wear on your first date at an art museum to get a second one?
Anna: Something semi-formal or smart casual. White tee under blazer, jumper and pants – something like this would work. Together with masculine vibes, self-confidence and intelligence.
Rosie: I find it attractive when a guy is not afraid to dress up for you. A midnight blue button-up shirt does wonders on any man (seriously, any man) but pair it with a clean blazer and dark wash jeans and you have yourself a second date. Just no gym shoes please.
Tracie: Men just need to look nice! There’s no need for a tux, but please make sure you are wearing decent and clean shoes. Jeans are fine, but please no basketball shorts and running shoes.
Men’s Navy Double Breasted Blazer, White Crew-neck T-shirt, Grey Dress Pants, Navy Suede Tassel Loafers
Marrying a navy double breasted blazer and grey dress pants is a surefire way to infuse your styling rotation with some rugged sophistication. Rounding off with navy suede tassel loafers is an effective way to infuse a dressed-down feel into this outfit.
Dark Brown Suede Oxford Shoes
Q: Finally, what do you wear to an art museum when you’re visiting abroad while on vacation? After all, local art museums are often a must on people’s sightseeing lists when they’re traveling.
Anna: Well, this again is about the fact whether you plan such gallery visits in advance or you decide it the last moment. When I travel I try to make sure I have a semi-formal combination or a ‘little black dress plus classy heels’ in my suitcase for cases like theaters, museums and so.
Rosie: If you’re traveling you’re probably not going to bring a whole outfit just for an art tour so I suggest packing chic separates that you can mix and match. Then accessorize, accessorize, accessorize! We just did a trunk show and one of our designers was Rebecca de Ravenel, the mind behind the super-cute ball drop earrings every blogger is sporting, and our clients snapped them up in every color for their Art Basel looks. A dramatic earring can be worn with jeans and a T-shirt but with a jumpsuit and heels, you’re instantly ready for any event.
Tracie: When I visited museums in Paris, France it was during the summer so it was incredibly hot! I liked to pair lightweight dresses with comfortable closed toe sandals or flats. Very comfortable but still very put together!
Women’s White Floral Skater Dress, Yellow Leather Ballerina Shoes, Black Sunglasses, White Pearl Necklace
A white floral skater dress will allow you to reveal your stylish side. Let your outfit coordination expertise really shine by complementing your outfit with a pair of yellow leather ballerina shoes.
Women’s Grey Silk Tank, Navy Lace Shorts, Silver Leather Flat Sandals, White Leather Crossbody Bag
Wear a grey silk tank and navy lace shorts for a relaxed casual and fashionable getup. If you need to easily dress down this ensemble with shoes, why not complement your outfit with a pair of silver leather flat sandals?
Jerusalem Sandals Abra Toe Loop Slide Sandal
Silver Leather Flat Sandals
Bottega Veneta Off White The Pouch 20 Clutch
White Leather Crossbody Bag
Do you like the featured outfits? These are some of the most stylish and popular combinations out there. But you can also filter out the outfits you see to match your own clothes.
Add some of your clothes to your digital wardrobe on Lookastic, and we’ll show you outfits you can put together.
What to wear to an art opening
Art openings are the perfect place to mingle with fellow artists and experience the latest trends in art. But what do you wear?
You want to look your best, but you also don’t want to show up in your best outfit only to find that everyone else is wearing something completely different.
The trick is to find clothing that’s appropriate for the occasion, but also expresses your creativity and individuality.
Wearing the right clothes can be the difference between feeling like you belong and feeling like an outsider at an art opening. If you’re new to this scene, you might not know what it is that makes a look appropriate for the occasion.
We’ve got you covered. Here are some tips on what to wear and what not to wear when attending an art opening.
As such, casual formal is the best way to approach such an occasion. A dress shirt but with no tie, and a dinner jacket instead of a coat, for example, should suffice. The opening night of an art exhibition may be more formal, especially if the artist or other VIP guests will be in attendance
CLOTHES BY TYPEFORMAL WEAR
Figuring out what to wear to an art opening can be confusing. Do you wear all black? Do you need to make a fashion statement? The truth is you have a lot of flexibility when picking out an outfit for an art opening, as long as you meet the dress code and look presentable. You can experiment with bold colors and patterns, or stick with a simple two-tone ensemble. Whatever you choose to wear to an art opening, you want to make sure you feel confident and comfortable in your outfit.
Finding the Perfect OutfitDownload Article
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Find out if there’s a dress code. Look on the invitation you got or ask someone else who’s going. Some art openings will actually have a dress code they want guests to follow. Choosing an outfit will be a lot easier if you know how dressed up everyone else is getting.
If the dress code is “casual dressy,” pair slacks, dress pants, or a skirt with a blouse or button-up. You can snazz-up your outfit with a blazer or tie.
For events that call for “cocktail attire,” short dresses and fitted suits are the norm.
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Ask other invited guests for tips if you’re not sure what to wear. If there’s no dress code, or you’re confused by the dress code, don’t be afraid to ask for some help. Ask one of your friends that’s going what they plan on wearing. If you know the artist hosting the opening personally, reach out and ask them what to wear.
If you’re still unsure, look up the venue where the opening will be at. A smaller, more intimate venue like a coffee house will most likely be casual. If the venue is an upscale gallery in a nicer part of town, you’re probably expected to dress up more.
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Wear something with a bold print. It could be a dress, button-up shirt, blouse, or a pair of pants. If you go with a print, make the rest of your outfit simple. The printed garment should stand out from your outfit, not get lost in a sea of other patterns.
For example, you could wear a bright floral dress with a neutral-toned blazer or jacket.
If you’re wearing a suit, go with a button-up shirt with a bold print to add a personal touch to your outfit.
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Go with a monochromatic look. Have all the pieces of your outfit be the same color. You’ll look chic and like you don’t want to steal the spotlight from the featured artist.
You could wear navy high-waisted pants with a matching navy top.
A black turtleneck sweater tucked into black pants would be a simple yet sophisticated outfit. Pull the look together with black shoes.
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Try out a statement piece from your wardrobe. Use the art opening as an opportunity to showcase some clothes you don’t get to wear a lot. Art openings are fun and about personal expression. Don’t be afraid to experiment with something different.
For example, you could wear a faux-fur jacket over a simple black dress.
Experiment with your shoes too. Wear knee-high boots or a pair of platform shoes.
Go with a velvet suit jacket to make your outfit stand out.
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Choose an outfit that reflects your personal style. Stick with what you like and feel comfortable in, but don’t be afraid to experiment. Don’t feel pressured to dress a certain way because you’re going to an art opening.
Keep in mind you’ll be walking around a lot at the event. Wear something you feel comfortable in. Avoid outfits that are too tight or made of itchy fabrics.
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Use jewelry to give your outfit flair. You can go simple with your jewelry or use the opening as an opportunity to experiment. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and watches all make great accessories to wear to an art opening.
For example, if you’re wearing a simple black dress, you could wear a gold statement necklace and bangle. The gold will pop against the black dress.
A watch is a simple and elegant jewelry choice that can add extra dimension to your outfit.
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Wear a scarf. Look for a scarf that’s made out of a thin fabric that won’t be hot during the event. Experiment with different ways of wrapping the scarf around your neck.
For example, you could wear a scarf over a suit. The scarf will dress-down the suit so you look more casual.
Pair a printed circle scarf with a simple dress to make your outfit more interesting.
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Try out a new pair of glasses. You’ll be looking at art the whole time, so it makes sense to wear glasses with your outfit. Even if they’re not real, no one has to know! Look for a pair of glasses in a fun color or shape and wear them to accent your look.
For example, if you’re wearing a green sweater, you could wear glasses with a thick green frame to tie your outfit together.
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Wear a fun hat. Go with a fedora or wide-brimmed hat that matches your outfit. Or you can wear a hat in a bold color to accent your ensemble.
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Wear clothes that are clean and wrinkle-free. Iron your clothes before you get ready for the opening. Check them over for stains the day before the event so you can wash them if needed. You want to look presentable and well put together.
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Dress up a little, even if the event is casual. Regardless of the dress code, you should try to look somewhat dressed up. An art opening is a special event for the artist hosting it, and they’ll appreciate you making an effort to look nice with your outfit.
For example, if you know the art opening is a casual event, you could still add a blazer and a pair of dressier shoes to your outfit so it’s more polished.
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Avoid sporty clothes like track pants and hoodies. You might look out of place if you walk into the event with sweatpants on. Steer clear of tennis shoes, flip flops, and other athletic gear, and you’re much more likely to be dressed appropriately for the event.
It’s OK to wear high-fashioned sportswear to an art opening. If you do, it should be clear that you’re intentionally going for a high-fashion sports look.
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Practice good hygiene. Make sure your hair is washed and styled. Spray your clothes with a little cologne or perfume so you smell nice; one or two spritzes should be enough. Also, make sure you brush your teeth before you go. You don’t want bad breath when you’re talking to people at the event.