What To Wear To an Art Gallery

Bridget Reed
Mon May 09, 2022

What To Wear To an Art Gallery

Finding the perfect look for an evening at the art gallery can be a lot of fun. It’s the chance to wear chic styles and fashionable accessories, and you can match your look to the art movement or even the architecture of the building. You have many unique and stand-out style ideas and pieces to pick from, and the final look is sure to dazzle.


When you’re ready to find the perfect art gallery outfit for the next gallery opening or art exhibition, trust PixieLane to help you every step of the way. We carry a wide collection of styles and pieces, as well as the accessories that will take your look to the next level.

Craft your perfect outfit with PixieLane today:

Art Gallery: The Definition

The more you know about art exhibition culture, the more comfortable you’ll feel attending openings and meeting with artists. That’s why it can be helpful to understand what an art gallery is and how it differs from other art collections like museums.


Art galleries are locations where art is displayed. Unlike art museums, the art is available for sale and showcase, so you’ll see many young or up-and-coming artists on display in art galleries.

If you’re looking to learn about new trends or find truly unique works of art, a gallery is the place to be. At the end of the day, you can even take home the pieces you really love.

The Different Types of Art Galleries

There are key differences between galleries and museums, but also between the different types of galleries, as well. Here are some of the most common structures and styles of art galleries you may find in cities like New York and Los Angeles.

Commercial Gallery

One of the most common types of art galleries is the commercial gallery. It follows the for-profit business model: Art is available for sale and the artist and the gallery both make a percentage of the profits.


Commercial galleries are very important to the success of new artists. Gallery curators will design exhibitions and openings around art they believe will be influential in the industry, as well as commercially viable. The gallery owner and artist alike can benefit greatly from a successful opening.

Artist-Run Initiative

An artist-run gallery is a space where the artist has created and curated the show, themselves. Given the scarcity of opportunities for new artists in the traditional art sphere, it has become increasingly more common for artists to carve out exhibition spaces to showcase their new work. Oftentimes, artists will create this space together or share a gallery room to reach more art enthusiasts and reduce costs.

Vanity Gallery

Vanity galleries are spaces where artists have paid to have their work displayed, not following the traditional commission structure of commercial galleries. Artists are often advised to avoid vanity galleries for several reasons.


To start, vanity galleries often take advantage of new artists, and the cost of displaying may not be returned in sales. More importantly, these exhibitions aren’t curated, meaning they are typically skipped by art enthusiasts and reviewers. This makes it hard to see a return on investment and may not get a new artist’s work in front of the right viewers.

Non-Profit Gallery

Non-profit galleries are similar to commercial galleries in the way they exhibit and showcase new work, which is often for sale. Unlike commercial galleries, non-profit galleries do not depend on the sales of that work to function but instead on donations and outside funding.


This means they can curate more experimental or esoteric shows, as they don’t need to exhibit work specifically with sales in mind. Non-profit galleries are an excellent option for artists that don’t necessarily fit into the mainstream of art trends and sales but still have unique and exciting work to share.

The Different Dress Codes

Once you know what kind of opening you’re attending, you’ll be able to start planning the perfect outfit to wear to an art show. Keep in mind that there are many different types of dress codes for gallery openings, and the right clothing will vary greatly, depending on the formality of the event.


For example, if you’re attending an event with a casual, business casual, or informal dress code, you may be able to dress up your workday outfit with accessories or a change of shoes, as it’s a little more laid back.

Formal and semi-formal both require a more dressy approach with jackets and chic pieces, like a little black dress or black blazer. Black tie optional means you can dress up extremely fancy, but it isn’t required; with black tie, it is.


Here are some of our top picks for art gallery outfits.

Midi Dresses

Midi dresses are stylish and chic and available in various colors and styles, including tie-dye or basic neutrals. You can dress them up with heels and accessories or down with flats or boots for a versatile and comfortable look.

Smocked Skirts

A smocked skirt has a series of layers that make up the design, adding texture and movement to the final look. It’s available in long, short, and mid-length styles and matches well with a wide range of tops.


Jumpsuits are chic and glamorous but still deliver on that minimalist style. The top and bottom pieces are connected, which means you simply need to pick out the perfect shoes and accessories to add to your personal style.

Duster Cardigan

Art galleries are often chilly, so it can be useful to have layers for ensured comfort all evening long. A duster cardigan is long and elegant and can add a little something extra to your final art gallery look.

Ruffle Tops

Ruffle tops are a unique and creative way to dress for the next art gallery opening. Pair them with sleek slacks and heels, or a classy skirt, for a versatile and stand-out look every time.

Art Gallery Etiquette

The art style and location may vary, but there are a few essential things you’ll want to keep in mind when visiting an opening. Always keep a safe distance from the artwork and be careful when taking photos to avoid any damage. Skip the flash and avoid spending too much time on the phone. It’s a chance to really take in the art!


You want to be respectful of the art and the artist while at the gallery. That means using low voices, not touching the art, and only eating and drinking in the designated areas.

Fashion: Wearable Art

Art gallery openings can be a ton of fun and a truly interesting way to engage with the art and world all around you. That’s why the perfect outfit can be so essential.

After all, what is fashion if not wearable art? It’s the perfect method for self-expression, creativity, and confidence-boosting, and you’re sure to stand out at your next opening.


When it’s time to plan the perfect outfit for your next art gallery opening, come down to PixieLane. We have the top pieces and styles to match your favorite era of art and your personal style. Begin creating unique and memorable outfits with the support of PixieLane today, and attend a new gallery opening tomorrow.


Dear Alex: What Does a “Black-Tie Optional” Wedding Dress Code Really Mean? | Vogue

Art Fair Etiquette: 8 Things to Remember When Visiting Art Galleries | Esquire

Philly Designers Are Leading the Wearable Art Trend That's All Over Fashion Right Now | Philly Magazine

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