What to Wear to an Art Gallery

Art galleries are some of the most frequently visited venues for art fans worldwide. There are a plethora of art galleries stretching from sunny Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia, and everywhere in between. 

And just like any other venue where fanatics of a certain form of art congregate to appreciate the work of a master, there are certain unspoken yet imperative codes to follow. 

The dress code is one of these codes. It is important always to be dressed appropriately for the occasion; it is not wise to wear a 3-piece suit to a rap concert, much like it is not suitable to wear shorts to the Opera. 

While you may be into art, you may not be aware of the perfect attire to don when you are going to an art gallery or exhibition. To that end, we have listed and mentioned the types of clothes one can wear to various art-related events, so you are prepared for the next art exhibition that comes to town. 


Art galleries are important locations in the areas they are located. They are a rich part of the culture and history of any city. Now, for an art gallery that is open at normal hours, the attire shouldn’t be either too dressy or casual. A regular visit to the art gallery doesn’t require too much effort; something laid back should work perfectly to view the artwork in a leisurely setting.


An art gallery opening is a much more prestigious event than a regular daytime trip to the art gallery. One must dress up appropriately for such an exceptional occasion. 

Cocktail or smart casual wear is recommended, though the design and colors should be minimalist; nothing one wears should take a visitor’s attention away from the art. 

Some gallery or exhibit openings may specify a dress code on the invitation. And of course, the artwork on display can also impact the dress code. A street art exhibition may be more casual and street fashion orientated compared to a more formal exhibit of renaissance art. 

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Art exhibitions are not as momentous occasions as art gallery openings but more planned occasions compared to spontaneous or regular trips to the local art gallery. Art exhibitions usually happen when a famous and well-known artist is in town to promote their latest lines of work and get an increased number of people to see them. 

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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. Opening evenings are celebratory occasions and it’s polite to dress up a bit for the occasion to show your respect for the hard work of both the artist and curator. Like a gallery opening, you should take your dress code cues from the invitation and the artist’s own style.

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If there’s likely to be refreshments at an event you should dress as if you were invited for drinks or a cocktail party.


Much like an exhibition, an art show is no doubt a momentous occasion. However, it does not call for the most formal of attire as aforementioned for art exhibitions. A mixture of casual and formal wear is best suited for an art show.

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If an art show is combined with more formal elements, such as a drinks reception or dinner, you should dress for the most formal part of the event.  

Street art shows or open studio events are generally much more casual; you won’t want to be dressed up when you’re exploring a paint-splattered studio!

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Overall, the dress code for daytime visits to art galleries is a relatively simple affair. The more noteworthy the occasion, or for evening events, the more formal the attire. However, the key thing to remember is that one should never wear something too flashy or colorful, as it may take away from the attention reserved for the art on display.

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As a final parting tip, it’s advisable to bring a jacket. Proper storage and preservation of artworks often require a cooler temperature, so you shouldn’t be surprised if art galleries and museums are a little bit on the chilly side!

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Availability and Price