What to Wear to a Museum of Art: 7 Outfit Ideas
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  • Writer's pictureBrenda

What to Wear to a Museum of Art: 7 Outfit Ideas

Updated: Apr 6

I have always been a fan of museums. It does not matter the kind of museum, sign me up to check out this cultural institution. It’s such a great way to learn more about our cultures and the planet as a whole. Whenever I visit a new country, I love to check out at least one of its museums or art galleries.

Back in November of last year, I was privileged to be invited to opening night for the Basquiat exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Montréal. You may recognize the late Basquiat’s colorful work as it has been shown in the homes of A-listers such as Alicia Keys and Swizz Beats.


Beyoncé and Jay Z are also huge fans as they posed for their Tiffany campaign in front of one of his most popular works of art, which they own. It’s a shame that the artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat, really propelled to fame after his death in 1988. His work lives on and is inspiring thousands of young artists and musicians.

When it comes to dressing up for an art gallery opening, or for a regular visit to a local museum, the dress code is typically smart casual. If you are attending a gallery opening at any of the major museums (The MET for example), you might want to dress up a little more. This is especially true if opening night would be a cocktail event.

In today’s blog post, I would be going over some great outfit ideas for the next time you’re headed to a museum. Most of these would be casual outfits seeing as this is the acceptable dress code for most museums.

You don’t have to overthink it when it comes to putting together museum-appropriate looks. Whether you’re making a solo trip or headed for an art museum date, these looks would keep you comfortable and chic.

Image source here

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, at no cost to you.

What to wear to a museum

1) Jeans and a t-shirt

You can create a smart casual look by pairing a plain white t-shirt with a pair of light blue jeans. The lighter colors give this outfit a more casual appearance than a pair of dark denim jeans. The easiest way to make this look a little more formal is to add a structured blazer.

Get the look HERE

Complete your look with a pair of white sneakers or a pair of high heels. For a laid-back outfit, try opting for a graphic tee. Add a black leather jacket and a pair of ankle boots for a chic look during the colder months.

For a formal gallery opening, swap the plain white shirts for button-down shirts and add a structured blazer. You can read up more on creating smart casual and business casual looks with jeans on my post: 7 tops to wear with dark blue jeans.

2) Midi skirt with a blouse

This is a classic look you can pull off if you want to look more dressed up at the museum. It also works if you’re headed straight from the office to the art museum. Pair a black pencil skirt with different colors of blouses to create different outfits.

Get the look HERE

During the colder months, you could complete your look with a pair of tights and a trench coat. Midi skirts can be style with a pair of high heels for cocktail events at an art gallery. It’s wise to wear a pair of comfortable shoes if there’s going to be a lot of walking.

3) Crop top and jeans

If you’re making museum visits during the summer months, you could actually pair a cropped top with a pair of jeans for a simple casual look. Choose a crop top that does not show too much skin when visiting an art museum for an event such as an art opening.

Get the look HERE

For a casual day out with friends, you could choose a pair of high-waisted skinny jeans. Go for cropped tops in bright colors during the summer months.On chilly days, add a denim jacket to your casual outfit. For footwear, choose a pair of flats or sneakers.

4) A cute dress

Your cutest summer dress is a good idea to wear to an art show during the warmer months. This could be a knee-length short sleeve dress or a maxi dress. Having a scarf or light jacket handy is a good idea as you never know how cold it may be inside the museum. For special occasions taking place in an art gallery, a midi dress is a good option.

Get the look HERE

Long dresses are a good choice if you want to look more dressed up for a museum date. You get to pair them with flats, sneakers or heels, depending on your personal style and your mood. A cross-body bag is your best option for bags as it’s easy to walk around with and won’t get in the way. During the winter, go for cute sweater dresses.

5) Shorts and a simple top

Create a simple casual look that you can wear all summer long to your favorite museums. Style your shorts with a simple tank top if you’re doing some exploring on a hot summer day. A white tank top paired with white sneakers is my favorite way to style a pair of denim cutoffs.

Get the look HERE

Complete your look with a pair of sunglasses and a cross-body purse. You could also throw on a black blazer to make your outfit a little more professional. Beware that some museums have a specific dress code and may not allow shorts. The Vatican Museum for example may not permit shorts on its premises so always check!

Get some more style inspiration for styling your shorts on my post: How to wear short shorts.

6) Pants and a blazer

This is a classic choice to go with if you happen to be attending an art show during the colder months. Not only is this look appropriate attire to wear to any museum, but you could also wear it to the office. Add a simple top underneath if it’s not too cold outside. Opt for a fitted sweater or sweater vest during the cold months.

Get the look HERE

A pair of ankle boots are your best choice during the Fall and winter. Play around with vibrant Fall colors to make your outfit more interesting. Add a long coat if you need an extra layer of warmth.

7) A little black dress

Your favorite little black dress is the first thing that should come to mind when you’re invite to a fancy art show at a museum. Dress it up with a statement necklace and a pair of strappy heels. You can also add a pair of black tights and pumps for a classic look.

Get the look HERE

During the cold months, feel free to add a chic long cardigan to keep warm or a faux fur shawl. A pair of knee-high boots could be worn if your LBD is shorter, or you could choose a pair of ankle boots. You can read up more on the right shoes to pair with a black dress on my post: 6 of the best heels to wear with a black dress.

I hope this post has served as a guide you can refer to for great ideas on what to wear to an art museum. Smart casual is usually a safe dress code to follow. As long as you avoid showing up in flip flops and skimpy clothing, you should be able to gain entry.

If you need some outfit ideas to wear to any museum in general, check out my post: 5 Outfits You Can Wear to a Museum.

For some outfit inspiration for your next coffee date, check out my post: 10 outfit ideas to wear on a coffee date.

I also have a post, the 6 best ways to wear a pleated skirt in case you’re looking for some ideas in that department.

Headed to catch a Broadway show? Check out my post: 9 Outfit Ideas You Can Wear to a Broadway Show.

Until the next post,



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