Occasion Dressing: Art Gallery Opening

When I was in college, I received what I considered to be the best fortune cookie fortune ever, “ART IS YOUR FATE, DON’T DEBATE.” (Yes, it was all caps.) I carried that fortune around in my wallet for years until my purse was stolen at a party.  Oh well.  I never had much artistic talent beyond basic color and composition, but I’ve always loved art, and always enjoy visiting museums, galleries and even attending the odd (and I mean that in both senses of the word) art performance piece.

Last week in comments, Kathy asked for some ideas for what to wear to an art gallery opening.  These would be my suggestions for a fairly straightforward “cocktail attire” level event.  Depending on the gallery, the type of art, the general level of formality where you live, and your personal style, you could dress some of these pieces down a bit with trousers or boots instead of the pumps, or go a bit more bohemian with some artisinal jewelry or scarves/wraps.  Hope this is helpful!

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  1. October 19, 2010 / 12:54 pm

    Lovely choices, I agree with you, the dress code for something like this depends on so many factors, I’ve been to scruffy Boho events featuring contemporary paintings worth £150, 000 and upmarket very formal events where it was all heels, cocktail dresses and tartan trews for the men. I tend to opt for the middle ground for these kind of invites.

  2. October 19, 2010 / 1:02 pm

    A gallery opening calls for the big, striking jewelery and that cocktail ring is utterly perfect. I noted the price, compared to some ‘new’ pieces and what terrific value!

  3. October 19, 2010 / 1:59 pm

    I agree with Duchesse on the statement jewelry…I like something arty and edgy, large that has a wow factor.

    A pashmina or interesting shawl or scarf as well…
    love these great ensembles…

  4. October 19, 2010 / 2:42 pm

    I love your choices, they are all very chic. Sometimes when I go to gallery openings here in LA and both the women and men are wearing jeans, I just want to go arrrgh.

  5. October 19, 2010 / 3:31 pm

    Think you’ve pretty much covered every option – for a low-key occasion, I’d wear the sparkly shrug and jeans.

  6. October 19, 2010 / 5:14 pm

    I was so busy ogling the skirt that I didn’t notice my earrings at first! Thanks for including me.

  7. Kathy
    October 19, 2010 / 1:15 pm

    Great ideas….I have had my eye on the Talbots lace skirt and I love the shrug….thank you so much!

    I agree with the commentary, it depends upon the gallery, the city, etc but I believe these ideas are suitable for ‘my’ gallery in my city. They are opening a new wing that has been in the planning stages for 20 years.

  8. October 19, 2010 / 8:18 pm

    I love that crocheted shrug~ a definite must for the gallery opening. I would wear it over the simple black dress.
    Great choices!!

  9. October 19, 2010 / 9:19 pm

    Wonderful — artsy and sophisticated. For inspiration more on the boho, funky side, check out indigoalison’s blog for the photos she took of visitors to London’s Art Frieze as well as those at The Women’s Room blog.

  10. October 19, 2010 / 9:42 pm

    Miss J covets several of these items… velvet blazer, doing- something-sequins tank…

  11. La Belette Rouge
    October 19, 2010 / 2:47 pm

    Even though you lost the fortune cookie the fate is still yours. You are very creative and have an eye for aesthetics that cannot be taken from you.

  12. metscan
    October 19, 2010 / 4:55 pm

    I agree with LBR. You indeed have an eye for all beautiful: )

  13. October 20, 2010 / 1:27 am

    I find that usually the people wearing jeans and sneakers at art gallery openings are the artists.

    But in general, gallery openings are wonderful venues for people-watching!

  14. October 20, 2010 / 1:41 am

    I. Am. Bookmarking. This. And now I know. Thank-you.

  15. October 20, 2010 / 8:41 am

    Lovely collection of pieces – love the lace skirt especially. x

  16. October 20, 2010 / 9:52 pm

    Tabitha – it’s really one of those “know your venue” situations, isn’t it? Here in LA, one would probably go a notch or two more casual, but still with some killer statement jewelry.

    Duchesse – yes, this isn’t the occasion to be timid with the jewelry. I wish I’d jumped on that ring when it was available!

    Kathy – glad this was helpful! I had a blast putting it together. I love that shrug too; it really would be wearable for so many different looks.

    hostess – I’d probably go a bit more arty/bohemian myself, but I think most of these pieces could be tweaked any way you wanted.

    Belle – thank you! I agree, some people here seem to think that jeans and a t-shirt are appropriate for every occasion.

  17. October 20, 2010 / 9:56 pm

    LBR – you are so sweet, thank you.

    That’s Not My Age – thanks, and yes, I think that shrug could be worn with any number of pieces.

    metscan – thank you! Coming from someone with such a discerning eye that is a high compliment.

    Wendy B – gotta have some Wendy bling!

    Diane – thank you. That shrug really is a winner, isn’t it?

  18. October 20, 2010 / 10:00 pm

    materfamilias – thank you. I’ll go check those out.

    Miss Janey – I’m so pleased to see so many “doing something sequins” pieces available this season.

    Aunt Snow – so true about the people watching!

    A-Dubs – glad you enjoyed, thank you!

    Semi-Expat – Thanks! Talbots has done a couple different versions of the lace skirt this season, but I haven’t seen up close yet. I love the look, though.

  19. October 21, 2010 / 10:07 pm

    Gorgeous. I adore the shrug. Sadly, I can’t quite justify the pricey price. If you come across a less budget busting alternative, please share.

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