What to wear to visit an art gallery from LA & London

What to wear to visit an art gallery

This is the second post, first one here, in which Susan of Unefemme and I explore the question “Is there a difference between the way British and American women dress for events. This week we will be visiting an art gallery/museum.

I am so lucky to live about 30 minutes from central London. We are blessed with many amazing museums and art galleries. This year I went to the opening of the Royal Academy of Arts summer exhibition, one of my favourites, as it displays up and coming artists as well as extasblished ones.

SHOWN ABOVE:  Turtle neck  //  earrings   sold out similar //  stripe poncho  //  perfume  // bag  //  trousers  //  boots  //  lipstick

What I would wear.

As far as what to wear is concerned in my opinion a pair of comfortable boots or shoes are a priority. You want to appreciate the art and not be distracted by feet that hurt. My preference is a pair of ankle boots with a small stack heel. I find that very flat shoes can cause my feet to ache after a couple of hours standing around. Then I stick to my basic comfortable neutrals. Trousers are my go to piece. I have teamed them here with a black sweater. You can unleash your creativity with a bright coloured poncho. Then why not show off your colourful top with a funky pair of earrings. A practical cross body bag completes the look. For the evening event I swapped the sweater for a cream silk shirt and wore my wide leg velvet trousers.

Pop over to Unefemme to see how Susan has interpreted this wardrobe challenge.





  1. 21st November 2016 / 14:26

    I love that colorful poncho, what fun! Thanks again Josephine for a fun collaboration.

  2. Suz
    21st November 2016 / 14:49

    Lovely outfit for the event. Out of curiosity, do you wear your cross body bag under your poncho? I have a poncho but I do not find my cross body bag works very well with it so I only wear it when I am will to carry a regular short handled bag. Would love to hear how to use a cross body bag with it!
    Thank you Suz from Vancouver

    • 21st November 2016 / 15:44

      Hi Suz
      Don’t think I can upload a photo here but I have sent you one from my iPhone showing how I wear cross body bag and poncho. I think the secret it to have a smallish bag and a strap that is long enough so that the bag hangs low. Hope this helps.

  3. Eleni
    21st November 2016 / 15:58

    Invited to an Art Gallery exhibit last week and took a leaf out of a previous post. Wore a sleeveless, navy maxi vest, navy pants and a long pale grey sweater……….I wish I had taken note of the cross body bag advice…. it was difficult to clutch a handbag, a glass of mulled wine and various tidbits while enjoying the exhibits! I must look for one this week. However, I do wear a lot of capes and ponchos and don’t know if I would be comfortable with a cross body bag? I look forward to your very enjoyable blogs.

    • 21st November 2016 / 16:10

      Sounds like a great outfit Eleni. I think if the cross body bag is small enough and the strap long enough it can work. I do it as I hate have to balance drink, canapés etc.

  4. kathryn
    21st November 2016 / 17:29

    Hi, Suz from Vancouver, from another Brit/Canadian now in Europe. A poncho with shoulder bag under the poncho is an excellent way to keep your essentials safe in the not always safe European cities. The poncho would also be a useful item for long-haul travel – snuggle up on the flight but wrinkle-free and elegant on arrival. Never thought of that. Thank you Josephine, great idea.

  5. MaureenC
    22nd November 2016 / 08:01

    I did history of art at university way back in the last millennium and so spent a lot of time in galleries across Europe. One of the great pleasures of visiting a gallery in Italy, France and even the U.K. was always the people watching as well as the art. It’s still a pleasure, particularly if you go to smaller galleries but unfortunately these days the monolithic tourist industry has filled most spaces with battalions of slightly bewildered people wearing the tourist uniform of shapeless comfort wear and trainers or clogs. They then follow a predetermined virtual tour on headphones which means that they stand right in front of every painting, generally too close to look at it properly but effectively blocking anyone else’s view! Ok rant over, there are exceptions people who went to the Sonia Delaunay exhibition last year at the Tate Modern were a joy to behold!

    • 22nd November 2016 / 08:09

      I so agree MaureenC Most museums and art galleries are too crowded. I think they let too many people in for each time slot (it makes more money) but you see less of the artwork. We were lucky this year as we went to two invitation only viewings.

  6. 2nd February 2017 / 23:07

    I have recently been reading your blog and enjoying it very much. I am very petite under 5 ft so I can’t always wear the styles that look so good on you. For instance, the ponchos tend to overwhelm me. Would you have any suggestions for substitutes? Even the dusters and vests are often too long as well (sigh!).

    • 3rd February 2017 / 09:10

      Hi Gloria
      Thanks for your comment and I am glad you like my blog. I have a friend, she does the lovely sketches, she is petit so I will get her advice and get back to you. Maybe do a post on the subject.

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