What to Wear to the Museum, According to 9 Famous Paintings


A visit to the museum on a chilly day is among the more classic winter activities. You can escape the cold and mentally adventure off to different parts of the world by passing through rows of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art. While choosing your museum is the most important choice, selecting your museum day outfit comes in at a close second. Picking out a look for a trip to your favorite gallery or museum surprisingly takes more brain power than you'd think. You'll be walking around for a few hours, so comfort is key. But, naturally, you'll want whatever you're wearing to be as expressive as the works of art you're strolling beside. You don't want to overthink it — but it still warrants a wee bit of effort.

While you could easily take a cue from a street style outfit or influencer look on Instagram for your ensemble, these are the arts — why not think outside of the box? Below, take in nine exquisite, inspiring paintings from some of the world's most famous artists and shop the pieces that subtly reference the work. From Basquiat to van Gogh, abstract expressionism to pop art, there's enough here to last you well into spring. A final note: Since museum visits are a socially distant experience these days, make sure to pack an artsy mask too.

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Museum Day Outfit: Vincent Van Gogh

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Van Gogh's "Wheat Field With Cypresses" is less popular than his self portrait or "Starry Night", but it serves as an idyllic work of art to mirror your outfit after. Thanks to the swirling hues of green and blue, it makes channeling the aesthetic colorful and whimsical.

Museum Day Outfit: Keith Haring

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Keith Haring's "We The Youth" gives off an optimistic point of view with colorful dancing figures scattered across the mural. A patterned dress with similar outlines is a fine way to achieve a Haring-influenced look. Toss a coat on top and comfortable sneakers to finish.

Museum Day Outfit: Johannes Vermeer

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One of the most recognized paintings, "Girl With a Pearl Earring" also happens to speak to a museum day outfit vibe that feels just right. Accessorize with a (duh) pearl earring and wrap a silk scarf in your hair.

Museum Day Outfit: Odilon Redon

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This early 20th-century painting by Odilon Redon (titled "Butterflies") is an invigorating work of art that translates to wardrobe beautifully thanks to all of the color and texture. Grab a piece with butterfly embroidery and pair it with a colorful layer or two.

Museum Day Outfit: Chris Ofili


Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin Mary" is something to behold. Coming in at eight feet high and six feet wide, the colorful mixed media painting is best observed in person. Channel his aesthetic with a piece from another inspired artist like Pyer Moss. His recent collection included printed pieces with original artwork by Richard Phillips (seen below).

Museum Day Outfit: Édouard Manet

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"A Bar at the Folies-Bergère" was painted in 1882 and satiates all the turn-of-the-century vibes you could ever dream of. Make this your outfit look by wearing a puff-sleeve blouse with a ribbon choker.

Museum Day Outfit: Hilma af Klint

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Although they appear far more modern, Hilma af Klint began creating her mystical, bright works of art in 1906. Her distinct use of color and pattern (among several other reasons) makes her worthy of a museum outfit recreation. Stick with her palette (lavender and pale blue) for a nuanced look.

Museum Day Outfit: Gustav Klimt

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Who doesn't love "The Kiss?" Its gorgeous use of gold leaf and intricate brush strokes are a winning combination for a museum day look. Pair printed pants with a simple tee and flats.

Museum Day Outfit: Jean-Michel Basquiat

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Basquiat's neo-expressionist works of art translate to wearable works of art thanks to New York designers like Collina Strada, whose exciting collections always feel like a nod to the art world.