How to Curate an ‘Artsy’ Wardrobe

In what may potentially turn into a new series on my blog, I’m going to be giving a step by step guide on how to curate different styles in your wardrobe, starting with an artsy style. If this is a style that you love then keep reading, because in this post I’m going to be breaking down the color palettes, basic pieces, statement pieces, and accessories that are used, and then telling you how to put them all together.

Examples of an artsy style

Let’s start off by looking at some different examples of artsy outfits, so that we can get a visual reference in our heads of what this style looks like.

Color palette

Is it any surprise that the artsy style has a very colorful palette? Probably not, however neutrals do still make an appearance, so if you’re into neutrals like me you’ll want to keep an eye out for: black, rust brown, white, and off-white.

When it comes to the colors themselves, the favor tends to be placed on the primary colors (blue, yellow, and red) at their full intensities, or close to their full intensities, and the secondary colors (orange, green, and purple) show up in more muted varieties.

The most common color structures used in these outfits are:

  • monochromatic (but only done in non-neutral colors)
  • two tone (in around a 70% – 30% ratio, though there is room for flexibility here)
  • main color + colorful pattern or print (main color is often blue, yellow, or black for the artsy style)

Van Gogh’s artwork tends to be a featured theme in the artsy style, which probably influences the use of bright yellows and rich blues, thanks to his painting The Starry Night and his two series of sunflowers paintings.

The basic pieces

The basic pieces that act as the foundation for artsy style outfits tend to be as follows:

High waisted jeans / jean shorts

The artsy style peaked in popularity around 2018, when it was called the art hoe style, which is probably why the mom jean trend of that time bled into the style as a staple. While the baggy mom jean isn’t necessary to create the look now, high waisted jeans are still popular throughout the style.

Some distressing can usually be found in the jeans, especially jean shorts, as it adds a bit of a worn in look that makes the outfits seem comfier and more laid back. It may also be influenced by the generally popularity of thrift shopping among those that wear this style.

When it comes to the colors of the jeans, black and medium blue tend to be the most popular choices, however colors such as army green and rust orange can be found as well.

Turtlenecks

Solid turtlenecks can be a great layering piece during the colder months, and also add a bit of coziness to any outfit, so it’s no surprise that they’re popular in the artsy style. Regular knitted textures are common and easy to work with, but texture can be added through chunkier yarn or through more dynamic stitches.

Colors tend to be on the warmer side for turtlenecks, with oranges, reds, and golds being a popular choice, however cooler greens and slightly purple reds are an option for those who prefer cooler palettes.

Printed t-shirts

T-shirts with artsy prints on them (such as puns about Van Gogh’s name) are a common staple in the artsy style, along with t-shirts that have artwork printed on them. Impressionist works are a common theme, but you can also find abstract and modern art t-shirts if that’s more to your liking. Some famous paintings can be easily found as well, such as The Creation of Adam or The Birth of Venus.

Colors can be all over the place, as that’s the nature of graphic tees, but a simple white t-shirt is a common choice as it allows the artwork to stand out and also matches with pretty much anything.

The statement pieces

The statement pieces are the eye-catchers of an outfit. Some popular statement pieces in the artsy style are:

Patterned button ups

Button up shirts are pretty popular choice in this art style, especially if they have an artsy pattern to them. Again, Vincent Van Gogh’s work is a popular theme on printed button ups, but you can also easily find cherubic painting motifs, or abstract art if you look out for it. But if featuring specific art pieces in your clothing isn’t for you, then just a funky pattern can be a fun way to add color to an outfit.

Unlike other pieces in the artsy wardrobe, patterned button ups tend to be almost exclusively oversized, likely because the easiest and cheapest way to find a funky shirt is to check the men’s section at a thrift store. There’ll be lots of plain button ups there, and quite a few with a subtle pin stripe to them, but if you keep your eyes peeled you’ll likely find a couple that have a more eccentric pattern to them.

Patterned / painted / embroidered pants

Another way to make a statement is with patterned or embroidered pants. Seriously, any kind of unusual pant situation will make a statement, be it a bold color (bright red is my favorite for this), a fun pattern, or some sort of art piece either embroidered or painted onto the legs.

And the fun part? If you’re artistically inclined, you can turn any plain old jeans into some statement pants. Just look up a tutorial on YouTube on how to paint jeans or how to embroider them and let your creativity blossom.

Stripey sweater

An oversized sweater featuring lots of stripes is another popular statement piece in the artsy style. These sweaters can be crocheted or knitted, and can come in pullover or cardigan form, but the one thing they have in common is stripes!

Personally, these sweaters remind me of cartoon characters, in the best way possible. The bright colors and the stripey pattern is definitely a fun one to play around with!

Accessories

Accessories are truly the icing on the cake of any outfit. Sure, you could have a cake without icing, but isn’t it so much better with it? Here are some fun accessories for the artsy style:

Beret

Maybe it’s because wearing a beret conjures the feeling of being in a rainy cafe in Paris, working in a sketchbook, making a loose portrait of the mysterious stranger in the corner? Or maybe it’s just because I have an overactive imagination? Either way, berets are a staple in the artsy style and have been for awhile, and they seem to be synonymous with the artistic dreamer image. That’s why I own three!

Brightly colored berets can create more of a whimsical look, while neutral colored berets can go with just about any outfit. But for the really adventurous you can go with a beret that showcases your sense of humor. Kirby berets are perfect for gamers, plant berets can show off your love of gardening, or if you’re an animal lover, you can have a frog beret.

Eccentric earrings

Earrings are pretty much the only jewelry I wear, so I’ve spent a lot of time looking at eccentric earrings. They’re definitely a way to showcase a sense of humor or just to showcase a playful personality.

Realistic fruit earrings are one of my favorite examples of eccentric earrings, but mini food earrings (boba teas, milk cartons, and desserts as examples) will always get a smile from me.

For the youthful at heart, worm on a string earrings are also fun! I just don’t recommend them if you have a cat who will attack them if you wear them.

Colorful socks / stockings / tights

One way to add a pop of color to any outfit that needs it is to wear colorful socks, stockings, or tights. Take inspiration from the 60s by wearing a bright colored pair of tights with a mini skirt, or pair some cute patterned socks with capri jeans.

How to put them all together

So now you know some of the pieces common in the artsy style, but how do you combine them into one outfit? Well, here are some ideas:

  • Jeans + graphic shirt (tucked in) + open button up
  • Patterned pants + turtleneck + beret
  • Mini skirt + colored tights + stripey sweater

So, is the artsy style one that you enjoy? If so, feel free to try styling an artsy outfit, with things that you already have in your closet, and let me know how it goes!

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