Fashion as Art: Drawing Inspiration from Famous Paintings

When you visit the Met, what should you do? You could take a picture on the iconic steps that Blair Waldorf and her posse occupied. Step inside; you’ll have the opportunity to learn about ancient cultures through art of the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman empires on the first floor. Walk up one flight of stairs, and you’ll be surrounded by Romantic and Impressionist artwork of Renoir, Degas and Monet. Walk up one more flight to the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing; you’ll be inches away from artwork by influential Modern artists like Picasso, Matisse and Pollack. The options are truly endless.

Artwork not only acts as beautiful visual masterpieces to gawk at, but it can also act as  inspiration for their wardrobes. As reported by Australia Vogue, “Fashion has always sought inspiration from art.” The impression of art on fashion is prevalent, be it the Mondrian dress produced by Yves Saint Laurent or the Louis Vuitton x Jeff Koons collaboration. In an attempt to show the creative art allows for styling, we took on the task of styling outfits based on some well know artwork.

Girl with a Pearl Earring – Johannes Vermeer


The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer is one of the most recognizable paintings of all time. The painting can be found in Mauritshuis in his home country, the Netherlands. Mauristhuis describes the painting as being a “tronie,” or a painting of an imaginary person. The subject of this painting is adorned neutral earthy tones and accentuated with a single, eye-catching pearl earring. To draw inspiration from this painting, pair a camel colored blazer, Uniqlo cream turtle neck, Uniqlo shawl (used as a turban and H&M pearl earrings to embellish the shawl.

The Lovers – René Magritte


The Lovers by René Magritte can be found right here in New York City at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). This painting revolves around a couple covered in a veil locked in an embrace and situated in a room. Nonetheless, the room seems fairly insignificant due to the intoxicating lovers positioned at the center of the painting. For the person taking on the female role, wear an H&M jersey dress (however, the dress is red in the painting). For the male role, pair a suit jacket, thrifted white button-up, bowtie. Draping a white sheet around both of you will bring out the restrained sensual nature unique to the piece.

The Blue Robe – Henri Labasque


The Blue Robe by Henri Lebasque depicts a girl standing on a balcony looking over her estate. The subject wears a gorgeous blue robe with flowers decorating it. This nonchalant air that seems to radiate off this painting makes the painting and the subject of the painting even more captivating. For this look, pair a thrifted blue robe with vintage Guess jeansSteve Madden mules and Tortoise & Blonde sunglasses. To add a uniquely New York flare, tote around a coffee cup from the MoMa.

The Problem We All Live With – Norman Rockwell


One of the most iconic images from the Civil Rights Movement, Norman Rockwell’s A Problem We All Live With echoes the turmoil that prevalent during America in the 1960’s. The painting depicts Ruby Bridges, a six-year old African American girl, being escorted by U.S. Marshalls to William Frantz Elementary School. Littered around her are the remains of tomatoes and a racial slur splattered above her. To recreate the outfit worn by Bridges, thrift a white babydoll dress and pair it with white sneakers, like these Nike Cortez, and Oak + Fort socks. This painting has heavy roots in America’s dark history and should not be taken lightly. Therefore, if you were to re-create this piece, do so respectfully.

Jalil Johnson is a staff writer. Email him at

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