What to wear?
Walk around any art fair, and observe how the various artists are dressed for the event. On a typical summer day, you’ll notice the art fair attire ranges from very casual to quite dressed up.
Do the same on a cold, north wind, October morning, and you’ll see parkas, down jackets, thick gloves and hats.
The short answer to this question is:
Art fairs can be tiring events. On your feet much of the day. Weather can change in the course of the day.
Dress comfortably for the event, for the weather, and for you personally.
Some artists wear sandals or light shoes in summer.
Regardless of the weather, I always wear my Danner hiking boots, with comfortable insoles. A number of years ago I managed to sprain both ankles — quite severely. Standing all day without the support my boots provide and I’ll end up with very sore ankles the next morning.
Sandals, for me, just don’t work. I wish they did, though! I really like my Birkenstocks.
If you are doing shows in cold, damp grass, or wet after a rain, waterproof boots are necessary to keep your feet dry. Wet, cold feet seem to never dry out or warm up!
Looking like others
The first year or so, I would wear comfortable shirts. I never gave much thought beyond that.
At an indoor show the second year, a number of vendors where wearing shirts embroidered with their company name. One photographer shared with me why he always wears his personalized shirt. To summarize our conversation, he very simply stated, “Otherwise you look like everyone else!”
On that day, inside the cooler convention hall, I was wearing a fleece with a “Motorola” label. He was right. I was promoting Motorola, even though I no longer worked for communications company. As the convention center warmed up during the day, without the fleece, my shirt was just a regular shirt, much like what others were wearing.
After that show, I went to the local clothing store, purchasing three long sleeve heavy cotton off-white shirts, couple of summer shirts, and a pull-over fleece. (The summer polo shirts have since been replaced with short sleeve off-white light shirts. Much more comfortable).
I took these items to a local printer/advertising supplier. Their clothing expert then stitched my company name “Powder Hill Photography” over the left pocket on all shirts and the fleece pull-over.
From that point forward, I’ve always worn Powder Hill Photography branded shirts at art fairs. Whether long or short sleeved, it adds a touch of professionalism to the overall booth presentation.
Regardless of the weather, I always wear a cowboy hat. This is true for art fairs, hikes in the woods, out in the field with photography, canoeing, etc. I always have a cowboy hat on.
The black felt Stetson keeps my head warm in cold weather. In summer, the off-white provides protection from the sun.
The cowboy hat excels in inclement weather, keeping my neck and glasses dry when it rains or snows.
I’ve worn a cowboy hat at every art show, including indoor shows. The hat, too, has now become an extension of my Powder Hill Photography brand.
Art Fair Attire – Personal Choice
In short, whatever you select for your art fair attire, it is your personal choice.
Be comfortable, and you’ll enjoy the show that much more!