What Will You Wear for Your Portrait Sitting


There are many factors to consider when deciding on the details of a portrait, and the clothing that the subject will wear is one of the most important. Most portrait artists recommend that people wear classic clothing such as a standard dark suit, blue shirt or simple white blouse. The goal of this advice is to ensure that the portrait doesn’t quickly become dated because it features clothing that was only popular for a short period of time. On the other hand, some artists are asked to depict the subjects in settings and clothing that demonstrate they were stylish and fashionable.  In the end, while the artist or associate will be happy to offer advice and recommendations, our clients make the final decision about how they want to be remembered by the generations of people who will view their portrait in years to come.

Sometimes artists may even feel strongly enough about various options that they consider two versions of the portrait. This was the case with a portrait artist John Howard Sanden painted of a Louisiana businessman. Sanden sketched the client in a trim sports jacket to represent his professional side, while he also did another sketch with a camouflage-patterned hunting jacket to represent one of his personal hobbies.  Sanden felt that the change of wardrobe created a striking difference in the effect of the two sketches. It turned out that the client liked both sketches so much that he commissioned Sanden to paint the informal portrait for his home and the formal version for his corporate offices.

This example illustrates why it’s important to keep an open mind when it comes to clothing for portraits. While the standard advice may be perfect for you, our associates and artists know exactly how to figure out what will look best for your finished portrait.

Portraits, Inc. was founded in 1942 in New York on Park Avenue. Over its 70-year history, Portraits, Inc. has carefully assembled a select group of the world’s foremost portrait artists offering a range of styles and prices. Recognized as the industry leader, Portraits, Inc. provides expert guidance for discerning clients interested in commissioning fine art portraits.