How to incorporate Alexander McQueen Style on a starving Artist budget

Affordable Avant-garde
by @lindsayleboyer, guest blogger Lindsay LeBoyer
Over half a million visitors have flocked to the Metropolitan Museum this summer for the Alexander McQueen fashion retrospective, Savage Beauty. Although McQueen is primarily known for his beautiful, gothic style gowns worthy of high society balls you may be wondering how to incorporate elements of his style into your everyday look. To achieve high style on a starving artist budget all you need is the right print, fabric, jewelry, accessory, and one splurge-worthy item.
1) The Print: Red Tartan Plaid
Fashion Illustration of McQueen’s Widows of Culloden once worn by Sarah Jessica Parker
click HERE for Schulman’s Art
Dooney and Burke mini barrel bag, $88
Red tartan plaid appears in more than one of McQueen’s collections. The print represents his love for Scotland, his homeland. The collection for fall/winter 2006 titled Widows of Culloden featured many ensembles in a signature red tartan. Those not brave enough to sport fitted red plaid pants can celebrate the print in the form of Dooney and Burke’s tartan barrel bag for just $88. This bag pops when paired with dark wash denim and a forest green jacket or blouse. Complete the look with black patent pumps.  ________________________________________________________
2) The Fabric: Lace
Lace is feminine and romantic, yet still stays true to McQueen’s gothic style when worn in black. You can get the look with this mid-legnth Ralph Lauren skirt from Bloomindales on sale for just $75! Pair it with a white blouse and black ankle strap sandals for work or a dinner party. Add a colorful cocktail ring and you’ll really shine.

3) The Jewelry: Silver Coils
Nordstrom set of 3 silver bangles, $28
McQueen’s “Coiled” corset from The Overlook, f/w 1999
The “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” exhibit features a corset made from aluminum coils in the “Cabinet of Curiosities.” Shaun Leane collaborated with McQueen to make this piece for his Fall/Winter 1999 collection called The Overlook. This piece resembles armor yet still shows off the feminine form. While the corset isn’t completely wearable, you can work a set of silver bangles to achieve the same look. This set from Nordstrom is the perfect accent to a black blazer and trousers. Pair it down with skinny jeans and ballet flats for daytime or weekend. 
4) The Accessory: Butterfly hair pins
Madame Butterfly hair slide by Etsy 
crafter handmadebybluebird, $8.75
Illustration by Miriam Schulman of Butterfly hat created by eccentric milliner Philip Treacy and conceived by McQueen. Original in a private collection. Prints available from
McQueen frequently worked with milliner Phillip Treacy to design hats and headpieces for his collections. One of the most well known pieces is the butterfly hat from his Spring/Summer 2008 collection. A more practical option is this butterfly hair pin by Esty crafter handmadebybluebird for $8.75. A hair pin adds a nice pop of color to your favorite little black dress. Coordinate colors with a crimson shade of lipstick or red ballet flats.
5) Splurge Worthy Item: Feathers
Many of the designer’s gowns incorporate feathers. He used all different kinds; from cream feathers, to duck feathers, and even Pheasant feathers. You can work them in a more subtle way by splurging on this pair of Isabel Marant earrings for $210 on Feather earrings are perfect for making a statement with jewelry. Give them a boho feel by wearing them with a printed dress and sandals, or go chic and polished in solid trousers and a jewel tone blouse.
Isabel Marant feather earrings from, $210


McQueen’s duck feather dress from
The Horn of Plenty, f/w 2010

Feathers, plaid, black lace and romantic ruffles define Alexander McQueen style:

Leave a Comment



I’m Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration.

I inspire art-lovers to reconnect with their creativity and profit from their art. Whether you paint simply for the joy of it or you’re serious about selling your work, and you’re ready to stop putting yourself on the back burner...You're in the right place. I've done it and I can inspire YOU how to do it too.

Recent Posts

Search this blog


The Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Sustainable Living from Your Creativity

Free artpreneur chapter