Albert, 49, New York City, fashion industry professional"I don’t know how I'd describe my style. I guess funny, a little bit. Put-together, but funny."
"The shirt’s Commes des Garcons. The hat is from a 99-cent store. The glasses are from one of these inner malls at the Chelsea flea market. The shoes are Doc Martens, and I put the laces on myself."
Roisin, 17, Newcastle, England, student"I like things that are comfy and as close to pajamas as possible. I went to Topshop for the pants. The boots are Russell & Bromley — I think it might be English. The top is Topshop."
"I just sort of nicked my mum’s eyeshadow from her cupboard. But yeah, it’s pink! And then I dotted on some glittery stuff. I like things that don’t necessarily look nice, but attract me. If something’s interesting in itself, I like wearing it."
Yan Kai Wen, 24, China, model"Today I don’t have too much work, so I can be relaxed. The jacket is H&M and the t-shirt is Zara."
On his favorite thing he's wearing: "Everything, because the brands give it to me for free. The shoes even!"
"The shoes are Saint Laurent. They’re from 2015."
Sisters Kate, 19, New York City, student, and Sophia, 17, San Francisco, student"Comfort is very important for me. We’re always very comfortable. I like colors that are easy to wear, that’s why I always tend to go black and nothing else."
"This is my sister’s jacket. She’s actually wearing my jacket too — we traded today. The pants are Sofie D'Hoore, but I got them on sale at a big warehouse sale in San Francisco."
"I stole everything from my sister today. My sister actually got these socks. They have little pearls on them!"
Meta, Stockholm, Sweden, leadership training entrepreneur"My style is I think quite basic. I often wear black. For me, I think it’s quite simple but stylish. Plain style."
"These shoes are Ecco, a Danish brand."
"I bought the glasses at a shop in Stockholm. It’s not a prescription or anything. I don’t know where they’re from. I don’t know where the coat is from, I bought it in a shop in Stockholm. I don’t know where it’s made, probably in China."
Taina, 27, ad tech recruiter, and Maximillian, 29, jewelry salesman, New York CityTaina: "We just got back from Copenhagen last night, and I took off until the end of the week, which is nice."
"I’m wearing Levi’s, good ol’ Levi’s, a Brandy shirt, an All Saints jacket, and a Joy Gryson backpack. The shoes are Steve Madden — DSW, actually."
"I'd describe my style as — I dunno, kind of like, effortless chic, I guess?"
"My shoes are Greats, it’s a new company that does direct-to-consumer out of Brooklyn. The jacket is Killian, which is a company based out of LA that does direct-to-consumer, too. The jeans are Hudson, and the scarf is Scotch and Soda. And my hat, I actually got it in Copenhagen. It’s a skateboard company out there that was started by a group of Danes. It’s Alis Wonderland."
"I wear the same shit every day. I go the Mark Zuckerberg route."
Ethan, 25, designer, Brooklyn"I would say my style is supervillain-meets-grunge."
"This jacket I picked up in a random thrift shop in Brooklyn. This is a vintage Calvin shirt, Zara pants, and Calvin shoes. My friend works for a scarf company, I can’t remember which one, but she gave me this."
"I dressed pretty much the same as usual today. I have this week off, and I just ended up thinking, ‘Maybe I’ll just go to the Whitney!’ So I think I just threw on what I had."
Mallory, 17, Los Angeles, student"I wear whatever’s around, really. I like to pull things from my grandma’s closet. She’s been around for a while and has a good eye. I like to give things a second life."
"I really like Reformation and Alexander Wang, and Opening Ceremony — everything they carry there is really cool."
"The bag is a hand-me-down from my grandma."
Jamie, 16, Cleveland, Ohio, student"My style is sort of edgy, street-ish. I thrift a lot of my clothes, so I just put it all together with some more expensive pieces. I like American Apparel and Urban Outfitters. That’s the most expensive I’ll go."
"These are socks, not leggings. They’re from Urban Outfitters, I think. My shoes are from Target."
"My jacket’s from American Apparel. The choker is Brandy Melville. The glasses are Salt, and the pants are thrifted."
L-R: Badroudine, 23, Ilyass, 22, Nadia, 29, Pierre, 21, and Mehdi, 23, Paris, France, journalists"We’re friends from Twitter, and we’re here visiting for the Rihanna concert. It was cool!"
"We all write and work together. We were on the cover of the Washington Post today, actually."
"I’m wearing Beams pants, they’re from Tokyo. This is from Urban Outfitters, I bought it yesterday. This is from Zara."
"My hat, my sister gave it to me for Christmas. That thing I got from a thrift shop. I think the pants are Zara. The sweater I bought in Stockholm. The socks are Happy Socks. I’m trying to have a lot of colors. And a lot of socks. I love socks."
"Everything is from Tokyo. I bought them all there. These are Nike, the pants are Beams, this one is Beams, too, and this is Markaware. The hat is Kangol. My style is simple, and mostly Japanese."
"My shoes are Puma, this is Zara, New Look, and Zara, too. My style is casual. I just dressed normally today."
"My style is mostly neutral and gray, and khaki and beige. The jacket is Penfield, it’s very dirty. I bought these Urban Outfitters shoes yesterday because I could not afford Yeezy Season 3 and these were like, $75 and it’s as much as I could put towards shoes."
"We call [Pierre] Olivier Rousteing. We just decided that."
Rebecca, 30, and daughter Pearl, Manchester, England, photographer"The dress is from Asos — you’ve got that here, right? This is TK Maxx. The boots are a brand called Vagabond that I’ve never heard of before. Weirdly, me and my daughter have dressed in the same outfit. I’ve got a tartan scarf and she’s got florals!"
"It’s tricky when you have children, you don’t really describe your style, it kind of just happens. Comfortable, but slightly stylish, if I’ve got time to try."
Augusta, 23, Los Angeles, filmmaker"The jumpsuit is Rachel Comey and the turtleneck is Steven Alan. The shoes are Doc Martens. My purse is A.P.C. I wore this yesterday. I only have like, three things with me."
"I would describe my style as — jeez, maybe like, unfinished? Found-footage."
Patrick, 40-something, Upper West Side, music industry"The jacket is from Denmark, but I bought it in Ireland. The shoes are Adidas, and my pants are Levi’s. The sunglasses are from one of those little vendors in Soho, they were only like, fifteen bucks. They look like more!"
"I just shop like, twice a year and I go, ‘I like that!’ and just pick what I want. I go to Old Navy for the most part. I shop when I’m in Ireland — I love it there. It’s very laid-back. It’s fun!"
Grace, 21, Los Angeles by way of London, student"This dress is from Toast, do you guys have that here? The shirt is Zara, or something, so are the trousers, but I always sew up my trousers ‘cause I’m really short. The shoes are Converse."
"I'd describe my style as not very well put-together. Eclectic. Handmade. I mean, I’m traveling, so I have very limited choices."
Lauri, 48, Brooklyn, Retail Product Development Manager at the Whitney"This dress is Henrik Vibskov from Swords-Smith in Williamsburg. The shoes are Clergerie. I describe this look as easy. It is — look, it’s one dress and a pair of shoes that I have my sweat socks underneath, and that’s it."
On whether she thinks people dress differently when they go to the museum: "If they don’t, then we just have a very fashionable clientele here at the Whitney. So either they’re turning it up or they’re always really awesome."
On the typical "Whitney museumgoer" outfit: "I think there’s a real classicism with a nice pop of color. I’ll see an amazing yellow pocket square that just blows everything out, or a gentleman who’s layered everything perfectly. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve gone home and said to my husband, ‘You have got to layer more’ because of someone I’ve seen here."
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Spring is a major season for museum-going, with most institutions debuting new exhibits that will last through months of summer tourists. Alongside the flurry of openings and that warm weather–causing burst of energy to actually go outside and do stuff is the ever-present question: "Is it just me, or is everyone here, like, especially stylish?"
At no museum is that conundrum more real than the Whitney in New York City, which, if you've ever been, is basically a petri dish made of the world's coolest, best-dressed art gawkers. Determined to figure out whether these people dress up for the occasion or are simply always better than the rest of us, Racked spent one particularly springy day venturing downtown to the Meatpacking District, where the museum will soon celebrate its first birthday in its new home.
Among the people we came across: a Brooklyn designer who describes his style as "supervillain meets grunge," a Los Angeles teen who repurposes her grandmother's clothes, and a group of French writers who'd been profiled on the cover of the Washington Post that very morning.
So, do people dress up for museums? "If they don't, then we just have a very fashionable clientele here at the Whitney," explained retail product development manager for the museum Lauri Freedman. "So either they're turning it up or they're always really awesome."
Scroll through the gallery above to access the outfits and musings of 21 individual museum-goers, from a British teen who makes a strong case for the return of glittery pink eyeshadow to a Chinese model who gets all his clothing for free. We recommend taking notes for your next Saturday art hop.