clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What to Wear to a Museum, As Told by 21 Whitney Attendees

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

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.