Before you take Sarah Jessica Parker or Beyoncé’s current style as inspiration, you should go back in time to the clothes that still influence our best-dressed ladies. The Metropolitan Museum’s American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity explores how the style of American women evolved from 1890 through 1940 and laid the foundation for the fashions women would be drawn to for generations to come. This exhibit is the first to pull from the newly established Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Met and identifies styles such as “Heiress,” “Gibson Girls,” “Patriots,” “Bohemians,” and “Screen Sirens.” You’ll see comparisons between heiresses Consuelo Vanderbilt and Ivanka Trump, patriots Eleanor Roosevelt and Michelle Obama, and screen stars Gloria Swanson and Angelina Jolie, among others.

May 5-Aug. 15, 2010