How first lady style has evolved over the years

Get the Full StoryJoyce N. Boghosian The White House via Getty Images

America's first ladies have been some of the country's foremost activists, political influencers, and tastemakers. For centuries, women have looked to first ladies as trendsetters and fashion icons, whose outfit choices reflect their politics.

This year, in light of President's Day, we cracked open our history books and took stock of how first lady style has changed over the years. From Grace Coolidge donning flapper looks to Michelle Obama's preppy style, keep reading to see how first lady style has evolved over the years.Martha Washington posed in an ensemble consisting of a gown, cloak, headpiece, and gloves, all of which were common styles in the late 18th century.

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At the turn of the century, ornate, empire-waist gowns were popular for women, according to Fashion Era.

For one portrait, Abigail Adams wore a gown that appeared to have an embroidered collar, which she accessorized with a pearl necklace.

Benjamin Byth Harris & Ewing Library of Congress

While many people at that time took fashion cues from the French and opted for satin dresses, Adams reportedly rejected the styles, as she considered them scandalous.

Martha Jefferson Randolph also wore the popular styles of the time, like dramatic curls and dresses with large skirts.

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Jefferson Randolph served as acting first lady since her mother Martha Jefferson passed away in 1782. In the above portrait, she seemed to be wearing a patterned gown adorned with lace and bows, a typical Victorian look.

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