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Mark Wilson GettyImagesMichelle Obama donates her 2009 inaugural gown to the Smithsonian Museum of American History.Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President-elect Donald Trump and his wife, Melania Trump, will attend  in celebration of his inauguration Friday, though there will also be many official balls held around Washington.

Inaugural balls are a long-standing American tradition. The black-tie events that celebrate the new first family have been conducted , and they only paused during World Wars I and II and the Great Depression. 

The ball is also a first lady's moment to step out, demonstrate her style, and set the tone for her role in the White House. Everything about her outfit, including the color and designer choice, will be critiqued, analyzed, and eventually memorialized as part of the  at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

Below, see 17 photos of gorgeous inaugural ball gowns from 12 first ladies, beginning with Helen Taft, the first to donate her dress to the Smithsonian.

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However, due to the Great Depression and World Wars I and II, it wasn't until 1949 that another inaugural ball was held. Bess Truman wore a black velvet dress, and it was reported that music played until 2 in the morning.

However, due to the Great Depression and World Wars I and II, it wasn't until 1949 that another inaugural ball was held. Bess Truman wore a black velvet dress, and it was reported that music played until 2 in the morning. Bess Truman, far left.

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Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president to celebrate his election with not one, but two inaugural balls. In 1953, first lady Mamie Eisenhower's inaugural ball gown was a light pink peau de soie gown with more than 2,000 rhinestones sewn into it. A week before the event, Mamie released photographs and descriptions of the dress to the press.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president to celebrate his election with not one, but two inaugural balls. In 1953, first lady Mamie Eisenhower's inaugural ball gown was a light pink peau de soie gown with more than 2,000 rhinestones sewn into it. A week before the event, Mamie released photographs and descriptions of the dress to the press. AP Images

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