Each spring, the Metropolitan Museum of Art throws a super-glitzy gala in honor of its Costume Institute’s latest exhibition—always with a dress code to match the works on display. And when it comes to the red carpet, the world’s biggest stars (and their designer dates!) consistently pull out all the proverbial stops. No gown is too grand, no accessory too outrageous—but time and time again, certain celebs just seem to embrace the evening’s theme better and bolder than others. This makes for an interesting play on traditional best- and worst-dressed lists; at the Met Gala, what might ordinarily be considered an unsightly ensemble might actually embody that night’s theme to a T. Likewise, a pretty but plain gown usually loses when it comes to honoring the gala’s dress code.
To wit, I studied the looks from over a decade’s worth of Met Galas to determine which ones really suited their respective years’ themes—and which fell flat. Click through above to see them all—and please, let me know if you agree with my picks!