Tue-Fri, noon-8pm; Sat, 10am-5pm; Sun-Mon, closed
1 at 28th St.; C, E at 23rd St.
Since 1967, F.I.T. has hoarded tens of thousands of Chanel purses and little black dresses for the edification of its students and the general public. Curated by historian Valerie Steele, this chic Chelsea institution hosts an impressive collection of textiles and clothing, catering to connoisseurs of photography and cultural historians as well as fashion industry professionals. Although admission to the museum is free, only members can make special appointments to view and sketch individual pieces in the archive. For the rest of us, there are three galleries tucked away in one of the university’s student buildings (visitors can ignore signs that call for a student ID at the door and walk straight past the security desk to the museum entrance behind it). Don’t expect row after row of mannequins: The curators here value scholarly subtlety over glitz, and costumes are often upstaged by installations that focus on sketches, textile samples, fashion plates, magazines and photographs. The smaller room tends to display work by current F.I.T. students and its exhibits are usually not related to the program in the main space.