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Costume History

Resources on the history of dress, clothing, and costume for fashion, retail, and theater / theatre

The 20th Century Splinters into Many Little Pieces


The 20th Century is harder because there is so much information: you could search

  • decades (fifties)
  • styles (grunge or punk)the Little Black Dress, here shown on Audrey Hepburn, is a classic of 20th C fashion.
  • designers (McQueen or Dior)
  • individual styles (Little Black Dress) 

 Also, there are many more ways to gather data. You would start in Articles Plus and ALICE, but you can also go to all these places: 

  •  Watch TV shows
  •  Read magazines
  • Ask our grandmothers
  • Shop vintage  
  • Look at old newspaper advertisements


Here's a "search cheat" to discover good info on specific decades in Articles Plus: 

(The same idea works for ALICE, too)

Note that the second line is searching Subject Terms, not keywords. That really helps.

screen shot of a database search showing "costume or fashion or clothing or dress" on the first line and "nineteen seventies" on the second line.

Books in ALICE for 20th C General

Here are a few of the wonderful books on 20th C costume: