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Costume History

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

Let's Not Forget...

...that not all dress is or ever has been Western.  So many other peoples, textiles, and places have intriguing histories with costume:

  • Egyptian Pharoahs
  • Arctic Inuit 
  • First Nations of Canada
  • West African tribes
  • Chinese dynasties

For searching in ALICE to find books, use this formula: 

          Subject: Clothing and Dress -- [country or region or people] -- History 

                        EX: Subject: clothing and dress -- china -- history

For searching Articles Plus to find articles, use this formula:

          clothing or dress or costume or fashion 

         AND [country or region or people]

                           Ex: clothing or dress or costume or fashion AND Inuit

historic headresssamurigreek statue draped Indonesian puppet in red and gold clothing


OTOH . . . 

Let's be very careful not to mix up modern people and their historic / ethnic / ceremonial costume.  

(No, Greek men do not wear those pleated white skirts unless they are in the Palace Guard. )

tourists watching changing of the Palace Guard in Athens, Greece.












Here's a similar guide from the Library Congress:  Native, Indigenous, and Non-western Clothing with a few more leads.