Friday, February 3, 2012

Fashion Library Must-Haves

I don't have a question today, so I'm going to share my list of fashion resources every historical author should have on the shelf.

The first is the most expensive, and if you write across multiple decades it is definitely a must have. It's Fashion by the Kyoto Institute. It's a bit pricy, even when used, but worth every penny. At 735 pages it's by no means small and covers the 18th century to around 2000. Granted, most of the stuff from 1960 on is the strangest "clothes" you'll ever see in your life, but everything else is unbelievable. Full color on every page, close ups of some of the most amazing details you'll ever see. Just the back cover can keep you drooling over the details for 20 minutes.

Second is any collection of fashion plates from Godey's Lady's Book. The best ones are from Dover Publishing. The one I have covers 1837-1869. Which happens to be the 19th century decades I either write in or am most likely to write in. Godey's was the gold standard of fashion plates and you'd be hard pressed to find a woman in the 19th century who didn't at least look at someone else's copy of Godey's and love the fashion plates.

Third is a book I don't yet possess, but will very soon. English Women's Clothing in the 19th Century. Also a Dover publication. The best feature is a list of fabrics in the back.

Fourth is another Dover book, Victorian Fashions: A Pictorial Archive. Again, don't own it yet, but as familiar as I am with Dover fashion resources and their pictorial archive collections, I know it's a slam-dunk.

Fifth, the online collections of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Kyoto Costume Institute. It is rare that I let myself get lost in these archives, because I could spend days looking at stuff and never get any writing done. Or anything else for that matter.

It is possible to be well-researched on fashion without breaking the bank. You will, however, lose precious writing time if you're anything like me. Happy browsing!

1 comment :

  1. I scored Kyoto's FASHION for $5 (!!!!!!!) from a Goodwill seller on Amazon. Best. Deal. Of. My. Life. I've spent far too much time drooling over it. =)

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