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THEA255 Costume Design 2021

A guide for students, created by Librarian Maryke Barber

Search Tips

Basic subject terms (use in online catalog, Worldcat, etc.)

  • Costume
  • Clothing and dress
  • Fashion
  • Fashion designers
  • Textiles

More specific subject terms:

  • Beauty, personal
  • Hair
  • Kimonos
  • Leather garments

No results? Search more broadly: 

fashion - history OR
clothing OR.....

and then add:

  • Country
  • Time period (18th century, 19th century, etc.)

Or try changing your search terms. Use:

  • synonyms (clothing - garments)

Use the *

Use the *  (asterisk) to truncate your search terms, to search several terms at once.
Example:  dress* = "dress"+ "dresses"+ "dressing", etc.

Encyclopedias in the Library

Use these books (and other reference books), found in the Reference Collection on the first floor of the library, as a starting place: to get a good general overview of a particular topic, find other books on your topic, etc.

Museums & Online Collections

(With thanks to Janine Henri from UCLA Arts Library)


Costume - Metropolitan Museum of Art
Timeline, thematic essays, and objects: all browseable and searchable by geographical region and time period.

Fashion Plate Collection - University of Washington
Plates from some of the leading French, British, American, and other continental fashion journals of the 19th century and early 20th century (from Empire through Edwardian)

Europeana Fashion Collection

Historical and recent clothing and accessories, designs, more – from more than 30 European institutions.

The Golden Age of Couture, Paris and London - Victoria & Albert Museum
Interactive timeline of couture houses and couturier biographies.

Fashion, Jewellery & Accessories - Victoria & Albert Museum

Textile & Fashion Arts Collection - Art Institute of Chicago  
The Museum's Textile and Fashion Arts Collection features more than 27,000 items from American, European, and non-Western cultures and many historical periods.

Textile & Fashion Arts Collection - Boston Museum of Fine Arts  
BFA's collection is mainly focused on textiles, but the museum website contains digitized images of fashion illustrations and highlights from their Textile and Fashion Arts Collection.

Casey Fashion Plates - Los Angeles Public Library  
Over 6,200 handcolored fashion plates from British and American magazines dating from the 1790s to the 1880s.

VADS (Visual Arts Data Service)
VADS is the image collections database for U.K. higher education. Collections include photographs from the London College of Fashion, the textiles Collection of the University of the Creative Arts at Farnham, and the Howard Resource and Research Centre in Textiles, Goldsmiths, University of London.

FIT's Online Collection - FIT, the Fashion Institute of Technology  
More than 100,000 objects; primarily modern and contemporary women's fashion.

Costume and Textiles - Los Angeles County Museum of Art  
18th-19th century European costume collection, English fashion drawings by Anne Frankland Lewis, and more.

Kyoto Costume Institute Digital Archive  
View costumes by time period from the early 18th century to the mid-20th century.

Fashion2Fiber - Ohio State University
 Textiles, clothing and accessories for men, women, and children, including national dress costume, from the mid-18th century to contemporary times.

Historic Costume Collection - Drexel Digital Museum  
More than 7000 items including fashion plates, photographs, and 19th- and late-20th-century haute couture by French and American designers.

Digital Library - Wayne State University  
Includes the Digital Dress: 200 Years of Urban Style collection. Included are examples of occupational, formal, recreational, mourning, masquerade, and everyday wear for men, women, and children; pieces by European and American designers, local dressmakers and retailers, and home made garments.

Texas Fashion Collection
Digital fashion collection of work by significant designers. (University of North Texas)

Vassar College Costume Collection

Clothing from the mid-nineteenth century to today


Journal des Luxus und der Moden  
German fashion magazine, 1787-1827.

Modetijdschrift De Gracieuse  
Dutch fashion magazine, 1862-1936

L'Officiel de la Mode  
French fashion magazine, 1921-present.


The Costume Page: Costuming Resources Online

Links page for costume designers. Some pages linked here are very useful, others not so - use with caution and check author information.

Google Arts & Culture: What We Wear

Highlights different online image and costume collections. Not very searchable, but great for browsing.

Fun for browsing, no scholarly content