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THEA255 Costume Design 2021

A guide for students, created by Librarian Maryke Barber

OneSearch (Books, Articles, Films & More)

If you want to search for just books (such as biographies or museum catalogs), change "Everything" to "Books".

Tips for Book Searching

Try the following terms in your searches in OneSearch and Worldcat:

  • Art (example: Art American 19th century)
  • Pictorial works  (example: China Pictorial Works)
  • Portraits (example: Soldiers portraits)
  • Paint* (the asterisk * allows the database to find paint, painting, paintings, painters, etc.)
  • Photograph* 

Art Journal Databases


Ad*Access - Duke University

Over 7,000 U.S. and Canadian advertisements dated 1910-1959.

Vintage Ad Browser

100,000+ vintage advertisements in a range of categories.

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


Life PhotoArchive

Millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, from the 1750s to today.

MOMA/the Collection/Photography

Search by artist or work, or browse by decade.

Museum of Contemporary Photography

More than 8,500 photographs and photography-related objects made since 1936.

International Center of Photography's e-Museum

The Permanent Collection at ICP contains more than 100,000 photographs spanning the history of photography



Flickr Commons 

Searches online photography collections from around the world.

New York Public Library Digital Collections

Large public photography collections.