Back to the Books

By Dale Peers

One full week of school down and 10 months until school’s out for the summer.  We are back to the books, whether they be hard copy or digital and I thought I might include in this blog some of my favourite fashion titles.

I am a lover of hard copies and have many “friends” on my shelf that have not only served me well in my courses but feed my love of fashion history.  And, like friends, each has a different personality even though the topics might be comparable.

Some have stunningly beautiful photographs of garments with close-up detail revealing the incredible workmanship of days gone by.  Others are chock full of information and organized alphabetically.

And my first favorite is a fashion history title formatted chronologically, written with a wonderful sense of humour and filled with quick bites of fashion detail that could be used to create an amazing edition of Fashion Trivial Pursuit (hmm not a bad idea for those folks!).  Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger is full – 40,000 years of fashion full – of information about the origins of most every fashion item in anyone’s wardrobe.


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Let there be clothes inside


Dictiofashion and fashion designersnary-like in its organization as well as content Fashion and Fashion Designers provides information about particular fashion items as well as those who influenced our wardrobes.

From A-line shapes to zippers and in a succinct writing style this is a great resource for any student   of fashion.

As the cover describes, the Smithsonian’s publication, Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style is just that.  In a format that my father used to call a “chest crusher” (no one should try to read this in bed!) or perhaps better known now as a “coffee table” book, this 480-page book lives up to its title.  Filled with more than 3,000 years of fashion styles and trends, it is so beautifully illustrated that it appeals to all those who appreciate good photography.  Time-lines are filled with examples and close-up detail on some extraordinary garments are a delight.


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If you consider yourself an expert in 20th century fashion Florence Muller’s book, Fashion Game Book is great fun.  It is also filled with nuggets of fashion history that you can amuse yourself and others with.

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While the new school year often brings books to mind another season is rapidly approaching – the Christmas and Holiday gift giving season.  I say, “Let’s start our book lists now!”

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