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The Art of Dress
Costume in Detail
A Dictionary of Costume
From Queen to Empress
Patterns of Fashion 1
Patterns of Fashion 2
The Way We Wore

The Art of Dress: Clothes and Society 1500-1914
By Jane Ashelford

This has to be one of the most interesting books I've read yet on costume. Besides the obvious of being written on the subject of historical costume, it delves deeper into areas not many other books I've read do. The building up of retail, fashion changes, etc. are discussed in this book. I spent one delightful Sunday afternoon wrapped up in the modes and mannerisms of the first half of the 19th century. It fascinated me how retail was so far advanced in the early 1800s!

However, besides having a great text, it has some wonderful pictures and period illustrations. Beautiful color photos of gowns from well known English collections in stunning color and clarity. This book makes it well worth just looking at for the detail shown on some of the photos!

The book's only real downside is the lack on information in picture for some periods. As I was researching the early 1830s, I naturally picked up this book. However, the lack of illustrations for this period was a little disappointing. So, be forewarned that if you're looking for a book with plenty of pictures for you to study, you might want to look elsewhere.

Overall, it's a beautiful book, and worth either owning or borrowing from your local library. It would make a wonderful coffee table book to entice those friends and relatives who have yet to be won over to your ideas about historical clothing. :-) Very beautifully presented and highly recommended!-Reviewed by Miss C.


4 1/2 stars out of 5

Artwork is October (1877) by James Tissot, courtesy of CGFA.

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2003 Across the Ages