World Clothing and Fashion: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Social Influence

2 vols. Sharpe Reference. 2013. 832p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780765683007. $249. REF
This set is suitable for those in middle school through undergraduate studies to gain an understanding of clothing and fashion through the lenses of history, culture, and social influence. The title not only looks at dress as a way to cover the body, or not cover it, but also how clothing is a way to trace history of groups through their costuming habits. The 313 major entries look at people, communities, materials, and meanings of clothing, throughout time, with several photographs included as well. Each entry is organized with subheadings and includes cross-references and suggestions for further reading. They offer a basic overview of each topic, which is suitable for younger or novice users, and will serve well as a jumping-off point for more advanced researchers. Of great use to students and amateur researchers is a topic finder, which organizes the entries into categories such as accessories and adornments, art and media, biographies, clothing types (functions, purposes, groups), clothing items and parts, component materials, holiday and event costumes, the creation and care of clothing, merchandising and commerce, techniques and trades/professions, and trends and movements. The title also examines historical periods and styles worldwide and local styles, both with a strong emphasis on the United States and England.
VERDICT This work will be useful to students creating reports on cultures, geographies, costuming for theater, advertising, biographies of subjects such as Amelia Bloomer and Vera Wang, and clothing manufacturing.
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