Cover image for Encyclopedia of clothing and fashion
Encyclopedia of clothing and fashion
Steele, Valerie.
Publication Information:
New York : Scribner/Thomson, [2005]

Physical Description:
3 volumes : illustrations ; 29 cm.
v. 1. Academic dress to eyeglasses -- v. 2. Fads to nylon -- v. 3. Occult dress to Zoran, index.
Added Author:



Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GT507 .E53 2005 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ
GT507 .E53 2005 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ
GT507 .E53 2005 V.3 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

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From diapers to Dior, saris to serapes, the world of clothing is nearly as vast and as ancient as the human race. Tracing the stylistic and functional threads that unite clothing across time and cultures, as well as delving into the divergent styles and significance of apparel, this A to Z encyclopedia is the essential resource for exploring the relationship between culture and couture. A new addition to the Scribner Daily Life series, which includes the best-selling Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, this broad-based encyclopedia surveys clothing and body adornment, and examines the origins of clothing, the development of fabrics and technologies, and the social meanings of dress. It also presents information on representative costumes from a wide variety of historical eras. Topics range from the bustle, sari, and toga to Polyester and body piercing. cocktail dress, bathing suit, burqua, Nehru jacket), techniques and manufactures (batik, dry cleaning, zipper, stone washing), body adornment (makeup, mask, tattoo, wig), and important persons and institutions (Coco Chanel, Edith Head, Yves Saint-Laurent, Fashion Institute of Technology). The longer essays provide cultural context: class, gender, sumptuary laws, costume design for stage and screen, advertising; fashion careers; ecclesiastical dress; military uniforms; etc. The Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion includes a comprehensive general index in the last volume, a timeline, and a topical outline. From the secondary school student writing a paper on dress among Native Americans to the university student interested in the underpinnings of clothing design, this set represents a unique and valuable source.

Author Notes

Valerie Steele is chief curator and acting director, The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York. She is founder and editor of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body and Culture.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The first title in the Scribner Library of Daily Life, Encyclopedia of Food and Culture 0 (2003), was well reviewed\b \b0 and won the 2004 Dartmouth Medal. Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion0 is the second title in the series and may be as successful as the first. Editor Steele has written more than 10 books in the field of fashion and culture and is founder of the journal Fashion Theory0 . Here, she works with an impressive list of contributors from universities, museums, and libraries in the U.S and other English-speaking countries. The 640 articles span three volumes, with the table of contents only in volume 1 and the index and a systematic outline of contents only in volume 3. Entries are arranged alphabetically, beginning with Academic dress0 and ending with Zoran,0 who is a contemporary designer of "simple" clothes. Entry length ranges from a half page for some particular items, clothing types, fibers, and techniques ( Cuff links and studs; Dress shirt; Weave, jacquard; Distressing0 ) to multiple pages for Cross dressing; Dandyism; Hats, men's 0 and Hats, women's; Kimono; Street style0 ; and Twentieth-century fashion,0 among others. Articles on designers or people who influenced fashion--for example, Richard Avedon, Manolo Blahnik, Princess Diana, Halston, and Twiggy--are a significant part of the content, as are articles with a historical slant ( China: History of dress; Fashion shows0 ; Wedding costume0 ). All of the entries have a bibliography (including six references for Polo shirt0 ). Many entries have sidebars of related information, such as a table of size comparisons over the years, a glossary of terms for recycled textiles, and the origin of toosh.0 Black-and-white photographs are numerous throughout the text, and each volume has a signature of color photos. It is unfortunate that there is are no cross-references between these photos and the text. Many of the articles are entertaining as well as enlightening. In the Lingerie0 entry Dorothy Parker is quoted as saying, "Brevity is the soul of lingerie." We learn that Grunge,0 identified with alternative bands and do-it-yourself dressing, helped make recycled clothes a fashion statement. Denim0 is not a fad, we are told; it has become an "international classic." Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion0 is an exciting and unique resource that excels in depth and range of coverage. It is highly recommended for high-school, public, and academic libraries with a clientele interested in what and why people wear what they wear. --Christine Bulson Copyright 2005 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Edited by Steele (Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body, and Culture) and with contributions from some 300 reputable academics, journalists, and fashion industry professionals, this impressive reference work surveys the relationship between culture and fashion through alphabetically arranged articles. The 640 articles, each appended with a brief but useful bibliography, fall into three broad but overlapping categories: the history of clothing and textiles, great fashion houses and trends, and cultural/ethnic aspects of dress. As is usual in works of such scope, topics receive uneven treatment. In line with current interests, there are several long articles on dress in Muslim countries. On the other hand, ?rt? (Romain de Tirtoff), the Art Deco designer of stage sets and costumes, receives only a couple of passing references, while influential cultural critics Marjorie Garber and Peter Gay are only cited in bibliography. These are small complaints, however. Every clothing interest is well represented, and fashion mavens will welcome the many articles on the history of great fashion houses like Dior, Fendi, and Prada. There are also articles covering specific clothing items like corsets, kilts, and eyeglasses. Bottom Line This pricey set is hardly a bargain for smaller systems but is nevertheless recommended for both public and academic libraries owing to its wide appeal. [It is also available as an e-book through Gale Virtual Reference Library (ISBN 0-684-31451-7), which offers added features like cross searching and expanded searching for difficult-to-find materials.-Ed.]-James F. DeRoche, Alexandria, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Steele's ambitious project fulfills a longstanding need for a comprehensive reference source that includes not only definitions, designers, and styles but also historical, psychological, anthropological, sociological, and political approaches to contemporary and historical dress. Steele (Fashion Institute of Technology), a leader in scholarly study of fashion and author of Fashion and Eroticism (1985), has gathered many important researchers in the field to create a truly outstanding work. She includes both the expected ("Calico," "Japanese Dress," "Paul Poiret") and the unusual ("Fascist and Nazi Dress," "Bodybuilding and Sculpting," "Anthropology of Secondhand Clothes"). Breadth and depth are impressive; entries on general topics such as contemporary and historical Islamic dress are accompanied by broader examinations of ethnic and religious clothing, as well as entries on specific garments such as the burqa and jilbab. Discussions of styles, periods, and designers are enhanced by examinations of production and materials, brands and consumerism, and the role of style icons and performance. The social and political role of fashion is analyzed in entries covering such issues as the psychology of dress; policy and government; and class, gender, and social and personal identity. Rigorous, comprehensive entries have useful bibliographies and are enlivened by trivia sidebars. A detailed index is complemented by a systematic outline that organizes entries into thematic groups. Well-selected illustrations include black-and-white photographs throughout and a few color plates in each volume. This encyclopedia's broader intellectual scope and longer length will cause it to displace more limited works (e.g., Doreen Yarwood's Encyclopedia of World Costume, 1978, and Georgina O'Hara Callan's Encyclopaedia of Fashion, 1986). ^BSumming Up: Essential for academic and fashion-related collections; highly recommended for general collections. K. Van Cleave San Francisco State University