OMG that dress!

A blog for fashion and history.

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Tips for Finding Clothing from a Specific Time and Place

  1. In western society, everyone everywhere pretty much wears the same thing.  What’s fashionable in England will be fashionable in America, France, Germany, Spain, and anywhere else where European presence is felt.  As far as class goes, the upper class dictates what is fashionable, and the lower class will wear cheaper versions of the same thing.
  2. Find pictures.  They’re going to be your best bet for not only finding the clothes you want, but also seeing how they would be worn. 
  3. Google is your friend.
  4. I mean google everything.  It has some truly amazing resources all out there for everyone for free.  Google books has literally hundreds of thousands of old books all scanned and searchable by title, date, and topic.  Google images has the entire archive of photos from Life Magazine.  
  5. Wikipedia is the best thing ever.  College professors like to gripe about how anyone can edit wikipedia, but it has a pretty stringent review process nowadays, and it always provides links and references to “reliable” resources that will provide more information.
  6. Use the language that would have been spoken in the place you’re researching.  Wikipedia’s articles are all available in many languages, and the best article is usually the one in the original language of whatever event or place you want to know about and also provide the best resources.  Google translate will turn it all back into English for you.  When that’s done, try using google in your new language.
  7. Be logical.  Think about how people lived and what they did.  Consider their needs for clothing and their resources available.
  8. Try looking for vintage and historical fashion resources, i.e., fashion illustrations, advertising, and vintage dress patterns.
  9. The vintage section of Etsy is an amazing resource both for photographs and other resources,.
  10. Talk to people!  Find places where people who would know about your subject congregate on the web, and ask questions!  You might even make some friends.

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