So my historical costuming resources list from 2011 was less than a page long- I’m not saying that I’ve learned a lot in the past three years, but this list is now sitting pretty at a solid nine pages. Whew. And people wonder why I want to redo this damn series.
This list is by no means an exhaustive one- it’s a list of (primarily western) historical fashion resources, both online and offline, that is limited to what I know, own, or use! It’s a work in progress, and I’m definitely hoping to expand on it as my knowledge base grows. First things first, how about a little:
ADVICE FOR RESEARCHING HISTORICAL FASHION
- Read, and read about more than just costuming. Allowing yourself to understand the cultural and historical context surrounding the clothing of a particular region/period can be invaluable in sussing out good costume design. Looking at pictures is all well and good, but reading about societal pressures, about construction techniques, daily routines, local symbolism, whatever else will really help you understand the rhyme and reason behind costuming from any given context.
- Expand your costume vocabulary. When you’re delving into a new topic, costuming or otherwise, picking up new terminology is essential to proper understanding and furthering your research. Write down or take note of terms as you come across them- google them, look up synonyms, and use those words as a jumping off point for more research. What’s a wire rebato? How does it differ from a supportasse? Inquiring minds want to know.
- Double-check your sources. Especially on the internet, and double especially on tumblr. I love it, but it’s ground zero for rapidly spreading misinformation. Books are usually your safest bet, but also take into account their date of publication, who’s writing them- an author’s biases can severely mangle their original source material.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Do everything you can to find out information on your own, but feel free to reach out to people with more specialized areas of knowledge for help! Be considerate about it- the people you’re asking are busy as well- but a specific line of questioning that proves you’re passionate and that you respect their subject matter expertise can work wonders.
Okay, onto the links!
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of getting off the internet and looking into books! God bless the internet, but books are (generally, this isn’t a rule) better-researched and better-sourced. Bibliographies also mean each individual books can be a jumping off point for further research, which is always a fantastic thing.
Remember- owning books is awesome and you should absolutely assemble your own library of resources, but LIBRARIES. Libraries. You’ll be surprised to find what books are available to you at your local library.
GENERAL / SURVEYS
- British Costume from Earliest Times to 1820
Fine book with lots of first hand sources, but be wary of the photography in the book- reproduction costumes and thus somewhat less reliable. Though hilarious.
- Corsets and Crinolines
Norah Waugh’s invaluable survey of corsetry and corset patterns- used the world ‘round by modern corsetieres.
- Costume in Detail: Women’s Dress 1730-1930
Elaborate line drawings/diagrams of extant period garments! A fantastic survey.
- Cut of Men’s Clothes
PDF available online! Patterns for men’s period garments.
- Cut of Women’s Clothes
Patterns for women’s period garments.
- Greenwood Encyclopedia of Clothing Through World History
This is a library find, unless you have a pretty three hundred bucks lying around- a great, general resource.
- A History of Costume
A lot of good text and info, to be taken with a grain of salt. Be wary of any reconstructions and or “supposed” patterns that aren’t directly based on extant garments or firsthand accounts.
- Fashion (Taschen 25th Anniversary)
A survey of the Kyoto Costume Institute’s fashion collection- broad but beautiful. On every fashion student’s bookcase.
- Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style
Great overview of fashion history from the Smithsonian and DK publishing.
- The History of Costume: From the Ancient Mesopotamians Through the Twentieth Century
Broad costume survey, second edition.
- What People Wore: 1,800 Illustrations from Ancient Times to the Early Twentieth Century
this is one of those “I am putting this here because I used it a ton when I was younger” but man, mixed bag. Really cool survey to browse through, but also work that is a copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy in most instances and thus not necessarily trustworthy as a resource.
- What People Wore When: A Complete Illustrated History of Costume from Ancient Times to the Nineteenth Century for Every Level of Society
A collection of Racinet and Hottentoth’s costume plates from the 19th century. A beautiful survey but, since these are later illustrations, to be taken with a grain of salt.
Patterns fo Fashion books
Detailed, hand-drawn diagrams of historical fashion, inside and out. Pretty amazing stuff.
- Patterns of Fashion: The Cut and Construction of Clothes for Men and Women, C.1560-1620
- Patterns of Fashion 1: Englishwomen’s Dresses & Their Construction C. 1660-1860
- Patterns of Fashion 2: Englishwomen’s Dresses & Their Construction C. 1860-1940
- Patterns of Fashion 4: The Cut and Construction of Linen Shirts, Smocks, Neckwear, Headwear and Accessories for Men and Women C. 1540-1660
Fashion in Detail books
Not what you want if you’re looking for photos of entire costumes- note the “in detail” bit up there. Just a beautiful series, and great reference for all the little things you might miss otherwise. The V&A has an amazing fashion collection, and it’s great to see them share it with the world.
- Nineteenth Century Fashion in Detail
- Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Fashion in Detail
- Underwear: Fashion in Detail
- World Dress: Fashion in Detail
The one non-western entry in the series.
- Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700 - 1915
LACMA’s response to the V&A’s series mentioned above, also an invaluable resource for historical fashion detail.
Serendipity (names, places, mapbuilding, etc.)
Quick Story Idea
Full Story Idea
really just all of Seventh Sanctum
Fantasy Story Situaton
Chaotic Shiny is just really good in general
reblog for my own reference
/high pitched screeching
Maggie Lacivi in Ava’s Demon
How can I help people by writing stories?
People tell you up front: there’s no money in this gig. Really, honest and true, there’s not, even if you’re a lucky son of a gun and write a best-seller, because you can’t count on it every time. One of the first big decisions you make as a writer is that you aren’t doing it for the fame, or even the moola.
You have other reasons, and you find some along the way.
You say, “I want to give people what other people gave me.” You want to give someone something they can work with, and turn into another marvellous thing they can pass on, and make a life a smidgen better, even for one day.
If that’s the magic formula you seek … I got nothing for you.
Jk. I love you, c’mere and let me show this.
1. Find a Truth: the old advice we hear came from someone who really, really wanted other people to know what they did. Live for today, count your blessings, start now, eat your vegetables, don’t worry about it so much- these all meant something to somebody and are passed down in one way or another because they had meaning in someone’s life. Find a piece of advice you want to give, something that’s really true to you, and make it true to one of your characters. Let them learn that lesson as they make mistakes and grow in your story. Let it resonate with them, because that’s how it resonates with the reader.
2. Get Inspiration-Support: does it have to make you sob and thank somebody above? Naw, dawg. Just read. Watch movies, and tv shows. Go for walks outside. Learn junk about the world and stuff like that. Go do something with people you love, or appreciate the quiet somewhere special to you. Be free, and open-minded, and a little crazier than you normally are. You inspired = readers inspired. But, you know that one, don’t you, you bunch of smarties?
3. Accuracy & Creativity: what really gets me as a reader is when someone can put something into words that shouldn’t be. Y’know? Feelings aren’t words, they’re feelings, you psycho. That mountain ain’t in my living room, get it out of there. This is a hard one, I know. This kind of takes experience, keen observation, and well, a talent for it- but a talent that can come with time. I’m way better at describing … well, everything, than I was when I started. Give it time.
4. Originality: … well, duh, you say. But, duh yourself, this is important. Take me somewhere new. Lower my defences when I read by flipping my expectations on their snotty little heads. Won’t I feel the fool for thinking I knew everything? … Wow, I mean, you opened my eyes, there, I totally didn’t know about that. I am an inspired reader
hear me roar.
5. Give Them Something to Do: Sometimes, it pays to be vague. The reason fandoms are born is because readers/viewers really love the heck out of what they read/see, and they want more. The writer (or whoever) has somehow promised awesomeness is happening in the background of this already awesome story, but hasn’t gone into it. A backstory, perhaps? A side-character or two that aren’t explained as thoroughly as the rest? A whole new world with an ever-expanding mythology? People want to be a part of that. People want to show their appreciation by making things. I know fan-created content sometimes gets a bad rap for being amateurish, or whatever else, but my god. It’s awesome that an entire group of people can love something so much that they create all new things for it. That’s awesome.
And so are you, rough copy kitties. Write on.
When Describing a Character
- provide enough detail to give the reader a sense of the character’s physical appearance
- highlight details that serve as clues to who the character is and perhaps what their life is like
- describe clothing to establish character or when relevant to scene
- go overboard with too many details or take up too much of the reader’s time describing one character
- repetitively describe features or fixate on certain characteristics
- describe clothing every time the character shows up unless its somehow relevant to the scene.
- describe minor characters’ clothing in-depth unless it’s relevant
Choose a Focal Point
When describing a character’s appearance, choose a focal point and work up or down from there. For example, you may describe them from head to toe, or from toe to head. Try not to skip around. If you’re describing their face, start with their hair and work your way down to their mouth, or start at the mouth and work your way up to their hair.
Describing Race and Ethnicity
There is a lot of debate about the right and wrong way to describe a person’s race. If you want, you can state that a person is Black, white, Hispanic, Native American, First Nations, Latino, Middle-Eastern, Asian, Pacific Islander, etc. Just remember that races are made up of different ethnic groups. Someone of Asian descent could be Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. If you’re describing a character whose ethnicity is unknown or not important to the plot, you could just say that they were Asian or Black, for example. But, the rest of the time you need to be clear about whether they are Chinese, Chinese American, Korean, etc. Also, remember that not all Black people are African-American, such as someone born in England or Haiti, for example.
You may instead choose to describe a character’s race through the color of their hair, eyes, and skin. It’s up to you which you feel most comfortable with and is most appropriate for your story. Just remember, if you describe one character’s skin color or otherwise make an issue of their race, you should describe every character’s skin color or race.
Just like with physical appearance, when describing clothing you want to choose a focal point and work up or down. Think about things like the garments they’re wearing (pants, shirt, coat) and accessories (hat, jewelry, shoes). Be sure to choose clothing which are both relevant to your character and to the time and place where your story is set. You can find out about appropriate clothing by Googling the time and place your story is set plus the word clothing:
"Clothing in Victorian England"
"Clothing in 1960s New York"
"9th century Viking clothing"
Be sure to look for web sites that aren’t providing cheap Halloween costumes. Shops providing clothes for historical reenactors are often very accurate.
Looking for Inspiration
There are many resources online for both historical and modern clothing. For historical clothing, you can look for web sites about the period, web sites for or about historical reenactors, or web pages for historical enthusiasts or museums. For modern clothing, you can simply pull up the web site of your favorite department store or clothing designer. Choose an outfit that works for your character, then learn how to describe the relevant parts.
Resources for Describing Clothing:
Writing Tips on Describing Clothes
Describing Clothes and Appearance (If You Should at All)
Resources for Garments and Accessories:
Types of Dress
Coats and Jackets
Sleeves, Necklines, Collars, and Dress Types
Scarves for Men
Scarf Buying Guide
The Ultimate Scarf Tying Guide
Historical Clothing Resources:
OMG That Dress!
Amazon Dry Goods
Historical Costume Inspiration
History of Costume: European Fashion Through the Ages
Women’s Fashion Through the Years
Clothing in the Ancient World
Clothing in Ancient Rome
Clothing in Biblical Times
Vintage Fashion Guild
Modern Clothing Resources:
Clothes on Pinterest
This is a Fashion Blog
What I Wore
Fashion is Endless
Physical Details Resources:
Women’s Body Shapes
Men’s Body Shapes
Realistic Eye Shape Chart
Facial Hair Types
How to Describe Women’s Hair Lengths
The Ultimate Haircut Guide for Women
Men’s Haircuts (Barber Shop Style)
A Primer on Men’s Hairstyles
Obsidian Bookshelf Hair Color
Obsidian Bookshelf Eye Color
Skin Color Chart
Curl and Texture Chart
The most valuable chart…
yes thanks for colouring it I had a hard time reading that
So, Odin hates his demon more than Ava hates Wrathia.
Pedri can cause illusions&is related to the aspect of death.
So either Pedri taunted Odin with illusions, death, or made illusions of death(perhaps of his loved ones?), because that’s the only thing I can think of that could be more horrible than Wrathia’s constant belittlement of Ava.