Karina M. Sokulski
Eras of Historic Fashion: Eight Extensive Sources for Writers
Let's face it, the internet is a big place and can make research a time consuming chore. There's nothing like having a sight full of information bookmarked on your browser when you need a quick fact or need to get familiar with an entire fashion era. Below I have for you a list of eight sites with tons of information on fashion from many different time periods.
At a glance, Bellatory isn't going to appear like a research site for historical fashion. It's home page populated by hair care tips, jewelry and makeup choices may make it seem like I've linked the wrong site but give its site's search bubble a chance. It turns out, among all the contemporary articles dedicated to fashion trends and makeup styles, there's a constant investment in a category dubbed "Fashion Industry & History." Whether you're looking for factual information on the textiles of the Rococo style of the 1870s or have a desire to explore the rise of Asian styles in Western cultures, this site has it all.
Fashion Era is another website that looks deceptively like anything but a research website. All you have to do to reach the extensive sources this website has to offer is select the "Fashion History" tab and you're there. This website's information ranges from the 1800's late Georgian Era and ends at the modern day 2000's. What's unique to this site is how the website not only covers the textiles and clothing styles of the eras, but also covers topics like makeup, hairstyles and jewelry. This site also distinguishes the differences in fashion between the wealthy classes and peasantry in each time period.
Fashion History Timeline is a site that looks much more like a research website and ranges from prehistoric times to the modern age. This is the first website on our list that is an actual hub of information. This implies that some articles on the sight are either still being filled in by admins or will occasionally lead to a Wikipedia page. Thankfully, in my experience, any Wikipedia pages I landed on always provided information with verifiable sources at the bottom of the page. My favorite part of this sight is there is a tab in the menu titled "Essays." A subpage beneath this tab leads directly to essays that analyze garments and textiles of various eras. These essays, in my opinion, are a vocabulary goldmine for describing clothing.
Fashion Through History is the first blog on our list that offers a huge range of historic topics. The blog's post begin from topics focused on the Rococo Era and range to the Victorian Era. The blog posts aren't the lengthiest but offer a bunch of useful vocabulary, descriptions of clothing across time periods and offer sources of the blogger's research so you can visit sites they visited. I trust this source because the writer sites their sources with bibliographies. Finding websites on fashion history can be tough to find. Blogs can definitely provide their hidden gems of websites your search engine may not be pinning down if you look carefully.
The second blog on our list. History of European Fashion's sources range from the Baroque Era to the Renaissance Era in terms of fashion history. My favorite part of this blog is the research dedicated to a theory developed by James Laver regarding the principles of fashion. These principles being what (historically) society determined to indicate culture identity, indecency, status, tradition, you name it. The blogger goes into this theory across the ages and how we can find representation of concepts in paintings, writings and even in historical film. It's a fascinating read that I've found to benefit my writing.
The next blog on our list and it's written by a seamstress no less! This blog's on the simpler side in terms of information about the eras. If you can get past the blogger drawing some conclusions pertaining to historical choices of fashion, you'll provide yourself with a plethora of vocabulary, visual aids and factual research on how clothing was made. This blog also provides factual information on historical events, war-time life and how dyes were made around the world.
I love World4 because they have a fashion history page that ranges from ancient Egypt to the 20th century Art Deco period. Additionally, there's also a section of this site filled with thousands of topics ranging from culture to architecture, you name it! The best part is there is so much research on this site the histories of Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Oceania Region have their own sections. This site's a must for historical research because often times this can be a one-stop site for any historical questions.
Vintage Fashion Guild has a great fashion timeline that ranges from the 1800's to the 2000's. The research of this site explores textile changes across time periods, offers visual aids and provides a lot of details regarding how clothing was made. This site also goes into the history of famous designers throughout history, trends and film that inspired entire generations, the list goes on. There's even a database of care and cleaning for vintage clothing if you're looking to have your character philosophize while repairing their hat.
If you were lacking any sources on fashion history, you aren't now. Add these sites to your bookmarks bar, share them with your writing community and get ready for the next two months of NaNo Prep! NaNoWriMo is a mere two months away! Time to get researching, drafting and any other preparations out of the way before National Novel Writing Month commences!