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Art - Historic Costume: 20th & 21st c. America & the UK

Image rich resources for advertising from previous decades. Late 19th - the end of the 20th century.


Use databases to find secondary literature about the fashion of a specific period. 


Tips for searching Google

It can be difficult to find period clothing and accessories with Google since it doesn't support searching date ranges or categories of objects. And it can be hard to distinguish between authentic costumes and modern interpretations.

  • Find a relevant image and use Google's Image search
  • Search for a famous person or event to locate images from the correct period, then scan the results for images of costume.

Searching OBIS

These search strategies are also useful in the other databases listed on this tab. Each database can all  be searched by subject or keyword; each has their own, unique, subject headings.

OBIS -- Start your search in OBIS. 

Subject headings (created by librarians) increase the relevance of search results, as illustrated by these two examples (follow each link to see results):   Women's clothing       Men's clothing

Other useful subjects Highlighted subjects link to OBIS searches

Specific items Specific items Broad concepts
Shawls Jewelry 19th century  [or 18th century, 17th century, etc.]
Buttons Dressmaking History
Fans Dress accessories Pattern design
Footwear Mililnery Clothing and dress
Uniforms Handkerchiefs Costume
Underwear Wigs Pictorial works

Keyword searches work best when combining broad concepts:

(clothing or costume) and 18th century

 More about keyword searching

Tip: Combine subject headings in Keyword search box for best results: 

Keyword: Women's clothing and history

    Dress: The journal of the Costume Society of America
    Art Library, GT605.D74