Humanities › History & Culture Fashion Throughout History Sources for Researching Historical Clothing, Fashion and Accessories Share Flipboard Email Print History & Culture Genealogy Genealogy Fun Basics Surnames Vital Records Around the World American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Kimberly Powell Genealogy Expert Certificate in Genealogical Research, Boston University B.A., Carnegie Mellon University Kimberly Powell is a professional genealogist and the author of The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy. She teaches at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. our editorial process Kimberly Powell Updated March 29, 2019 What people wore, how the clothing was made, and who made it, can offer important insights into social and personal history. Clothing and fashion accessories, as well as hairstyles and makeup often convey a great deal about the men, women and children who wore them, and about the society in which they lived. Whether you want to learn more about the clothing worn by your ancestors, research clothing of a particular era for a book or character, or use clothing styles to help assign a time frame to a vintage family photograph, these research sources and timelines of fashion and costume history may have the answers you seek. 01 of 10 An Online Exhibition of Canadian Dress: The Confederation Era (1840–1890) Canadian Museum of History This well-done online exhibition from the Canadian Museum of History in Québec includes information and accompanying photos on women's fashion in Canada during the Confederation Era (1840–1890), including everyday clothing, fancy clothing, outerwear and accessories. Explore further and you'll also find sections on men's wear, children's wear and working wear. 02 of 10 FIDM Museum and Galleries: 200 Years of Fashion History FIDM Museum & Galleries The FIDM Museum and Library in Los Angeles, California, offers a wide array of resources for researchers of historic fashion, accessories, textiles, jewelry, fragrance, and related ephemera for women, men and children. Select exhibitions can be viewed online, such as this one for womenswear. 03 of 10 Vintage Fashion Guild Vintage Fashion Guild The Vintage Fashion Guild features a number of helpful resources for identifying clothing and other fashion items, including a fashion timeline covering every decade from 1800 through the 1990s. Additional resources include articles on specific clothing items, such as this History of Hats for Women, a lingerie guide, and a fabric resource guide. 04 of 10 The Costumer's Manifesto Wiki: Costume History The Costumer's Manifesto This free wiki explores western costume history by time period, from pre-historic times through the present day. Select a time period to explore a wealth of information and photographs, including research sources, and fashion items such as clothing, shoes, jewelry, hats, and underwear, plus links to patterns and reproduction clothing. 05 of 10 Berg Fashion Library Berg Fashion Library Explore by time or location to explore the large image bank of clothing from all periods of history hosted by the Berg Fashion Library. In addition to the photos of clothing, accessories, and other fashion, the site is loaded with informational articles, lesson plans, and research guides related to historical fashion. Some content is free, but most available only through a personal or institutional subscription, including the "Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion." 06 of 10 University of Vermont: Clothing Styles University of Vermont: Landscape Change Program The University of Vermont's Landscape Change Program includes a great exhibit of information and photographs on women's clothing, hats, hairstyles and fashion accessories, as well as men's fashions, broken down by decade.1850s | 1860s | 1870s | 1880s | 1890s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s 07 of 10 Victoria and Albert Museum: Fashion Victoria and Albert Museum This London museum's fashion collection is the largest and most comprehensive collection of dress in the world. Their website features a great deal of instructional content, illustrated with photographs of items from their collection, to illustrate dominant fashion trends between 1840 and 1960. 08 of 10 Vintage Victorian: Period Fashions Reference Library Vintage Victorian Through a variety of articles, period sketches and photographs, VintageVictorian.com offers information on clothing styles from the 1850s through the 1910s. Topics include day and evening attire for both women and men, hairstyles and headdresses, and even bathing costumes and undergarments. 09 of 10 Corsets and Crinolines: Antique Clothing Timeline Corsets and Crinolines In addition to selling vintage clothing, Corsets and Crinolines offers a great fashion timeline of dress, bodices, skirts, outerwear, shoes, hats, underwear and accessories, complete with photos. Select a decade to view real costume examples and photographs between 1839 and 1920.1839-1850s | 1860s | 1870s | 1880s | 1890s | 1900s | 1910s 10 of 10 Fashion-Era Fashion-Era Explore over 890 pages of illustrated content related to fashion history, costume history, clothing fashions and social history. The content is focused primarily on 19th and 20th century dress, and includes a great 3-part tutorial on using costume history to help date old photographs. How to Locate Additional Fashion History Resources Dozens of additional guides to fashion and clothing history for specific eras and localities can be found online. To search for relevant research resources use search terms such as costume history, clothing history, fashion history and fashion design, plus other terms relevant to your specific query such as military uniforms, civil war, women's aprons, or a specific locality or era. More general terms such as vintage or antique may also yield results.