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Costume History Research Resources: Home

Online Costume & Fashion History Resources

As you are working on your research on costume or fashion history, please let me know if I can help in any way!  Please feel free to email me and we can discuss your questions over email, or you can book a time for an in-person or Zoom meeting on my calendar.

I have added links here for online scholarly resources that will assist you in your research: reference sources, scholarly books, scholarly articles, and images.  ZSR has access to thousands of ebooks and millions of online articles through our regular resources in the library catalog and databases such as Performing Arts Periodicals Database and JSTOR.  We also have access to thousands of streaming films and online images if you need multimedia resources.  Get tips on finding and using these resources from the tabs above.  Additionally, in the Images & Websites tab, you will find links to many fashion and costume collections, archives, and exhibitions. 

If you need additional, theatre-specific resources, please see the Theatre Research Resources page.

And last, but not least, remember to cite your sources!  The Chicago Manual of Style can help you with formatting citations for the sources you find.

Stay healthy and well!
Kaeley McMahan


Two Tech Tips:

  1. Download and use VPN: If you keep VPN running in the background while you access campus resources (ebooks, databases, etc...) it makes it look like you are on campus, so many of the authentication issues you might otherwise have will go away.
  2. ProQuest Ebook Central: If you get this error message, don't fear!  Just do as it says and reload the page and it will take you to your book:

Online Reference Resources

Use reference resources to find background information, define terms, understand the historical context of an individual or event, and start building a bibliography of sources to consult.

Scholarly Ebooks

You will find many scholarly ebooks on fashion and costume history in the library catalog and in the Berg Fashion Library.  You should also look at costume and fashion museum websites for free editions of their exhibition catalogs.

As an example of ZSR's holdings, here are the ebook results for "fashion" as the book subject.  You will notice that in addition to scholarly resources, you may have results that are not academic sources, as well as primary source documents and historical magazines that might be useful.  If you are not sure if a source you have found is scholarly, please feel free to  contact me!  Generally, you want to look for an author who is a professor/academic, a scholarly publisher, and that the author has cited sources with a good bibliography.

Scholarly Journal Articles & Historical Magazines

The Journals and Magazines tab has a list of both contemporary scholarly journals on fashion and costume, as well as historical fashion magazines, that can be accessed online.  

If you are looking for scholarly/peer-reviewed/academic articles look for these features:

  • at least 8-10 pages in length
  • author is an academic (professor, PhD, researcher, etc...)
  • published in an academic journal (Costume, Fashion Theory, etc...)
  • the bibliography is appropriate for the article length

The following databases are good places to look for scholarly research:


Images from the ARTstor database can be used in papers and presentations.  You may find other images via museum websites, but confirm that they are free to use. 

See the Images & Websites tab for more information and links to major museum and archival collections.

Museum exhibition catalogs can also be a great place to find historical representations of fashion via sculptures, paintings, and personal artifacts.  

Costume Research Resources

Welcome to the research guide for the History of Costume.  Use the tabs across the top of the page to learn more about the resources we have at ZSR. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.  I am glad to help!







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Kaeley McMahan
ZSR 457-C
(336) 758-4661