How to Read a Dress A Guide to Changing Fashion from the 16th to the 20th Century

Author(s): Lydia Edwards

Fashion & Beauty

Fashion is ever-changing, and while some styles mark a dramatic departure from the past, many exhibit subtle differences from year to year that are not always easily identifiable. With overviews of each key period and detailed illustrations for each new style, How to Read a Dress is an authoritative visual guide to women's fashion across five centuries.


Each entry includes annotated color images of historical garments, outlining important features and highlighting how styles have developed over time, whether in shape, fabric choice, trimming, or undergarments. Readers will learn how garments were constructed and where their inspiration stemmed from at key points in history – as well as how dresses have varied in type, cut, detailing and popularity according to the occasion and the class, age and social status of the wearer.


This lavishly illustrated book is the ideal tool for anyone who has ever wanted to know their cartridge pleats from their Récamier ruffles. Equipping the reader with all the information they need to 'read' a dress, this is the ultimate guide for students, researchers, and anyone interested in historical fashion.

$49.99(AUD) RRP $44.99(AUD)

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Product Information

With lavish colour images and commentary on the key features of every major dress style across five centuries, How to Read a Dress is the ultimate guide to how fashions change and the ideal tool for identifying historical styles.

Lydia Edwards is a Lecturer at Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia.

Acknowledgements Preface Introduction 1. 1550 - 1600 2. 1600 - 1699 3. 1710 - 1790 4. 1790 - 1837 5. 1837 - 1869 6. 1870 - 1889 7. 1890 - 1916 8. 1918 - 1929 9. 1930 - 1946 10. 1947 - 1959 11. 1960 - 1970 Glossary Notes Bibliography Photographic Credits Index

General Fields

  • : 9781472533272
  • : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • : Bloomsbury Academic
  • : January 2017
  • : 24.60 cmmm X 18.90 cmmm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 391.2
  • : 391.2
  • : en
  • : en
  • : Lydia Edwards
  • : Lydia Edwards
  • : 200 colour illus
  • : 317
  • : 200 colour illus
  • : 317
  • : Paperback
  • : Paperback
  • : 216
  • : 216