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The History of Underclothes (Dover Fashion and Costumes) Paperback – May 26, 1992


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The History of Underclothes (Dover Fashion and Costumes) + Fashion in Underwear: from Babylon to Bikini Briefs (Dover Fashion and Costumes)
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Fashion and Costumes
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (May 26, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486271242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486271248
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By "dava_ellinger" on May 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
unfortunately this is the only book by C. Willett and Phillis Cunnington easily available in America. This book is a terrrific and cheap resource for those interested in an aspect of historical costume often ignored. It doesn't include construction methods, but it is otherwise a perfect resource for the professional or reenactment costumer. It covers the Middle Ages through 1939 with black and white photos of garments and illustrations from primary sources.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Book Addict on May 20, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting treatise on an interesting topic - underclothes. As a writer of historical romances, I need to know what is under the heroine's clothes, should the hero get around to removing them. This book has helped in my search for answers to that important question. The illustrations are excellent and it is quite fascinating to realize how much we do (and don't) know about what our ancestors wore and why. However, this book does seem to spend a lot of time on men's underwear (yes it's important, but not as much as the ladies'), and also covers such a large time period that inevitably some discussions are very brief (no pun intended). This book will become part of my reference library - not a stand-alone source, but complementary to my other volumes on clothing.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
Thanks to Dover reprints, the Cunningtons' books on costume are becoming available again. And what a benefit this is! The best thing about a Cunnington book is that you know the scholarship is sound. No guessing here, no looking at a costume from 1815 and extrapolating to the whole nineteenth century.... This book focuses mostly on the 18th through early 20th centuries (in Europe), with black and white drawing and photos. A wonderful resource for anyone with an interest in costume, history, or theatre, and a MUST for any writer of historical fiction.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By T. L. H. on January 12, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
not only were the authors too ambitious (trying to cover way too many centuries in too few pages), but the fact that it was originally published in 1951 is glaringly apparent -- ridiculous psychological reasons are ascribed to purely practical phenomena. there is insufficient discussion of the illustrations, and too few illustrations to illuminate the discussions!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 21, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There was some interesting stuff in here, but unfortunately a lot of omissions. Helpful for the items it discusses, but LOTS of generalities. Also, it really sweeps through too much history at once. And it focuses more on men's underwear than women's, which as a romance writer is a problem for me.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
If you're looking for an excellent general overview of the history of underclothes, this is the book. However, it tends to be heavy on men's underwear with only moderately good descriptions of women's. It does have lots of good reference drawings, though. It is a must for historical costumers. Further recommended reading would be "Corsets and Crinolines" and "Waisted Effort."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Fruit Loop VINE VOICE on September 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
I think this book could have been more in-depth and would have benefitted from more illustrations, but it's a good startng source for reenactors, fashion historians, and people writing about various historical periods. Amazing and interesting overview of what's under there and down there through the ages.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By fatal_degree on May 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a good history of both mens and womens undergarments. It is solidly written, with more focus on fact and logical history. Not a lot of wit and humor, more writing than pictures or sketches. But a wealth of knowledge spanning medieval times to the 1920's. The author does a good job of illustrating what the purpose of various undergarments were in their time. What effect they were meant to achieve, and the illustrations and photos are plentiful enough to visually support the written material. Though none of it is in color. This would be a good book for research purposes.

*****If anyone comes across the reference to the first metal eyelets in this book, please leave comment on it. I could swear that I read an account of early metal eyelets, dating to the 1820's-30's, in this book (on corsets). I have not been able to find the reference. I recall that they were described as having the thread wound around them and being sewn to the stays. I have never again heard eyelets described as such. Nor have I been able to find pictures online or in other books of such eyelets. I do however have a set of child's stays that have those exact eyelets. I have tried to find reference to these eyelets to date my garment. I have been unsuccessful. Any help would be very welcome!
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