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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2000
This book is excellent! The pictures are very detailed, the information is substantial, and the book is extremely organized, which is also a good thing. I especially like his focus on the hair styles and clothing accessories. It is the best book I've been able to find (near and abroad) on historic costumes and outfits. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in history, clothes, and hair styles.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2003
This book is the culmination of research done by Mr. Gorsline. He has recreated the illustrations based upon research done primarily in the New York Library system. Many of his drawings have a reference... but that reference isn't formatted in such a way you could actually find out anything useful. For that reason it's not a particularly good choice for serious "historical" costumers. But if you're willing to accept that limitation, it is a nice reference, particularly the collected drawings of hair and head coverings.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2003
I received this book as a gift, and have found it very useful in creating accurate costumes, especially for the Medieval styles. The later (Victorian, Edwardian, etc.) chapters have been less useful to me because they offer limited examples of a few different garments from each time period. Fashions changed so much more quickly after the Renaissance, that a more detailed look at the styles of each decade, or each year, in each locality after the 16th century, would be much more useful. The chapters on medieval and ancient fashions, however, are extremely useful to me, because the images are taken from contemporary manuscripts and illustrations and represent a time period for which we know comparatively little about the garments most people wore, although research continues. The drawings make it easy to see the line of each garment and its shape, which is very helpful in drafting patterns for such garments, and the illustrations of hairstyles and head coverings are also very clear and understandable. This book is most useful as one book in a library of costume publications, as it does not contain much, if any, information regarding fabric weaves, colors, embroidery, etc.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2000
If you design costumes or want to do any type of research on them ... you cannot survive without this book. For a broad cross-section of clothing across the ages, this has it covered. For a more in depth look at Victorian Era costumes, try Victorian fashions and Costumes from Harper's Bazaar 1867-1898.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 1999
This book is cool for anybody who's interested in clothes from a long time ago. There's stuff on ancient people in Greece and Egypt plus all over Europe and in America too. Minus one star cuz there's nothing on East Asia, or anything past 1925. It includes close-ups on SHOES! and headgear plus other accesories and even hairstyles. Most of the pics are from fashion plates or real-life photos and paintings, redone in b&w line drawings. If U need a cool, realistic, and unique costume, check out this book. There's lots of ideas for anybody who doesn't want to be a witch or a power ranger for halloween. They have some famous people, like Queen Elizabeth and Lord Chesterfield (whoever he was) and everything is labeled by time period, class, and nationality. If you can find a pattern for some of these dresses and jackets, make yourself some beautiful and fancy clothes that you'll probably never wear (but will look awesome hangin' in your closet!)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 15, 2007
The black and white illustrations are well researched, and many are reminiscent of fashion plates and other primary resources. While designers and historians should be skeptical of original illustrations because of artistic liberties and accidental changes to the shape, style, and accuracy of the garment, this book is pretty decent/trustworthy.

Gorsline also gives specific dates for the illustrations, which is very helpful in researching, and puts in helpful details like accessories (corsets, gloves, hats, shoes, etc.) and hairstyles. It mentions nationality, when appropriate, as well as the style (the name of the artist, when applicable, that inspired the illustration). It shows a range of variations within a given period, demonstrates different ways to wear various garments, and provides a wonderfully diverse sampling of clothes to give any researching a great start in their exploration. As with all secondary resources, be sure to cross-reference for accuracy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2008
I really don't believe the good reviews on this book. When I received the book, I thought it couldn't be true. There are lots of pictures, actually only pictures, yes, but they're drawn in such a way that even if they were all accurate re-drawings from primary sources, you cannot figure out how the garment looked. The drawings look like a very poorly done line drawings, with nothing clear - lots of lines that give a flat picture with no details. Besides, as the book covers such a large era, it gives only few pictures for each period and the pictures given are often not very typical for that time. Even Peacock is better than this. In the back, however, is a list of sources the pictures were re-drawn from, so you could actually go and check the accuracy. I do not recommend this book to anyone unless someone who has absolutely no clue about costume history and does not care about watching at nice pictures and seeing details.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2003
This book contains a great deal of visual information on clothing throughout the world and through the ages. It makes a good reference. However, unlike Racinet's dazzling Historical Encyclopedia of Costumes, it is not beautiful. The images are functional, but not inspirational.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2010
For general interest or as an aid to artists, who merely need to know what a given article or style looked like this book is acceptable.
But for researchers and writers, I would highly recommend Fashion in Costume 1200-2000, Revised by Joan Nunn. Not only excellent illustrations, but detailed information regarding what particulars were called, but their use and evolution.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I brought this book for images to use for a history timeline book for an early elementary school student. The purpose was to get a general idea of how people dressed at various times in history. For that purpose, the book is very good. As an added bonus, there are some pictures that are labeled with famous people (eg. Teddy Roosevelt, Queen Elizabeth). There are also pictures related to historical events and different trades (eg. pionoeer, coal miner, etc.). Famous people are missing (eg. no George Washington -- as well as many others). Also, costumes are missing (eg. original KKK costume, but the one that most people think about with KKK is missing). There were also ones that I never thought I would see in the book (eg. Jewish Priest from the Holy Temple period). For our purposes, the book is worth the investment.
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