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Showing 1-10 of 46 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 59 reviews
on June 23, 2009
Imagine trying to research late 20th century fashion with nothing but Vogue magazine as a reference. Naturally you would assume that everyone had a BMI of 14%, bizarre hair was the rage, visible hard nipples were just part of the fashion, and we were all running around in the snow like suicidal mantis bugs with lipstick smeared halfway up our cheeks and nothing but the most outre $5000 tank tops money could buy.

This is effectively how we are presented with Victorian fashion. Illustrated high style fashion magazines like La Mode Illustree have become our "references" while relatively rarely do we see realistic depictions of the actual fashions of the time, and so illustrated example models of idealized bodies wearing idealized fashions become the assumed norm.

This book is about the best remedy for that short of a trip in a time machine. 235 photographs spanning the period from the introduction of the photograph in 1839 to the years leading up to WWI with heavy annotation present a fairly realistic overall picture of what a fashionable person of each age would be swishing about town in. The main focus is England though there are a few references to other countries (primarily France), and while there are references to the clothing of people of lesser means, this is primarily an investigation of those who had enough money to actually keep up with the fashions of the time.

Don't let the page count fool you, what this book lacks in size it makes up for in information density. Descriptions of fashions from both modern points of view and period text references are cross referenced with the included photographs and give a pretty complete picture of each trend and clothing item described. There is a fair amount of men's fashion described as well, which is pretty darn rare in Victorian references. My only issue with this book is the relative difficulty of following the photographic references as they are grouped together in four large clumps distributed throughout the book. The photographs are numbered sequentially but the photographic sections do not have page numbers, so finding the photographs referred to in a single sentence can take you flipping through half of the book. Given that there are in text references every 50 words or so this gets old extremely quickly, but even so it was worth the effort.

I expect this to become a go-to reference for Victorian clothing and it is highly recommended as such for those with more then a passing interest in Victorian and Edwardian fashion, though I will likely add some tabs to the photograph sections to make it easier to find the referenced images and I suggest doing the same.
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on June 25, 2016
The pictures are fascinating, but the text is not. You can't read more than one sentence without falling asleep. You need to have a solid background in historical fashion terminology, or it isn't going to make much sense even if you can stay awake
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on June 9, 2017
Descriptive and enjoyable to read. I just wish I didn't have to turn the book so many times. If this book is ever republished, then all the pages (with photographs) that need to be turned sideways should be put together.
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on December 18, 2014
Good quality photos,more than adequate amount of text. If it's for your collection of period fashion books-I'd recommend a "Good" quality used version,rather than buying new. Still-it's invaluable for those interested in this era.
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on March 15, 2017
I was expecting bigger photographs and I guess I expected them to be in color. But I get that that is not realistic, given the time period. I confess, I have not read the whole book yet. But I've heard it is very informative.
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on November 10, 2011
I have only skim read this book so far, but I was instantly hooked by the over 200 B&W photos of men and women of the time period covered in this wonderful reference book. It provides a window, through photography, into a time long past, the fashions, styles and events and of course the clothes they wore. Each photograph is referenced with loving detail as to what each subject is wearing, doing and who they are - in itself an eminently useful historical reference, but with the addition of the photos it brings them all to vivid life despite the lack of colour. From a writers perspective this is a terrific reference volume and I look forward to reading it more in detail as well as wallowing in the fascinating photos that give the words life.
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on April 30, 2017
This is an interesting book and loaded with history.
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on July 21, 2014
I bought this Book for my 17 year old niece who is really loves these periods. I will be giving it to her for Christmas. The book has many wonderful photos and is filled with great information. My niece is going to love it!
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on December 30, 2016
Awesome comprehensive resource for our Victorian group to use. After first looking at all of the photos, I literally read it cover to cover, highlighter in hand! I would recommend this to anybody wishing to recreate fashions of that era.
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on August 4, 2016
90% of the photos are sideways! Love the photos but turning the book back-and-forth is really annoying.
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