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History of American Fashion Books

Linda Baumgarten, What Clothes Reveal: The Language of Clothing in Colonial and Federal America (2002)

A very large and impressively illustrated book, rich with detail and thorough research on the intersection between colonial fashion and society.

Charlotte Brunel, The T-Shirt Book (2002)

An interesting pop culture history, filled with illuminating illustrations.

Jane Farrell-Beck and Colleen Gau, Uplift: The Bra in America (2002)

This well-researched and detailed history goes beyond the style to the actual manufacturing process and the labor and gender politics behind the most intimate of apparel pieces.

Jill Fields, An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, and Sexuality (2007)

A very well researched history that goes back to the 1920s to explore the rich history of clothes and their deeper meaning, particularly where gender and sexuality are concerned.

Nancy E. Rexford, Women's Shoes in America, 1795-1930 (2000)

This illustrated history of a widespread female obsession—the shoe—offers some valuable insight and analysis on its earlier years, pre-Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo.

Merideth Wright, Everyday Dress of Rural America: 1783-1800, With Instructions and Patterns (1992)

This concise book offers a brief background on the history and context of fashion, along with patterns for those who might want to try and re-create some of the historic designs.

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