History in Review
Sears Fashions Catalogs: 7-Book Set
Edited by JoAnne Olian and Stella Blum
Dover Publications, Inc., New York: 1981-2003
The catalogs mentioned in this review can be ordered either as a complete set, or individually, directly from Dover Publications at: www.doverpublications.com.
Reviewed by Auggie Moore - August 27, 2010
Take a decade by decade, and year by year, look at early 20th century American ready-to-wear fashion as portrayed in the quintessential American consumer icon - the Sears Catalog. Dover Publications has compiled seven, oversized books that provide an insightful look at everyday American clothing from the 1900-1060's, as depicted in the Sears Catalog. Each volume in this set contains reproductions of actual pages from the Sears catalog along with a notation as to what year's catalog the page was obtained. In addition, each volume contains an insightful introduction that helps to put the fashions in a historical perspective and which examines the changes that occured in American fashions, decade to decade.
The seven books in this collection include:
With the exception of the volume devoted to children's fashions, all of the books in this collection include fashion selections for men, women, teens, and children. As well, accessories ranging from shoes and stocking to jewelry and hats abound. There are hundreds of illustations in each volume, and most are accompanied with descriptions, pricing, and related information that were needed by the consumer, such as sizes and colors available.
Covering just about everything from the leg makeup used in the 40's in place of stocking to nightwear corset covers, garter belts, coats, tuxedos, maternity wear, strapless bras, dresses, slacks, swim wear, furs, evening wear, form shaping underwear for men and women, sports wear including riding pants, bridal fashions, children's play suits, and more, these books are sure to keep you pouring over these images for hours. The Sears Fashions Catalogs: 7-Book Set is a phenomenal resource for fashion and costume designers, historians, artists, writers, and anyone with an interest in American fashions. One of the advantages of this collection is that it allows you to easily follow how everyday fashions changed from 1900 to 1969, and to get a feel for how the average person dressed - from the skin outward (foundation garments, underwear, and similar items can be found throughout these books), and how various fashions were optimally accessorized throughout the decades. This is a must-have set for anyone interested in American fashions.
A Dictionary of Costume and Fashion: Historic and Modern, by Mary Brooks Picken.
A unique dictionary that provides definitions to more than 10,000 words related to costumes and fashion, from aal to Zulu cloth. It also includes more than 750 illustrations.
Accessories of Dress: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, by Katherine Lester and Bess Viola Oerke.
From hats, veils, wigs, and cosmetics to cravats, shawls, shoes, and gloves, this useful reference provides an entertaining account of the forms of personal adornment men and women have used throughout the ages to enhance their wearing apparel.
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