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The Dictionary of Fashion History by Valerie Cumming, C.W. Cunnington and P.E. Cunnington Books in Review
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The Dictionary of Fashion History
by Valerie Cumming, C.W. Cunnington and P.E. Cunnington
ISBN 978-1-84788-533-3
Published November 2010 - Softcover - 286 pages - $29.95

This is an updated and revised edition (last updated in 1976) of the go-to book on fashion that was originally put out in 1960.  Do you know your arisaid from your thong?  This book features names of garments, when they came into use, went out of use, and which sex it was intended for.  Although these "fashions" are predominantly English and French, many words apply to fashion terms everywhere.  Where two words, i.e. English and American words are used, both are given.  For those of us who like to use the correct terminology, in any area of language (so there can be no mistaking what you're talking about), this book of fashion explanations is very useful, especially with all the "looks" around today.  Fashion commentators who describe what others are wearing, would do well to study this book so as to give more descriptive and accurate analyses or breakdowns.  With television shows like Project Runway where we get to see designers in action, knowing a little about the fashion world would help our appreciation.  Who knows, perhaps this book might inspire you to start a course in fashion design or textile design!  You'll come across explanations for the likes of the Ascot jacket (1876); Bass Weejuns (or Penny loafers - 1936-); Brogues (16-19th century); Grunge (1980s-); Organza (early 19th century onwards); Dohti (worn by Ghandi); Stole (16th century onwards); Sequin (1880s onwards); Velcro (1960 onwards); Raglan Sleeve (1857 onwards), or Hot Pants (1970).  Many items you still hear about today but don't necessarily know much about.  Knowing the names of men's hats is also useful, as is knowing anything by its name, instead of trying to decribe what it looks like.  Do you know what a Trilby looks like?  Or a Stetson?  What about a Bowler?  A Derby?  This book would be essential to fashion students and for those in the fashion industry.  No one wants to use the wrong terms for a garment now, do they?  Improve your vocabulary with this extremely interesting lexicon.
Conclusion - Indispensible for anyone into fashion, no matter the discipline, or for everyday usage.

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