The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Clothing through World History
[3 volumes]
by Jill Condra
December 2007, 1160pp, 7x10
3 volumes, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-33662-1
$201, £155, 175€, A276
eBook Available: 978-0-313-05631-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

A comprehensive analysis of clothing through time and place

How people dressed throughout history often reflects how they lived at the time, and Clothing in World History gives the reader a chance to explore clothing in a given place and time while also providing a general history to help put the costumes in context. This set takes the reader on a journey from the beginning of time to present day to look at what people wore in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia. Men’s, Women’s, and Children’s clothing from various social classes, as well as accessories, are be included.

This set is a critical guide for secondary and undergraduate students interested in history, social history, art history, fashion, and costume. It covers the history of clothing throughout the world from pre-historic times to 2006. Many cultures are included in this study of clothing within the context of social, political, economic and religious history as they pertain to each time period and place. Researchers can turn to this set first for the most essential information about a time, place, and style of dress. The three volumes are divided into comprehensive parts with the goal of making them easy to use and accessible to readers. There are other books and surveys of the history of costume that mainly concentrate on Western Europe, but few that cover different cultures and how they influence fashion in the western world. This book looks at costume throughout the world and throughout history.


  • Includes Men's and Children's Clothing as well as Women's Clothing
  • Includes clothing worn in non-Western countries
  • Includes clothing worn by lower and servant classes as well as wealthy classes
  • Includes accessories


"This scholarly, disciplined resource contributes much to the world of reference books on clothing and dress. Organized by period and then broad geographical or ethnic topic (Greek clothing, medieval clothing), each section includes information on such topics as textiles, women's and men's clothing, foot- and headdress, mourning clothes, and so forth. Although illustrations are provided, the bulk of the set consists of informed but highly readable text. . . . Highly recommended."—Choice, September 1, 2008

"Independent scholar and editor Condra has created a broad and unique history of clothing and textiles from prehistoric times to 2006 and spanning world cultures. Articles are authored by experts with a broad (but relevant) range of credentials, specialties, and research interests, including textiles and clothing history, forensic archaeology, art and art history, classics, fashion history, ancient religion and medicine, fashion design, and costume design. Each of the three volumes averages 400 pages and contains seven to 11 articles ranging in length from eight pages (Korean clothing) to 88 pages (the 19th century). Entries are similarly structured, but, as Condra explains, The time, events, and place dictate the differences in [the entries]to most appropriately fit the subject matter. The authors attempt to include as much information as possible given the available evidence about the differences in clothing between men and women, between adults and children, and among various social classes. Each article ends with a bibliography of sources for additional information, English-language printed materials, web sites, and, sometimes, films. Although it does not claim to be comprehensive, the set succeeds remarkably well in placing clothing in its historical and social context. Recommended for academic libraries supporting curricula in history, social history, art history, fashion, and costume and for large public libraries. [Available electronically through Greenwood Digital Collection.]"—Library Journal, April 15, 2008

"Editor Condra and six other scholars in the field of fashion, textiles, art history, and classics have done an excellent job in exploring the history of clothing. Condra notes that the field cannot be studied in isolation so sections on culture, politics, economics, art, religion, and architecture in specific eras are included. . . . Each chapter starts with a time line, a detailed general history, and descriptions of the textiles and other materials used, and then goes on to the types of clothing. . . . The index, glossary, and a list of museums are repeated in each volume, which is useful. . . . The Greenwood set will be a very useful source for academic and large libraries where students are researching clothing and fashion for papers or theatre productions."—Booklist, September 1, 2008

"These engagingly written volumes provide a comprehensive examination of the history of clothing. . . . Each chapter targets a specific period and opens with an accurate and selectively detailed time line and an introduction to the era and the milestones in clothing and textiles, laying an appropriate foundation for the discussion that follows. The narrative is interspersed with plentiful, boxed supplementary material about historical topics mentioned in the text. Each chapter is appended with further reading suggestions (including Web sites), and a list of films, documentaries, and television shows. A user-friendly glossary concludes each volume. The authoritative presentation is enhanced by reproductions of paintings, decorations, and photos, in black-and-white throughout and in several pages of color inserts in each book. . . . An outstanding purchase with an ambitious scope."—School Library Journal, August 1, 2008

"From costume designers to students of social history, this set will prove a valuable tool."—Lawrence Looks at Books, April 1, 2008

". . . a very thorough and well-organized coverage of its subject. . . . The surveys of history are factual and very concise and work well enough for their purpose. . . . I would expect it to be of most value to senior school and undergraduate students, to interested general readers, and to students of other disciplines coming to the study of clothing within or as a background to their own disciplines. . . . for many libraries serving those users, including large public libraries, it could prove a useful investment."—Reference Reviews, March 24, 2009

"The essays are informative . . . The best ones engagingly integrate political and cultural history with textile and clothing information."—ARBA, March 1, 2009

"Every chapter in the collection is soundly written, highly readable, and full of absorbing detail."—Journal of Anthropological Research, June 1, 2010
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.