Encyclopedia of National Dress
Traditional Clothing around the World
by Jill Condra, Editor
April 2013, 813pp, 7x10
2 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-0-313-37636-8
$198, £153, 173€, A272
eBook Available: 978-0-313-37637-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Clothing is the most intimate of material cultures: what people wear is often symbolic of past history or cultural heritage. From the shalwar kamez worn in Afghanistan to the silk áo dài of Vietnam, studying the dress of a country or ethnic group provides value insights into their culture and identity.

This two-volume set presents information and images of the varied clothing and textiles of cultures around the world, allowing readers to better appreciate the richness and diversity of human culture and history.

The contributors to Encyclopedia of National Dress: Traditional Clothing around the World examine clothing that is symbolic of the people who live in regions all over the world, providing a historical and geographic perspective that illustrates how people dress and explains the reasons behind the material, design, and style.

The encyclopedia features a preface and introduction to its contents. Each entry in the encyclopedia includes a short historical and geographical background for the topic before discussing the clothing of people in that country or region of the world. This work will be of great interest to high school students researching fashion, fashion history, or history as well as to undergraduate students and general readers interested in anthropology, textiles, fashion, ethnology, history, or ethnic dress.


  • Contributions from over 50 experts in their field
  • Dozens of photographs
  • A bibliographic listing of further reading and references with each section
Jill Condra is an independent author and editor. She has taught in the area of clothing and textiles history at the University of British Columbia, the University of Prince Edward Island, and the University of Manitoba. Her costume research has been largely based on using material-history models to study clothing in historical context. Condra's published works include Greenwood's Clothing Through American History: The Civil War Through the Gilded Age, 1861-1899 and The Guide to Textiles for Interiors, 3rd Edition. She is also editor of The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Clothing through World History.


"Matters of race, gender, and class form part of the content in each entry, since those elements may be differentiated, depending on the country, by garments, jewelry, accessories, makeup, body paint, and body modifications. . . . Recommended."—Choice, January 1, 2014

"This work has many strengths. It makes it clear from the start that most examples of clothes preserved in museums around the world belonged to the aristocracy and the elite, and are not representative of what ordinary citizens would wear. . . . [F]or those looking for an addition to their fashion or general history collection, this is an excellent, accessible, and affordable option."—Reference Reviews, May 1, 2014

"Traditional costumes from more than 130 nations, regions, and islands are detailed in 80-plus entries. The basic entry format is an overview of the nation’s history and geography, a synopsis of typical style of clothing for men and women, and, in some cases, mention of jewelry, special occasion/regional dress, and body modification/body art. The nontechnical, straightforward material is written by specialists, such as fashion historians and museum curators, many of whom reside in the country of which they write. Articles of clothing are well described and often accompanied by black-and-white photographs."—Library Journal, July 1, 2013

"Overall, the Encyclopedia of National Dress offers a good introduction to an important visual marker of any cultural group's clothing."—ARBA, July 1, 2013
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