My goal in writing this book is to simplify and modernize the complex but fascinating subject of evolving fashion and to put the information in logical perspective for genealogists, schools, libraries, theatre companies, costume design students and anyone interested in fashion.
Unless one is going to design the costumes for a period film or needs to pass a college exam on the subject, most people do not need to know “everything” written in sometimes verbose history of costume books.
Therefore, since “a picture is worth a thousand words,” I have tried to make each decade easily identifiable by illustrating and articulating the definitive differences in styles worn by men, women, and children in the 19th and 20th centuries. These illustrations are shown alongside simplified descriptive text that points out distinguishing Style Clues for the Fashion Detective.
In addition, because not everyone wore identical clothes, I have included the variations of styles that were worn simultaneously in each decade. These show the reader how to recognize telltale style clues that time-date an era.
Through the years I have observed, and confirmed through research for this book, that there are often contradictions between various history of costume books for time-dating clothes. This is probably because they are reviewing different museum collections in different parts of the world or studying differing authors.