Provides a broad overview of costume traditions of diverse cultures from prehistoric times to the present day. Examines more than 430 items of human decoration and adornment, ranging from togas to turbans, necklaces to tennis shoes. Explores how and why items were created, the people who made them, and their uses. This set shows how clothing, headwear, body decorations, and footwear reflect the different cultural, religious, and societal beliefs.
Written for high school level readers and above, this encyclopedia is general in its treatment, but the editors have included descriptions of an impressive selection of very specific and frequently obscure clothing articles. Each of the many short sections includes a summary of the history of the culture or era and a short bibliography of popular sources and websites. The volumes are illustrated, though not copiously, with good quality color and b&w illustrations. The seven authors are freelance writers and college instructors in the US who have contributed to other encyclopediae of this level. Volume 1 treats ancient times, with sections on the clothing, headwear, footwear, and body decorations of prehistoric people; ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome; Mesopotamia; and India. The main subjects of the remaining four volumes are early global cultures, European culture, and England and the US, through 2003.