It’s the turn of Clothing. I wrote before about my favorite food books for fiction writing, but clothing is fun to research, too. Not as much fun as food, because obviously.
Best Clothing Resource Book EVER
My one go-to book for clothing research and inspiration, another book I checked out of the library so often I figured it would be cheaper to buy a copy than to pay for the gas, is HISTORIC COSTUME FOR THE STAGE by Lucy Barton, illustrated by David Sarvis.
Each chapter is for a period in (mostly) Western culture (that’s its one flaw: it deals with European costume except for the first few chapters — Egyptian, Biblical, Green, Roman, and Byzantine/Romanesque).
Each chapter begins with a chart giving the approximate dates covered, some important names and events, a few plays that would use this style discusses the general culture, General Characteristics of Costume, appearance of men (including hair, facial hair, hats and/or wigs, shoes, specifically male variations of the general costume), appearance of women, appearance of children, motifs, decoration, accessories, jewelry, the setting, practical reproduction, and further resources.
There are also several pages of highly useful and informative illustrations in each chapter. Here’s one for Roman male costume with patterns and measurements.
The book goes so far as to tell you what materials were used in making the clothing, and what modern materials most closely resemble it, so you can use descriptions of texture in your book: Does the headpiece caress the sides of the face, or chafe? What sound would the priest’s robe make against stone?
Another sad thing about this book is that it only takes you up to 1914 (it’s copyright 1935), but it’s brilliant for deeper historicals.
Go git ‘er!
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character has to wear clothing from an earlier time for a day.