Fashion theory reading list


Cumming, Valerie Understanding Fashion History (London, 2004)


Arnold, Janet A handbook of costume (London, 1973)

Taylor, Lou The Study of Dress History (Manchester, 2002)

Material culture

de la Haye, Amy and Elizabeth Wilson Defining Dress: Dress as object, meaning and identity (Manchester, 1999)

Küchler, Susanne and Daniel Miller Clothing as Material Culture (Oxford, 2005)


Barthes, Roland The Fashion System (London,1985)

Breward, Christopher and Caroline Evan Fashion and Modernity (Oxford, 2004)

Carlyle, Thomas Sartor Resartus (London, 1838)

Carter, Michael Fashion Classics from Carlyle to Barthes (Oxford, 2003)

Kawamura, Yuniya Fashion-ology: An Introduction to Fashion Studies (Oxford, 2005)

Konig, Réné The restless image (London, 1973)

Veblen, Thorstein The theory of the leisure class (London, 1899)

Wilson, Elizabeth Adorned in dreams: fashion and modernity (London, 1985)

Johnson, Kim KP et al (eds) Fashion Foundations: Early Writings on Fashion and Dress (Oxford, 2003)


Bell, Quentin On human finery (London, 1947)

Flügel, Johann Carl The psychology of clothes (London, 1930)

Langner, Lawrence The Importance of Wearing Clothes (London 1959)

Laver, James Modesty in dress: an enquiry into the fundamentals of fashion (London, 1969)

Laver, James Taste and fashion (London, 1945)

Rudofsky, Bernard The unfashionable human body (London, 1972)

Lurie, Alison The language of clothes (New York, 1983)

Cultural and social history

Ash, Juliet and Lee Wright (eds), Components of Dress:Design, Manufacture and Image-making in the Fashion Industry (London, 1988)

Ash Juliet and Elizabeth Wilson ( eds), Chic Thrills: A Fashion Reader (Pandora, 1992)

Breward, Christopher The culture of fashion (Manchester, 1995)

Hall, Stuart and Tony Jefferson (eds) Resistance through Rituals: Youth subcultures in post-war Britain (London,  1976)

Hebdige, Dick Subculture: The Meaning of Style Methuen & Co, 1979

Jessica  Munns and Penny Richards (eds) The Clothes that Wear Us: Essays on Dressing and Transgressing in Eighteenth-Century Culture (London, 1999)

Polhemus, Ted and Lynn Proctor Fashion and Anti-Fashion: anthropology of clothing and adornment (London, 1978)

Polhemus, Ted and Lynn Proctor Pop Styles (London, 1984)

Polhemus, Ted Streetstyle: from Sidewalk to Catwalk (London, 1994)

Gender and sexuality

Burman, Barbara and Carole Turbin Material Strategies: Dress, and Gender in Historical Perspective (London, 2003)

Cole, Shaun Don we now our gay apparel (Oxford, 2000)

Cunnington, C Willet Why Women Wear Clothes (London, 1941)

D'Aurevilly, Jules-Barbery Who's a Dandy? (London, 2002)

Ekins, Richard and Dave King (eds) Blending Genders (Routledge, 1996)

Ekins, Richard Male Femaling Routledge, 1997

Fillin-Yeh, Susan, Dandies: Fashion and Finesse Art and Culture (New York, 2001)

Gaines, Jane and  Charlotte Herzog (eds) Fabrications: Costume and the Female Body (London, 1990)

Glynn, Prudence Skin to Skin: Eroticism in Dress (London, 1982)

Hollander, Anne Sex and Suits (New York, 1994)

Harvey, John Men in Black (London, 1995)

Kidwell, Claudia Brush and Valerie Steele Men and women: dressing the part (Washington, 1989)

Kuchta, David The Three-Piece Suit and Modern Masculinity (Berkley and Los Angeles, 2002)

Steele, Valerie Fashion and eroticism: ideals of feminine beauty from the Victorian era through the Jazz age (New York, 1985)

Steele, Valerie Fetish: Fashion, Sex & Power (Oxford, 1996)


Breward, Christopher et al (eds) The Englishness of English Dress (Berg, 2002)

Crane, Diane Fashion and its Social Agendas: Class, Gender and Identity in Clothing (Chicago, 000)

Davis, Fred Fashion, Culture, and Identity (Chicago, 1992)

El Guindi, Fadwa Veil: Modesty, Privacy & Resistance (Oxford, 1999)

Hooks, Bell Black Looks: Race and Representation (London, 1992)


Arnold, Rebecca Fashion, Desire and Anxiety: Image and Morality in the 20th century (London, 2001)

Binder, Polly Muffs and Morals (London, 1953)

Emberley, Julia V Venus and furs: the cultural politics of fur (London, 1998)

Evans, Caroline Fashion at the edge: spectacle, modernity and deathliness (London, 2003)

Ribeiro, Aileen Dress and Morality (Oxford, 2003)

Art history

Clark, Judith Spectres: When Fashion Turns Back (London, 2004)

Hollander, Anne Seeing through clothes (New York, 1978)

Mackrell, Alice Art and Fashion: The Impact of Art on Fashion and Fashion on Art (London, 2005)

Martin, Richard Fashion and Surrealism (London, 1990)

Muller, Florence Art and Fashion (London, 2000)

Squire, Geoffrey Dress, art and society 1560-1970 (London, 1974)


McDowell, Colin The literary companion to fashion (London 1995)


Fashion Theory: Journal of Dress, Body and Culture published quarterly by Berg

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Dressing Dangerously - Dysfunctional Fashion in Film (Hardback)

Dressing Dangerously - Dysfunctional Fashion in Film (Hardback)

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