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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Costume Design

A guide to Library resources on costume design, construction, and history.


Reference sources are a great place to start your research when you need to gather initial information about a topic or get a rough overview of a subject so you can decide what areas to research further. Reference books and online tools are also excellent for looking up a quick fact, definition, or date, and they will often direct you to more sources.

If none of the recommended resources are quite what you're looking for, try a search in the library catalog for the subject you're researching and "reference", "handbook", "guide", or "companion" to see what reference materials we might have on the subject. Remember that you can always reach out to a librarian for help if your search doesn't turn up promising results!

Choosing a Reference Source

We've divided our recommendations by category: encyclopedias, dictionaries, and biographies. Browse the selected reference materials in the box below by clicking through the tabs to navigate the different categories.

  • Encyclopedias can provide helpful introductions or overviews, and they are an excellent source for checking quick facts. 
  • Dictionaries are a useful resource for navigating the subject's unique terminology.
  • Biographies are an excellent reference for learning about a particular designer's life and history.

Selected Reference Materials

Reference Material and Books on Hats, Shoes, and Jewelry