The Complete Costume Dictionary
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About the author
Elizabeth J. Lewandowski is professor of Theatre in Costume Design at Midwestern State University (Wichita Falls, Texas).
While there are costume and fashion dictionaries tied to specific countries or periods, none have been comprehensive. In The Complete Costume Dictionary, Elizabeth Lewandowski has collected from a variety of sources—including costume history texts, journal articles, historical publications, autobiographies, biographies, foreign language dictionaries, and contemporary publications—to create a resource that spans the globe, from the earliest record of fashion to the 21st century.
Including more than 20,000 fashion and costume terms, this volume also features more than 300 illustrations. The first section of the book is an alphabetical listing of these words with their definitions, period, and country of origin. This volume also contains appendixes that list the terms by country of origin, period, and type of clothing. The book is not limited to the Western World and includes both archaic and current terms.
Significantly greater in scope than anything currently available—online or in print—this one-of-a-kind publication is an invaluable resource for costume and fashion historians, textile preservationists, period re-enactors, and history and theatre scholars, as well as theatre professionals.
; October 2011
622 pages; ISBN 9780810877856Read online
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Title: The Complete Costume Dictionary
Author: Elizabeth J. Lewandowski
In the press
The Complete Costume Dictionary is a culturally and chronologically comprehensive collection of 20,000 terms collected by Lewandowski, a professor of costume design. In addition to garments, Lewandowski defines materials (Bakelite, Zebra feathers); dyes (Madder, Cochineal); colors (Alice blue, Loden green); hairstyles (Badger whiskers, Flying Saucer); jewelry (Friendship bracelet, Swamy jewelry); and myriad accessories, such as Dragon’s blood cane (a cane made from the Malay dragon palm), Downy calves (“false pads worn by men in appropriate places in tights to produce more attractive legs”), and Giraffe comb (a high tortoiseshell hair comb). Slang terms abound, including the evocative Bum-freezer (a man’s short coat) and Dead Spaniard (an Elizabethan term for a pale grayish-tan color). Appendixes list terms by type of item, era, and country. Items include 750 varieties of lace (Barlycorns, Holly point) and 280 undergarments (Merry widow, False hips, and Amazon corset). India, France, and the UK are best represented among the 130 countries included, but there are also 300 Vietnamese and 200 Palestinian terms. Chronology extends from ancient Egypt to the mid-1980s. Entries are one word to one paragraph long. Most include the era and country, followed by a definition. Some are simply translations, such as Ardilla(Spanish for “squirrel”) or Argent (French for “silver”). Others are very brief, such as that for Labret, a lip-plug described as “Mayan” without mentioning its use in other cultures. The volume includes 250 black-and-white illustrations, 50 color plates, and an eight-page bibliography. The Complete Costume Dictionary is recommended for academic and public libraries supporting theater departments or art programs.