Vintage Books | Want To Learn About Vintage? Read These Books!

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Forbes online (who knew they had a style section?) recently interviewed two of the biggest names in vintage fashion – Kerry Taylor of Kerry Taylor Auctions and Doris Raymond of The Way We Wore. The vintage mavens give us an insider’s view on the best books to read if you want to learn about wearing, selling, or collecting vintage fashion.

I don’t want to copy and paste, so I’ll just give you links and list the ones I own and agree with, as well as give you my personal favorite books that are in my resource library right now!

Happy reading!

Kerry Taylor’s vintage books picks

Doris Raymond’s vintage books picks

My picks:
I agree with Kerry Taylor on The Couture Accessory, by Caroline Rennolds Milbank. It’s a beautifully photographed book all about the little accouterments that make us look at a runway show beyond the garments.

Doris Raymond and I have similar taste in vintage fashion books. I agree with Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century Kyoto Costume Institute. I was lucky enough to find it on sale at Barnes and Noble. But do yourself a favor – invest in this two book set. it gives a breadth of information on important looks in the last three centuries.

New York Fashion: The Evolution of American Style by Caroline Rennolds Milbank – this book does an excellent job of covering some of the most important American designers. You can find it used at a great price.

And here are some more to consider:

Costume Jewelry for Haute Couture by Florence Müller – a stunning collection of haute couture jewelry with a brief history on the makers of the exquisite pieces for Chanel, YSL and Pierre Cardin.

The Seductive Shoe and Forties Fashion: From Siren Suits To The New Look by Jonathan Walford – Jonathan knows his stuff. Jonathan, a fashion historian, curator, and private collector, was the founding curator of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. Both these books go beyond pretty pictures and really give you a historian’s perspective on these impressive collections.

20th Century Fashion: The Complete Sourcebook and The Complete Fashion Sourcebook 1920s-1980s by John Peacock – while most fashion history books have gorgeous color or black and white photography, Peacock’s books are all illustrated with typical garments of the decade, broken down by purpose of wear (day, evening, bridal, underwear, accessories, etc.) and further categorized in 2-3 year spans. If you ever wanted to know if a dress was from 1940 versus 1943, these books would help you determine that! I really love that these books also feature menswear and clothing that normal people wore during the period. Not everyone wore haute couture and the chances of you stumbling across such a rare piece are slim, unless of course you are Kerry or Doris.

photo: The Princess Blog via

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1 Jeanne Suica { 10.29.10 at 8:07 am }

Thanks for an interesting post! The Kyoto book is amazing. I’ve been lucky enough to have sold some of the same pieces as they have. I’m going to add some of these other titles to my library as well!

2 Sandra { 11.14.10 at 7:22 am }

Hello Jeanne! Been missing you. Thanks for stopping by! Hope you are well.

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