Ten Gifts for Fashion Lovers

4 min read

Clothes and fashion have played a major role in our society for centuries. From the traditional clothing of bygone eras to fast, modern designs, fashion is an ever-changing aspect of our society. 

This vintage book list has been carefully selected for lovers of fashion. Sharing sewing tips, wedding advice and the history of clothes and costume, any one of these volume would make a wonderful Christmas gift. 


A Visual History of Costume, Penelope Byrde (1986)


This book covers the history of fashion from the early twentieth century to the present day. Containing straightforward reference material and practical advice, it is the perfect book for anyone interested in the history of dress. The content is interspersed with illustrations, taken from the 19th Century and displaying paintings, photos, woodcuts, line drawings and engravings. With a detailed introduction and intriguing notes, this book is a fascinating read for students, professional designers and collectors alike. 




  • The Changing Shape of Fashion Through the Years, Jane Dorner (1974)

  • The revolution of fashion has been written about in many books. From styles that have stuck to swiftly changing concepts, the evolution of fashion is inevitable. Shifting from the extravagance of eighteenth century dress to the eclectic styles of twentieth century clothing, this book shares numerous ‘fashionable’ looks. Jane Dorner writes with knowledge and wit, observing the changing history of fashion and the impact of such developments on the fashion industry and on our society. Filled with illustrations and fascinating facts, this book would certainly make a lovely Christmas gift. 


  • The Cult of the Needle, Flora Klickmann (Undated c 1900)


    If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to sewing, then this book is the perfect choice. Illustrated throughout, the volume contains easy sewing instructions. From European embroidery techniques to hem stitching, knotting and braiding, netting, wool work and lace, the pages are packet with a variety of needlecrafts. Flora Klickmann demonstrates how to create certain stitches whilst also advising on needlework tools and mending methods. Using dolls as aids, she offers a treasure trove of techniques and tips for the budding seamstress. 


    The Technique of Fashion Design, Brenda Naylor (1975)


    This book is ideal for sewers wishing to master basic needlework techniques. Including straightforward instructions on sewing plus information about the art of garment making, it is a great guide. Brenda Naylor explores different styles and cuts in relation to the human figure and shares her advice on tailoring, trimming and manufacturing clothing. Her commentary is accompanied by a number of drawings which are peppered throughout the text to stimulate creative ideas.  If you’re looking for a Christmas present for a seamstress or fashion lover, this volume could be the perfect choice. 


    Streamlined dressmaking, Renee & Juilian Robinson (1966)


    This book offers some great advice for professional designers and inexperienced sewers alike. Filled with vintage patterns, it is a fascinating read. Fashion has changed dramatically throughout the decades. While many of the basic design techniques remain the same, styles and attitudes have certainly developed. In this book, the authors break down various sewing techniques into simple steps and also comment on how to finish garments properly. This volume is well illustrated throughout and is a must have book for sewers and all those interested in the history of fashion. 


    English Fashion, Alison Settle (1948)


    English Fashion explores the fashion trends of past decades. The author, Alison Settle, was a fashion journalist and editor and her knowledge of the industry shines through in her writing. She worked forThe Observer, Vogue and other publications, rendering her an authority on the subject of fashion. While fashion is often considered a feminine concern, it was an important concern for men in the past, as Settle explores. The book is fully illustrated and illustrates how clothing styles have changed over times. 


    Observer’s Book of European Costume, Geoffrey Squire & Pauline Baynes(Undated)



    Containing an overview of European fashions, this book is an intriguing read. From early 1st century costume all the way up to 19th century dress, the pages are filled with fascinating and  scholarly information. The writing is accompanied by beautiful ‘frize’ illustrations, created by Pauline Baynes. Discussing the clothes of the rich and the poor, Geoffrey Squire brings early European fashion to life on the page. The book is a vibrant guide to changing European fashions and the societal, political and social factors that influenced stylistic change. 


    Love Unlocks the Door, Annie S. Swan (1928)


    Discussions about fashion tend to be limited to non-fiction titles. This book however tells the tale of a female protagonist who knows everything about the latest fashions and the ladies who buy such quality clothes. Written by one of Scotland’s pioneering female journalists, Annie Swan, the writing shines with a feminine quality. It is one of over 200 novels written by Swan who was an accomplished writer of women’s romantic fiction. The book is enchanting from start to finish and is the ideal choice for readers interested in fashion, fiction and of course romance. 


    Vera Wang on Weddings, Vera Wang (2001)



    Vera Wang brings a new era of bridal fashion in this delightful book. Gathered from her many years in the wedding business, she offers advice on all aspects of the wedding day. From invitations and flowers to cakes, guests and the all important dress, Wang’s pearls of wisdom are truly inspiring. While the volume is more modern than other books on this list, it contains a number of vibrant vintage designs. Filled with wonderful anecdotes, photos, sketches, practical advice and wedding visions, this wonderful book is perfect for all blushing brides. 


    To sum up 

    Fashion reflects ideological change in society. It is a fascinating subject, particularly from a historical perspective. 

    If you know someone who would love to read a vintage fashion or sewing book for Christmas, then you’ve come to the right place. You’re just in time to buy a volume or two before the festive season truly begins. 

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