Claire’s fancy-pants HISTORICAL FASHION MASTER POST

shoomlah:

So my historical costuming resources list from 2011 was less than a page long- I’m not saying that I’ve learned a lot in the past three years, but this list is now sitting pretty at a solid nine pages.  Whew.  And people wonder why I want to redo this damn series.

This list is by no means an exhaustive one- it’s a list of (primarily western) historical fashion resources, both online and offline, that is limited to what I know, own, or use!  It’s a work in progress, and I’m definitely hoping to expand on it as my knowledge base grows.  First things first, how about a little:

ADVICE FOR RESEARCHING HISTORICAL FASHION

  • Read, and read about more than just costuming.  Allowing yourself to understand the cultural and historical context surrounding the clothing of a particular region/period can be invaluable in sussing out good costume design.  Looking at pictures is all well and good, but reading about societal pressures, about construction techniques, daily routines, local symbolism, whatever else will really help you understand the rhyme and reason behind costuming from any given context.
  • Expand your costume vocabulary.  When you’re delving into a new topic, costuming or otherwise, picking up new terminology is essential to proper understanding and furthering your research.  Write down or take note of terms as you come across them- google them, look up synonyms, and use those words as a jumping off point for more research.  What’s a wire rebato?  How does it differ from a supportasse?  Inquiring minds want to know.
  • Double-check your sources.  Especially on the internet, and double especially on tumblr.  I love it, but it’s ground zero for rapidly spreading misinformation.  Books are usually your safest bet, but also take into account their date of publication, who’s writing them- an author’s biases can severely mangle their original source material.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Do everything you can to find out information on your own, but feel free to reach out to people with more specialized areas of knowledge for help!  Be considerate about it- the people you’re asking are busy as well- but a specific line of questioning that proves you’re passionate and that you respect their subject matter expertise can work wonders.

Okay, onto the links!

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of getting off the internet and looking into books!  God bless the internet, but books are (generally, this isn’t a rule) better-researched and better-sourced.  Bibliographies also mean each individual books can be a jumping off point for further research, which is always a fantastic thing.

Remember- owning books is awesome and you should absolutely assemble your own library of resources, but LIBRARIES.  Libraries.  You’ll be surprised to find what books are available to you at your local library.

GENERAL / SURVEYS

Patterns fo Fashion books
Detailed, hand-drawn diagrams of historical fashion, inside and out.  Pretty amazing stuff.

Fashion in Detail books
Not what you want if you’re looking for photos of entire costumes- note the “in detail” bit up there.  Just a beautiful series, and great reference for all the little things you might miss otherwise.  The V&A has an amazing fashion collection, and it’s great to see them share it with the world.

Keep reading

Broader than period, but still good information.

I am bigender and predominately masculine, though am biologically female, and I am exceedingly uncomfortable in dresses. Unfortunately, my persona is an 800-900 AD fighter and craftwoman, also peasant. I’ve been notified that the further i get in the SCA, I will most likely be required, or requested, to wear dresses, due to it being period for females. This is uncomfortable enough that I’m not sure I’d be willing to stay. Silly problem, i’m sure, but it bothers me. Any information around this?

“likely be required, or requested, to wear dresses, due to it being period for females.”

First of all, I kind of want to give the stink eye to whomever told you that. Because I don’t see it as accurate at all.

You need to be comfortable in whatever you decide to adorn yourself with – whatever region, time period, persona, culture – I don’t care. YOU need to be comfortable, otherwise why wear it?

As you go “further” in the SCA – meaning, the longer you are in – it is generally perceived that your kit (fighting kit, garb, feast gear, whatever) should improve. I have been in the SCA just over 4 years (5 in April 2016), and I am nowhere near where I want to be in terms of my kit. Will I ever be 100% spot-on period? Probably not. But I would still like a nice day camp set up and decent kit for feast.

All that being said, there is nothing and nobody shouting down from the heavens saying you HAVE to wear dresses, even with a female persona. There is plenty of evidence of cross-dressing throughout period (the church had lots of OMG DON’T DO IT which means SOMEONE was doing it), and in some areas/periods (like Tang Dynasty China) females wearing male clothing wasn’t a big deal.

Alternatively, you could also have a male persona. Or an alternate persona that is male. Like, say Rhoswen Vihjalmsdottir is your main persona, you could also have Ragnar Vihjalmsson as her brother. But honestly? Do whatever you want. Don’t feel like you have to divide who you are (with personas) in order to be comfortable.

Just be comfortable. Wear what you want. Cultivate a support network within the SCA so that if someone gives you guff, you can lean back on people who love you – and those people will give the guff-givers the stinkiest of eyes and the firmest of talkings-to.

But you asked for information, and so information I will give you. <3

Transvestite Knights: Men and Women Cross-dressing in Medieval Literature
(full text viewable online for free)
Kerkhof, D.L.
(2013)
Faculty of Humanities Theses
(Master thesis)
Abstract: My thesis looks at cross-dressing knights in medieval literature and tries to answer why cross-dressing was common in literature while in reality, cross-dressers were seen as sinful. I look specifically at Ulrich von Liecthtenstein’s “In the Service of Ladies”, Malory’s “Le Morte d’Arthur”, “Berengier au Long Cul”, Dietrich von der Glezze’s “Der Borte”, Heldris of Cornwall’s “Le Roman de Silence”, and “Yde et Olive”. A number of historical sources are also studied in order to understand the medieval literature. The importance of intention as well as what kinds of clothes were worn to cross-dress and how the different genders were viewed is also discussed.

Early, Erotic and Alien: Women Dressed as Men in Late Medieval London


(check your library for full text)

History Workshop Journal (2014) 
doi: 10.1093/hwj/dbt046

Judith M. Bennett and Shannon McSheffrey
Abstract: 

Cross-dressing by premodern women is often viewed as practical and instrumental (for example, women dressed as men to get jobs or to travel), while modern women’s donning of male garb is usually interpreted as expressing contemporary queer identities. This article introduces a more flexible view of female cross-dressing in the distant past, using the cases of thirteen women cited for such activities in London records between 1450 and 1553. These cases are placed within both the broad context of European practice before the eighteenth century and the specific context of cross-dressing women in premodern London itself. The article argues, first, that cross-dressing by women is not a recent phenomenon, but instead has a scattered but fairly continuous history that stretches back centuries. Second, the article shows that female cross-dressing could be as playful and erotic as male cross-dressing; most of the eroticism of female transgressive dress was, however, linked to prostitution and male erotic desires. Third, it explores how London authorities sought to distance themselves from the perceived vice of female cross-dressing by characterizing the practice as foreign to their City and its culture. The appendix includes a full listing of all known cases of cross-dressing in London before 1603.

Le Roman de Silence

Heldris of Cornwall, first half of the 13th Century
Summary: The story is set in England, and starts with the king decreeing that only boys can inherit property. The nobles get mad, and Lord Cador of Cornwall and his wife decide to name their daughter “Silentius” and raise her as a boy. Years later Nature shows up and gets into a fight with Silentius because she’s really GOOD AT BEING A BOY so much so that all the young eligible ladies are falling in love with her. 
Facing page translation English/French: [Amazon] [Worldcat]

FREE EBOOK: Woven into the Earth by Else Østergård

FREE EBOOK: Woven into the Earth by Else Østergård

Chinese Onomastics

What are the go to documentation sources for Chinese names?

Anonymous

One thing to consider when doing research regarding China in an SCA context is that you’re one of a relatively small number.

I wasn’t able to find any traditional “books” for Chinese onomastics (fancy word for first names), but I did find some relevant resources.

Introduction to Pre-16th Century Chinese Onomastics
by Ii Katsumori
SCA Heraldry Website [Link]

The Onomastics of Medieval South China: Patterned Naming in the Lang-Yeh and T’ai-Yüan Wang
by Dennis Grafflin
Journal of the American Oriental Society [JSTOR Link]

What IS a Name? Reflections on Onomastics
by William Bright, University of Colorado 
Language and Linguistics [Link]

What’s in an early Chinese name, again? [In German]by Wolfgang Behr

Academia.edu [Link]

Hope this helps!

sca-nerd:

tove-the-tailor:

How about instead of doing persona name research I just sit here and cry because it is 100% as effective.

I had a name. But I have to add stuff to it and possibly shift my time to accommodate it. But I don’t know for sure yet, I still have to talk to herald so they can make me cry.

*offers help, tea, and a cookie?*

Seriously, though! I’d be more than happy to help you find stuff.

An Exorcism in Elizabethan London | History Today

An Exorcism in Elizabethan London | History Today

Hello there! Could you perhaps refer to me any other sca or renfaire tumblrs similar to yours? Sorry if you already have a page for this but i’m on mobile atm.

image

Detail from Leiden University Library, 1610, by Jan Cornelis Woudanus [Link]

Goodness! That’s tough… How about some people/organizations that I follow and adore? Will that work?

(If someone knows about a tumblr similar to mine, please let me know! Because that is awesome. 😀 )

@medievalpoc
@medievalistsnet
@openmarginalis
@elenarosadavenezia
@featherbottomcorner
@sca-nerd
@britishlibraryimages
@upennmanuscripts
@sexycodicology
@eadfrith
@villagenerd
@valkyriehistorian
@historyoffashion

If I missed a nifty one, reblog and let me know!

Tang Dynasty (618-907) Bibliography

(Don’t mind the pic. We took our color schemes from ponies, because of reasons.)

Benn, C. (2010). China’s golden age: everyday life in the Tang dynasty. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004.
[Link]This was a great all-over source for me, especially since I didn’t want to just “do the outfits.” I would consider this a must-have for Tang Dynasty research.

Bonds, A. B. (2008). Beijing opera costumes: The visual communication of character and culture. Honolulu: University of Hawaii.
[Link]This was interesting, but not super helpful for Tang. The appendix with garment diagrams, especially the pleating, was the only thing I used this for. It may be useful for other time periods, with the caveat that this is a modern stage interpretation of historic garments.

H. C. [user25056]. (2014, May 3.) How to wear a traditional Chinese garment called ‘Quixiong Ruqun’[Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGSylLPJ42o
I’m not sure if I would have figured out how the skirt works if I hadn’t seen this video.

Johns, J. (4 June 2011). China’s disappearing clothing. We Drive East.  Retrieved from: https://wedriveeast.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/chinas-disappearing-clothing/
This blog of a Fullbright scholar is centered on the history of Chinese breast-binding, but as I can’t read Chinese, her summaries of Chinese sources describing the evolution of undergarment was invaluable.

Ling, S. (14 Dec 2012). More on the Hezi (Undergarment). Dressed up dreams. Retrieved from http://dressed-up-dreams.blogspot.com/2012/12/more-on-hezi-undergarment.html
More interesting information about the Hezi – take with a grain of salt.

Ling, S. (22 Nov 2012). (An extremely long post on) Tang costume history. Dressed up dreams. Retrieved from http://dressed-up-dreams.blogspot.com/2012/11/an-extremely-long-post-on-tang-costume.html
Overview of Tang Dynasty clothing. Not many sources cited.

Mei, H. (2011). Chinese clothing. New York: Cambridge University Press.
[Link]This is a pretty slim volume, and she takes a lot from 5000 Years. Still, the information is good, if brief.

Ministry of Culture, People’s Republic of China. (2003).Secrets of Women’s Underwear in Ancient China. ChinaCulture.org. Retrieved from http://www.chinaculture.org/gb/en_artqa/2006-08/04/content_84371_4.htm
I’m not sure what to think of these little articles – you get no sense of real authorship. Still, the information is in line with what I found elsewhere.

Ravenfea (18 Jun 2010). Ramie fabric – the new (old) linen? Ravenfea: Maker of various fabric things.Retrieved from http://raevenfea.com/learning/ramie-fabric-the-new-old-linen/
Overview of linen vs. ramie.

Shaorong, Y. (2004). Traditional Chinese clothing: Costumes, adornments and culture. San Francisco: Long River Press.
[Link]
This is even slimmer than Mei’s book, but it goes garment by garment, so it’s helpful regardless of time period.

Vainker, S. (2004). Chinese silk: A cultural history. Newark, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
[Link]This was an invaluable source for me when it came to materials – it has lots of amazing photos of extant fabrics, and some great discussion about what weaves, colors, and techniques were used.

Zhou, X. & Gao, C. (1987). 5000 Years of Chinese costume. Tsui-Yee Tang (Ed.) Hong Kong: China Books and Periodicals.
[Link]If I could only own one book of this list, 5000 Years would be it. It’s huge, it’s got lots of great reproduction diagrams of outfits along with period illustrations, and it covers pretty much everything. I focused on Tang, but it has sections for each time period. It can be spendy, but I had success with interlibrary-loan.

If you’re interested in my overview/construction notes – I’ve got them right here.

Tang Dynasty (618-907) Bibliography

(Don’t mind the pic. We took our color schemes from ponies, because of reasons.)

Benn, C. (2010). China’s golden age: everyday life in the Tang dynasty. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004.
[Link]This was a great all-over source for me, especially since I didn’t want to just “do the outfits.” I would consider this a must-have for Tang Dynasty research.

Bonds, A. B. (2008). Beijing opera costumes: The visual communication of character and culture. Honolulu: University of Hawaii.
[Link]This was interesting, but not super helpful for Tang. The appendix with garment diagrams, especially the pleating, was the only thing I used this for. It may be useful for other time periods, with the caveat that this is a modern stage interpretation of historic garments.

H. C. [user25056]. (2014, May 3.) How to wear a traditional Chinese garment called ‘Quixiong Ruqun’[Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGSylLPJ42o
I’m not sure if I would have figured out how the skirt works if I hadn’t seen this video.

Johns, J. (4 June 2011). China’s disappearing clothing. We Drive East.  Retrieved from: https://wedriveeast.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/chinas-disappearing-clothing/
This blog of a Fullbright scholar is centered on the history of Chinese breast-binding, but as I can’t read Chinese, her summaries of Chinese sources describing the evolution of undergarment was invaluable.

Ling, S. (14 Dec 2012). More on the Hezi (Undergarment). Dressed up dreams. Retrieved from http://dressed-up-dreams.blogspot.com/2012/12/more-on-hezi-undergarment.html
More interesting information about the Hezi – take with a grain of salt.

Ling, S. (22 Nov 2012). (An extremely long post on) Tang costume history. Dressed up dreams. Retrieved from http://dressed-up-dreams.blogspot.com/2012/11/an-extremely-long-post-on-tang-costume.html
Overview of Tang Dynasty clothing. Not many sources cited.

Mei, H. (2011). Chinese clothing. New York: Cambridge University Press.
[Link]This is a pretty slim volume, and she takes a lot from 5000 Years. Still, the information is good, if brief.

Ministry of Culture, People’s Republic of China. (2003).Secrets of Women’s Underwear in Ancient China. ChinaCulture.org. Retrieved from http://www.chinaculture.org/gb/en_artqa/2006-08/04/content_84371_4.htm
I’m not sure what to think of these little articles – you get no sense of real authorship. Still, the information is in line with what I found elsewhere.

Ravenfea (18 Jun 2010). Ramie fabric – the new (old) linen? Ravenfea: Maker of various fabric things.Retrieved from http://raevenfea.com/learning/ramie-fabric-the-new-old-linen/
Overview of linen vs. ramie.

Shaorong, Y. (2004). Traditional Chinese clothing: Costumes, adornments and culture. San Francisco: Long River Press.
[Link]
This is even slimmer than Mei’s book, but it goes garment by garment, so it’s helpful regardless of time period.

Vainker, S. (2004). Chinese silk: A cultural history. Newark, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
[Link]This was an invaluable source for me when it came to materials – it has lots of amazing photos of extant fabrics, and some great discussion about what weaves, colors, and techniques were used.

Zhou, X. & Gao, C. (1987). 5000 Years of Chinese costume. Tsui-Yee Tang (Ed.) Hong Kong: China Books and Periodicals.
[Link]If I could only own one book of this list, 5000 Years would be it. It’s huge, it’s got lots of great reproduction diagrams of outfits along with period illustrations, and it covers pretty much everything. I focused on Tang, but it has sections for each time period. It can be spendy, but I had success with interlibrary-loan.

If you’re interested in my overview/construction notes – I’ve got them right here.