Welcome Costume Designers! The University Libraries house many materials and resources for theatre, directing, criticism, costume design, and more. This Guide is a tool to help you navigate through the many resources available to you for researching costume design. We hope it will help you become comfortable doing research in the library or online, as well as help you discover what resources are out there! Familiarizing yourself with the library materials and how to find them can put you one step ahead on your projects.
Happy researching and happy designing!
You know you want to do some research before you start to design, but you might not be sure how to get started. It's okay. Researching for design is both different than, but also similar to, researching for a paper. Here are some general tips to get you started.
If you're starting a costume research project and need ideas or inspiration, you may find it helpful to refer to this article:
The whole of volume 27 is entitled "Documenting: Costume Design", and can be a "go to" resource for costume design researchers.
You may also be interested in the bibliography of monograph titles included in the volume (pg. 265-270).
USD patrons can access the Performing Arts Resources journal online via the Performing Arts Periodicals Database (Proquest). 1974 (Vol. 1) - 2016 (Vol. 32).
In the library we arrange the print materials by subject. If you're wanting to simply browse the shelves, this is where you'll need to be:
Library of Congress:
GT507 and GT510 (for fashion)
PN2067 (for costume design and history)
TT (for sewing, knitting etc. as a handicraft)
If you're feeling lost, you're in luck because the library is a place to get help! The University Libraries provides research assistance at the Reference Desk. Please do not hesitate to ask questions. Library staff can help with:
One of the ways you can limit your search results to a particular topic is to do a "subject" search. Here are some subject headings to help you retrieve the most helpful resources from the catalog. Note: since Costume is an older term in use, more entries for historical titles will appear under this heading than for Clothing and dress. A comprehensive search should make use of both main headings.
There are many, many more! Check out "Researching Costume Design" in Performing Arts Resources for a full list of subject headings for costume.