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Fashion and Clothing History

Researching the 90s

BinocularsSorry, there's no section of the library devoted to 1990s fashion!  

Searching for fashion by a specific decade can be tricky because the same time period can be described several different ways and information about a decade may be found in several different sections of the library.  There is no one phrase that will bring back all the clothing of a decade so try a few different searches to see what works.  Here are some suggestions of searches to start with. Get creative and add some of your own!

1990s     Nineteen nineties     90s     90s fashion    Grunge fashion

Here are some other tips for researching by a decade:

  • Search by designer, not designer by decade.  For example, if you were to search "Azzedine Alaia 90s" you would find zero books.  However if you were to search for just "Azzedine Alaia" then look through the many books we have on him, you would find plenty of his designs from the 1990s.  Because a designer's career can span decades, it's difficult to restrict a search to a specific designer AND a specific decade.
  • Search by type of clothing.  Looking for a 1990s wedding dress?  Instead of "1990s wedding dress" search for "wedding dress" then look through some of the books you find for images from the 1990s.  
  • Search by photographer.  Like designers, a photographers work may span many decades.  
  • Search by century.  A book that covers the entire 20th century may have a very good chapter on the 1990s with images you can't find anywhere else.

Recommended Books about 1990s Fashion

All-American Ads of The 90s

All-American Ads of The 90s

NC998.5.A1 A159 2018

SLAM Kicks: basketball sneakers that changed the game

SLAM Kicks: basketball sneakers that changed the game

GV749.S64 S53 2013

Fashions of a Decade

Fashions of a Decade

GT615 .M34 2007

Back in the Days

F128.9.N4 S53 2001

Sneaker Freaker. the Ultimate Sneaker Book

Sneaker Freaker. the Ultimate Sneaker Book

GV749.S64 S634 2018



ML3534.3 .L38 2009

Magazines and Store Catalogs from the 1990s

Please note, some of our magazines are available digitally and some are only available in print in the Periodicals room on the 4th floor for in-library use. Visit our Periodicals LibGuide to see all of our periodicals by decade.


May 1970-Current. 10x per year Fashion, beauty, home decorating, food and general features aimed at African-American women

Harper's Bazaar

1930-Current. Monthly microfilm: November 1867-December 1923; January 1975-December 1976 The Harper's Bazaar Archive: November 2, 1867-Current (FIT username and password required for access) (Earlier Issues available in Special Collections) Leading American high fashion magazine.

Modern Bride

December/January 1974/75 (v26 n6)-December/January 2009 (v61 n6). Bi-monthly American upmarket bridal magazine. Offers slightly more upscale fashions than Bride’s

Sears Catalog

store catalog 1960-Spring/Summer 1993. Semi-annual microfilm: 1888-1993 (Earlier issues available in Special Collections) A chain department store that sells mid-range apparel, accessories, home décor and furnishings, appliances, electronics and more. Catalog now available online only

Vogue [American]

April -June 1927; Jan-Mar 1928; Jan 1933-Current (with gaps). Monthly Vogue Archive: all issues (FIT username and password required for access) (Earlier issues available in Special Collections) Widely-regarded as the most influential American fashion magazine; features articles and images by leading fashion critics, photographers, stylists, illustrators, designers and models

WWD Archive

covers fashion and business news. The library's subscription covers 1910 to 6 months ago.

Archival Sources from the 1990s

FID Digital Image Library   1900s Calvin Klein

SPARC Digital   1990 Jamel Shabazz

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