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"What People Wore When combines the studies of two classic nineteenth-century illustrators, Auguste Racinet and Friedrich Hottenroth. According to the book's introduction, their work is presented first by era and then by subject, so that illustrators, historians, and students can choose to follow the path of fashion through the centuries or study in detail the contrasting styles of individual clothing and accessories....
In the first section of the book, 'The Grammar of Costume,' drawings portray the changing trends of fashion worldwide from ancient times to the mid-nineteenth century. The second part, 'The Elements of Costume,' surveys types of clothing and accessories, for example, 'Women's Dress, 1300-1600' and 'Regional Headwear.' In both sections, cross-references and navigation bars draw attention to recurring motifs. A glossary defines most, but not all, of the terms that are italicized in the text, which was written by leading experts in the field of costume history. Detailed annotations of the drawings and illustrations, along with the glossary and index, provide an interesting study of the vocabulary of style through the ages."