When I was in college, my roommate and I were very broke.
This meant that anything we wanted to do in our free time needed to be either very very cheap or (preferably) free.
One of our favorite pastimes was visiting our local library. In the summer, it was a wonderful place to get out of the sweltering SC heat that our one ancient window A/C unit didn’t stand a chance against.
My favorite sections to pore over were Art and Fashion.
Art and Fashion books are generally very pricey, due to their size and that they contain mostly photographs, which are much more expensive to print than just text.
I learned a great deal about fashion and art history while buried in the stacks, and I think that’s made a huge difference in how I clothe myself now vs. before.
By learning more about fashion history, I was better able to create my own unique style, rather than just buy what was trendy right there and then.
Open culture is a beautiful thing.
Imagine how thrilled I was to discover that The Metropolitan Museum of Art has 1,556 publications available to download for free on their site…including an impressive collection of fashion publications.
Here are just a few free fashion books from The Met’s collection that I can’t wait to peruse:
In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection
In Pursuit of Fashion presents outstanding works from the greatest private collection of twentieth-century fashion and explores the modern discipline of fashion collecting.
About Time: Fashion and Duration traces the evolution of fashion, from 1870 to the present, through a linear timeline of iconic garments, each paired with an alternate design that jumps forward or backward in time.
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty examines the full breadth of the designer's career, from the start of his fledgling label to the triumphs of his own world-renowned London house.
Currently out of print, this book explores one of the most revered designers of the twentieth century, Coco Chanel (1883–1971).
Published 50 years after Christian Dior's "New Look" of 1947, and accompanying an exhibition at The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, this book presents a chronology of Dior's creations.
Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the Eighteenth Century
During the reigns of Louis XV (1723–74) and Louis XVI (1774–92) fashion and furniture merged ideals of beauty and pleasure. With their fragile surfaces and delicate proportions, tables, chairs, and other pieces of furniture enhanced the elite's indulgence in leisurely pursuits.
American Ingenuity: Sportswear, 1930s–1970s
Beginning in the early 1930s, American designer sportswear came into its own, later becoming a major force in fashion that continued into the 1990s to influence the way women dress.
This is a survey of the history of haute couture, from the formation of the House of Worth in mid-19th-century Paris to the major designers of the present day. The book focuses on the highly skilled crafts that are essential to the production of haute couture.
21 thoughts on “Free Fashion Books, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art”
Thank you very much for this information! I’ve downloaded five documents related to fashion. 🙂 I’m taking this opportunity to tell you that I love seeing your refashions. You’re quite inspiring!
I own Savage Beauty but better yet, living close to NYC I made sure to see the show in person. Absolutely fabulous!
I can’t believe Savage Beauty is free. I still want to buy is some day, but that download will tide me over for some time (as will all these other fashion books!).
ok, I’m not a technical dummy but I don’t see anything that allows us to read them(I tried Chanel and McQueen). I clicked on a book about swords. Then it brought up a blurb and a “more” link. I clicked on that. The next page showed me a “pdf download” link. But that link is not on Chanel or McQueen. All it shows is preview, table of contents, and a link to buy it.
These don’t seem to be free? I keep seeing “buy the book”, or it sends me to Google books for a preview only?
Feels like you just gave me a great fashion Valentine! I’ve been building my fashion library for many years and am always looking to add to my collection. I can’t wait to explore the virtual library on a rainy day…fashion forever! thegreygoddess.co
Librarians everywhere thank you for your vote of enthusiasm! It’s the best game in town. Thanks too for the links. Enjoying the sportswear one – the section on why women’s clothes did not have pockets was fascinating. I just transferred the pdf of the one on Orientalism to my Kindle Fire to read as an ebook. Major eye candy!
Wow wow wow… thank you for the links!
I am about to be housebound for yet another entire month for my 4th ankle surgery in a year. I will bless you every day that I enjoy being able to download these publications from the Met. Thanks, Jilly!!!
Thanks for sharing this resource with us. Two posts in one day! Bravo!
dayum miss jillian. this post was worth the price of admission alone. wow. thank you for sharing.
may you be blessed with 4 more pairs of hands, feet and unlimited hours in the day to get all your magical refashions done. oh yeah, and have fun on the bon voyage. 😀
Hi 🙂 The download links go to the Met site and I don’t know what to do!
What a great resource! I can imagine using these as inspiration for poetry or for research on period clothing for a historical novel. Thank you!
I agree with all you say about our library! I am so, so spoiled by the library here in Columbia. If I ever move, I will be really lost. I use library services every day. Whether it’s reading a book or watching a DVD, reading an e-book or an e-magazine or using the hoopla app, I LOVE the library! Now I have another avenue of interest that I hadn’t considered! Thank you, Jiillian.
only showing preview….what am I doing wrong??
Click on the Download link. 🙂 You aren’t going crazy, the images aren’t hyperlinked.
Haute Couture was beautiful to go through. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for this……very much appreciated
This is fantastic! So excited to look through these (McQueen!!!), thank you for the links. You are a treasure and I have immensely enjoyed “getting to know you” through this blog. You even inspired me to start my own!: http://www.hemsandhahas.com. You are a rockstar, Jillian!
I own Savage Beauty, it’s an amazing book!
I think I’ll check out ‘Chanel’, ‘Christian dior’, and ‘Haute Couture’.