This broad-based set surveys clothing, body adornment, and examines the origins of clothing, the development of fabrics and technologies, and the social meanings of dress. It also presents information on representative costumes from a wide variety of historical eras, which are frequently the topic of student research. Topics range from the bustle, sari, and toga to Polyester and body piercing. The short entries explain the history of garments (necktie, codpiece, cocktail dress, bathing suit, burqua, Nehru jacket), techniques and manufactures (batik, dry cleaning, zipper, stone washing), body adornment (makeup, mask, tattoo, wig), and important persons and institutions (Coco Chanel, Edith Head, Yves Saint-Laurent, Fashion Institute of Technology). The longer essays provide cultural context: class, gender, sumptuary laws, costume design for stage and screen, advertising; fashion careers; ecclesiastical dress; military uniforms; etc. The set includes a comprehensive general index in the last volume, a timeline, and a topical outline. Included as part of the Gale Virtual Reference Library.