The Steel Zipper
Vintage  Clothing Books


Even in today's day and age of instant internet information, hardcopy printed books still offer an abundance of hard to find information that is often scarcely available elsewhere.  We have found that this holds true for information regarding vintage clothing.  Consider that in the pre-internet era, every major clothing designer, manufacturer, and retailer published a printed catalogue of there apparel at least once a year.  Many of these were seasonal catalogues, so four catalogues were published per year.  As you can see the number of published catalogue alone that can be used as a reference for vintage clothing grows exponentially very quickly.  Obviously all of these catalogues are excellent resource tools to identify vintage clothing.  However, the majority of these items were discarded when the new catalogue became available.    So the number of surviving copies of any of these catalogues is very limited.
Fortunately, many books have been written on the subject of vintage clothing and fashion history.  This page will serve as a guide to books that the Steel Zipper recommends regarding vintage clothing and fashion history.  We have found these as helpful and will offer our personal review of each book.  Where possible, we will also provide a link to websites that offer the item for sale.  If you have read any of these and would like to offer a comment or have a book that you would like to suggest be added to our list, then please send us an e-mail.

Vintage Denim

by David Little and photography by Larry Bond

Steel Zippers Review:

This paperback book was published in 1996 at the height of the vintage denim craze in Japan.  It offers a detailed history on the major vintage denim manufacturers of the early 20th century mainly Levi Strauss, Lee, and the Blue Bell Company (Wrangler).   Although the the price guide in the appendix section has become rather dated, the information and detailed pictures on items and details through out the book provide a solid basis of vintage denim knowledge.  For anyone starting in on the vintage denim phenomenon, this book is a must have item.  For those who have been collecting denim for years, you likely either already have this book or have acquired the knowledge that it contains elsewhere. 

This book is out of print and it is extremely hard to find a new unused copy.  Therefore if you plan to buy a copy we recommend the secondary market. is currently offer this book for sale here: Vintage Denim


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