What Subject Headings are used for Materials on Clothing

ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee

Question/Answer on Cataloging Issues – March 2018

Question: What subject headings are used for materials on clothing?

By Carolyn J. McCallum, Wake Forest University

Mark Twain is credited with the saying, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society” (Bartlett, 2002, p. 563). However, the Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable states that the maxim ‘Clothes make the man’ “is recorded in English from the early 15th century, but an earlier saying in classical Greek is ‘the man is his clothing’” (2005, p. 150). Regardless of who first coined the expression or observed this truism, clothes are and have been important to humans. Not surprisingly, the subject headings related to clothing established by the Library of Congress (LC) reflect the complex, varied, and long history of clothes.

The subject heading Clothing and dress is applied to “works on the utilitarian aspects of clothing, including works on how to dress” (Library of Congress Authorities). Under the names of individual persons and families as well as classes of persons and ethnic groups, the subdivision Clothing may be applied (e.g., Eskimos—Clothing). Listed below are a few examples demonstrating the subdivision of Clothing and dress geographically, topically, chronologically, and by genre:

  • Clothing and dress—Africa—History—19th century—Exhibitions
  • Clothing and dress—Alteration—Handbooks, manuals, etc.
  • Clothing and dress—Bosnia and Herzegovina—Religious aspects—Islam
  • Clothing and dress in motion pictures
  • Clothing and dress—Cross-cultural studies
  • Clothing and dress—Symbolic aspects
  • Clothing and dress, Prehistoric.

The subject heading Costume is applied to “works on clothing treated as an artistic object, as well as works on clothing created for the stage, screen, or special events” (Library of Congress Authorities). Infrequently, Costume is used as a subdivision but can be found following the subject headings Ballet and three forms of Japanese theater, Kabuki, , and Kyōgen. A few examples demonstrating the subdivision of Costume geographically, topically, chronologically, and by genre follow below:

  • Costume—Europe—Religious aspects
  • Costume—France—History—18th century—Exhibitions
  • Costume—Conservation and restoration—Handbooks, manuals, etc.

Two related “See Also” LC subject headings found under Clothing and Dress include Fashion and Undressing.
Copious narrower terms authorized by LC for Clothing and Dress and Costume are listed below. Please note that this is not an exhaustive listing. Not included in this list are the LC subject headings for cosmetics/makeup, sewing terminology, specific parts of a garment (e.g., sleeves), and clothing industries. A future cataloging Q&A will address the narrower terms applied to clothing accessories (e.g., jewelry, scarves, purses, belts, etc.), neckwear, footwear, and headgear.

  • Aprons
  • Armbands
  • Bodices
  • Breechcloths– Per Wikipedia, “A breechcloth, or breechclout, is a form of loincloth consisting in a strip of material – usually a narrow rectangle – passed between the thighs and held up in front and behind by a belt or string. Often, the flaps hang down in front and back.”
  • Diapers
  • Burial clothing
  • Holy Shroud – Authorized heading for the Shroud of Turin.
  • Cache-sexes– Per Wikipedia, “A cache-sexe is an item, often a small garment, that covers its user’s genitals.” For example: G-strings, Japanese Fundoshis, and penis gourds.
    • Penis sheaths
  • Caftans
  • Children’s clothing
    • Boys’ clothing
      • Teenage boys’ clothing
    • Children’s costumes
    • Children’s robes
    • Children’s shoes
    • Buster Brown shoes
    • Children’s sleepwear
    • Girls’ clothing
      • Girls’ pants
      • Girls’ underwear
    • Infants’ clothing
      • Baby bonnets
      • Baby booties
      • Christening gowns
      • Diapers
      • Layettes
    • School children’s clothing
    • Snowsuits
  • Cloaks – Used for Capes (Clothing)
  • Coats
    • Holy Coat– Per the Catholic Dictionary, the Holy Coat is “the seamless garment of Christ (John 19) for which the soldiers cast lots on Calvary.” Both Trier, Germany and Argenteuil, France purport to have this relic in their possession.
    • Lapels
    • Parkas
    • Raincoats
    • Tail coats– Per Wikipedia, “A tailcoat is a coat with the front of the skirt cut away, so as to leave only the rear section of the skirt, known as the tails.”
    • Trench coats
  • Color in clothing
  • Costume
    • Academic costume– Used for Academic dress; Academic regalia; Caps and gowns; College gowns; Graduation gowns; Graduation robes; Hoods, Academic.
    • Allegorical costume
    • Biblical costume
    • Carnival costume
    • Carnival masks
    • Children’s costumes
  • Church vestments– “Here are entered works on the distinctive dress and insignia worn by clergy and their assistants when performing liturgical and other services of the church. Works on the clothing worn by clergy in daily life and on the street are entered under Clergy—Clothing” (Library of Congress Authorities).
    • Altar-cloths
    • Colors, Liturgical
    • Cope– Per Wikipedia, “the cope (known in Latin as pluviale ‘rain coat’ or cappa ‘cape’) is a liturgical vestment, more precisely a long mantle or cloak, open in front and fastened at the breast with a band or clasp.”
    • Miters– Per Wikipedia, “the mitre or miter, is a type of headgear now known as the traditional, ceremonial head-dress of bishops and certain abbots in traditional Christianity. Mitres are worn in the Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church, as well as in the Anglican Communion, some Lutheran churches, and also bishops and certain other clergy in the Eastern Catholic Churches and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. The Metropolitan of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church also wears a mitre during important ceremonies such as the Episcopal Consecration.”
    • Pallium– Per Wikipedia, “the pallium, in its present Western form, is a narrow band, ‘three fingers broad’, woven of white lamb’s wool from sheep raised by Trappist monks, with a loop in the center resting on the shoulders over the chasuble and two dependent lappets, before and behind; so that when seen from front or back the ornament resembles the letter Y. It is decorated with six black crosses, one on each tail and four on the loop, is doubled on the left shoulder, and sometimes is garnished, back and front, with three jeweled gold pins.”
    • Rationale– (Episcopal vestment) – Per Wikipedia, “a rationale, also called superhumerale (from Latin super, ‘over’, and [h]umerus, ‘shoulder’; thus a garment worn ‘over the shoulder[s]’), is a liturgical vestment worn exclusively by bishops mostly in the Roman Catholic Church. It is mainly characterized as a humeral ornament – yet also adorning chest and back – and is worn over the chasuble.”
    • Sakkoi– Used for Sakkos. Per Wikipedia, it is “a vestment worn by Orthodox and Greek Catholic bishops instead of the priest’s phelonion. The garment is a tunic with wide sleeves, and a distinctive pattern of trim. It reaches below the knees and is fastened up the sides with buttons or tied with ribbons. It is similar in form to the western dalmatic, which is similarly derived from Byzantine dress. The sakkos was originally worn by the Emperor as an imperial vestment, symbolizing the tunic of disgrace worn by Christ during his trial and mockery.”
    • Scapulars– Per Wikipedia, “the scapular (from Latin scapulae, ‘shoulders’) is a Christian garment suspended from the shoulders. There are two types of scapular, the monastic and devotional scapular, although both forms may simply be referred to as ‘scapular’. As an object of popular piety, it serves to remind the wearers of their commitment to live a Christian life.”
  • Dance costume
    • Ballet—Costume
    • Ballet slippers
    • Tutus (Ballet skirts)
  • Ethnic costume– Used for Ethnic groups—Clothing; Ethnic groups—Costume; Folk costume; Traditional clothing; Traditional costume; Traditional dress. Under ethnic groups, one can add the subdivision Clothing. For example: Aboriginal Australians—Clothing.
  • Halloween costumes
  • Idols and images—Costume
  • Masks
    • Blindfolds
    • Carnival masks
    • Guy Fawkes masks
    • Indian masks
    • Wall masks
  • Wedding costume– Used for Bridal gowns; Wedding gowns; Wedding dress.
  • Courts and courtiers—Clothing– The subdivision Court and courtiers—Clothing (notice Court is singular) can be applied under the names of countries. For example: France—Court and courtiers.
  • Coveralls – See Also: Overalls, which is used for bib overalls.
  • Custom-made clothing
  • Dickeys (Clothing)– Per Wikipedia, “a dickey (alternatively written as dickie or dicky; sometimes known in American English as a tuxedo front or tux front) is a type of false shirt-front.”
  • Dirndls– Per Wikipedia, “a dirndl is the name of a traditional feminine dress worn in Austria, South Tyrol, and Bavaria” and “consists of a bodice and skirt or a pinafore dress, a low-cut blouse with short puff sleeves, full skirt and apron.”
  • Doll clothes
    • Barbie dolls—Clothing
    • Bleuette dolls—Clothing– Per Wikipedia, “Bleuette is a doll that was produced from 1905 to 1960 in France, that was only available to readers of the girls’ magazine La Semaine de Suzette, or the English version – ‘Suzette’s Week’.”
    • Dawn dolls—Clothing– Per Wikipedia, “Dawn dolls are small fashion dolls that were made by Topper between 1970 and 1973. They measure 6.5 inches in height and have painted eyes and lips.”
    • Francie dolls—Clothing– Per Wikipedia, “Francie Fairchild is a fashion doll issued by Mattel from 1966 to 1976 and re-introduced in 2011. Marketed as ‘Barbie’s MODern cousin’ (sic) from England, the doll had an extensive line of ‘mod’-style clothing, often employing bright colors and geometric patterns similar to fashions associated with Carnaby Street in the late 1960s to early 1970s.”
  • Emergency clothing supply
  • Fair trade clothing
  • Fur garments
  • Garters
  • Gloves
  • Baseball gloves
  • Gauntlets (Gloves)– Per Wikipedia, “A gauntlet is a name for several different styles of glove, particularly those with an extended cuff covering part of the forearm.”
  • Mittens
  • Muffs
  • Surgical gloves
  • Hanbok– Per Wikipedia, “hanbok (South Korea) or Joseon-ot (North Korea) is the representative example of traditional Korean dress. It is characterized by vibrant colors and simple lines without pockets. Although the term literally means ‘Korean clothing’, hanbok usually refers specifically to clothing of the Joseon period and is worn as semi-formal or formal wear during traditional festivals and celebrations.”
  • Hosiery
    • Antiembolism stockings
    • Socks
  • Hot weather clothing
  • Islamic clothing and dress
    • Burqas (Islamic clothing)
    • Hijab (Islamic clothing)
  • Jackets
    • Leather jackets
    • Black leather jackets
    • Flight jackets – Used for Aviator jackets; Bomber jackets.
    • Motorcycle jackets
  • Jewish clothing and dress
    • Yarmulkes
  • Jumpsuits
  • Kilts – See Also: Skirts.
  • Kimonos
  • Obi
  • Knitwear
    • Sweaters
    • Shrugs (Clothing)
  • Latex garments
  • Leather garments
    • Chaps (Clothing)
    • Leather jackets
    • Lederhosen
  • Leggings
  • Loroi (Clothing)– Used for Loros (Clothing). Per Wikipedia, “the loros was a long, narrow and embroidered scarf, which was wrapped around the torso and dropped over the left hand. It was one of the most important and distinctive parts of the most formal and ceremonial type of imperial Byzantine costume, worn only by the Imperial family and a few of the most senior officials.”
  • Mantas (Clothing)– Per merriam-webster.com, a manta is defined as “a square piece of cloth or blanket used in southwestern U.S. and Latin America usually as a cloak or shawl.”
  • Men’s clothing
    • Men’s furnishing goods – Used for Haberdashery.
    • Shirts, Men’s
  • Aloha shirts – Used for Hawaiian shirts.
  • Guayabera shirts– Per Wikipedia, “the guayabera is a men’s shirt distinguished by two vertical rows of closely sewn pleats that run the length of the front and back of the shirt. Typically made of lightweight linen or cotton, worn untucked, and appropriate for hot or humid weather, guayaberas are popular in the Caribbean (especially Cuba), Central America, and Southeast Asia.”
  • T-shirts
    • Advertising t-shirts
  • Men’s underwear
    • Jockstraps
  • Nationalism and clothing
  • Newspapers—Sections, columns, etc.—Fashion
  • Organic clothing
  • Pants
    • Girls’ pants
    • Jeans (Clothing)
    • Shorts (Clothing) – “Here are entered works on outerwear consisting of pants that are knee-length or shorter” (Library of Congress Authorities).
    • Hot pants – Used for Short shorts.
    • Lederhosen
  • Paper garments
  • Pareos– Per Wikipedia, “the pareu or pareo is the Cook Islands and Tahitian word for a wraparound skirt. Originally it was used only to refer to women’s skirts, as men wore a loincloth, called a maro. Nowadays the term is applied to any piece of cloth worn wrapped around the body, worn by males or females.”
  • Plastic garments
    • Plastic footwear
  • Ponchos
  • Printed fashion apparel– “Here are entered works on clothing and dress accessories which are further decorated or personalized by screen printing after manufacture. Works on printed images, issued separately or as periodical illustrations, depicting or advertising dress of a period, are entered under Fashion prints” (Library of Congress Authorities).
  • Protective clothing
  • Armor
    • Body armor – Used for Armored vests; Ballistic vests; Bullet-proof vests; Bulletproof vests; Flak jackets; Protective vests (Body armor).
    • Cuirasses– Per Wikipedia, “a cuirass is a piece of armor, formed of a single or multiple pieces of metal or other rigid material which covers the front of the torso. In a suit of armor, the cuirass was generally connected to a back piece. Cuirass could also refer to the complete torso-protecting armor.”
    • Breastplates
    • Children’s armor
    • Horse armor
    • Indian armor
    • Robotic exoskeletons– Used for Artificial exoskeletons; Biomechatronic exoskeletons; Defense exoskeletons; Exoskeleton suits; Military exoskeletons; Powered armor; Powered exoskeletons; Wearable exoskeletons. Per Wikipedia, “a powered exoskeleton (also known as powered armor) is a wearable mobile machine that is powered by a system of electric motors, pneumatics, levers, hydraulics, or a combination of technologies that allow for limb movement with increased strength and endurance.”
    • Shields
  • Breathing apparatus – “Here are entered works on equipment that provides the user with a safe supply of air or oxygen in an environment where air is unavailable or unsafe to breathe. Works on equipment used to provide medical care are entered under Respirators (Medical equipment)” (Library of Congress Authorities).
    • Gas masks
    • Mine rescue breathing apparatus
    • Underwater breathing apparatus
  • Chaps (Clothing)
  • Cold weather clothing
  • Gauntlets (Gloves)
  • Helmets
    • Football helmets
    • Riot helmets
    • Safety hats – Used for Safety helmets.
    • Bicycle helmets
    • Fire helmets
    • Flying helmets
      • Used for Air pilots’ helmets; Aviation headgear; Aviators’ headgear.
    • Motorcycle helmets
  • Pressure suits
  • Space suits
  • Extravehicular space suits
  • Safety goggles
  • Safety shoes
  • Surgical gloves
  • Waterproof clothing
  • Ready to wear clothing
  • Riding habit – Per Wikipedia, “a riding habit is women’s clothing for horseback riding. Since the mid-17th century, a formal habit for riding sidesaddle usually consisted of: a tailored jacket with a long skirt (sometimes called a petticoat) to match; a tailored shirt or chemisette; and a hat, often in the most formal men’s style of the day (since the Victorian era, a top hat with a veil has been worn). Low-heeled boots, gloves, and often a necktie or stock complete the ensemble.”
  • Robes
    • Children’s robes
  • Rompers (Clothing)
  • Rubber garments
  • Shawls
    • Cashmere shawls
    • Shahtoosh shawls – Per Wikipedia, “Shahtoosh (also written shahtush, a Persian word meaning ‘king of fine wools’) is the name given to a specific kind of shawl, which is woven with the down hair of the Tibetan antelope (chiru), by master craftsmen and women of Kashmir.”
    • Shrugs (Clothing)
  • Sleepwear
    • Children’s sleepwear
    • Nightgowns
    • Nightshirts
    • Pajamas
    • Smocks
  • Sport clothes (notice Sport is singular) – Used for Sports clothes; Sportswear.
    • Bathing suits – Used for Swim suits; Swimsuits; Swimwear.
    • Snowmobile suits
    • Sweat suits
    • Sweatshirts
  • Suits (Clothing)
  • Tunics
  • Underwear
    • Boxer shorts
    • Crinolines
    • Foundation garments
    • Brassieres
    • Bustles
    • Corsets
    • Girls’ underwear
    • Lingerie
    • Men’s underwear
  • T-shirts
  • Uniforms – Heading can be used as a subdivision under names of individual corporate bodies, classes of persons, and military services. For example: United States—Armed Forces—Uniforms.
  • Fire departments—Uniforms
  • Livery – Per Wikipedia, “a livery is a uniform, insignia or symbol adorning, in a non-military context, a person, an object or a vehicle that denotes a relationship between the wearer of the livery and an individual or corporate body. Often, elements of the heraldry relating to the individual or corporate body feature in the livery. Alternatively, some kind of a personal emblem or badge, or a distinctive color, is featured.”
  • Military uniforms – Under military services, the subdivision Uniforms may be applied. For example: United States. Army—Uniforms.
    • Armored troops—Uniforms
    • Border patrols—Uniforms
    • Commando troops—Uniforms
    • Garrison caps – Per Wikipedia, “a side cap is a foldable military cap with straight sides and a creased or hollow crown sloping to the back where it is parted. It is known as a garrison cap or flight cap (in the United States).”
    • Sabretaches  – Per Wikipedia, “a sabretache is a flat bag or pouch, which was worn suspended from the belt of a cavalry officer together with the sabre.”
  • Papal uniforms
  • Police—Uniforms
  • Railroads—Employees—Uniforms
  • Sports uniforms
  • Baseball uniforms
  • Baseball caps
  • Basketball uniforms
  • Football uniforms
  • Hockey uniforms
  • Soccer uniforms
  • Vests – Used for Waistcoats.
  • Vintage clothing – “Here are entered works on old clothing, usually 20th century, which is purchased, reproduced, or collected because it represents a bygone fashion era and a quality of workmanship not always found in contemporary clothing” (Library of Congress Authorities).
  • Waists (Clothing) – Per Wikipedia, “waist was a common term in the United States for the bodice of a dress or for a blouse or woman’s shirt from the early 19th century through the Edwardian period.”
  • Women’s clothing
    • Bikinis
    • Bloomer costume – Per Wikipedia, the bloomer costume is described as “loose trousers gathered at the ankles, like women’s trousers worn in the Middle East and Central Asia, topped by a short dress or skirt and vest.”
    • Blouses
    • Aloha shirts
    • T-shirts
    • Advertising t-shirts
    • Décolletage
    • Dresses
    • Coatdresses
    • Jumpers (Dresses)
    • Qipao – Used for Cheongsam; Mandarin dresses. Per Wikipedia, “the cheongsam is a body-hugging one-piece Chinese dress for women, also known as qipao. The stylish and often tight-fitting cheongsam or qipao that is best known today was created in the 1920s in Shanghai and made fashionable by socialites and upper class women.”
    • Evening gowns
    • Lingerie – Used for Women’s underwear.
    • Brassieres
    • Slips (Clothing)
    • Maternity clothes
    • Nightgowns
    • Petite clothing
    • Plus-size women’s clothing – Used for Plus-size women’s clothing; Big and tall women’s clothing; Full-figured women’s clothing; Large women’s clothing; Plus-sized women’s clothing.
    • Saris
    • Skirts
    • Sport clothes for women
    • Women’s hats
    • Women’s shoes
  • Work clothes
    • Coveralls
  • Zoroastrian clothing and dress

Works Cited:

Bartlett, J. (2002). Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations: A collection of passages, phrases, and
proverbs traced to their sources in ancient and modern literature (17th ed.). Boston, MA:
Little, Brown and Company.
Knowles, E. (Ed.) (2005). Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (2nd ed.). Oxford, England:
Oxford University Press.

Advertisements