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Fashion 125: Historical and Cutural Design Influences

Guide you through research for Fashion 125

How Do I Search?

Model walking a catwalk

Step One:

Take a look at the assignment (see the link below). What information are you going to need?  Think about the elements that you have to discuss.

Step Two:

Conduct background research, first to help you select the garment that you want to focus on if you have not decided. second, to help you focus your topic, which will make writing easier.  This will also help you select which of the three topics you will want to focus on. 

In this background research, make note of any other terms that you see that related to this garment, this includes synonyms and historical names.  

Step Three:

Think about what you found in the first steps and develop keywords for each aspect of your topic.  This will include keywords for your garments and ones for the three topics that you have selected to cover from this list: historical, sociological, psychological cultural and or physical influences, class, economics, gender status, modesty, sumptuary laws, rites of passage. Think of broader and narrower terms, synonyms, historical terms, and possible cultural terminology.  

Step Four:

Conduct some searches using keywords.  When searching, don't just look for results that work, but also make note of what you are seeing and what you are not seeing. This will help you modify your search. Try different combinations of your keywords. If you need help along the way make sure you contact your friendly librarian.  They are experts at locating information and love to help. 

Step Five:

Select your sources and make sure you know how to cite them in APA.

Photo by James Price on Unsplash

Search Tips 

  • Be flexible with your topic and your approach to research.  

  • Make note of any synonyms or historical names used and try searching with those as well. Computers are literal, so a search for jeans will not get you results that discuss denim if it does not use the word jeans, this is why it is good to think of related terms and try those as well. You will get a different set of results with the words fashion than you will with the word costume, both sets of results will be useful.

    • Here are just a few examples of related terms of garments that are known by several names to demonstrate how thinking of related words will help you search:




      blue jeans

      leg of mutton sleeves

      gigot sleeves 

      baseball caps 

      snapback caps 

      golf cap

      bomber jackets

      flight jackets 

  • Names of garments may change over time or across cultures. If you want to find information about that garment from a historical or cultural perspective, search using the name used at that time, or by that culture. This will get you more targeted results. 

    • Here are just a few examples of terms that have changed over time or by culture:









      aloha shirt 

      Hawiian shirt 

  • Try using broader terms if you are not finding enough results, or narrower terms if you are not seeing any results that focus on the aspect you want to discuss.

  • Use quotation marks around multi-word names will get you better results. This will tell the search engine to look for those words together and in that order, otherwise it will look for each word individually and you will get many unrelated results. Examples:  "little black dress" "peter pan collar" "raglan sleeve"  "harem pants". 

One Search Tutorials

These tutorials were created to help you understand how to find books and articles using the Mesa College One Search tool. The last video will show you how to refine the results that One Search gives you so you can better narrow down what One Search gives you. 

Search Tutorials

Keyword tutorial                   Google tutorial start page