Distinctions among Clothing Costume and Dress

Items of clothing are components utilized in both costume and dress and designate specific garments and other apparel items such as footwear, headwear, and accessories. Costume is an ensemble created to allow an individual to present a performance identity for the theater, cinema, or masquerade, or to assert an identity as a member of an ethnic group on special occasions or for special events. Dress is the totality of body alterations and additions that help an individual establish credibility of identity in everyday life. In the United States, the term "costume history" ordinarily indicates the chronological study of dress, but in the United Kingdom, the term "dress history" is most frequently used.

Margot Fonteyn Costumes

Tutu and feathered headdress. Margot Fonteyn struts en pointe her lavishly decorated ballerina tutu and feathered headdress as the lead in the 1956 production of Firebird. Feathers and ruffles contribute to the creation of the Firebirdcostume look. © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis. Reproduced by permission.

Tutu and feathered headdress. Margot Fonteyn struts en pointe her lavishly decorated ballerina tutu and feathered headdress as the lead in the 1956 production of Firebird. Feathers and ruffles contribute to the creation of the Firebirdcostume look. © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis. Reproduced by permission.

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