A guide to researching Australian and international fashion, designs, designers, industries, textiles and fabrics, patterns, tailoring, dressmaking, uniforms, accessories, and body art.


The function of uniforms and also the relationship between uniforms and fashion can be explored in many ways.

Uniforms: why we are what we wear by Paul Fussell quotes Colin Powell, a four-star General and later Secretary of State of the United States:

There came a day when I stood in line in the drill hall to be issued olive-drab pants and jacket, brown shirt, brown tie, brown shoes, a belt with a brass buckle, and an overseas cap. As soon as I got home, I put the uniform on and looked in the mirror. I liked what I saw.

Dressed to kill: British naval uniform, masculinity and contemporary fashions, 1748-1857 by Amy Miller shows how uniforms and fashion can be linked, and how images of the ‘ideal man’ shift over time.Policeman, H2010.174/1

Catalogue searches

To explore the State Library’s collections, use terms such as:

If you are after specific types of uniforms, use terms such as:


Most books on uniforms will include many images. If you want to locate online images in our Library choose the Pictures option from the dropdown menu next to the search box on our catalogue and enter keywords. Then narrow the search using the facets at left of the screen. See this sample search for images of soldiers.


From our Pictures Collection

Clergy H90.159/4

Rev W Henderson, c.1855, H90.159/4

Lancers, H82.254/8/26

Lancers, H82.254/8/26