Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture per week (48 total per quarter)
Advisory: Not open to students with credit in DRAM 76 or THTR 76.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area I: Humanities
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Successful students can identify various forms of historical clothing and distinguish their proper terminology.
  • Successful students can create historically inspired theatrical designs by using the design elements of line, form, color, texture, and pattern.
  • Successful students can compare the fashions of an historical time and relate them to the social and political climates of those eras, as well as compare them to dramatic texts of those eras.


A survey of western historic fashion and costume for women and men from ancient times to the present, including the cultural and political events that shaped each era and its clothing. An introduction to the design elements: color, line, form texture and silhouette and a brief introduction to the use of graphic techniques in the presentation of fashion and costume designs. Analysis of the artistic styles of each era as they relate to understanding costume detail and stylization.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. analyze and recognize the styles of historic fashions.
1. analyze dramatic scripts for the historical clothing needs of the characters.
B. understand each historical era's events and developments and how they relate to changes and developments in fashion, art and architecture.
C. understand the relationship of costuming to express the traits of a character.
D. develop techniques for researching fashion and costume designs.
E. Render and draw designs of varying styles, eras and cultural origins.
F. recognize historic fashions from other cultures, particularly as they influenced western clothing development.
G. understand the relationship of the performing arts to fashion and society.

Course Content

A. Identify the design elements as they are used in historical context to create the artistic style and art conventions of a time.
1. Interpret the costuming needs of characters in a dramatic script by exploring the clothing available in those historic eras, as well as by use of stylization techniques.
B. Study major historical events, especially wars, as well as the activities of daily living, and understand how these influence artistic and clothing developments.
C. Understand and apply the use of line, texture, color and form in developing a design suited to a character, by studying these elements in use in historical information and artistic interpretation.
D. Analyze differences in costume designs through the ages by viewing slides and videos of art, architecture, fashion plates, theatrical designs, real garments, textiles and accessories, and by reading historical journals and contemporary resources.
E. Sketch or render costumes from historical garments, paintings and sculptures from specified eras to synthesize an enhanced comprehension of clothing detail and complexity.
F. Explore traditions and decorative motifs of Eastern/Asian, African and Hispanic societies through history to recognize their effect on the development of western dress.
G. Compare and contrast the conventions of fashion trends and the social statements thereof with the practical applications of stage costuming.

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

Standard lecture presentation classroom with multi-media capabilities; internet access; computer with projection display; slide projector.

Method(s) of Evaluation

A. Graded examinations
B. Class participation and discussion
C. Varied assignments of design and script analysis
D. Final design/presentation project

Method(s) of Instruction

A. Instructor guided classroom discussions of historical fashion trends.
B. individual and group presentations of design concepts for theatrical presentations focussing on historical fashion contexts.
C. Classroom discussion of the differences between fashion and costume design and construction.
D. Presentations of student costume designs for peer review and discussion.
E. Presentations and classroom practice of drawing and presentation techniques.

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Covey, Elizabeth and Rosemary Ingham. The Costume Designer's Handbook. 3rd ed. Portsmouth: Heinneman Educational Books, 2003.

Although this text is older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, it is still regarded as the definitive source for this class and is used by the majority of colleges teaching this subject matter. The publisher does update the resources section of the text annually online.

Laver, James. Costume and Fashion: A Concise History. 5th ed. New York: Thames and Hudson World of Art Books, 2012.


Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Specified readings from required texts.

B. Accompanying review assignments for designated readings.

C. Written historical classification and description assignments.



Art History, History, Theatre Arts