French men's shoes, 1690–1700, embroidered silk and leather, from the collection of the Costume Institute.
Here are some museums who have their collections online that I have found helpful! There are definitely museums missing from this list, either because they don't have a big online collection, or because I forgot. Feel free to send any I have missed if it's the latter. I tried to mention what each collection is most useful for, but it ended up mostly just being stats on how many items each place has. Enjoy!
Digitized Fashion and Textile Collections :
Art Institute of Chicago: An incredible collection of textiles, with over 10,000 items.
Bata Shoe Museum: The best shoe museum in the world, with many online versions of their exhibitions.
Chicago History Museum: Extensive collection of 20th-century couture.
Cincinnati Art Museum: Over 15,000 items in their fashion and textile collection.
Cleveland Museum of Art: A world-class textile collection with thousands of objects, including many masterworks of non-Western dress.
The Cooper Hewitt, New York: Extensive textile collections.
The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: A digitized dream. Over 30,000 objects.
Europeana: Objects from thousands of European collections.
Fashion and Lace Museum, Brussels: Collections from the 18th-20th centuries.ns.
FIDM Museum, Los Angeles: Collection from 18th-20th century clothing and textiles. Of particular interest are their Versace Menswear archive and Rudi Gernreich archives.
Historic New England: A range of American clothing from the 17th century to the 20th, from various historic homes in the New England area.
Kyoto Costume Institute: Heaven in a website. Over 12,0oo garments from 17th c to today in their collection.
London College of Fashion Cordwainers Shoe Collection: Collection of over 600 pairs of shoes.
Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, U.K.: “The costume collection includes over 21,000 i tems of clothing, textiles and accessories, covering all aspects of the history of dress from 1600 to the present day. 18th-century fashion and 19th-century women’s and children’s dress are highlights.”
McCord Museum, Montreal: A collection of just under a thousand items from the mid 19th century through the end of the 20th century.
MFA, Boston: Over 27,000 items in their fashion and textile collections.
Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris: Over 30,000 items digitized in their fashion and textile collections.
Musée Yves Saint Laurent, Paris: A lovely collection of his works, with many of his drawings digitized online.
Museo del Traje, Madrid: Fantastic collection with over 50,000 items digitized. A little tricky to navigate, but if you know what you're looking for, worth translating some search terms into Spanish and trying them out.
Museum of the City of New York: A great collection of late 19th and 20th century dress, as well as
a glorious collection of fans.
Museum at FIT: The only museum entirely dedicated to fashion in the city of New York, and a personal favorite.
Ohio State University: A university collection of fashion and textiles with over 11,000 objects.
Palais Galliera, Paris: Fashion museum with collections from the 18th century to today.
Palazzo Fortuny, Venice: Museum dedicated to the designs of Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo, with a digitized collection of textiles.
Palazzo Mocenigo, Venice: Italian museum of textiles, costume, and perfume. Tricky to search but extensive digitized collection of 50,000+ items - another that is worth translating a few search terms for.
Philadelphia Museum of Art: Over 30,000 objects in their costume and textile collection.
The Fan Museum, London: Over 5,000 fans from 17th c to now.
The Russian Shoe Museum: Shoe Icons. 1,600 pairs of shoes, plus shoe related materials.
The Simone Handbag Museum, South Korea: Handbags from 1550 to today.
The Smithsonian: Jewelry and costume accessories collection.
The Textile Museum of Canada: Over 15,000 objects.
Textile Museum, GW: The Textile Museum of Washington, DC, originally as stand-alone institution, the former building of which is now the DC home of Jeff Bezos. The collection now is part of the George Washington University collection.
University of Alberta, Canada: Collection of costume, notable for huge collection of dress
University of Southampton: Collection of Pockets. Just...pockets.
Victoria and Albert, London: One of the most comprehensive collections of dress in the world.
Wayne State University Collections: Over 1000 garments from 18th century to 1990s, including the former costume collection of the Henry Ford Museum.
Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection: Database with access to images of 500 dresses by Rhodes and over 1000 sketches, as well as fun video interviews with Zandra herself.