French men's shoes, 1690–1700, embroidered silk and leather, from the collection of the Costume Institute at the Met.
61 museums and institutions with online databases of their collections of fashion, textiles, and related materials. These represent websites that I have found to be well-digitized and useful in research — feel free to send any you've come across that I have missed. Enjoy!
Digitized Fashion and Textile Collections
Art Institute of Chicago: An incredible collection of textiles, with over 10,000 items.
Autry Museum of the American West: All things Western wear.
Bata Shoe Museum: The best shoe museum in the world, with many online versions of their exhibitions.
The Bonnie Cashin Collection at UCLA: Collection of nearly 7000 photographs and 21 scrapbooks of press clippings related to the work of the fabulous Bonnie Cashin.
Brighton & Hove Museum: Interesting examples of 20th century African dress.
Budapest Museum of Applied Arts: Hungarian fashion and textiles.
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.
Cornell University: 3000 of the 8000 objects in their fashion and textile collection are documented here with photographs.
The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: A digitized dream. Over 30,000 objects.
Emilio Pucci Foundation: 70 objects from their archive.
Europeana: Objects from thousands of European collections.
Fashion and Lace Museum, Brussels: Collections from the 18th-20th centuries.
FIDM Museum, Los Angeles: Collection from 18th-20th century clothing and textiles. Of particular interest are their Versace Menswear archive and Rudi Gernreich archives.
Goldsmiths: Textile collection of the arts college of the University of London.
The Henry: Art museum in Washington state with an extensive collection of clothing and accessories.
Historic New England: A range of American clothing from the 17th century to the 20th, from various historic homes in the New England area.
Indianapolis Museum of Art: A good range of late 19th and early 20th century objects in their fashion and textiles collection.
John Bright Collection: Historic clothing and accessories in the collection of British costume designer, John Bright.
Kent State University: Not a ton is digitized from here, and the collections are shown on Flickr – but what they have is really great, so it's worth including.
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.
El Museu Virtual de la Moda de Catalunya: Online archive of clothing from the collections of Catalonian museums in Spain.
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.
National Museum of African American History and Culture: Objects related to dress in collection of the foremost museum of Black history in America, located in Washington, D.C.
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.
Roberto Capucci Archive: Around 100 garments from the collection of the Roberto Capucci Foundation.
Ryerson University Fashion Research Collection: 2800 garments, primarily 19th and 20th century.
The Fan Museum, London: Over 5,000 fans from 17th c to now.
The Palestinian Museum's Digital Archive: Over 70,000 items related to Palestinian culture. In our realm of study, their collection of photographs related to dress are particularly useful.
Salvatore Ferragamo Museum: Nearly 3000 pairs of shoes and related materials.
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.
Tapestry: The Design Center of Thomas Jefferson University's digitized collection of over 10,000 textile samples from the 18th century to today.
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.
Underpinnings Museum: Lingerie :)
University of Alberta, Canada: Collection of costume, notable for huge collection of dress
University of North Texas: Extensive fashion collection, built in part by Stanley Marcus of Neiman Marcus fame.
University of Southampton: Collection of Pockets. Just...pockets.
University of Wisconsin: Digital archive of nearly 10,000 textiles from the Helen Louise Allen collection.
Valentino Garavani Museum: A slightly odd, almost experimental online museum website created by Valentino to highlight works from the history of the brand. Even includes a desktop app, in case you are caught somewhere without internet access but still need your Valentino fix.
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.