Collections: Costume

The Costume collection at Worthing is exceptional and ranks amongst the leading resources for dress history in the UK.


Amongst its 30,000 or so objects are garments made for men, women and children; accessories, such as fans, gloves and hats; and tools of the trade like paper patterns and miniature garments made by tailors to show their wares. The Collection was begun when the Museum opened in 1908. Acquisition gathered pace in the 1950s and 1960s and since then, we have worked to maintain its status by continuing to add items that broaden its range and increase its depth. Eighteenth and nineteenth century clothes are a particular strength, but the Collection reaches back to the seventeenth century and forward to the present day. Our oldest item of clothing is a Jacobean man’s jacket dated around 1610.