CSM Press

Oscar Wilde On Dress

Including The Philosophy of Dress by Oscar Wilde

—In Print for the First Time in 128 Years—

In Book Form for the First Time Ever


Includes his essay This Philosophy of Dress for the first time.


Produced by Bella Forte Bookbinding and Letterpress (Philadelphia).


Hand sewn, hand bound in Iris linen with a printed cover design by Joanna Darlington.


Annotated  analysis of Wilde’s relationship to dress.

It is rare that an important contribution by a major author goes unrecorded. Rarer still if the author is Oscar Wilde, the famous poet, writer, dramatist, and much quoted wit, who has been the subject of continual interest and analysis since his death in 1900. But such has been the fate of his 1885 essay The Philosophy Of Dress which now forms the centerpiece of this unique collection of Wilde’s writings on dress and fashion.

In addition, there are generously annotated and illustrated chapters that analyze the importance of dress to Wilde’s writing career, and a comprehensive review of the influences, trends, characters, and source material that informed his dress philosophy. As a compendium this book includes several period articles and letters by Wilde on dress and fashion, along with related, but rarely published, correspondence.

Oscar Wilde continues to be favorably reappraised as a one of the most culturally avant garde tastemakers of the nineteenth century. In an ever fashion-conscious world it is fitting that the themes explored, like the author himself, are still relevant. In this respect the book will be of historical value to fashion students and practitioners.

Wilde’s relationship to dress is a previously overlooked aspect in his life and this book should prove to be of interest not only to Wildean scholars, but also to anyone who enjoys Wilde’s style of writing.


        The FIRST EDITION in book form of Oscar Wilde's The Philosophy of Dress.

        Previously unpublished correspondence to and about Wilde on dress that appeared in Pall Mall Gazette which informs Wilde's essays.

        Thorough analysis of Wilde and his relationship to dress and fashion.

        36 illustrations and more than 200 footnotes and commentary.

Other themes explored:

        The International Health Exhibition of 1884.

        Wilde's famous quotation about fashion.

        Many contemporary books and authors on dress familiar to Wilde.

        The Rational Dress Society and the Dress Reform Movement.


John Cooper has spent 30 years in the study of Oscar Wilde.

He is a long-standing member of the Oscar Wilde Society in London, a founding member of the Oscar Wilde Society of America, and a former manager of the Victorian Society In America. He has lectured on Wilde and is a contributor to academic journals including The Wildean and Oscholars.

Online he is the author and editor of the noncommercial archive Oscar Wilde in America, blogger, and moderator of the Oscar Wilde Internet discussion group at Yahoo.

For the last 12 years he has specialized in new and unique research into Oscar Wilde in New York, where he conducts guided walking tours based on the visits of Oscar Wilde.

In 2012 John rediscovered the essay The Philosophy Of Dress by Wilde that forms the centerpiece to his new book Oscar Wilde On Dress.

Author Links:

Oscar Wilde In America

Oscar Wilde In New York



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