The Costume Society of America advances the global understanding of all aspects of dress and appearance. We work to stimulate scholarship and encourage study in the rich and diverse field of costume.


The Costume Society of America (CSA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded on March 23, 1973, and incorporated in the state of New York on September 12, 1973.

CSA serves it members, and promotes its goals with national symposia and publications including the annual journal Dress and its monthly electronic newsletter CSA E-News.

The organization began forming regional groups in 1978. There are six regional groups in the United States and Canada, and one international group. Individual regions hold annual meetings, sponsor programs and publish newsletters.


We value five major purposes:

  • To stimulate scholarship and encourage study in the rich and diverse field of costume.
  • To disseminate information on dress and appearance.
  • To raise the profile and credibility of the field of costume.
  • To network among our members and with other people and organizations having costume interests.
  • To manage and govern the organization to serve the membership.

CSA serves individuals, students, institutions, and libraries. Our primary membership consists of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, both generalist and specialist, who share a passion for the history and serious study of costume.

We seek members who are involved in the study, education, collection, and preservation, presentation, and interpretation of dress and appearance in our past, present, and future societies.

CSA acknowledges that clothing is designed and created to be worn. However, with age or associations, clothing takes on particular values and meanings and deserves special care and consideration. The wearing of articles of attire inevitably exposes them to dangers of damage and deterioration; these dangers increase with the age and/ or fragility of such articles.

Therefore, CSA encourages persons and organizations charged with the preservation of costume to prohibit the wearing or modeling of articles intended for preservation. Further, CSA discourages any action which alters the original state of such articles.

Since any information related to the provenance, condition, and treatment of costume enhances the understanding, meaning, and value of an article of adornment, CSA strongly urges that all such information should be collected and made available when that article is transferred to another party.

By-Laws & Constitution

CSA's Charter and Operating Guidelines