Over 21,000 objects covering all aspects of the history of clothing and appearance, from around 1600 to 2005.

Corset, stays and stomacher, about 1620-40The costume collection is housed at The Gallery of Costume, an 18th century textile merchant's home in Platt Hall, Platt Fields.

Strengths include 18th century fashion and 19th century women's and children's dress. The collection also includes a specialist library of over 18,000 objects including fashion plates, magazines, journals and shop catalogues. In recent years collecting has focused on the clothes of major British and European designers; 17th century items; post 1960 material; menswear; occupational clothes; and 'streetwear'.

Because of the vast size of the collection, only a small percentage of the total can be on display at any one time. However, you can explore the costume collections further by browsing our collection themes or search for specific items using the collections search.