I don't often post about books that you don't really sit down and read, e.g. coffee table books, but I've long had a fascination with the history of costume, and there are a lot of great books of fashion images. Some of them are just as informative as any less pictorial book, and with something as visual as fashion, a picture really is worth a thousand words. One of my favourites is the ridiculously enormous two volume book Fashion, from the Kyoto Costume Institute. I can't believe I own the thing--Amazon lists it at $168. But if somebody ever owes you a really nice birthday present or you can find it at the library, you should go for it.