Just in case you think my take on VMs history is excessively Italo-centric, I should point out that Jacqueline Herald’s (1981) “Renaissance Dress In Italy, 1400-1500” has a sister volume in the series – Margaret Scott’s (1980) “Late Gothic Europe, 1400–1500“. Considering that Herald’s book goes for £400+, this is a relative bargain at a mere £120 or so. Doubtless both are excellent, with Herald’s opus probably having helped countless SCAdians to reproduce that much-prized Isabelle d’Este look over the years: yet given that the pair are a fine gold thread under thirty years old each, might there be something more current to which we could look?
For medieval dress, the answer could be (the very same) Margaret Scott “head of the history of dress at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, and a consultant on historical dress for the National Gallery in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among other museums“, according to this page. Her most recent book is “Medieval Dress and Fashion” (2009), though her (1986) “A Visual History of Costume: The 14th and 15th Centuries” and (2003) “Medieval Clothing and Costumes: Wealth and Class in Medieval Times” both seem likely to be just as relevant.
All the same, I do suspect that for Voynich research Jacqueline Herald’s book (summarised here) will ultimately prove to be the most useful of all of these. As a starting point, Herald’s glossary of Quattrocento clothing terms has ended up online: I also liked Vangelista di Antonio Dellaluna’s practical page on Renaissance jewelry and her Garb Closet, plenty of good (if sometimes SCA-centric) stuff.
But then again, if you look for similar book recommendations to Herald & Scott in LibraryThing, you find “Dress in Italian painting, 1460-1500” (1975) by Elizabeth Birbari, the five-volume “Storia del costume in Italia” (1964-1969) by Rosita Levi Pisetzky, “The Dress of the Venetians, 1495-1525” (1988, Pasold Studies in Textile History) by Stella Mary Newton, and “Dressing Renaissance Florence: Families, Fortunes, and Fine Clothing” (2005) by Carole Collier Frick, let alone the slightly earlier “Gilding the Market: Luxury And Fashion in Fourteenth-Century Italy” (2006, Middle Ages Series) by Susan Mosher Stuard.
In short, is there some kind of Quattrocento fashion / dress book glut going on here (but which we were collectively completely unaware of)?