Best Books on Post-Apocalyptic Fashion: Dress to Kill or Be Killed

In spirit of the 1830 book Treatise on Elegant Living by Honoré de Balzac, here are some of the best books on post-apocalyptic fashion: dress to kill or be killed. This is something all young adults out there will def be interested in. Imagine if it’s your half-eaten body lying in a parking lot that somebody photographs? What if the pic makes the front page of every newspaper in America, and they identify the body as you? Well, you simply must be dressed right to always look chic for the camera. 

For example, in the movies, The Children of Men, those folks knew how to dress according to the times and still look cool. Check out these fashion suggestions:

Adventures in Clothing by Tao Wong

Much like everything else in a post-apocalyptic world, the fashion industry has been put to a grinding halt. For sure in some other places and around the same time, there are fighters and heroes whose adventures are full of superb thrills and sacrifices, but things are little bit different in Vancouver. A team of tailors and models, led by Lana Pearson, are eager to tackle all the challenges of a new reality by kicking the clothing business into top gear. The clothing designer sets out to give Vancouver a real chance not only to survive, but to also self-sustain and thrive. Creative thinking outside the sewing box is put to the test.

Apocalyptic Chic by Barbara Broadman

Regardless of the post-apocalyptic graphic novels or films, the depicted fashion styles in the stories are not always easy to materialize in the real world. Following a biblical-scale disaster, there might not be enough resources to make the perfect wardrobe for everyone. Assuming only a small percentage of the population survives after all, the appropriate outfits are likely difficult to manufacture anyway. In many young adult post-apocalyptic fashion, the trend is almost always dominated by rags, leather, blankets, and metal accessories put together to cover vital parts of the body. Exotic materials such as velvets and silks are mainly used by characters of authority. The Apocalyptic Chic contemplate what to wear when the doomsday is here.

Doomsday Knits by Alex Tinsley

By 3015, the world has turned into a wasteland; the term “hell on Earth” applies to every place. The deserts have expanded, and the polar ice has disappeared without a trace. In fact, the entire land area of the planet is covered by the debris of a nuclear fallout. One of the most likely questions in any survivor’s mind is whether to knit cutting-edge clothing or back-to-the-nature style wardrobe. Doomsday Knits explores an assortment of fashion accessories and garments appropriate for post-apocalyptic living conditions. The good thing is that most (if not all) the materials required for such a style are already available. 

Otherworldly by Theo-Mass Lexileictous and Sven Ehmann (2016)

Post-Apocalyptic Fashion: otherowrldly

Many things can start an apocalypse; alien invasion is a real possibility. Otherworldly will not tell you how to defend against extraterrestrial forces, but it offers some ideas about presenting yourself before another intelligent civilization. Since new materials and technologies have now made it possible to reinvent fashion in its entirety, the collection of outfits in the book revolves around post-human design. The fashion theme is a blend of fetish and futurism. From the perspective of day-to-day practicality, the styling and general shape of the outfits would look subversive and unwearable. In the distant future, however, they might be the best possible representation of fashion sense. 

The Evolution of Goth Culture by Karl Spracklen and Beverley Spracklen (2018)

Post-Apocalyptic Fashion: the evolution of goth culture

The Mad Max film series brought some very interesting, albeit familiar, fashion style; some say steampunk, others think diesel-punk. No matter which term is more accurate, the clothing is undeniably post-apocalyptic. Many elements in the wardrobe design take inspirations from both cultures such as ragged styling, tribal motifs, skulls, gas masks, leather, and massive boots. The Evolution of Goth Culture does not specifically talk about a post-apocalyptic world. Instead, it gives an overview of how the aesthetics of steampunk and Goth are correlated in their way to become global popular culture. As society progresses, for better or worse, Goth aesthetic is increasingly accepted as a mainstream option. 

The Official Underground 2012 Doomsday Survival Handbook by W.H. Mumfrey (2010)

Post-Apocalyptic Fashion: doomsday handbook

When doomsday comes, all factories manufacturing everybody’s clothing will not operate. Either the workers transform into mindless cannibals and eat each other, the aliens consume all the electricity in existence, or a full-on nuclear war is terraforming the Earth into a wasteland. The last few of the human civilization have to navigate the new world wearing whatever they have prior to doomsday. Every individual’s clothing will attest to their survival skills. Anybody who chooses function over fashion should withstand the challenges better than their less sensible counterparts. That said, the function-focused outfit doesn’t have to be devoid of flair. 

Apocalypse – How to Survive Global Crisis by Dan Martin (2021)

Post-Apocalyptic Fashion: apocalypse

The main purpose of Apocalypse, How to Survive a Global Crisis is to teach readers everything they need to do to survive amidst a doomsday event. The book also gives a glimpse of some plausible scenarios which may trigger a series of disasters leading to the end of the world. Among them are solar flares, pandemics, floods, alien invasions, and another world war. It has everything anybody needs to know including the safest outfit options, and what to bring with you all the time. There isn’t much of a change urgently required in the fashion sense, because just like in The Children of Men, the clothing option is pretty much the same as today’s standard.

The Supermodern Wardrobe by Andrew Bolton (2002) 

Post-Apocalyptic Fashion: the modern wardrobe

An apocalyptic world is already here if you consider the increasingly polluted urban spaces. City streets, airports, and supermarkets are not exactly as hospitable as they used to be. Give them a few more decades without a real change, and the urban jungle might turn into an urban desert. The Supermodern Wardrobe is an attempt to give humanity a real fighting chance against the progressively hostile environment using the right apparel. Exciting new materials such as bulletproof coats and high-performance sportswear will provide enough protection without sacrificing comfort. Added with generous amount of photography, the book can be a true guide to the bleak future of fabric-less fashion. 

Fashion Beast by Alan Moore (2013)

Post-Apocalyptic Fashion: fashion beast

An original 1985 screenplay written by Alan Moore and Malcolm McLaren has finally arrived in the form of a graphic novel titled Fashion Beast. Life as a coat checker is unfulfilling for Doll. Things actually look better when she is finally fired from the job and going for an audition to become a mannequin. In Doll’s mind, the new job would open an opportunity to have a taste of glamor. However, things are not always what they seem in a post-apocalyptic world. It turns out her employer’s reputation as a genius designer is a mere lie. Although the storyline does not specifically discuss fashion of the post-apocalyptic world, it comes with beautiful illustrations to inspire any farfetched thoughts out there.

Do you plan to be fashionable in the coming zombie apocalypse? Well, we hope so! Who would want to run for their lives alongside somebody dressed like me, for example? Ha-ha! Tell us what you’d wear during an apocalypse. We’d love to hear from you.

Here are some things you may want to know about.

What is apocalyptic fashion?

The website expresses this new fashion calling it Avant Apocalypse. Gen Z trendsetters have been going wild with old clothing from closets and thrift stores being creatively repurposed. “If the aesthetic feels a little cinematic, that’s because it’s heavily inspired by the fantastical wardrobes of movies like Mad Max, Star Wars, Dune and, well any other desert-y, action/sci-fi production.”

Check out this website for more information on this new sensational clothing.

How do you dress apocalyptic? has created a list of things to wear to survive an apocalypse. I bet you will have many of things items from times past or at least at your nearest thrift store

  1. Thick leather jacket-good for avoiding zombie bites
  2. Heavy raw denim-good for never needing other pants

3.   Flame-resistant work shirt-good for not getting burned

4.   Bullet proof bomber jacket-good for living through martial law

5.   Goose down parka-good for not freezing to death during the next Ice Age

6.   Radiation coverall-good for surviving a nuclear winter

7.   Bullet and knife-resistant polo shirt-good for a warm spring day in an apocalyptic world\

8.   Flame-resistant came pants-good for avoiding murderous nomadic tribes

9.   Lightweight combat boots-good for getting around mutant infested towns

10. Cut-resistant boxer shorts-good for and end of world experience 

What is dystopian fashion?

According to dystopian fashion is “essentially street wear and other clothing styles that are hardwearing and make our bodies feel resilient against any uncertain future.” has an entire array of post-apocalyptic clothing ranging from Jedi style jackets, leather gloves with cut out fingers, masks that look like what you would see in Mad Max to leg warmers, rubber face masks, gas masks, and entire outfits. 

It makes one wonder if pandemics, raging fires, global warming, invasions are making us more mindful of things to come. We have to know what to wear at any given moment.