Vintage Clothing is a passion of mine because clothing and style is a reflection of the cultural norms, roles, and general attitudes at the time. I have a couple books that I highly recommend to anyone interested in the history and society surrounding fashion.
I have a much older edition, regardless, from ancient history until the early 1980's clothing is discussed with some regard to historical and social events. Not my favorite book, its not so much concerned with the last 75 years or so, but to be fair, the topic is so broad and encompassing it would be really hard to write an all inclusive book without it being 3000+ pages. A worthwhile read if you are interested in historical progression of fashion however.
The Lingerie Handbook by Rebecca Apsan
The Handbook offers some awesome tips for shopping for lingerie and fitting correctly. Great little book.
An Intimate Affair is written by a historian, Jill Fields, and is my favorite lingerie book ever. Its fabulous because she discusses everything in context and includes major historical events and social facts. Wonderful book.
Bra: a thousand years of style, support and seduction is a really quick summary of the last thousand years of bras.
They aren't super-helpful, but kind of quirky and fun to have.
There are beautiful images in this book. This isn't merely a picture book of really cute shoes, but there is tons of extremely useful historical knowledge and speculation including designer biographies. For example, the Edwardian heel was invented by Nicholas Lestage in 1660 and popularized by Louis XV...
All in all, this is a fabulous book. Most of the shoes are designer shoes that are (even in vintage) fairly pricey, but the knockoffs produced at the same time aren't as pricey and widely available.
Fabric Reference by Mary Humphries
This is a college level textbook that gives you all kinds of technical information regarding textiles and manufacturing them. She also goes through cleaning techniques and in depth examination of dry cleaning methods. All in all this is more of a technical manual but buying an older edition is worth your while.
Something is only worth what the customer is willing to pay for it.
In conclusion, there are other books I have read that pertain to vintage and such, but for the most part I stick to the social-historical-dry tomes of information that most of the general public dislikes.
If you have any suggestions, please post them in comments! I'd love to know about them!