When Did Clothing First Appear?
There is no uniform agreement on when exactly clothing came to existence. The range, provided by scientists is from 3 million years ago to about 40,000 years ago, with various estimations in between. It is among the first traits to distinguish humans from animals, requiring the mental ability and skills to develop garments. Initially used for practical purposes only, clothing has evolved to an entire industry of hundreds of fashion styles.
Why are clothes important?
It’s agreed that after food, clothing is the next to satisfy the needs of a human being – both the physiological and the psychological and social ones (1).
Moreover, it takes 7 seconds to make an impression of someone, and some researchers suggest that from the first second people start establishing traits like reliability and honesty. In this second, the clothes are also considered, and people can express themselves with the fashion style they wear. Thus, dressing is certainly going to have a big impact on how your community sees you. Wrapping yourself up in the appropriate clothes is not only influencing your colleagues, friends, and family, but it may also be important for enhancing your self-esteem and self-image. What clothing you choose tells everyone about your personality and character.
So What is Clothing?
Clothing, also called apparel, outfit, clothes, attire, wear, or garments, are items worn by people (with small exceptions of the fashion to dress up small pets). Although the types of clothing may differ, all societies use clothes to protect from the environmental conditions, to cover parts of the body as required by the local social norms, to portray class, to satisfy the requisites of social events and ceremonies and so on. Clothing is made of fabrics, leather and fur, other natural or artificial materials, or a combination of these. How much clothes are carried is dependent upon gender, body type, society and geographic considerations. Clothing is worn at home at work, social events, or participation in sports.
Fashion is worth a trillion in value and there are many types of clothes in the industry. Using fashion finder and personal shopper services can assist you in finding the most appropriate attire depending on the particular needs. Below we have organized the various types of clothes by the most common features to help in selecting the suitable fashion style for your individual taste.
There are several approaches to classify clothing:
- By the part of the body they cover;
- By the occasion they are worn at;
- By age and gender;
- And lastly, by the type of garment.
What is the classification by the part of the body covered?
We wear clothing from head to toe, and this is what each item is suited for:
- Garments are the clothes covering the body of a person;
- Footwear is worn on the feet;
- Hats (or headgear) are used to cover the head;
- Gloves are for the hands;
- Scarves protect the neck;
- Accessories: these complement the above. They include glasses or eye-wear, ties, belts, jewelry, handbags, wallets, etc.
What is the classification by the fashion style?
To present yourself to the world in a way that signifies your character, your wardrobe should be coordinated from head-to-toe. Finding your personal style may not be as easy, and it may seem that the clothes in your closet do not match well with each other. To avoid buying garments that are beautiful but don’t go with one another, it’s advisory to pick the fashion styles that portray your inner unique self, and stick to those fashion lines when choosing your attire. However, feel free to select more than one look, to suit the different occasions and moods. Mix and match among styles if you are in adventurous state – this is how some trends were born. Below is a guide to the numerous fashion style types you can choose from. It's the beginning of a wardrobe planning process.
There are several main fashion styles, and a long list of minor styles or sub-styles to choose from. Although all styles are significant in their own way, we have outlined the main ones:
- Bohemian fashion style: also known as “boho”, comes from the 1960s hippie culture;
- Preppy fashion style: inspired by the uniforms of the prep school students in the Ivy League;
- Gatsby fashion style: a distinctive 1920s look from the Great Gatsby times;
- Artsy fashion style: a style for experimenters with bold and colorful pieces;
- Casual fashion style: weekend wear, such as jeans, tee shirts, and sneakers;
- Formal fashion style: for evening Black Tie events;
- Classic fashion style: everyday business attire, including blazers, pencil skirts, and pants.
- Streetwear fashion style: a 1990s casual style of label tee shirts, baggy jeans, hoodies and sneakers;
- Military fashion style: khaki colors and military prints;
- Grunge fashion style: baggy fit worn-looking or torn clothing;
- Punk fashion style: dark and black colored fishnet stockings, studded leather jackets and vests, skater skirts;
- Trendy fashion style: always staying up-to-date on the latest fashion designs;
- Gothic fashion style: exclusively black and mysterious fashion, associated with teenagers and rock musicians;
- Vintage fashion style: modes that were popular in a previous era;
- Feminine fashion style: pastel colors, floral motives, lace, and bows, and lines that emphasize the waist;
- Tomboy fashion style: a more masculine or gender-neutral wardrobe for ladies;
- Sporty fashion style: using the activewear for an everyday attire;
- Anti-Fashion style: opposite to trendy, it is all about going against the popular trends of the day.
We would love to tell you more about each style, as there is so much more to know. Click the list to read further and view the images of each, as well as the complete list of styles.
What is the broadest classification of clothing?
The widest division is weather it is an upper body garment, a lower body apparel, an overall or an accessory.
As its name implies, “tops” are the garments (not including accessories) that cover the upper body. For classification in the category of tops, a piece must cover at least the chest and the base of these clothes can reach your thigh or lower. These upper body garments include shirts, sweaters, coats, blazers, jackets, t-shirts, blouses, crop tops, polo shirts - just to name a few.
The term “bottoms” refers to all apparel items (not including accessories) worn on the bottom half of the human body, and particularly cover the legs. There are various bottom styles to match with different tops – formal, jeans, casual pants, skirts, shorts, joggers, leggings, and more. The length can vary from short, knee length, ankle length or full length.
Dresses, Jumpsuits & Overalls
These are all garments that are neither tops, nor bottoms, as they cover a larger area of the body, both the upper and the lower torso. The short dresses also come under this category. A known joke is “if you are wondering if it is a top or a dress, it is always a top”, however some of these tiny garments are actually dresses, and not tops. The short jumpsuits and overalls are also neither tops, nor bottoms.
The accessories, such as scarves, hats, socks, and belts do are not considered tops or bottoms. The reason is that they do not cover the chest or legs, but only small parts of the body, such as the neck, head, feet, belly area.
What is the classification by occasion?
Even in the distant past, clothing has played an important role in setting apart the various social roles and events. With nowadays’ opportunities, these have been emphasized even more, although we have started to see a mix or movement, and blurring the boundaries between these categories:
Clothes for special
occasions and events, such as balls, proms, going to the opera, wedding guests, some religious events. Colors may vary for the evening wear, but for men and young boys the black is considered the classics. For women and girls, the color range is wide and may include shades in golden or silver, which is not so popular for other occasions. The formal clothes are usually made of high-quality materials, or imitation of such.
All clothes and garments, worn by the bride and the groom. As these are usually quite distinct, especially for the women bridal dressing gowns, we believe they are a separate category. The most emblematic colors are white for the bride (can include off-white and other very light colors), and black and white for the groom. However, nowadays we often see various shades, especially for the groom’s clothes.
More official clothing, typically worn for work. Generally, these are suits, shirts, trousers, suit skirts, and in some cases dresses. The most popular business attire color is dark or navy blue for the suit, combined with white shirt.
These are the everyday outfits, usually worn when there is no special purpose or occasion. These include jeans, blouses, sweaters, t-shirts, and many more.
A new addition to the fashion styles, the Business casual style has taken over the strict business attire. Although not appropriate for especially formal meetings and events, this fashion style is widely used for the day in the office. They're also perfect for casual meetings or office parties. Men wear blazers with jeans or casual pants, a shirt and occasional tie, or a shirt and a sweater, but women may wear loose fit tunics and blouses with matching jackets and skirts. We'd recommend keeping enough casual clothing in your collection for any event since they won't annoy onlookers wherever you go.
Swimsuits, including one-piece suits, bikini bottoms, bikini tops, cover up beach clothes, and wet suits. Styles range from chic bohemian style to colorful artsy flairs.
Typically worn for sport activities like skiing, jogging, fitness, tennis, golf, basketball, etc. However, some people wear them for everyday life if they are fond of the fashion style. Most sports have their own models and lines of garments, that are quite distinctive, and one can easily tell what sport the person is exercising. A classic sports attire would include a t-shirt or a tank top for the upper body, sweat suit top and trousers or leggings.
The undergarment worn as the first layer a person puts on, as the name suggests, under all other clothes. It is for hygienic purposes, for comfort and support.
Uniforms are worn for professional and academic sports, school kids and individuals in organizations. Standardized clothing for work of a firm or brand. Many companies apply this type of attire especially for the staff in contact with clients, or for the safety and convenience of their staff. Think of the airlines, banks, couriers, hotels, utility companies, hospitals, police, fire department, are only to name a few. Uniforms are often a mixture or a jumpsuit covering the complete body.
What is the classification by gender and age?
This is a general way to divide the clothes, mainly for shopping navigation:
Usually for babies and toddlers under the age of 2 years. This includes both baby girls and baby boys. Although the clothes for this age group are generally the same sizing and design, the colors for the baby girls and baby boys differ. For girls they are usually white, pink, orange, yellow, red in some cases, light green, while for boys more saturated colors are used, such as blue (both light and saturated), green, red, yellow, brown, dark orange. Black is avoided for babies, and white may be used for both boys and girls.
Typically these are clothes for girls 2-12 years of age, but can also be up to 16 years for some stores and include clothes for teenage girls as well. Younger girls tend to pick colors such as pink, purple, yellow, nude, and white, while teenage girls may prefer black.
Garments for boys aged 2-12 years, but can be up to 16 years, with clothes for teenage boys. The preferred shades are blue, green, brown, black, red, and orange. White and yellow are also appropriate.
All clothing for women or individuals, identifying themselves with a gender associated with this type of clothes. The women’s clothing is sized differently than the men’s clothes, and the shapes and fashion styles are fit to the female body. Specific garments that are usually not worn by men (although there are exceptions) are the bra, corset, dress, skirt, bikini top and bottom, stockings, leggings, as well as accessories like the headband, clutch bags and more.
The clothing for men or those, identifying themselves as menswear clients. In contrast to the womenswear, most clothing types of the menswear class are found in the female department as well.
Although not common, there are garments, that are suitable for both women and men. Usually they are loose fitting clothes of casual wear clothing styles.
What is the classification of types of clothing by garment type?
These can be classified by types of clothing, and each type has a number of sub-types. Below are the main garment types or categories, and we will go into detail of each one to answer “what is it” and what are the subcategories or sub-types:
A blazer is a type of casual jacket of military origin, similar to a suit jacket but tailored with shirt-shoulders. In terms of formal wear, it sits between the suit (more formal) and the sports coat (more casual). Usually has buttons on front, which can be silver or golden shades or with buttons of more casual styles. Typically are made out of fabrics such as linen, flannel, wool, worsted serge, and more.
The blouse is a upper body garment worn predominantly by women. Compared with a shirt, a blouse is sometimes fashioned out of light fabric that is lighter than its ‘shirt’ counterpart, and sometimes has more interesting details such as lace collars and gathers, pleats, pin-tucks and more. Normally it would not have a button-down part. A traditional blouse is a loose-fit garment. A blouse may also fit underneath pants and skirts, and thus avoid a blouse's billowing silhouette to create an elliptical waist.
Coats are largely winter garments made with heavier fabrics like wool, and interlining has been added for warmth. They can be long, mid-length to about the knee, or shorter.
Dresses are the most feminine outfits and feature a one-piece clothing with bodices covering the torso and skirts covering the legs. They can be mini, short, knee length, midi, maxi or long. Dresses may be a tight fit, flared or be very light and airy, such as the bohemian style. Stylistically, dresses may be with long sleeves, short sleeves, also be strapless, with various neck lines. Gowns are the full length dresses appropriate for formal events and proms. We have compiled an a-to-z guide with 45 types of dresses with definitions and images.
The jackets may be part of a formal wear or a casual clothing, and are suited as clothes or as outerwear. A bomber jackets are considered casual outerwear jackets - tuxedos and blazers are custom jackets.
In the 1800's the jeans were known as a cotton textile used for garment manufacturing. Jeans for 2020's are offered in various sizes, fabrics and cuts in denim, with different colors. Loved by women, men and kids, it's among the most popular casual wear outfits of today. In the last years some models such as the skinny jeans, are made out of stretchy fabric are a hit. Other popular styles for ladies are the boyfriend jeans, cropped jeans and mom fit jeans.
A one-piece garment with full-body coverage, where the upper and bottom are tied together. In the past, this clothing type was primarily known as workwear, or sleeping clothing. Today it is popular in the street fashion, as causal wear, well as more stylish models for an evening event.
Leggings are elastic fitted high-rise clothes, usually worn by women as part of an everyday outfit. Several types of leggings are included in the clothes vocabulary, such as tights, stockings, thigh-highs, leg warmers, putts, and hose.
Undergarments for women mainly, the lingerie is made of natural or synthetic materials. Cotton fabric or silk are the best choices as this apparel is in contact with gentle areas. lightweight robes and sleeping gowns are also considered lingerie. Lace lingerie or one with a lace trim are preferred for more feminine looks.
10. Polo Shirts
These are short sleeved shirts with stand-up collar with a few buttons, and produced out of knitted cotton (piqué). Initially, these tops were worn during polo matches, which is where the name is derived from. The fist polo shirt as known today was designed by Rene Lacoste as an attempt to improve the tennis attire. At the time when the Lacoste polos came to massproduction, the British tennis star Fred Perry launched his version of the polo shirt.
11. Religious clothing styles
Each religion has its own distinct clothing style, which is derived from the religion's core values and represents the colors and materials incorporated in the symbolism of the belief. Mostly, it is the men who wear this outfit. For women, it is usually the nun attire.
12. Traditional costumes for various countries and regions
Also known as a national or regional costume, these attires expresses a cultural or regional identity through a costume. Hundreds of folk costumes exist around the world. Some are traditionally worn on specific holidays, others are for everyday wear. The modern men and women prefer contemporary styles and only on special occasions is traditional clothing worn.
Clothing worn on the lower body both by men, women and kids. Usually these are long pants and can be both formal, informal or sporty. Dress pants are also a popular choice. Such clothing is combined with shirts, blouses, sweaters and a blazer may complement the look.
A shirt is a garment for the upper body, very widely used by all genders and ages. Typically these are made of cotton or other thin sheets of a similar fabric, with short or long sleeves, a collar, and buttons down the front.
The shorter version of the pants or trousers, the shorts normally cover the area from the waist to the upper legs or knees, but do not go full length. Usually worn as sports clothes or going to the beach, the shorts can sometimes be used as a more formal wear if the model is suited. Variations of the term include slacks, dress shorts, short pants and more.
A garment, worn by predominantly by women and girls, although may be used by men, such as the traditional Scottish male skirts. Usually a one-piece, they are fastened around the waist and hang down both legs. Various lengths and types of skirts flatter the contemporary lady, among the favorite are the skater skirt, the pencil skirt, A-line skirt, straight, pleated, tiered, mermaid, tulip, asymmetrical, and the long bohemian style skirt.
Sportswear, also called activewear or active clothing - is clothing worn when performing sports. When playing tennis or golf, sledding or simply running, it always makes good sense to choose the proper clothing style.
The suit and tie outfit has been introduced by Beau Brummell, named as the forefather of men’s style. The suit consists of at least two parts - a jacket and pants or skirt, and is used both by men and women. It is worn as formal business attire or black tie formal attire, combined with a tie or a bow tie. Suit fabrics range from linen fabrics to high-end wool, as well synthetic fibers such as polyester.
Like cardigans, sweater are made of knit fabric and have several neckline options. Popular to wear with a shirt or a t-shirt underneath, the sweaters suited for both casual wear and as office attire.
Used for swimming, bathing or going to the beach, the swimsuits may be considered part of the sportswear type of clothing, however its broader usage designated it a separate space. The styles the of modern swimsuits are varied, and can cover a smaller or wider area of the body. For men and boys the models resemble briefs, boxers or shorts. For ladies, one or two-piece suits are popular and is socially accepted that the breasts are covered, unlike with men. Widely used materials are Latex and nylon.
The name comes from the shape of a T when spread out on a flat surface. A t-shirt is casual garment with short sleeves and a round neckline, generally made of cotton (jersey), but can also be of synthetic material. Originally worn as undershirts, nowadays are often worn as tops. The colors and decorations are so varied that naming all is impossible. Worn by all ages and genders, the Tees have become a favorite to many designers of all price ranges.
We have outlined the main types of clothing used mostly nowadays, however there are many more out there. We will be covering the sub-types as well, so stay tuned for our next posts.
If you are interested in a particular garment type, send us an email at email@example.com and we’ll get back to you with our research on the topic.