Types of Clothing & Fashion

Fashion and clothes are an integral part of our daily lives.
Fashion and clothes are an integral part of our daily lives. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Fashion and clothing are extensions of our personalities. Clothing is necessary to cover our bodies and may serve specific purposes, such as to protect us from the elements or to provide warmth. Fashion refers to the generally accepted styles of clothing and accessories for a particular society or culture. People use fashion as a means of self-expression, to show status, to communicate and to distinguish themselves from others or to identify with a particular social group. Fashion and the associated clothing fall into many different categories and classifications.

Haute Couture

Haute Couture is a French phrase meaning “high fashion.” Haute couture fashion in modern times refers to clothes custom-made for exclusive clientele by fashion design houses or by top fashion designers. It is the ultimate in custom fashion, with each item of clothing being designed specifically to fit the measurements, body type, taste and coloring of a specific client. The fabric and trimmings used in haute couture are often specially sourced and manufactured for the particular design. Haute couture is by nature very expensive, and only a limited number of people in the world can afford this type of fashion.


Ready-to-wear fashion, also known as off-the-rack and prêt-a-porter, is a type of fashion in which clothes are pre-made and sold in a range of standard sizes, as opposed to being custom-made to fit a person’s measurements. Ready-to-wear garments fit most people, as the majority of people fit into a standard size. Plus-size and petite-size fashion is also available as ready-to-wear, but with more limited availability than standard sizes. High-end ready-to-wear fashion is produced by fashion designers to make their designs more accessible to a wider cross-section of the market. These are usually manufactured using cheaper labor and constructed of less expensive materials than bespoke clothing.

Mass Market

Mass-market fashion is a type of fashion in which clothing is quickly and cheaply mass-produced in large manufacturing facilities to standard sizes. This clothing is often seasonal and made of cheap material, which has earned it the term “disposable fashion.” Mass-market fashion is the most common type of fashion due to its low cost and ready availability.

Types of Clothing

Fashion and clothing styles vary with culture, country, region, age, status, occupation, social group and many other factors. The types of clothing worn by an individual are largely dictated by social needs and personality as well as form and function. Some workers and students are often given a uniform or formal dress code, which dictates what types of clothing they wear while performing their duties or while on the premises. Executives and bankers are often required to wear expensive suits and designer labels in order to convey an image of social status. Construction workers wear clothes and accessories designed to protect them from physical harm while allowing freedom of movement. There are also special kinds of clothes and fabrics designed for persons with active lifestyles, such as dancers and athletes.

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