What is Clothing? Clothing vs Clothes, Apparel, Garment, Outfit

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Clothing vs Clothes – What’s the Difference?

The word ‘clothing’ comes from the Old English ‘clath’ – a cloth or woven fabric worn on the body for practical, social, and psychological needs, such as protection, covering for modesty, or styling.

monochrome business outfit
Clothing describes clothes, footwear, and accessories with no stylistic direction. Whenever clothing has similar colors, patterns, or cuts, a fashion style, such as a casual business outfit (on the left) inspired by Preppy aesthetics, might be interpreted.

The initial term clothing described clothes (garments) made of fabrics or textiles.

Over time, the term’s meaning expanded to include garments made from animal skins, rubber, latex, and artificial materials.

Popular clothing items or clothes in fashion include everyday T-shirts, pants, jeans, hoodies, dresses, jackets, coats, etc.




Clothing vs Apparel

Clothing is the plural of clothes and describes garments such as shirts, pants, dresses, jackets, and coats used to cover and protect the body.

On the other hand, the term apparel refers to – apart from clothing – footwear and accessories like jewelry, glasses, and hats.

Clothing on the left: multiple clothes to cover and protect the body. Apparel on the right includes clothing but also accessories, footwear, jewelry, glasses, scarves, and hats.
Clothing on the left: multiple clothes to cover and protect the body. Apparel on the right includes clothing but also accessories, footwear, jewelry, glasses, scarves, and hats.

Clothing vs Garment

Clothing includes any clothes, while ‘Garment‘ describes a single piece of clothing, such as a dress, a pair of pants, a suit, a jacket, or a jumper.

In that sense, clothing and garments are similar.

Clothing includes all types of clothes, while a 'garment' is just one piece of clothing.
Clothing includes all types of clothes, while a ‘garment’ is just one piece.

Clothing vs Outfit

Unlike ‘Clothing,’ which means any garments used to cover, protect, and adorn the body, ‘outfit‘ combines garments, footwear, and accessories intended to be worn together.

The garments, footwear, and accessories composing outfits are intentionally selected (curated) and assembled to depict a particular fashion style or way of dressing.

'Clothing' refers to any clothes that can be worn on the body, while 'Outfit' describes a curated mix of garments (clothes) and accessories to depict a particular fashion style - such as the hippie style outfit on the right.
‘Clothing’ refers to any clothes worn on the body. At the same time, ‘Outfit’ describes a curated mix of garments (clothes) and accessories to depict a particular fashion style – such as the hippie style outfit on the right.

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Keep up with the latest in fashion, beauty and style!

After years of managing hundreds of fashion brands from London's office of a global retailer, Mandy has ventured into freelancing. Connected with several fashion retailers and media platforms in the US, Australia, and the UK, Mandy uses her expertise to consult for emerging fashion brands create top-notch content as an editorial strategist for several online publications.

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