When planning your wardrobe, it helps to coordinate and accessorize everything from head-to-toe. Here's a great checklist of all the different types of clothing for women and men. This is your apparel planning starting point.
A person’s clothing style can say a lot about them. In other words, how you dress and what you wear says a lot about your personality. The clothes types and fashion style you choose tell the world who you are. So it’s important that you know what you’re saying.
- Why Clothes Matter
- Regular Garments
- Full Body Wear
- Regional outfits
- Religious clothing
- Specialty clothing
Why Clothes Matter
According to Forbes, it takes seven seconds for a person to form an impression of another person. One of the first few things that are taken into consideration in these few seconds is the clothes the person is wearing. In fact, it is the first thing that most people notice when meeting someone for the first time. Therefore, there is no doubt that the way you dress can leave a strong impression on others.
Wrapping yourself up in comfy and stylish clothes types of your liking not only leaves a lasting impression on people, but it can also play an important part in making you feel good about yourself and affects your own self-confidence and self-image. This makes it utterly important to bring up your dressing game and tweak up your wardrobe a little. Finding your personal style is a lifelong journey that can be, and should be, a lot of fun.
You will also need to adhere to a dress code for many different events in life and for many types of jobs. Knowing what to wear for a specific dress code is a skill you’ll always need. Knowing more about clothes, in general, is the first step in knowing what fashion style is and how to dress well. After all, you need to know why you can’t wear casual clothing with dress shoes…and how to avoid doing that! Simply by improving your clothes vocabulary, you’ll start to increase your fashion sense.
Going from head to toe, there are lots and lots of different clothes types. Have you worn them all?
Also known as headwear, headgear can be defined as the items of clothing that are worn on the head. When it comes to dressing, it is easy to neglect the importance of headgear. However, no one can deny that headgear is one of the easiest ways to make a fashion style statement! It’s time we start giving headgear its fair share of attention.
Hats are the first thing that comes to mind when talking about headgear. These head coverings are popular all around the world. Most of the time, this type of headwear is considered to be an accessory. It is common to see people wearing beach hats on the beach or enjoying their time in parks wearing baseball caps. If you really want to take your fashion style game to the next level, there are many types of hats that can help you stand out from the crowd. Some of the most popular types are:
- Baseball caps
- Bobbler hats
- Bucket hats
- Cowboy hats
- Sailor hats
Head Tie / Scarves
Wearing a head tie or head scarf is common in many cultures around the world. However, most people wear them as a clothes accessory. In fact, at one time, head scarves were a famous royal accessory. You can still find photographs of Queen Elizabeth rocking the chic look with her floral scarves.
Related: 19 Ways to Tie a Scarf
Masks have existed since ancient times. The ancient Greeks famously used masks while performing plays on stage. But after the COVID-19 pandemic, masks became a part of everyday life…and they became an important clothing item.
Masks are worn on the face and may cover the face in whole or in part, though they are designed to allow the eyes to still see out.
Some masks are designed to function like face shields. This design has long been used in welding and other types of metalwork and blacksmithing. However, the pandemic made lightweight, plastic face shields a popular alternative to cloth face masks.
Regular garments include the everyday clothes types that you wear when leaving the house. Whether you are a trendsetter or prefer comfort over style, there’s always more clothing to discover. Have a look at the different regular clothing types to find out what your wardrobe is missing. You may decide that it’s time for you to get some new clothes and start experimenting with new ways to express your fashion style.
As the name suggests, tops are the clothes types that usually cover the upper body. To be classified as a top, the clothing item must cover at least the chest. This means that the bottom of a top can fall as short as mid-torso or go all the way down to your thighs.
The word blouse generally refers to a women’s shirt that “blouses” over the body. Traditional blouses are loose-fitting shirts that hang on the body but gather around the waist. You can wear a blouse over any sort of bottoms, from pants to skirts. Because of the billowy style, blouses do not create a defined waist, which makes them very forgiving garments.
Crop tops are a type of shirt that is cropped, or shortened, to reveal the midriff. Generally classified as casual wear, crop tops are short-sleeved or sleeveless tops that only cover half the torso, revealing the stomach.
Shirts were originally pieces of clothing that were worn by men as undergarments. Today, it is a broad term that encompasses various styles for upper body wear. Shirts generally end between the waist all the way to the upper thighs in long tunics, though it is more typical for shirts to end somewhere near the waist.
There are many different types of shirts. For example, dress shirts generally have a vertical row of buttons in the middle, a collar and sleeves with cuffs. In a formal setting, you can wear your shirt with a necktie to complete your look. Dress shirt styles are made in men’s clothes and women’s clothing styles.
On the other hand, styles like polo shirts usually have just a few buttons and half sleeves. Ts or T-shirts are also extremely popular. They are called “Ts” because of the t shape of their body and sleeves. Traditionally, these shirt styles have short sleeves and a crew neck or V-neck.
Traditionally, sweaters are knitted garments that cover the upper body. They are not only stylish but also work to keep you warm and cozy during the winter seasons. Though many types of clothes can be made as knits, sweaters are the most popular knit clothing types. Different sweater styles can be open in the front with button closures, like jackets, or closed all the way around in pullover styles. Ugly holiday-themed wool sweater styles are always on display in December.
A tank top is simply a sleeveless shirt with wide cuts. Tank tops come in a variety of styles, with straps of varying widths.
The tube top is exactly what the name suggests. It is a kind of upper body covering with no sleeves or shoulders. Basically, it is just a tube of fabric that wraps around the torso. It is a famous style of tops for women and is usually worn by young girls all around the globe. Tube tops are typically tight over the breasts and have strings or elastic at the top and bottom in order to keep them from falling.
In the realm of fashion style and clothing types, “bottoms” is a broad term that encompasses all the regular clothing items that cover the lower body. Naturally, there are different types of bottoms that you can match to wear with various tops.
An infamous garment, bloomers is one of those clothes names that keep popping up throughout history. Originally designed as an undergarment to be worn beneath a woman’s skirt, bloomers became a feminist fashion style statement and later, a type of pants.
The kilt is a famous bottom garment that originated in Scotland. It’s essentially a knee-length skirt style with pleats that is fashioned out of a tartan pattern. Often, kilts are made with woolen fabric.
Pants / Trousers
This clothing item does not need an introduction. Pants, called trousers in the UK, cover the lower part of the body from waist to ankle. Unlike some other bottoms, pants cover both legs separately. Pant types come in all sorts of different styles, from dress pants to casual styles.
Sarong is simply a long piece of fabric that is tied around the waist to cover the lower body. While it is common in a number of cultures around the world, it is equally famous in the world of fashion and style. Though many think the sarong is traditional Japanese clothing, this garment actually originates in the Malay Peninsula.
There is a lot you can do with a sarong! They are designed in a number of colors and designs and there are multiple chic ways to tie it.
Have you ever wondered why shorts are called “shorts”? Well, it’s because they are a shorter version of trousers! They cover the body from the waist downwards, just like trousers. However, shorts do not extend down all the way to the ankles. Shorts fall somewhere in-between.
Skirts are created to cover the body from the waist downwards. Depending on the style of the skirt, the hem can be long enough to reach your toes or reach only mid-thigh. Skirts can be made out of all different types of fabric.
Skirts are worn among women of all ages. These garments are so associated with women, it was once popular slang to refer to a woman as a “skirt.” However, many designers like Paul Jean and Marc Jacobs have designed men’s skirts as well in an attempt to break down fashion barriers.
Full Body Wear
Any clothing item that does the job of a top, as well as bottoms, can be considered as full-body wear.
Activewear, also known as sportswear, includes all clothing items that are worn while exercising or indulging in sports. Whether you are into swimming, skiing, gymnastics, or simply running, it always pays off to have the right clothes types! Here are a few types of activewear.
- Ski suits
A bodysuit is a one-piece clothing item usually made of spandex or stretchy fabric that fits close to the skin. Bodysuits cover the trunk of the body and often have long sleeves, though some bodysuit styles have long legs as well.
Coordinates are two matched pieces made in the same fabric, pattern and color. These pieces are meant to be worn together.
Coveralls / Overalls
Coveralls and overalls are pants that extend up to the chest. Coveralls cover the entire chest, back and arms. Overalls are made with a front bib that comes up to cover the chest, which is joined to the back flap with two straps that go over each shoulder.
Dresses / Gowns
Dresses and gowns are essentially the same. Dresses are usually called gowns when they are full-length, formal styles. Dresses are made with a bodice that covers the torso and a skirt that extends down to hang over the legs of the wearer.
Onesies / Jumpsuits
A onesie or jumpsuit is a one-piece clothing item that covers the entire body. In simple words, you can imagine onesies as a garment that combines the top and bottom by stitching them together. It was initially famous as loungewear or sleepwear. However, it is readily gaining popularity as street fashion as well. The onesie is commonly associated with baby clothes, but they make for very comfortable adult fashion, too.
If you are looking for a cute combination of shorts and a shirt, a romper is for you. It is the perfect choice to add a little funk to your wardrobe. Rompers are a type of jumpsuit that have short legs instead of longer styles.
The suit was invented by Beau Brumell, a trendsetter in 1800s England who first popularized a simple outfit of a jacket with full-length trousers. This was the prototype of the modern suit that is still worn by men and women today. The suit can fit with many different dress code requirements, from business casual to black tie formal wear. Suits are made from many different types of materials, from linen fabric to high-end wool, even synthetic fiber like polyester fabric.
Uniforms are worn by professionals, athletes, school children and members of organizations and institutions of all types. Police officers, medical workers and many others wear uniforms on a daily basis. Uniforms may consist of several separate pieces worn together or might be jumpsuits that cover the entire body.
Military forces throughout history have helped shape and popularize many pieces of fashion that are worn today. Special battle clothing has existed since even before ancient Roman legions marched across the land with their plumed helmets. The first true military uniforms that resemble more modern combat wear were created in the late 1500s in Europe. Over time, military clothing has expanded to include hats, boots, accessories and garments of all types. Full-body military clothing includes items such as:
There are many places around the world where it is popular to wear a regional outfit that varies only in color, pattern and / or fabric. Often, some variation of this everyday outfit is worn by men, women and children. Popular regional outfits worn in specific locations around the globe include:
- Agbada clothing (West Africa)
- Boubou (West Africa)
- Kanga (East Africa)
- Lederhosen (Germany)
- Samfoo / Samfu (China)
Clothing has been used to denote various religious branches and religious rankings within communities for centuries. One of the Pope’s most famous symbols of office is the large, ornate hat that is worn for ceremonial purposes. Religious clothing is also called clericals, clerical clothing or ecclesiastical dress.
Religious clothing is not always worn by religious leaders and prominent church members. In some cultures and within some religions, specific types of headwear are worn because of custom, law or religious decree. These types of headwear are not a fashion style statement but rather a spiritual statement or a sign of compliance with the local laws, which may require women to wear certain types of headwear. The different religious headgear worn around the word include:
- Burka, burqa
There are many types of specialty clothing that are worn only for specific activities or by certain people.
Bathrobes are meant to be worn only indoors, usually when getting into or out of the bathtub or shower. They come in all sizes and they’re made with many different materials, but the basic design of the bathrobe is pretty universal.
Costumes are worn for a variety of reasons. People often wear costumes mirroring their favorite characters to conventions, for example. Costumes are also worn for Halloween, themed parties, performing plays and other forms of entertainment and for many other reasons.
Wearing drag or “going in” drag refers to wearing an outfit and a style that is associated with one’s opposite gender. A man dressing in drag will usually wear a long gown, makeup and a highly stylized wig to look like a woman, for example. A man who dresses in drag may be called a drag queen. Women can also dress in drag and wear clothing and style that would typically be associated with a man.
A livery is a highly stylized uniform that is worn by people in service positions, such as butlers. A livery often contains insignia and symbolism, though this is specifically a non-military uniform worn by civilian personnel.
Nightgowns, pajamas and night clothes are made to be worn to bed, though they can make comfortable loungewear as well.
Swaddling clothes are not exactly clothes. Really, they are wrappings. Swaddling clothes are long strips of fabric used to tightly wrap a baby.
The toga is famously associated with Rome. This was a draped garment worn around the body with ancient origins, dating to the Etruscans before the style was adopted by Rome. Togas were worn by both men and women. The toga is not commonly seen in daily fashion anymore but it does make an appearance at themed toga parties.
Clothing accents are used to enhance outfits or to make a statement. An armband, for example, is often used as a sign of mourning or solidarity with a specific cause. It may also be used to denote military or governmental rank. Other types of clothing accents include:
The words leggings and tights are often used interchangeably. They are both types of leg coverings, hosiery, that usually contain a little elastic. They’re close-fitting, tightly covering the legs. However, while leggings extend down to the ankles of the wearer, tights sheath the body from waist to tiptoes.
Nylons, also called pantyhose, are sheer, lightweight tights made in skin tone color shades. These are used to just cover the legs and create a flawless look. Nylons are an alternative to bare legs and do not provide any warmth or insulation against the cold, unlike leggings.
Socks are clothing items for your feet. They not only keep you warm and cozy but are also used as sweat absorbers, especially when you wear closed shoes. They come in a number of styles, varying in length.
It’s easy to forget about socks when planning a wardrobe, but these days, socks are accent pieces. Sock design has become artistic and highly fashionable. Multi-colored socks or specialty athletic sock styles are growing in popularity for women’s and men’s clothing stores.
Innerwear includes garments that are worn beneath regular clothes. They come in various styles and are worn for multiple purposes.
Lingerie is an important part of women’s clothing. In fact, it won’t be wrong to say that it is just as important as regular clothes and outerwear. From taking comfort to the next level to spicing things up in the bedroom, women’s lingerie has a number of functions. Naturally, it comes in a number of styles and literally thousands of designs.
Designed to provide support to a woman’s breasts, bras are all about comfort. In order to pick the bra, make sure you know your size and preference. Do you ever avoid wearing certain types of dresses because you can’t find the perfect bra to go with it? Luckily, women’s bras come in a wide variety. Choose whatever style you like the most. Here’s a list of some bras that every woman should own:
- Balconette Bra
- Bandeau Bra
- Cage Bra
- Convertible Bra
- Long Line Bra
- Padded Bra
- Plunge Bra
- Sports Bra
- Stick-On Bra
- Strapless Bra
- T-Shirt Bra
- Corsets and Body Shapers
Corsets and body shapers, which are also known as foundation garments and shapewear, are undergarments that are worn to enhance your figure. However, they are not the most comfortable clothing items to wear. They can also help you improve your posture. Some wear them for medical purposes as well.
Slips, also known as petticoats, are generally worn under skirts and dresses. Wearing a slip will not only help your dress or skirt in hanging beautifully, but it also keeps your skin from chafing against coarse fabrics. Slips are most often used to provide a modesty layer under an unlined or thin skirt. Slips are often made from silk or satin, or another lightweight fabric.
- Women’s Underwear
Women’s underwear, also called panties, is an essential part of women’s wear. Because they’re worn against the skin in a sensitive area, women’s underwear are usually made with lightweight, soft fabric, like cotton or silk. While you probably own a ton of them, are you sure you have the right kind of panties? The mere number of styles of women’s underpants is surprising. Have you worn all of these more popular types?
- Boy Shorts
- Classic briefs
- Control briefs
- French cut
- String bikini
Long Underwear / Thermal Underwear
Thermal underwear, also known as long underwear or long johns, is a one-piece or two-piece undergarment consisting of a long-sleeved shirt and close-fitting pants. They are worn underneath regular clothing to keep you warm. Long underwear is often made with cotton fabric that non-irritating and non-itchy on skin. Thermal underwear is made with woven fabric that is insulating to keep you warm.
Men’s Underwear / Underpants
Men’s underwear, or underpants, are available in a number of styles. It’s up to you to figure out which styles make you feel the most comfortable and suit you the best. Some of the more popular types of underwear for men include:
- Bikini bottoms
- Boxers Briefs
As the name suggests, outerwear is clothing that is designed to be worn outside or over regular garments. The best part about outerwear is that it can not only keep you cozy during winter but will add an extra layer to your ensemble. Outerwear is often made with tough fabric materials, such as leather, wool and woven fabric styles.
Capes / Cloaks
Typically loose-fitting and lightweight, capes and cloaks are two types of outerwear that are fully opened up at the front. They are unstructured items, essentially a long and wide piece of fabric that secures around the neck. Capes typically have no hood, while cloaks have an attached hood.
With long sleeves and open down the front, coats are as functional as they are fashionable. It won’t be a stretch to say that coat styles are never out of fashion. Over the years, many different coat designs have come onto the style scene, including the following:
There are gloves for many different activities and purposes. There are everyday gloves, ski gloves, evening gloves, a variety of gloves for various activities. Gloves are made with all kinds of different fabric, depending on whether they’re made for style or for function (or both).
Jackets are made in a variety of styles and lengths, from chest-length to hip-length. They are styled in open, zippered and button-up designs, with collars of various types. A jacket can be used as an outer layer or as an integral part of an outfit. This is one way that a jacket differs from a coat, as a coat is never worn as an indoor garment.
Jackets are made in all fabric types and materials. The leather jacket is one of the most famous types of jackets in fashion, as it has a history of being associated with coolness and a rebel attitude.
Ponchos have been used by people all over the world for centuries to protect the wearer against rain and snow as a coat alternative. Ponchos hang loosely around the body and may or may not have sleeves. Ponchos can be made from any fabric, though woven fabric styles are very common.
Scarves are used as fashion accessories, either for pure style or to keep the neck warm on chilly days. They can be made of any type of fabric, with everything from warm wool to silky satin to create different styles.
A shawl is a rectangular piece of cloth that can be draped around the shoulders to provide warmth and make the wearer look chic. Shawls are often made from wool, thick cotton or knit fabric materials to be insulating and soft.
Vest / Waistcoat
Vests, or waistcoats, are generally worn over a shirt. Vests are added to suits in formal wear. Casual vest styles can be worn to jazz up any outfit and add a layer to your look. A vest can be worn over a T shirt or any other type of shirt. For some sexy looks, people wear just the vest. Sometimes, vests are worn as a means of increasing visibility and therefore, safety.
There is a lot of different footwear options for men and women. This includes shoes, boots and sandals. You also have to consider purpose, function, style, material and length when selecting a good shoe or boot. In other words, there’s a lot that goes into footwear options.
Feeling like a clothing expert yet? Even knowing the different types of clothing may not quite be enough. If you still have lingering questions, that’s okay. Here are the answers to the most common questions about types of clothing.
- What are the different types of clothing fabric?
There are dozens of different fabrics that are used for clothing, though some materials are far more used than others. You probably have many clothes made from cotton fabric but not too many made from boiled wool. Along with denim, linen, polyester and silk, cotton is one of the most common types of fabrics used in clothing.
The different fabrics your clothing is made out of matter a lot. Silk is soft and light on skin, while wool knit fabric is heavier and may even be itchy. Cotton is breathable, spandex is stretchy. Knowing fabric is a great way to know a lot more about clothes. Next time you shop for clothes, notice the fabric information.
- What is synthetic fabric?
A synthetic fabric is a fabric that has been made by humans…though often, it’s made by machines made by humans. Synthetic fabrics are a contrast to natural fabrics. Natural fabric is made from natural fiber, something that grows out of the soil, walks on the land or swims in the water, such as cotton, wool or leather. Synthetic fabric is made from synthetic fiber, something manufactured rather than grown or born.
- Which types of clothes are made from wool?
While just about any clothing garment can be made from wool or knit fabric, the most common types of clothes made from this material are shawls, sweaters, coats and gloves. Both casual attire and high-end formal wear can be made from wool.
- Are all types of clothes biodegradable?
Many types of clothing are not completely biodegradable. Clothing made from synthetic fiber, for example, do not come from the Earth. This means they do not return to the Earth by biodegrading the same way other, natural fabric will. The materials that biodegrade are plant-based fabrics, such as hemp, cotton, jute, bamboo and abaca, according to Green Matters.
- What types of clothing does Goodwill accept?
Goodwill accepts all types of clothing items, including outerwear and footwear.
- Which types of clothing suit different body shapes?
Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Not all types of clothing are flattering to all body types. Some silhouettes are not suited to certain body types. Apple shape bodies are best displayed in silhouettes with higher waistlines, such as empire dresses. Pear shape bodies look great in clothing that emphasizes the lower half of their bodies, such as hip-hugging jeans.
People with more rectangular bodies should enhance their arms and legs, wearing clothing that shows off these areas. Inverted triangle shapes look amazing in straight-cut jeans and dresses. Hourglass shape women have the luxury of wearing just about anything they want, though clothing that doesn’t have a defined waist will hide all those assets that make the hourglass shape so lovely. Loose fitting clothes aren’t the best option for the hourglass figure. When in trouble, just add a belt.
Knowing your body shape and how to dress for it will help you look well-balanced and stylish everywhere you go.
- Which types of clothing are appropriate for business attire?
Business attire is a catchall phrase used to describe work-appropriate clothing. What constitutes as appropriate business attire does vary from office to office and even among different career paths. Business attire in a law office usually means wearing suits. In retail environments, business attire may be a pair of khakis and a polo shirt. In most cases, business attire means wearing slacks, a collared shirt and perhaps a blazer.
- What is a capsule wardrobe?
The capsule wardrobe is a space-saving concept that many have come to love. A capsule wardrobe has a limited number of pieces in it. When a new piece is added to the wardrobe, a different piece is removed. This means that the capsule wardrobe never has too many items in it. Many people have come to swear by this method, which keeps your closet from getting too crowded.
To build a capsule wardrobe, build a couple of different outfits and build a wardrobe based on classic, versatile pieces. Think about casual dress, formal attire and semi-formal wear, because you will need to meet these dress code requirements often.
- Why is fashion so expensive?
Everyone knows that some clothing can be super expensive, while other options are far more affordable. High fashion clothing items cost far more. For example, a Coach purse costs hundreds of dollars. A purse that’s from a non-name brand may cost $20, even if the purses have similar styles and sizes.
So what gives? For one thing, high fashion items are often made with high-quality materials. That high-end purse is probably made from top-quality leather and contains silk lining, for example. High fashion items may also be handmade in whole or in part. They are also limited. These items are made to be exclusive, which means only a limited amount of a specific design will be released. Even casual wear, like T shirts, can be incredibly expensive when they’re made by a designer.
Famous name brand labels can also ask a little bit more, price-wise, simply for the name. Once designers have an established reputation for creating high-end, incredibly fashionable items, they can increase their prices and make their fashions even more expensive. Sometimes, you pay a little more for the clothing labels on your clothes because it’s a famous name.
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