What Is Fashion?


Fashion is a culturally endorsed style of dress and appearance that changes over time within a society. It can also refer to a specific look or style of adornment, such as jewelry, hairstyles, glasses, and shoes.

Clothing is one of the most common forms of fashion. It covers the body and can be worn to indicate a person’s social status, gender, occupation, or location. The clothing industry is a massive business that includes designer and haute couture labels, as well as mass-market retailers such as Nike, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Coach, and Vans. Fashion also encompasses a wide range of styles and trends, with many people using social media to share their personal style.

Various terms exist to describe fashion, including style, mode, vogue, and rage. Fashion often implies a distinctive or elegant style adopted by those with taste, while mode suggests widespread acceptance of a fashionable style among people anxious to be up-to-date and in the know. The terms rage and craze emphasize the intense enthusiasm for a fashionable style.

Fashions can vary widely within a society, depending on age, social class, generation, occupation, or geography. For example, older women who follow the latest fashions may be viewed as ridiculous by young women and men alike. Fashions can also change over time, as when bell-bottom jeans faded from the 1970s into the baggy look of the 1990s.

A large part of the fashion industry is fashion journalism, with editorial critique and guidelines appearing in magazines, newspapers, television, and on the internet. Bloggers and social media users frequently post photos or videos of their own styles, contributing to the proliferation of fashion across the world.

Clothes can reveal the social groups to which a person belongs, as in high school, where there are distinct group names such as goths, skaters, preps, or herbs. They can also create distance between groups, as when someone dresses in a way that is regarded as outsider or rebellious.

Some people use clothes to express themselves, as when they wear clothing with political slogans or logos that express their beliefs. Other people wear clothes for comfort or practical reasons, such as warmth in cold weather. Many people also choose to wear clothes that match their mood or the occasion, for example, a formal outfit for a job interview or a wedding dress for a special day. The changing fashions can be a source of frustration for some, who feel that their personal style should not be subject to the whims of a fleeting trend. On the other hand, some people enjoy the diversity that changing fashions provide and see it as a way to experiment with their identities. The fast pace at which fashions change can be a reflection of the rapid changes in other aspects of human culture.