Decoding Fashion Language: Clothes, Apparel, and Garments

Saturday, March 9, 2024


Imagine the popular clothing company, American Apparel, with "apparel" in its name. This name choice suggests something beyond just clothes, so let’s explore the differences between "clothes," "apparel," and “garments.”

Clothes: items worn to cover the body

From shirts and pants to dresses and jackets, “clothes” is a simple way to talk about everything in our closets.

Apparel: more than just clothes

Apparel means more than just clothes. It includes accessories like hats and scarves. When a company like American Apparel uses this word, it wants to say it's about more than just basic clothing—it's about everything you wear to express yourself. 

There are many different categories of apparel for our needs: sports apparel, business apparel, formal apparel, intimate apparel, children’s apparel, men’s apparel, women’s apparel, wedding apparel, etc.

Garment: a single piece of clothing

Garment is a more specific word. It means one piece of clothing, like a shirt or a dress.

Example sentences: 

  • I need to buy new clothes for my upcoming trip.
  • He wore comfortable sports apparel for his morning jog.
  • She carefully hung the newly washed garment in the closet.

The next time you put on your favorite piece of clothing or admire something well-made, remember these simple differences that make fashion words special.

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