Clothing Around the World

Article Highlight: China: History of Dress

Chinese clothing changed considerably over the course of some 5,000 years of history, from the Bronze Age into the twentieth century, but also maintained elements of long-term continuity during that span of time.… Keep reading »

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Multi-ethnic people in traditional dress dancing

Some clothing reveals the region of the world from which the wearer resides or identifies. Even in ancient times, clothing held great significance and revealed a lot about the person. Learn about the fascinating history of clothing from around the world; you may be surprised to discover the origins of the clothes you wear in present day.

Iconic Looks

A woman walking down the street wearing a kimono inevitably invokes images of Japan while another woman wearing a jilbab might compel you to think about the Middle East. The truth is that both looks can appear nearly anywhere in the world, as they're both considered beautiful pieces of clothing by various cultures.

Regional Styles

Ethnic styles in fashion hail from around the globe. And while most people think of Paris when they think of fashion, places like London and Italy can boast a huge influence within the world of fashion. Garments once exclusive to one region, such as the Ao Dai of Vietnam or the kilt of Scotland, have made their way into mainstream fashion.

Global Textiles

Even if some fashions don't manage to spread across the world, textiles have a way of earning coveted spots within the world of fashion. Chinese textiles are often considered luxurious as Central Asian textiles are coveted as exotic. Japanese textiles can rival works of art while African textiles are well known for their vibrant colors and patterns. Middle Eastern textiles are known as being carefully created and were once treated as currency.

Cultural Influence

A good portion of the fashion sported in the Western world that is considered exotic stems from fashion from other parts of the world. For example, the ornate fashion and adornments of India are frequently referenced within modern pop culture. Weddings and pageants feature nods toward royal and aristocratic dress of years past. Many modern women would be surprised to discover their trendy neck scarves look quite similar to the kaffiyeh worn by men in the Arab world.

A Modern Take on History

As fashion evolves, it's easy to see nods toward fashion in the past, even in the most futuristic designs. Cultural style will always permeate the fashion world and how clothes are worn. And even when fashion is worn as a statement against modern style, people will always find a way to make their style their own. Clothing and style are ways to assert your individuality and creativity without saying a word.

Clothing Around the World