When reviewing the history of fashion, it's important to look beyond styles of dress and textile choices to consider fasteners and decorative elements. Whether used for practical reasons, adornment purposes, or both, apparel closures and embellishments are an important aspect of fashion.
Apparel Closure Options
Clothing closures serve a very important purpose and the types of items used have changed significantly over time. While button fasteners and zipper closures may be the most well-known options, they are not the only choices and haven't always been available.
Tied Closures for Clothing
Braiding techniques are often used to secure apparel items, undergarments, and footwear. They can also be used as a nonfunctioning embellishment. Another option is to use string or ribbon in tight-lacing like you'd see on a corset. These tied closures make it possible for buyers to customize the garment to their own body size and shape. The trick with these types of closures is to make sure your material is strong enough to handle lots of tugging and pulling.
Complex Fasteners and Closures
Hook and loop closures are also effective fasteners for fashion that can be hidden on the underside of garments. The most famous example of a hook and loop closure is Velcro, which was modeled after the natural makeup of burrs. If you want a secure fastener that adds to the design of your garment, belts and buckles are great options. These can be made from hard or soft materials and used for function or aesthetics. While these options allow some room for different customer sizes, they aren't as easily customizable as tied closures.
Clothing Embellishment Options
While clothing has always served a practical purpose, aesthetic appeal is also an important consideration. It's interesting to look at ways people have sought to add visual appeal to their apparel over time. Some embellishments, like lace fabrics and overlays or embroidery details, have withstood the test of time. If you're after a less permanent embellishment, brooches and pins are a great option. You can add visual interest to any garment with the addition of beaded embellishments, ribbon designs, and other simple trimmings.
Function and Fashion in the Details
When it comes to fashion, small touches like apparel closures and embellishments are important to consider. They may be small details, but they are certainly not minor ones. These small elements are important for both function and fashion. The types of fasteners and decorative elements utilized can provide important historical and cultural information about period attire.