Fashion is an ever-changing mode of expression, be it in dress, language or behavior. Dress has always been a means of self-expression, and it is often used to display one’s beliefs, status or solidarity with groups. It can also be used as a means of identity, for example judges wear robes, people in the military wear uniforms, and brides wear long white dresses. It is a worldwide industry, with millions of people involved in the design, production and marketing of clothing. Fashions can be influenced by events in a society or country, or they can be initiated by the fashion industry itself. It is important to remember that a person’s personal style and taste is not necessarily a reflection of their character, and it is not a good idea to judge a book by its cover.
The word ‘fashion’ comes from a Latin phrase meaning “to follow”, and it has been used to describe the prevailing customs, manners or styles of a period or culture. It is sometimes used to refer to a particular style or design, for example, a chair in the Queen Anne style. It can also be used to describe a particular way of dressing, for example, a groovy sweater. The terms style and vogue have similar meanings, denoting conformance to a popular norm: something that is vogue is currently fashionable, while the term after / in a fashion suggests it was once popular but is now out of style.
Throughout history, new discoveries and economic forces have prompted changes in fashion. The eighteenth century’s love affair with Turkish, Chinese and Japanese imports gave rise to a new range of clothing styles. During the twentieth century, Communism encouraged people to wear uniforms that erased class distinctions.
Changes in fashion can also be a result of shifting attitudes, and the fact that many people are eager to try new things. For some, the quick-changing fashions of modern life typify many negative aspects of capitalism: they promote wastefulness and encourage consumers to spend money they do not need.
Fashion is an interesting topic for a story, and it can help a writer to examine the motivations of their characters. It is also a useful tool for character building, as clothes can tell us about the personality and beliefs of a person. For example, a character wearing ripped jeans may show that they are rebellious, while a woman in a ball gown might be trying to impress a prospective husband. By examining the clothing choices of your characters, you can create a richer storyworld.