Fashion is a prevailing mode of expression in a culture. It can refer to customs, styles of dress and even styles of speaking. It is usually seen as a way of expressing solidarity with the culture or group of people a person belongs to. It can also be a mark of social status. In modern times, fashion is a major industry that involves many millions of people. Designers, manufacturers, and sellers of clothes, accessories, and footwear all have a stake in the popularity contest that is fashion. The media and celebrities are key factors in determining what is in or out of fashion.
The beginning in Europe of continual and accelerating change in clothing styles can be fairly reliably dated to the late medieval period. This was partly due to the rise of printing and its cheaper production and dissemination. It was also because of the changing attitudes towards wealth, power and class. In this context, the clothing was considered to be an important marker of status and wealth. The rich could afford to have their cloths cut and embroidered with designs and patterns in accordance with the latest fashion.
Throughout history, changes in dress have had political and social implications. For example, judges wear robes, the military wear uniforms, and brides wear white dresses. Clothes can also be used as a means of identification and for tradition: people in the same profession wear a certain type of tie or blouse, for example. People also wear clothes to communicate their ideas about a particular topic, such as the peace movement or the anti-abortion movement.
Fashion can vary radically from one society to another, but it also varies within societies, depending on age, social class, generation, occupation, and geographic region. For instance, long dresses and veiled headgear were the fashions of Victorian England. In contrast, micro and mini dresses are the fashions of the modern era.
A large part of the fashion industry is dependent on exports. Many clothing items are designed in one country, manufactured in another and shipped to a third where they are sold at stores or online. This globalization has increased the speed of changes in fashions, and has led to the development of a new kind of merchandising, where clothing is bought from websites that are directly connected with the designers or manufactures.
A major difference between fashion and style is that fashion is often outlandish and ephemeral, while style is often subtle and timeless. The main advantage of style is that it emphasizes an individual’s strong taste and personal character, not a slavish following of the latest trends. However, this does not mean that a person cannot wear a specific piece of clothing because it is fashionable in the moment. However, it is advisable to avoid clothing that is too revealing or does not fit well because such styles are quickly out of style. In the end, a person should be comfortable in their skin.