What Is Fashion?

Fashion is a prevailing mode of expression that manifests itself in clothing. It is also a way of reflecting cultural values and social status. It is an important source of identity and can be influenced by changes in political climates, economic factors, and popular culture. The concept of fashion is not limited to clothes, and can include hairstyles, makeup, body modification like tattoos or piercings, and even food choices.

A style of dress can be changed dramatically in a short period of time. The earliest change in European clothing styles can be dated back to the late medieval period, when the fashion for long, flowing dresses began to disappear and the silhouette of men’s overgarments became narrower and shorter. These early changes were largely the result of military influences, as gentleman officers returned home after battle with new styles and fabrics.

The direction of future fashion is often predicted by studying the current trends, as well as observing celebrities and other influential people in the society. Some of these individuals have a strong impact on what people are wearing, such as musical icons who dictate the styles that their followers will follow, and royalties whose robes and other outfits make it into the press.

Fashions can also vary significantly within a society, depending on age, social class, generation, occupation, and geography. A fashion trend may also become a global phenomenon, inspiring people all over the world to wear the same clothing item or style. Fashions can also vary between men and women, with women being more likely to follow fashions closely than men.