Many people, mostly women, are interested in fashion. Fashion is the style of dress or behaviour that is common or popular at a certain time. New styles, material, shapes and patterns appear, last for a certain time, disappear and later come back a little bit changed. Many young people are fashion-conscious and try to follow the latest trends in fashion, watching fashion shows and reading fashion magazines.
Fashion styles change often. When mini-skirts fist came into fashion, women said they would never wear them. But in the 1960s, women started to shorten their skirts and mini-skirts were very popular for a long period. Narrow trousers were replaced by wide trousers, and flat shoes by high-heeled shoes (platforms). Later women realized that longer skirts are more practical and narrow trousers are sexier. But wide trousers have made a comeback and, after being unfashionable for a long time, are fashionable and popular again.
The materials used are important and each fabric has its own special qualities. Almost everything our grandparents used to wear was made of canvas, then cotton, but later those textiles were replaced by synthetic fibres. People return to cotton for its natural qualities, while silk blouses and shirts are appropriate for special occasions. T-shirts used to all be 100% cotton, but today many include spandex.
A person´s choice of suitable clothing is also influenced by climate and weather. In colder countries, people prefer to wear clothes which protect their body from the cold. They usually wear fur coats, boots and fur caps in winter. In hot countries, people put on light clothes, use material which allow sweat to evaporate and cool their bodies. Straw hats protect their heads against the sun´s rays.
Casual clothes are worn for everyday purposes. People working in banks, and offices are usually more dressed up: men in suits, shirts in different colours, ties and suitable shoes, mostly black or brown leather. Women wear suits too, fashionable tops or blouses, various accessories and leather shoes. For special occasion, we usually put on something more formal: long dresses or gowns for the ladies; and tuxedos, dinner jackets, bowties and patent leather shoes for the men. Official ceremonies require that people wear gowns of robes, long loose usually black outer garments worn by judges, lawyers, and members of universities.
Most people prefer buying clothes in shops because if they suit them and fit, they just pay and leave. Some women like clothes made by dressmakers or they make them themselves. If men need suits or coats, they ask tailors to make these outer garments for them.
Coats and other clothing made of fur are very expensive, and in the past people wore furs to show that they were rich. In many countries today, however, many people think that it is cruel to kill animals for their fur and choose to wear fake fur instead.
Colours play an important role in fashion. White is a typical colour for babies to wear when they are christened, and brides dress in white for church weddings because white represents purity and virginity. In some old stories and films, especially westerns, the good guy always wears white, and the bad guy wears black. A baby´s sex is sometimes distinguished by colours: little girls are dressed in pink and red, while little boys are in blue or light-green. Today, people like to have a free choice.
Some colours suit some people more than others so people can be classified by the colours they wear:”cold” and “warm”. While cold types prefer darker colours (grey, navy blue, grey-blue, black, etc.), brighter colours are suitable for warm types (spring and autumn types: beige, cream white, light-blue, brown, etc.). Some people choose colours according to their current mood. When they are happy, the colours are bright and light, but when they are sad or bad-tempered, the colours are dark.