Do some google I find that clothes work like objects like:

  • You should pack your clothes. → Yes
  • You should pack your clothing. → No

Can you tell me the main difference between clothing and clothes?


3 Answers 3


Clothes are those items you wear.

Clothing is pretty much the same, but it seems it can refer to a special type of clothes (the type it refers to depends on the context).

You can see a useful note on the OALD that I'll paste here for future reference:

Clothes or clothing?

Clothing is more formal than clothes and is used especially to mean ‘a particular type of clothes’. There is no singular form of clothes or clothing: a piece/an item/an article of clothing is used to talk about one thing that you wear such as a dress or shirt.

  • 3
    Interestingly as well, one would not say "an article of clothes."
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented May 18, 2011 at 11:27

There is really no difference. They are synonyms when used in that context.

The only real difference is that clothing may be used in a gerund phrase:

Clothing the poor was Martin's principal objective.

  • 1
    But you use a verb form in your example, not a noun.
    – Quidam
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 4:44

If there is a difference, it is very slight. Both would be considered acceptable, but some might argue that "clothing" generally denotes a general category, whereas "clothes" indicates a specific set of clothing.

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