I'm looking for a word that applies to all the things a person can wear, e.g. clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. It musn't be too generic, e.g. product, item, etc.

  • Related: It is often handy to have a single word for otherwise dissimilar items sharing an important property, e.g., "fluid" for anything that flows, whether liquid or gas. – Hexagon Tiling Apr 7 '12 at 9:53
  • How can something that is so general ("all the things a person can wear") not be necessarily generic? – Robusto Apr 8 '12 at 13:15
  • 'Apparel' is still probably the best. – Mitch May 22 '12 at 16:36
  • Agree that 'apparel' is the right term. – Bill Lefurgy May 22 '12 at 16:39

11 Answers 11


These all fall under the category of apparel, attire, or simply clothing.

  • These all seem like good choices. – shinyspoongod Jun 20 '12 at 0:13
  • 2
    I would like to point out that apparel is different from footwear and accessories. Ever saw a discount banner saying Flat 50% off on Apparel only!?? – Sayan Dec 21 '12 at 10:17

I used to own a clothing store which carried all of the items listed in your question: The following descriptive terms, not already mentioned, are appropiate:

  1. Threads
  2. Wearables
  3. Wears or Wear: mentioned above but can be prefixed by specific category: Mens, Womens, Kids, Sports, Night, Day, ie. Menswear or used more generally like:
  4. Outerwear
  5. Textiles
  6. Garments

Also appropiate:

  1. Couture

Although originally associated with custom or expensive fashion, it has become a more generalized term.


French in origin, from Old French cousture sewing, from Vulgar Latin consutura, from Latin consutus, past participle of consuere to sew together, from com- + suere to sew —
From: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/couture

Hope this helps!



Clothing is quite adequate. For alternatives that are standard and fun, though maybe pretentious, consider:

  • Garb. Has connotations of a particularly stylized sort of clothing, but may be used to describe any clothing from "monkish garb" to "kids in combat garb". Similar to gear, but more general.
  • Furnishings. It includes any article of dress, be it clothing, footwear, haberdashery or accessories. I recall it most commonly used in context as "men's furnishings" but not exclusively.
  • Accoutrement or accoutrements. Plural is better. While seemingly French, it is accepted English language usage, see here.
  • Trappings. Refers to any sort of clothing and equipment combination whether a costume or military outfit. Includes clothes, footware, jewelry, insignia, sashes, scarves and hosiery.
  • 1
    Garb, Accoutrements, Trappings are all worthy of a vote. – shinyspoongod Jun 20 '12 at 0:14
  • @shinyspoongod Much obliged! You have no idea how long it took to write that answer. It was really difficult for me to find (what I now know to be, but didn't then) hypernyms that were English words, or borrowed words, and standard usage, yet not considered archaic. Nor had I quite figured out SE markdown either. Newbie daze ~;o) – Ellie Kesselman Jun 20 '12 at 3:22
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    I wish I could vote for this twice. This is the only answer with intelligence in a storm of "Oh! Me too!"s. – MickLH Mar 3 '15 at 19:22

I've heard the term rig. It encompasses a person's whole look from head to toe. Sometimes a person's rig can determine their place on the social food chain.

  • Interesting. Is it a slang or in-group use? Can you point to any examples? – StoneyB Dec 20 '12 at 21:24

I've heard people use the word gear as well, which means clothes and accessories.

(Clothing & Fashion) Informal up-to-date clothes and accessories, esp those bought by young people.

- As stated here.


You could say wear. (Although not a common term for describing articles of attire in general, it's technically correct for what you want.)

Among many other definitions of the word, there's this one:

wear (noun): clothing, especially of a particular kind or for a particular use. Often used in combination, e.g.: rainwear; footwear; underwear; activewear; formalwear; eveningwear.


Since we're all pitching in, I like habiliments. It can mean clothes in general, but also specialized clothing and gear.


  • 1
    Honorable mention in the context of my comment above. – MickLH Mar 3 '15 at 19:22

You could use the words apparel, garment or simply dress.


When referring to the combination of items someone is wearing, I'd go with outfit.

a set of usually matching or harmonious garments and accessories worn together; coordinated costume; ensemble: a new spring outfit.


Another word that has not been mentioned is duds.


Maybe you can try to use garments or wardrobe or closet stuff

  • 4
    "Closet stuff"? – Robusto Apr 8 '12 at 13:13
  • 2
    @Robusto You know: gremlins, grumpkins, and fabulous feather boas. – tchrist Aug 19 '12 at 2:46

protected by tchrist Dec 20 '12 at 23:04

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