Culture, History and Money: 32 Fashion Facts

The fashion world is a world that is full of interesting facts, firsts and cultural differences. Clothing has always had an important role in society and every culture has a different attitude towards clothes and fashion.

Fashion is also one of the biggest industries in the world.

Its cultural importance and economic impact make it highly relevant from a cultural point of view. This is why we have created a list of 32 fashion facts that will give you better insight in the world of style, clothing and fashion.




1. The first clothes we have record of date back sometime between 100000 to 500000 years ago.

2. In Ancient Rome both men and women used to wear togas. However, after the 2nd century BC, women that were respected wore stolas, while prostitutes and other women that were seen as immoral were required to wear togas.

3. Also, in Ancient Rome, wearing purple was reserved for emperors and magistrates.

4. In Ancient Greece, athletes used to exercise naked. The modern word “gymnasium” actually comes from the Greek “gymons (γυμνός), which means “naked” both in Ancient and Modern Greek.

5. In the Middle Ages, clothing or cloth could be used if you wanted to pay taxes.

6. The first fashion magazine, even though it was obviously very different from what fashion magazines are today, was published in Germany in 1586.

7. In the 1790s, men’s shirts were considered to be similar to underwear – therefore they were not meant to be worn without a jacket over them.

8. In Europe it was only until the eighteenth century that women’s shoes became different from men’s.

9. The word “jeans” comes from the cotton pants that were worn by the “Genes”, which is what Genoan sailors are called locally.

10. The word “denim” comes from “de Nîmes”, meaning in French “of Nîmes”, which is the city where the fabric originated.

11. Children’s clothing used to be identical with adults’ clothing until the mid-1800s.

12. Eyeliner became popular in the Western world in the 1920s, after King Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered.

13. Until World War II, it was not acceptable for women to wear shorts in public.

14. The bikini got its name after the island Bikini Atoll, which was used by the US military to test bombs during WWII. The creator of the bikini, Louis Réard, believed that his revealing creation would create a shock like the atomic bomb, which is why he chose that  name for his design.




15. The most common materials from which clothes are made are linen, cotton polyester and rayon.

16. On average, an American owns seven pairs of blue jeans.

17. On average, an American household spends about 3.8% of their income on clothing, which is approximately $1700 / person.

18. In the 1950s, Americans used to spend 11% of their income on clothes.

19. Since 1992, the average price of clothes has decreased by 8.5% – even if we add up the inflation.

20. The average American woman spends around $125000 on clothes in her lifetime, which is represented by 145 bags, 185 dresses and 271 pairs of shoes.

21. Standard women’s items are created to fit women that are between 5’4 /1,62 m and 5’8 / 1,72 m tall.

22. The difference of size and fit between two nominal clothing sizes is somewhere between 10 and 15 pounds / 4,5 and 6,8 kg.

23. Each year, more than 2 billion t-shirts are sold worldwide.

24. The top fashion brands according to their revenue are: LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton S.A ($37,140,000,000); H&M ($18,820,000,000); Kering (Previously Pinault-Printemps-Redoute) ($15,650,000,000); The Gap ($15,650,000,000); Christian Dior ($11,910,000,000).

25. The average fashion show lasts 10 minutes.

26. An haute couture suit can cost up to $60,000, while a dress can go up to $100,000.




27. What is considered in America to be a tuxedo is called a dinner jacket in the UK. In Britain, the word “tuxedo” refers to the white version the suit jacket.

28. In the Arab culture, shoes are considered dirty because they cover the lowest part of the body and touch the ground. As a result, it is considered an offense to show someone your sole and throwing a shoe at someone is a very serious insult.

29. In Japan, kimonos are worn only on very formal occasions. However, sumo wrestlers are the only group required to wear traditional clothes on any occasion when they find themselves in public.

Don’t forget to take your shoes off!

30. Also in Japan, one must always take his shoes off when entering someone’s house.

31. Until the 20th century, in China small feet were considered to be beautiful, which is why many young girls used to get their feet bonded. This caused them difficulty to walk. Of course, only nobles could do this, as all others needed their feet in order to work.

32. A clothing item is considered vintage if it dates from 1920 to 1960. After that date, an item is considered to be retro.



As you can see, there is a lot to learn about the fashion world, the clothing industry and the cultural aspects that revolve around style and adornments. Having insight in the world of fashion allows us a better understanding of our world and of the bricks with which we have built the past on which we create our modern society.



Fraquoh and Franchomme






Further reading:

A list of fascinating fashion firsts

Fashion industry statistics you probably didn’t know

12 fun facts about neck ties

15 amazing shoe facts

What is haute couture? 12 facts

15 fashion facts

P.S. What do you think about these facts? What curiosities about the fashion world would you like to have answered? Share your feedback, questions or thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook or Twitter!



12 thoughts on “Culture, History and Money: 32 Fashion Facts

  1. I’ve always said that fashion is as much a form of documenting the history of a civilization as writing and art. Fun fact about purple, it was reserved for royals because the process of making Tyrian purple was lengthy, costly and restricted to a certain area of the Mediterranean where they could harvest the shellfish who produced the dye.

    Great read!

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