Dress For Function, Not Style

Fashion is an artistic expression, in a certain context and at a certain time, of accessories, footwear, clothing, makeup, hairstyling, and body figures. In its general usage, the word simply means a look defined as what is the current style of today. However, it can also be used to define an entire trend, or a style of clothes, accessories or footwear. The beauty of fashion is that it is always changing.


In etymology, fashion is an archaic form of the verb “to fashion,” meaning to dress. From this source, we have words like “dressing up,” “glamorizing,” “modelling,” and “stripping.” French and German add -ise, and thus fashion becomes “modiise.” In British English, the words “fashions” and “style” are replaced by “trends,” while the word “change” is used for both. In modern American English, however, it usually means the fluctuations in fashion over a period of time.

There are many similarities between fashion and etymology. Both nouns derive from the same root, which means to change or alter in order to suit nature, or circumstances. Both nouns share the same Latin roots, and both have been in existence since prehistoric times.

The modern similarities between fashion and etymology are quite striking. Just as the ancient world was defined by the changes in natural conditions, so too must the modern society be judged by the fashions which prevail. What was in vogue in 10CE, may be out of style in today’s culture? In both cases, the definition of what is fashionable changes frequently based on external circumstances. The two nouns can also be used in plural forms, reflecting the fluidity of the trends.

The difference between the two nouns, then, is that the word “fashions” tends to refer to the latest fashion, whereas “elevation” describes the gradual change in standards. The two nouns do have one thing in common, however. The word “fashions” can also be used to describe the process by which people’s clothes are made. Thus, dresses for a prom dress were once considered to be “fashions,” just as the clothes chosen for a wedding were the “elevation.” From there the dresses for particular seasons, individual styles, or new inventions like the bodice, skirt, or pants, may be labeled as “fashions,” or the accessories that compliment the dress can be called “elevation.” All of these can exist simultaneously as fashions or just individual styles.

Many individuals do not think of a dress as a fashion. In fact, until recently the only way to wear something for any length of time was to throw it on at the party and hope that it was “just so.” This, unfortunately, has changed over the years, as high fashion becomes more apparent each day. Today’s most popular dresses for women, for example, are seen not so much as dresses, but as pieces of jewelry, handbags, scarves, and even sometimes boots! That is not to say that every woman who chooses to dress in this manner will choose to do so for the sake of style, but today’s fashions are very clearly in recognition of the fact that fashion is appreciated for more than its ability to make you look good. By choosing a dress for its stylish look, rather than for how it looks on an individual basis, it is possible to enjoy the latest styles in fashion while maintaining a certain level of comfort and self-esteem which should be a standard expectation for all women.