There are 100’s of clothing styles and this is just counting the main ones. This intro tries to use categories for the main styles available today.

Clothing style overview

An overview of the different clothing types can be seen in the picture below. For more info on the different categories and styles please refer to the rest of the article below.

Clothing styles

Clothing styles categories

Local styles

Most cultures in the world have their own distinct clothing styles. They have been developed based on local traditions and climate. The looks are often adapted by fashion designers and can be integrated in the mainstream styles. The main difference for the styles is the geographic location.

This distinction is becoming less strict with the growing global exchange of fashion inspirations. Nevertheless you will probably not see people wearing alpine style “Lederhosen” outside of south east Germany. Some examples from different parts of the world are:


  • Western
  • Country
  • Native American


  • Eastern
eastern and business clothing styles

Couple with eastern and western business clothing styles

  • Indian
  • Lolita
  • Oriental
  • Europe

    • Alpine
    • Victorian
    • Folkloric
    • Scottish

    Clothing styles based on cultur

    The culturally influenced clothing styles are mainly used by a community or group sharing the same cultural values independent of the location. The defining values can be anything from religion, political view, sports or music just to name a few. The clothing is then used to show an affinity to the respective cultural group. Similar to the local clothing styles the elements of the different cultural styles are not restricted to the members of the specific groups.

    Some well-known fashion designers like Jean Paul Gaultier or Vivienne Westwood have used elements of the Punk culture. This in turn has made the elements appear in their designs and introduced this to the mainstream. Compared to the local styles the cultural ones are often heavily commercialized with many brands specializing in a certain style. Examples of this is the surf look with brands like Roxy, Rip Curl, Billabong or Quiksilver. Examples of cultural clothing styles are:


    • Punk
    • Rock
    • Heavy Metal
    • Hip-hop
    • Disco
    • Rave


    • Surfing
    • Golf
    • Skating
    • Polo

    Historic or Retro / Vintage fashion styles

    Fashion based on historic examples are still popular. Those adapting elements from pre 1920 (e.g. Victorian) are referred to as historic or antique. Styles from 1920 onward are considered vintage. The clothing does not have to be an exact adaption of the historic look. A full Victorian dress would not be practical today and is seldom worn outside of special occasions or cos-play.

    Elements introduced during Victorian time are still widely used today. Take for example the feather styled hats for women or the blazer for men . The actual clothing for this style does not have to be an original. Many items are in fact produced today with the same design as the traditional items. Examples include:

    • Victorian
    • Art Deco
    • Art Nouveau
    • 80s style clothing
    • 50s style clothing

    Theme or profession based

    The best example for this is the influence of military design elements into mainstream clothing. Specific elements include the overall olive colored theme. Other designs influences are camouflage prints, combat boots or uniform elements for buttons and shoulders. Another good example is the Chino (or khaki) pant style which originates from military fashion. This style of pants has long been adapted into civilian clothing. Other examples for this include:

    • Military style
    • Naval / nautical style
    • Gangster

    Closing words

    The first statement about the number of clothing styles existing is actually not even close to the true number. If you count all the local variations the number may well be in the thousands.

    Clothing style example for Lolita look

    Example for Lolita look

    One example is the Lolita fashion popular in Asia / Japan. The main Lolita look can be further divided into:

    • Sweet Lolita
    • Country Lolita
    • Guro Lolita
    • Etc.

    This did not even list the full number of sub-styles (Wikipedia has about 12 styles listed). Listing the full number of clothing styles and deviations in the different regions cannot be done in the scope of this article so it listed only the major styles.

    Do you have any major style that is missing in this categorization? Would like to just share your opinion please let us know below!