Wardrobe Terminology
Fashion Terms

What is a wardrobe?  Well, it actually refers to several different things.  Most commonly, a wardrobe is a piece of furniture that holds clothing.  It also can refer to a persons personal clothing collection.

The name wardrobe is a metonym for the contents of a wardrobe.

When we refer to a persons wardrobe, it can mean all of the clothing that they own.  It can be clothing that is literally stored in a wardrobe (furniture), dresser drawers, or a closet.  Here are a few example of the term being used.

In regard to the performing arts, the wardrobe is the actor's costumes, shoes, undergarments, hats and costume related personal props such as gloves, jewelry, parasols, fans and pocket books.

In theater, a wardrobe supervisor is responsible for supervising all wardrobe related activities during the course of a theatrical run. The wardrobe supervisor supervises all dressers working on a production. In consultation with the production manager, stage manager and sometimes the director, the wardrobe supervisor helps to coordinate and assign dressers to specific performers and tasks. They help determine where and how costume changes are made. Generally, the wardrobe supervisor decides whether a point in a production requires a quick change backstage, or if there is time for a normal change in the dressing room.

A wardrobe department in film production employs costume designers and coordinators who clothe the performers.

Capsule wardrobe is a term coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called "Wardrobe" in the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don't go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces.

A wardrobe malfunction is accidental exposure of a person's intimate parts due to a temporary failure of clothing to do its job.  Bikinis also present celebrity wardrobe malfunction opportunities to the paparazzi in the form of wedgies or bikini-top malfunctions.

A wardrobe stylist, also fashion stylist, is a consultant who selects the clothing for published editorial features, print or television advertising campaigns, music videos, concert performances, and any public appearances made by celebrities, models or other public figures. Stylists are often part of a larger creative team assembled by the client, collaborating with the fashion designer, photographer/director, hair stylist, and makeup artist to put together a particular look or theme for the specific project. A wardrobe stylist can also be referred to as a fashion stylist, fashion editor, or celebrity stylist. According to one view, "Stylists are the people who push each celebrity to make the best dressed list," and assist with editorial photo shoots.

Wardrobe furniture - The word wardrobe appeared in the English language in the early 14th century. It originated from Old French words warderobe, wardereube and garderobe, in which "warder" meant "to keep, to guard" and "robe" meant "garment".  A wardrobe or armoire is a standing closet used for storing clothes.  An armoire is a wardrobe that is wider than a grown adult's wingspan, while a wardrobe is smaller.   Kas, kast or kasten (pronounced kaz) is a massive cupboard or wardrobe of Dutch origin similar to an armoire that was popular in the Netherlands and America in the 17th & 18th century. It was fitted with shelves and drawers used to store linen, clothing and other valuables and locked by key.

Wardrobing is a form of return fraud. It is the practice of purchasing an item, using it, and then returning it to the store for a refund.  It is most often done with expensive clothing - hence the name. To prevent this practice, some stores make certain items, such as wedding dresses or Christmas decorations unreturnable. Some observers classify wardrobing as a form of shoplifting.

Most Important Wardrobe Item

Fashion tips for any wardrobe

If you enjoy reading, you have most likely heard about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  This is a very popular fantasy novel for children written by C. S. Lewis and published by Geoffrey Bles in 1950. It is the first published and best known of seven novels in The Chronicles of Narnia (1950–1956).  The "wardrobe" plays an important role in the book.

We hope that this page helps you better understand wardrobe terminology.  If you have questions or suggestions regarding information that should be added to this page, please let us know.

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