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What is considered to be a garment?
The word garment is traditionally used to refer to an item of dress, especially an outer vestment or covering. However 'garment' can also be used figuratively to refer to the external appearance of someone, as perceived by another person. With this looser definititon a garment can be considered to be any item of a person's apparel (i.e. oufit or attire) including what we may now term 'accessories' e.g. jewellery, umbrellas, spectacles, wigs, hats, handkerchiefs, bags, buttons, pockets, patches, badges, buckles, and other adornments. Shoes too are an item of dress. A garment can be made of almost any material including woven textiles, leather, metalwork, and plastic.
The processes involved in designing and manufacturing garments, and objects associated with these processes, are also of importance in the understanding of the significance of the garments.
Garments can both metaphorically and literally bear the imprint of its wearer(s) as objects that have been worn, carried or used to adorn, their person(s).
Here is a list of some items of dress that illustrate the array of objects that may be termed garments in the context of this project. The items in this list have been taken from the Vocabulary of Basic Terms for Cataloguing Costume, compiled by the ICOM International Committee for the Museums and Collections of Costume. ICOM is the International Council of Museums.
Last updated: 13 August, 2002