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One of the greatest things about the fashion industry is that it offers so many diverse options. There are so many types of dresses, shoes, bags, shorts, pants, skirts, etc, that sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. And I know that feeling. When I first started to read fashion magazines, I felt like I'd jumped in over my head. "Balenc...whaa?" I didn't understand the models' looks, or just how many designers there actually are! But I love the fashion industry dearly, and have learned a lot more about it since then. And now, looking back, I can see how hard it is to dive in without anyone there to explain certain rules, the kind that aren't ever really talked about, but just expected to be followed and understood.
I know how it is to really start delving into high fashion instead of just reading a blog or two or an article here and there. It's a whole different world when you start to get down to business. In light of that, I'd like to take it back to square one, and talk about one of the fundamental principles in the fashion world. You've got to start somewhere, and if you don't know the differences between ready-to-wear clothing and runway/designer items, it can be hard to get your foot in the door. So let's take it back to the basics and look at a simple fashion concept, to help you if you're just getting started.
Ready-to-wear fashion is clothing you'd purchase at the mall. Walk into Forever 21, Gap, or another popular retailer, and what they have to offer is ready-made. Ready-to-wear fashion is anything that comes standard, ready to grab off the rack and wear; no pins, tucks, or hems required. Just grab it and go. Ready-made clothes come in standard sizes: Small, medium, five, seven, etc. You can just walk in, lay down your money, and walk out with your new piece.
Clothes you see on runways are an entirely different ballgame; they're made to measure. That means a few, maybe only one, of that piece was made, and then you go try it on and have it fit to you. It's the same concept that you see on Say Yes to the Dress. When the bride-to-be turns around, remember seeing all those heavy clips down her back? That's because the dress doesn't fit her at all. It may not even have a zipper or buttons. It's just a model, and once the bride decides on a dress, she'll be measured for it, and the shop will order it. It's why when you're buying dresses from really high-end places, you need to go months in advance to get your dress on time.
There is also "couture," where the designer specifically makes a piece just for you! I have no personal experience with this; I'm neither rich enough nor muse enough. (Maybe some designer will see me, fall in love with me, and subsequently dress me like a goddess. I'm building castles in the air, I know.) But if you have the means, this is definitely an option!
I hope this sheds some light on a tiny corner of fashion lingo for you. I’m sure many of the readers know exactly what I'm talking about, and may not be bothered with this article. I certainly don't mean to insult anyone's intelligence. But I know what it's like to really want to get into the world of fashion, but to not really understand the basics. Sure, you can admire a pretty headpiece on the runway all you want, but if you don’t have a firm concept of the core principles behind the show, you won't get as much enjoyment out of it, nor will you appreciate how truly amazing the designer is. I hope this helped you sort things out; maybe one day you can special-order a dress from a designer. Just remember, if you ever get to call in an order like that, call it "couture" and be sure to tell them who taught you what that means!