Undergarments: Accessories or Clothing?
Undergarments have long been integral to people’s everyday wardrobes and hygiene, yet their definition has become increasingly fuzzy in recent years. Are undergarments accessories or clothing?
Defining Accessories and Clothing
Before diving into the debate, it first helps to determine what separates an accessory from a piece of clothing. In the strictest definition, accessories are lesser items added to an outfit to complete or enhance the aesthetics. They are designed to supplement a look and may include jewelry, belts, hats, sunglasses and handbags, for example.
On the other hand, clothing refers more generally to items made from fabric and worn to cover the body. It typically includes outerwear, tops, bottoms, nightwear and activewear. It can also include items designed to directly touch the skin such as:
Given these definitions, the question of whether undergarments are accessories or clothing has a contextual answer. Some people see them as pieces of clothing, as they fulfil the same function – they cover and protect the body while supporting health and hygiene. Others might see them as accessories, as they often remain hidden under other garments.
So, what is the right option? They are neither. Undergarments are a separate class of items within the wardrobe, not fitting neatly into either category. They are essential for a functional wardrobe and may be considered ambiguously in terms of the wider fashion world.
In the end, it is up to the individual to decide whether their undergarments are clothing or accessories. Both definitions have their merits and it ultimately comes down to personal preference. That said, no wardrobe is complete without undergarments; they will always remain an essential part of everyday dressing.