The World of Clothing Fetishism
For the longest time, fetishism was something bad or taboo. Back in the day (way back in the day), Christian missionaries used “fetish” as a derogatory term for idolatry. For them, a fetish was something barbaric. It wasn’t only a term for idols but for people themselves who would “irrationally worship” an idol. Since then, fetishes have become associated with sex. Various psychologists and philosophers saw sexual fetishes as perversions, something that’s different from normal. For instance, the famous Sigmund Freud thought that fetishism comes from men’s castration anxiety. Today, however, we look at fetishes from a different perspective.
Nowadays, a fetish is not a sexual perversion but a variant. A fetish represents sexual arousal that is connected to an inanimate object or a nongenital part of our bodies. Essentially, fetishes are when you get horny by seeing someone’s hair, heel shoes, or a costume.
While fetishes occur with both men and women, it’s much more common for guys to have one. And there are also different degrees of fetishism in terms of how effective (and necessary) they are. You can get a stiffy by a woman wearing high heels. But some people work in such a way that they can’t achieve an orgasm without high heels in their sightline. Fetishism is often also associated with sadomasochism and transvestism.
Today, however, we’re here to talk about clothing fetishism, i.e., when someone gets turned on by clothing items. We’ll talk about different kinds of clothing fetish and how it interacts with mainstream fashion. But before we get there, let’s see what clothing fetishism actually is.
What Is a Clothing Fetish?
As we’ve already said, a fetish is when you have a sexual fixation on a nongenital part of your body or inanimate objects. As such, a clothing fetish, as the name suggests, is sexual arousal where a type of clothing is the object of desire. Furthermore, a clothing fetish doesn’t have to solely focus on a certain piece of clothing. Clothing fetishism can be about a certain type of fashion, a uniform, or someone’s general style of dressing up. There’s also clinical clothing fetish. This occurs when a person simply has to see a piece of clothing to achieve sexual gratification. In this case, clothing is an exclusive stimulus.
More often than not, clothing fetishism is related to a form of roleplay. Whether it’s a uniform or a fabric type fetish, people (read: men) who are into clothing fetish are often into roleplay as well. Once their partner dresses up in leather, they feel like roles have changed a bit, and they can act upon their fantasies.
It is important to know that clothing fetishism is not the same as cross-dressing or transsexuality. A clothing fetish doesn’t revolve around men dressing up differently than the norm. When you have a clothing fetish, you simply like seeing a piece of clothing; it doesn’t (necessarily) mean that you want to wear it.
Let’s get into different types of clothing fetishes.
This one is arguably the most common one out of the bunch, but what is a uniform fetish, exactly? Well, as the name suggests, it’s a fetish that revolves around someone showing up in a certain uniform. Uniforms can vary a lot, but here are some of the most frequent ones:
- French maid
- Schoolgirl (especially Kogai style Japanese uniform)
- Playboy bunny
As you can see, the roleplay aspect of the clothing fetish is the most prevalent with uniforms. BDSM practitioners often rely on uniforms to get them in the mood. For instance, French maids and schoolgirls can receive “demeaning” tasks to fulfill, such as getting spanked or serving their partner. On other occasions, which is the case with police and military uniforms, the dominant partner is the one who does the dressing up. It’s usually a dominatrix’s uniform, but dominant males can also be in a uniform.
Other relatively frequent uniforms are nuns and nazi ones.
Fabric Type Fetish
What is a fabric type fetish? Well, here, we have a fetish that doesn’t necessarily have a lot to do with the way a piece of clothing looks. Rather, it’s related to the material it’s made out of. For instance, some people get off by seeing a fur coat. Others do so with wool or cashmere.
However, the most popular fabric type fetish is spandex, latex, and leather. Fetish leather has a whole subculture for it as leather has been the symbol of the gay movement in the 1960s. Tight leather clothing is often an element of sexual bondage. Spandex and latex also have a BDSM element to them, with the common theme being a dominatrix wearing a spandex/latex catsuit.
Garment Type Fetish
So what is a garment type fetish? That’s when your fetishism focuses on a particular piece of clothing. In theory, any given piece of clothing can be the object of someone’s fetish — be it a simple T-shirt, a baseball cap, or black heels. Everything and anything can belong to a garment type fetish.
Usually, though, the object of desire is women’s underwear, footwear, and obviously, uniforms. Depending on the person, this can be regular clothing you see every day in the street. But oftentimes, it can actually be a sexualized version of it. A skirt can be just a bit too short, jeans just a bit too tight, and a shirt with just a bit too revealing cleavage opening. You get the idea.
People who are into bondage have collars, corsets, and hobble skirts in their fetish fashion arsenal. What is fetish fashion? It’s basically any style that responds to your fetish. It’s that clothing you have that you don’t wear to work. Instead, you only put it on during those special occasions.
Crossing Over Into Fashion
The popularity of clothing fetishism became wider during the 1970s when general fashion started making it less taboo. Let’s briefly check out how fetish crosses with fashion.
During the sexual liberation in the 1970s, many fashion magazines, such as Vogue, presented us with attractive women in powerful clothing. For instance, many of Helmut Newton’s works revolve around a dominant (amazon) woman in leather garments. Jean Paul Gaultier became famous for his corset he designed for Madonna, making underwear-as-outerwear a trend.
Today, fashion designs often have something sexual about them. It’s not uncommon to see a celebrity show up in a see-through dress that makes your brain juices flow with imagination. Fashion popularized clothing fetishism, and today, clothing fetishes are commonplace.