31 Fashion Items Used for Different Purpose than Intended

31 Fashion Products That Were Originally Intended For Completely Different Uses

Fashion trends come and go and often they stay too. When we take a closer look at the contemporary fashion and study fashion over a period of time, one thing is very prominent- the products have evolved over the ages and today some of them serve an entirely different purpose other than what they were eventually meant for. Underneath are such fashion trends and items and a brief history of why they came into being and their eventual use today.


1. Low Waist Pants

low rise jeans sagging

The trend of low waist pants among men and women is quite common today and has been around in trend for quite some time. But what originally lead to this fashion concept?

  • The origin is rather amusing. Men in prison used to sag their pants as a sign to the other inmates that they are interested to be in a sexual relationship with them.
  • This sagging pants became a trend though and while the purpose does not remain the same, the trend still remains. It is still taken as a symbol of sexiness by many men.

2. Pompoms on the Caps

knit winter caps with pom poms

You would often come across cute caps for kids with pompoms. While they are taken as a mere accessory today for a cap, the original purpose was entirely different and practical.

  • Origin- It dates back to the 18th Found on caps of French sailors’ hats, the pompoms were meant for protective purpose.
  • Their use- The pompoms acted as a guard and deflector against bumping the head on low deck ceilings.
  • Later innovations- Even armies in the later times adopted this kind of hats for protection and they could be told apart by their shape and color.

3. Creases on Pants

how to make creases on pants

 While too many, they are still just a stylish addition to the pants, the original purpose was rather different.

  • Origin- the trend came into existence at the end of 19th
  • The European clothing factories exported their products and to make the most of the space and export maximum possible good, the clothes were pressed down severely. This lead to creases which was rather impossible to get rid of. Later this became a fashion statement to be imitated on purpose.

4. Pockets in Lady Panties

what is the pocket in panties for

The inner layer of the panties for men and women are made from a soft material. The lady panties are made such that both seams cannot be on the inner side and this is done by not sewing one side. This results in a pocket. This pocket really does not have a storage purpose but is essential for hygiene.

5. Square Patches on Backpacks

What the Diamond Patch on Your Backpack Is For

Some backpacks come with a small leather patch on them. Today it is seen as a mere accessory but it has its uses.

  • Use of the patch- you can use this patch, particularly during camping.
  • One can easily let a hook or a rope in through the patch and use it as a harness.

6. Color Dye

color dye mauve

The color mauve for clothing was created under a bizarre circumstance.

  • Origin- in the year of 1856, chemist William Henry Perkin of the United kingdoms was trying to develop a drug for treating malaria.
  • The result was, however, the mauve color dye which later became a color dye for creating mauve clothing.

7. Kotex

who invented sanitary pads

These were the first of the sanitary napkins ever made.

  • During the First World War, Kimberly K. came up with a relatively new dressing material made from cellucotton.
  • Later they were given the name Kotex and re-purposed and advertised as war material.

8. Ties

weird reasons things were invented

Ties today are more of status and fashion statement in a formal event. However, the origin of the tie was meant for something entirely different and practical.

  • It evolved from the “trajanuscollony” which was a cloth worn around the neck to protect the wearer from cold and also had a multipurpose use when you can use it as a handkerchief.
  • It could have also come into being from the piece of clothing worn by the Croatian soldiers during their participation in the thirty years war. It was meant as a symbol for recognizing each other on the battlefield and also to keep their collar together.
  • The tie took its present form in 1924 when it was patented by Jesse Langsdorf.

9. High Heels

evolution of high heels

High heels are a fashion statement since time immemorial. There are different types of high heels today. However, the initial purpose was high heel during its origin was not for walking.

  • The first high heels were made by the Persian soldiers during the 16th
  • They were made for the cavalry soldier to improve their stability so that they can shoot their bows from the back of the horse easily.
  • It became popular in Europe among the higher class. It is quite evident that this kind of shoes are not meant for walking and even if a short distance is being walked wearing them, the person cannot really do any work in such shoes.
  • Men wore heels too and they were fatter compared to the heels worn by women. Men stopped wearing heels because it was no longer a fashion statement or class symbol for them since women were wearing them too.

10. Black Dresses

old black dress history

The black dress is a cool style statement today but it was not really meant only for style when it originally came into being.

  • Before the 1920s, the back dress was only worn by widows and as a symbol of mourning. This was done for two years at least.
  • It became a fashion statement in 1926 after Coco Chanel designed and short black dress during this time.

11. T-shirts

t-shirt invention

The first t-shirts ever made were intended to be worn as undershirts by the American navy personnel in the Spanish American war. This is because they were suitable for work and less itchy than wool.

From the 1960s to now wearing T-shirts with trendy lower-wear are one of the coolest fashion statements for both men and women. Several designs including shirts like V-necks, polo shirts and camisoles were included as T-shirts which became popular as well.

12. Mini Skirt

mini skirt fashion history

Initially, the short skirts were seen as sportswear for women and for dancing. This was the best garment for skaters and dancers.

  • History- the length of the skirt was shortened over the years from the time of the world wars when women too needed to go out for work
  • Soon they became a fashion statement of the contemporary times

13. Trousers

trousers history timeline

Trousers are indispensable formal wear in the contemporary world. There are different designs and innovation of the trouser today which make them not only formal wear but also trendy wear.

  • History- initially the trouser was meant as loungewear and beachwear in particular. But it was considered indecency to wear them on the streets.

14. Aviator Sunglasses

aviator sunglasses history

Sunglasses are meant majorly for fashion today and as also for the protection of the eye against the rays of the sunlight.

  • History: the glasses were initially invented for special purpose eyewear during the 19th
  • It was majorly worn by bicyclists, motorists, firemen, grinders, stone cutters and men and women in similar professions.

15. The Leotard was invented to show the muscles by a man

gymnastics leotard history

The skin-tight garment covering the arms and the torso and leaving the legs free was initially invented by Frenchman Jules Leotard.

  • He is best known for inventing flying trapeze routine.
  • The leotard was invented to avoid any hazard while performing trapeze due to the flapping bits of clothes.

16. Zips

zipper invention history

The pant zips were initially invented for a different purpose.

  • They were initially used for booths and tobacco pouches with a zippered closure.
  • This was the chief use of zippers in the earlier times.
  • It took 20 years to evolve the zipper as a part of the fashion industry for clothing closures as well.

17. Little Pocket of Jeans

what is the small pocket on jeans called

Today whether it is male or female, their wardrobe is incomplete without jeans. Nowadays jeans come with various design and we can see a change in the pocket portion. But do you know what the purpose of those two little pockets is?

  • In the 1800s, there are cowboys who used to wear their watches on chains and had a tendency to keep them in their waistcoats and to help them from getting broken; Levis invented this small pocket where they used to keep their watches.
  • As time changes, this small pocket has served many other functions rather as per its invention like a frontier pocket, condom pocket, coin pocket, patch pocket, and a ticket pocket.

18. What about the Studs in Jeans

use of rivets in jeans

Jeans is a must-have dress for all irrespective of men and women. Time changes and new trendy jeans are explored by companies. But have you ever think about the studs in any jeans?

  • In 1871, Jacob Davis became famous while working as a tailor in Reno. He noticed that workmen and labors when wore jeans, it was unable to hold the stress of heavy things. Then Davis came up with this innovative idea to add them to clothing.
  • Now they use for a cute addition and bring a shine to denim pieces. Levi Strauss is the first company which manufactured riveted pants in the 1800s.

19. Little Two Holes in Converse

little two holes in converse shoes

Converse shoes are very in today’s fashion world. The unique color combination and design get high popularity day by day. But are you aware of the two small holes on both sides of converse?

  • Actually, these two holes have a very specific purpose for being there and the purpose was ventilation.
  • Besides allowing your feet to breathe properly, it helps to make your feet tight when you wear shoes without socks. This is very much effective for basketball players.

There are different types of fashion statement today. Some old fashion items are modified to suit today’s needs. There is a different purpose for various types of fashion items. Some of the top other purposes of these items are provided here.

20. Hot Shorts

hot shorts for womens

Too Short shorts were invented for Porn stars and sex workers, but Nowadays they are widely accepted in our society.

21. Sunglasses

sunglasses invention story

Sunglasses were invented in 12th century China for avoiding the glances of others. It was popular amongst judges who wore it to mask their emotions during trials.

22. Why do some clothes have elbow patches?

elbow patches history

Elbow patches were invented as a staple for military clothing to buffer the fabric from getting torn off around the elbow. This later found acceptance in the clothing designed for hunters before entering mainstream fashion of American university goers.

23. Why do sneakers have rubber toe toppers?

why white sneakers are popular

Sneakers were initially the patent footwear of basketball players as its rubber cover buffered athletes from succumbing to any toe injury. The topper was crafted using premium grade rubber and had a dark hue. The modern-day sneakers are more decorative in nature and feature white toppers.

24. What is the reason for fur on hood jackets?

fur on hood jackets invention

Fur hood was initially meant for people residing in the Far North and could keep them warm for hours. Coming to present days, it is used mostly for decorative purposes.

25. Why do loafers have tassels?

why do loafers have tassels

A shoemaker of the 20th century drew inspiration from Norwegian fishermen and designed shoes which could be tightened using tassels. Lately, it has lost its significance but still remains to be a stylish accessory.

26. Velcro

velcro invention nasa

A Swiss engineer felt bemused by how burrs would stick to its fur during hunting trips. This effect was replicated to some extent in his laboratory and later perfected by NASA in the 1960s in their space program to come up with a zipperless zipper.

27. Comfortable running shoes

nasa running shoes NASA scientists applied the same rubber molding principle which was previously used in shoes for astronauts. This led to the development of shock absorbers at the shoe bottom which slowly became a staple of the athletic footwear industry.


28. Rings

wax seal rings history

Rings were previously used by nobility as a seal while archers and needlewomen used it for buffering themselves against bowstring injuries and needle pricks. It slowly turned into a social symbol which only those having the highest social ranking could afford. Presently rings can be seen adorning every hand as a beautiful fashion accessory as well as the sign of marital status.

29. Eye shadows

eyeshadow invention history

Eye shadow was initially used for rendering protection to one’s eyes from the harmful ultraviolet rays. People residing in tropical places made use of stibium while sea travelers opted for the scorched cork to buffer their eyes from the glaring sunbeams. Coming to modern times, it is a popular makeup accessory which can glam up your eyes in no time.

30. Pillows

when were feather pillows invented

Pillows were initially invented to ward off all insects which could otherwise enter the ears, nose and mouth of sleeping people. Firm pillows were used in ancient China as soft ones were considered infamous for draining our body off its energy reserve. Africans held the belief that sleeping in a pillow could pave the path for a beautiful dream in which you could interact with your ancestors. Europeans considered pillow to be a sign of weakness and thus their male population didn’t make any use of the same.

31. The hanging loop attached back of the shirt

what are the hanging loops on clothes

Hanging loops were invented for catering to a collegiate crowd who wished to keep their shirts wrinkle-free and fresh while hitting the gym. They could easily be hung from hooks rather than being folded and creased.

These are different types of fashion statement today. Some old fashion items are modified to suit today’s needs. There is a different purpose for various types of fashion items. Some of the top other purposes of these items are provided here.

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Bruno Lee

Bruno is a senior editor at LooksGud. He is a fashion observer and devotee who is always curious to know what’s trending in the field. He loves trekking, playing cricket, and fantasy movies. He loves to write about practical, budget-friendly fashion and simple hacks…. want to join the fun?

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