Prêt-à-porter : The kind of clothes that you and I dream and can afford.

Prêt-à-porter refers to high-quality in-fashion clothes that are affordable, designed by individual fashion designers or clothing labels but factory-made, the kind you can go into a shop, see, fall in love and buy in different sizes depending on your body. Another name for Pret-a-porter is ‘Ready to wear’ – ready-to-wear high quality clothes derived from the collection of fashion designers. 

It is the opposite of couture fashion or made-to-measure fashion, though it is not mass-produced like your every day clothes like t-shirts and jeans. 

Pret-a-porter clothes are sold in standardized sizes so that they are ready to be worn without significant alteration. Usage of standard patterns, and factory line production with cost-effective and fast construction methods make the ready to wear clothes inexpensive and affordable to most of us who cannot afford couture garments.

Pret-a-porter collections are brought out as a second tier collection other than their haute couture collection by most fashion designers.

As with most fashion, this term also has its origin in Paris. In Europe, for a long time only the rich could afford fashion and they had to rely on couturiers to make their elaborate gowns – it took a lot of time and the clothing was very costly. After the World Wars I & II even the rich could not afford these costly clothes. And there was a need for clothes that people could actually buy. Something that is fashionable and current but affordable.

The Italian-born French fashion designer Pierre Cardin is said to be the one who first came up with the idea of a ready to wear collection.  In 1952 the French fashion designer Gaby Aghion, founder of Chloé brand came up with a line called Luxury Pret-a-porter – she is said to have coined the term Pret-a-porter. Yves Saint Laurent opened his Pret-a-porter boutique in Paris in 1966. Famous fashion designers like Givenchy, Coco Chanel followed with their own collections. Customers could walk into a shop and buy the clothes they liked then and there.

Today Pret-a-porter fashion is everywhere. There are fashion styles presented on the runways of fashion capitals of the world like Paris, London and New York.

There is a high-end ready-to-wear market catering to the common man who desires good clothing, which is still inexpensive – for them there are Pret-a-porter collections of famous fashion designers. These are intended as a marketing tool by the designer – it boosts the image of the designer or the label among the masses.

They said pret-a-porter will kill your name, and it saved me“,  said the designer Pierre Cardin, who brought about the term Pret-a-porter in the fashion world.

Today most world-famous designers have their own Pret-a-porter lines and usually present their collections twice at international fashion shows – February and September of each year as Autumn/winter collections and Spring/Summer collections.

THese are the kind of quality clothes you and I want to wear for everyday life that are designed by famous designers and labels. These are all easy to wear clothes available at affordable prices for fashion-conscious people who still appreciate quality clothing construction.

Related posts : Fashion related words ; Haute Couture Fashion; Famous fashion designers; Styles of clothes


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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.
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