“woven fabric, pliable stuff made of intertexture of threads or fibers,” Old English claþ “a cloth, sail, cloth covering, woven or felted material to wrap around one,” hence, also, “garment,” from Proto-Germanic *kalithaz (source also of Old Frisian klath “cloth,” Middle Dutch cleet, Dutch kleed “garment, dress,” Middle High German kleit, German Kleid “garment”), which is of obscure origin, perhaps a substratum word.
As an adjective, “made or consisting of cloth,” from 1590s. Meaning “distinctive clothing worn by some group” (servants of one house, men of some profession or trade) is from 1590s, hence The cloth “the clerical profession” (1701).
Old English claðas “cloths; garments for the body,” originally the plural of clað “cloth” (see cloth), which, in 19c., after the sense of “article of clothing” had mostly faded from it, acquired a new plural form, cloths, to distinguish it from this word. Clothes-hanger attested from 1860.
c. 1200, “action of dressing in clothes,” verbal noun from clothe. From late 13c. as “clothes collectively, raiment, apparel;” 1590s as an adjective.
CLOTHE~”to put on garments; provide with clothing,” Old English claðian, from claþ (see cloth). Related: Clothed, clothing. Other Old English words for this were scrydan and gewædian. Figurative sense “cover as with clothing” is from c. 1300.
The history of clothing dates back to prehistory when prehistoric people learned to use spindles to make yarn from fiber of plants and animals and when first primitive looms appeared. Clothes of that time were also made from leather. The development of textile and clothing in prehistory has been the subject of a number of scholarly studies since the late 20th century. However, scientists have never agreed on when humans began wearing clothes, and the estimates suggested by various experts have ranged greatly, from 40,000 to as many as 3 million years ago. In Europe, people made warm clothes such as trousers, coats, and boots from animal skins using bone needles in 20,000 BC. In 1200 BC, men in Egypt wore loincloths and a kind of kilt, while women wear dresses with shoulder straps, and both sexes wear jewelry. In 400 BC, women in Greece wear long dresses that cover the entire body. The Byzantine era strictly regulated clothing based on identity, status, rank, and gender.