The term fashion usually applies to a prevailing mode of expression, but quite often applies to a personal mode of expression that may or may not adhere to prevailing ideals. Inherent in the term is the idea that the mode will change more quickly than the culture as a whole. The terms "fashionable" and "unfashionable" are employed to describe whether someone or something fits in with the current popular mode of expression. The term "fashion" is often used in a negative sense, as a synonym for fads and trends. In this sense, fashions are essentially a relief from middle class and lower middle class boredom, or a distraction from important matters, for the idle rich. The term is also frequently used in a positive sense, as a synonym for glamour and style. In this sense, fashions are a sort of communal art, through which a culture examines its notions of beauty and goodness.
Fashions are social psychology phenomena common to many fields of human activity and thinking. The rises and falls of fashions have been especially documented and examined in many fields, such as, architecture, interior design, and landscape design, arts, clothing or costume, cosmetics, grooming, and personal adornment, cuisine, dance and music, forms of address, slang, entertainment, games, hobbies, sports, etiquette, philosophy, and technology.
Of these fields, costume especially has become so linked in the public eye with the term "fashion". The more general term "costume" has been relegated by many to only mean fancy dress or masquerade wear, while the term "fashion" means clothing generally, and the study of it.