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March 3, 2014

Women’s Clothing Packaging Design Tips

Women’s clothing packaging is generally relegated to accessories, undergarments and those delightful Halloween costumes that are so often labeled with the word “sexy.” “Sexy Pirate,” “Sexy Cowgirl,” “Sexy Nurse,” “Sexy Insurance Claims Adjustor,” etc.

Anyway, before we get too excited about the many options for “sexy” Halloween attire, (Sexy IRS Auditor!) let’s discuss the different strategies for packaging design for clothing. Hint: Many of these strategies may involve plastic bags.

Men’s Clothing

As a rule, more basic men’s items are packaged than women’s items. This is basically because, as a highly stereotypical rule, men would rather just grab a package of underwear, shirts or dress suits than spend an afternoon personally inspecting every garment that we’re not entirely convinced we need. (Do we really need underwear, anyway? Damn societal stigmas.)

In men’s retail clothing outlets, you’ll find gloves, undergarments, handkerchiefs, t-shirts, socks and bowties all in some sort of packaging. In hipper stores, the packaging will be so broad and playful that you often won’t even be able to tell just exactly what is in the package. One of our favorite taste makers, Johnny Cupcakes (whom we’ve written about in previous articles), has a line of t-shirts packaged in what looks like paint cans, but what are supposed to be> frosting tins. Interesting (*strokes beard in a super villain kind of way*).

Even though you’re perfectly free to let your imagination run wild when it comes to basic men’s garment packaging, it’s generally a good idea to incorporate some sort of window on the package, so that the customer won’t be tempted to pry open the box to check what the actual color is.

Speaking of prying open the box, you might want to think about the possibility that customers would crack open your package and pull out the item. If your package is exceptionally delicate, this could mean that the package is effectively destroyed, leaving the retailer less than thrilled at the prospect of trying to sell a bunch of aggressively handled, once-cute packages. Moreover, if your package doesn’t display the item inside and is too complex or secure to open, many customers could be discouraged from buying the item altogether. Some of the best concepts for clothes involve sturdy packages, like canisters, that can be reassembled without the consumer ever realizing the package was messed with.

Women’s Clothing

There generally isn’t a huge amount of packaging for women’s clothing. Apart from multi-packs of underwear and gloves, most of women’s clothing is presented on a rack for inspection or trying on.

So, when it comes to packaging for accessories, particularly high-end accessories, it’s critically important that the boxes are well constructed so that they retain their pristine appearance during transport and even while the items are displayed. Color is important here; black will show every flaw, tear, scuff and rip, as will white.

Of course, there is no hard and fast rule saying that boxes are absolutely necessary; they do provide greater structure and stack-ability for the retailer, but from a consumer perspective, cloth bags might do very nicely.

Packages for undergarments can vary from plastic bags to well-structured boxes. Certain types of bras are usually packaged in boxes, and, like men’s packaged clothing, it’s helpful to consider the possibility that customers could open the box and take the item out for inspection. To prevent damage to the garment itself but allow total visibility, a plastic enclosure for the piece is a good idea.

So, what have we learned today? We learned that packaging design for clothing can be almost as fun as packaging design for liquor. We learned that clothing packages should be fun, but shouldn’t conceal the garment within unless it can be easily and undamagingly opened. Finally, we learned that we may never hear the last of Johnny Cupcakes.

by Kevin Smith
Kevin’s creativity and 15+ years experience, including four of his own successful consumer brands allow him to solve complex problems and create fresh ideas that leave others thinking “I wish I’d done that."

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