Dictionary of Clothing Terms in Science Fiction
(Technovelgy items at top: skip down to News)


Author (Publication Date)

Airbag Jacket - instant Michelin Man
A jacket or coverall with inflatable air bags throughout for protection against impact.

Neal Stephenson (1992)
Air-Conditioned Coat
An otherwise ordinary overcoat that fights the heat.

Bruce Sterling (1993)
Arachnofiber Uniforms - Spidey delivers pizza
Remarkable attire for a pizza delivery person; but given the violence of near future America, the protection offered by ordinary uniforms was insufficient.

Neal Stephenson (1992)
Armor Cloth
Extremely tough synthetic fabric.

Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle) (1974)
Artificial Cloth
The creation of fabrics without organic natural fibers.

Hugo Gernsback (1911)
Artificial Silk
A fabric like silk produced entirely without silkworms.

George Parsons Lathrop (1897)
Automated Surface Measurement - 100 years before cgi needed it
A mechanical method of accurately measuring a surface.

H.G. Wells (1899)
Bio-Fabric - living cloth
Living cloth that constantly adapts itself to the personality and needs of its wearer.

J.G. Ballard (1970)
A small container in a stillsuit that stored reclaimed water.

Frank Herbert (1965)
Chameleon Battle-Dress
Camouflage that allows its wearer to visually blend into the environment.

Gordon R. Dickson (1960)
Chameleon Cloth - great camouflage
Clothing that changes color and pattern to match its surroundings.

George RR Martin (1977)
A device worn to part crowds.

Malka Older (2016)
Digital Running Shoes - just measure it
Shoes with a digital readout showing performance.

Bruce Sterling (1988)
Electric Diaper
A diaper that will indicate when it is wet.

David H. Keller (1928)
Electrically Heated Clothes
Using artificial heating to counteract the cold of space.

A.E. van Vogt (1940)
Email Shirt
See your email on your shirt.

Margaret Atwood (2003)
Fabricules - squeaky clean nanomachine
Tiny bits of fabric that were self-cleaning; gloves made of this material always stayed clean.

Neal Stephenson (1995)
Perfect for those incredibly hot planets with breathable atmospheres.

Murray Leinster (1955)
Inert-Wear - unfashionably static
Clothing made of dead fibers; clothing that is unmoving, static.

J.G. Ballard (1970)
Jubba Cloak
An all-purpose garment in common use on Arrakis

Frank Herbert (1965)
Apparel created entirely by machines.

Philip K. Dick (1954)
Mimetic Polycarbon Suit - urban camouflage
Clothing made from a fiber that could change colors based on either recorded images or real-time picture input.

William Gibson (1984)
Onionskin Transparent Jeans
See-through pants.

Gary Shteyngart (2011)
Pants that make you look beefier.

Lewis Padgett (1943)
Scramble Suit - instant anonymity
A superthin membrane upon which are projected the characteristics of a million different people, it confers instant anonymity.

Philip K. Dick (1977)
Self-Cleaning Gym Suit
Removes the source of odor.

Margaret Atwood (2003)
A multipurpose net worn as clothing.

Margaret St. Clair (1949)
A form of adaptive camouflage gear.

Steve Perry (1986)
Sideglance Robe
A dress that is invisible or opaque, depending on how you look at it.

Philip K. Dick (1953)
Sleeve Communicator - before ST:TNG
An electronic device controller built into clothing.

Murray Leinster (1945)
Spray-Foam Blouse - spray and wear
Clothing that is sprayed on fresh.

Philip K. Dick (1969)
Spray-On Clothing - dresses in a can
Body coverings from a spray can.

Stanislaw Lem (1961)
Spray-On Clothing Web
A 'web' clothing foundation that can be sprayed on and then molded by a couturier.

Jack Vance (1952)
Spray-On Gloves
Fashionable evening gloves that are sprayed onto the hand and arm.

Jack Vance (1952)
Stillsuit - when you want water retention
It covers almost the entire body, provides cooling and ensures that almost no moisture is lost.

Frank Herbert (1965)
Stillsuit Desert Boots
Special boots that offered parasitic power harvesting.

Frank Herbert (1969)
Transparent Overalls
Perfect for prisoners, because nothing can be concealed.

Harry Harrison (1970)
Carries water to and from the catchpockets in a Fremen stillsuit.

Frank Herbert (1965)

Related Science Fiction in the News

Fabrican Dress Sprayed Directly Onto Model On Coperni Runway
'...that might appeal to women, because by discharging from a few or a few dozen bottles a liquid that immediately set into fabrics... they could have a new creation every time.' - Stanislaw Lem, 1961.
(re: Stanislaw Lem, 10/25/2022 )
Hip'Safe Airbag For Seniors, From Helite
'Other airbags go off around her torso and pelvis...' - Neal Stephenson, 1992.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 8/29/2022 )
iSphere Plastique Fantastique Face Mask Alternative
'Among these were some clad in the insulated space-suits, with their transparent glassite helmets.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1931.
(re: Edmond Hamilton, 8/19/2020 )
Inkjet-Printed Wearable Solar Cells
Ultra-thin wearable organic photovoltaic material.
(re: Rudy Rucker, 8/17/2020 )
E - Ink's Automatic Self Styling Color-Changing Dress
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.' - JG Ballard, 1970.
(re: JG Ballard, 4/21/2020 )
Clothes That Do Photosynthesis
'Clothes are no longer made from dead fibers of fixed color and texture...' - JG Ballard, 1970
(re: JG Ballard, 1/30/2020 )
Fabric Automatically Cools Or Insulates Based On Environment
'...a high-efficiency filter and heat-exchange system.' - Frank Herbert, 1965.
(re: Frank Herbert, 2/17/2019 )
Foldimate Folds Your Clothes Perfectly
Look ma, my room is clean! I can hear you now.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 8/29/2018 )
'Power Clothing' - The Seismic 'Super Suit'
'The real genius in the design is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it...' - Robert Heinlein, 1959.
(re: Robert Heinlein, 7/9/2018 )
Shiftwear Display Shoes
'He unlaced her shoe and glanced at its readout.' Bruce Sterling, 1988.
(re: Bruce Sterling, 1/13/2018 )
Jabil Integrated Textile Heart Monitoring
'Della's first present was an imipolex sweatshirt called a heartshirt…' Rudy Rucker, 1988.
(re: Rudy Rucker, 12/10/2017 )
Wearable Smart Jacket
He pressed the button in his sleeve communicator and snapped: 'Action stations!' - Murray Leinster, 1945.
(re: Murray Leinster, 3/4/2017 )
Fluorescent Bacteria Fashion
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.' - J.G. Ballard, 1970.
(re: J.G. Ballard, 3/2/2017 )
Eighth Sense Emotion-Responsive Cloak
'This sensitivity to mood explains the real popularity of bio-fabrics...' - JG Ballard, 1970.
(re: JG Ballard, 11/23/2016 )
proCover Smart Sock Prosthetic Limb Enhancement
'Series of chemelectric afferent nerve-analogues, which permitted it to gauge to an ounce...' - Roger Zelazny, 1965.
(re: Roger Zelazny, 10/8/2016 )
Smart Fabric Can Harvest Energy From Sunshine And Motion
'The clothes and jewellery drew their tiny power requirements from her movements.' - Alastair Reynolds, 2005.
(re: Alastair Reynolds, 9/19/2016 )
Fashion Needs To Step Up Technology Education
'Keeping up with advances in fashion is almost as easy as reading - if you're reading science fiction.'
(re: Various, 8/27/2016 )
Self-Healing Textiles! Say Goodbye To Torn Jeans
'The constant renewal of the fibers, repairing any faults...' - JG Ballard, 1970.
(re: JG Ballard, 8/13/2016 )
Aerochromics Shirt Makes You An Air Quality Monitor
Clothing really should do more.
(re: William Gibson, 7/17/2016 )
Textiles Self-Cleaning In Sunlight
'You could thrust your gloved hand into mud, and it would be white a few seconds later' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 3/22/2016 )
3D Modeling And Virtual Reality Tech Patents For Body Labs
'... Another small figure in a more voluminous type of robe marched on to the dial.' - HG Wells, 1899.
(re: HG Wells, 3/14/2016 )
Smart Clothing From Finland
'A dress can change its color and texture in a few seconds...' - JG Ballard, 1970.
(re: JG Ballard, 2/27/2016 )
Microsupercapacitors Make Wearable Electronics Disappear
'He pressed the button in his sleeve communicator...' - Murray Leinster, 1945.
(re: Rudy Rucker, 12/10/2015 )
Second Skin Clothing By Biologic Changes With You
'A dress can change its color and texture in a few seconds...' - JG Ballard, 1970.
(re: JG Ballard, 10/20/2015 )
LikeAGlove Smart Garment Knows Your Size
'The tailor set moving a mechanism...'- HG Wells, 1898.
(re: HG Wells, 12/16/2014 )
Bullet-Proof Kevlar Woven Electronics
'Check the watch imprinted on his sleeve...'- Niven and Barnes, 1981.
(re: Niven and Barnes, 11/15/2014 )
Ralph Lauren Polo Tech Shirt
'It can feel your heartbeat...'- Rudy Rucker, 1988.
(re: Rudy Rucker, 8/26/2014 )
Bespoke Clothing In 30 Minutes
'He sat himself down in a sales cubicle and dialed the code number for kilts.'- Robert Heinlein, 1941.
(re: Robert Heinlein, 8/1/2014 )
x.pose 3D Printed Corset Has Data Transparency
'I'll put on my new plastirobe, the one I've never had nerve enough to wear.'- Philip K. Dick, 1954
(re: Philip K. Dick, 6/12/2014 )
Focus Life Gear Protects From Virtual World
'Stooping, he peeled off thick overtrousers as massive as the coat.'- Robert Heinlein, 1941.
(re: Robert Heinlein, 5/24/2014 )
OMsignal Heart Shirt With Woven Electronics
'It can feel your heartbeat … look...'- Rudy Rucker, 1988.
(re: Rudy Rucker, 5/13/2014 )
Motorcycle Racing Suit With Airbags
She jerks the manual release on her cervical collar and goes into full Michelin Man mode- Neal Stephenson, 1992.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 1/17/2014 )
Protocell Running Shoes Regenerate
'Clothes are no longer made from dead fibers of fixed color…'- JG Ballard, 1970.
(re: JG Ballard, 12/12/2013 )
Owlet Vitals, The Future Of Baby Monitoring
'In every diaper there is a fine copper wire…' - David H. Keller, 1928.
(re: David H. Keller, 11/13/2013 )
A Forced Air-Cooled Jacket?
'He went to the hall closet to get his pith helmet and his mandatory cooling-unit...'- Philip K. Dick, 1964.
(re: Murray Leinster, 8/13/2013 )
SolePower Insole Generates Power By Walking
'...the action of the heel-powered pumps that drove his stillsuit.'- Frank Herbert, 1969
(re: Frank Herbert, 7/11/2013 )
Oceanwings For Underwater Human Flight
'He flexed his legs, the massive flukes thrust back jerkily in response...'- David Brin, 1979.
(re: David Brin, 5/26/2013 )
Sweat Be Gone! Non-Wetting Fabric
'The skin-contact layer is porous.'- Frank Herbert, 1965.
(re: Frank Herbert, 5/24/2013 )
Superomniphobic Fabrics Are Super Clean
'Most gentlemen's and ladies' gloves nowadays were constructed of infinitesimal fabricules that knew how to eject dirt...'- Neal Stephenson, 1995
(re: Neal Stephenson, 1/17/2013 )
Sean Jean 'Fashion Video Name Tag' Fleece
Why not a display to go with your sleeve communicator? Murray Leinster would have been down with it.
(re: Murray Leinster, 12/7/2012 )
Body Scanner May Improve Online Shopping
'...the tailor pulled out a number of slotted arms terminating in little discs...'- H.G. Wells, 1899.
(re: HG Wells, 11/27/2012 )
Smart Bra From First Warning Systems
'...a delicate current is sent ... to an amplifier and a certain sound is made, and the nurse will properly react...'- David H. Keller, 1928.
(re: David H. Keller, 10/11/2012 )
'Invisible' Bicycle Helmet
Would go well with your airbag jacket.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 8/7/2012 )
Bactericidal Fabric Made From Silk
Coming to uniforms near you.
(re: Isaac Asimov, 3/17/2012 )
3D Printed Clothing 'Escapism' Couture Collection
Someday you'll just get new clothing from the 3D fab machine in your closet.
(re: Robert Heinlein, 3/5/2012 )
North Face (Or Snow Crash?) Avalanche Airbag Clothing
The Powder Guide ABS vest is just the thing for your active lifestyle, on and off the slopes.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 2/9/2012 )
Raincatch Raincoat Has Dune-Style Watertube And Catchpocket
'And us sipping our catchpockets the instant they show dewsparkle.'
(re: Frank Herbert, 1/22/2012 )
Author Barely Stays Ahead Of The Future With Transparent Jeans
Mainstream authors can barely keep up; old-school sf authors have already come and gone.
(re: Gary Shteyngart, 9/6/2011 )
'Warning Signs' T-Shirt Is CO2 Detector
Why not let others see your concerns?
(re: Rudy Rucker, 4/21/2011 )
Self-Cleaning SilverSport Gym Gear Uses Nanosilver
Stinky gym gear now a thing of the past?
(re: Neal Stephenson, 2/3/2011 )
Stretchable Silicon Electronics For Sports Apparel
Maybe Reebok could include a stopwatch along with the sensors; that's what Niven and Barnes fans are hoping.
(re: Niven and Barnes, 12/9/2010 )
DEFLEXION Apparel For Superheroes
High impact protection while retaining excellent breathability and washability.
(re: Larry Niven, 11/20/2010 )
Fabrican Spray-On T-Shirt Video
This video recently turned up; Stanislaw Lem nailed this idea almost fifty years ago.
(re: Stanislaw Lem, 9/16/2010 )
Exmobaby Biosensor Pajamas For Baby
Hush little baby, don't say a word. Mama's gonna ... be watching you on her cell phone.
(re: David H. Keller, 9/1/2010 )
Nike's Air Kicks Back To The Future Power Laces
Marty McFly, your shoes are almost ready.
(re: , 8/31/2010 )
Power Laces From Back To The Future 2
Marty McFly, your auto-lacing shoes are almost ready. With video.
(re: Various, 7/5/2010 )
SmartCap Detects Fatigue
Although I think it needs a buzzer for home use, this device could save lives.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 5/27/2010 )
Invisible Dress: Your Fashion Future
Essential couture for the technologically fashion-minded.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 5/10/2010 )
Tweet Sleeve Displays Your Emotions
Insights into your heart, one hundred and forty characters at a time.
(re: Murray Leinster, 4/27/2010 )
Spyder Olympic GS Suit With d3o
Skiers at the Vancouver Olympics will use the latest in 'impact suits' made with d3o.
(re: David Gerrold (w. L Niven), 2/1/2010 )
Sound Reactive Nightgown
An unusual demonstration piece, this garment is very sensitive to noise.
(re: JG Ballard, 1/30/2010 )
Smart Second Skin Dress Interacts With Wearer
Why be satisfied with that 'inert-wear' that you usually put on in the morning? Why shouldn't you have clothing that interacts with you?
(re: J.G. Ballard, 1/14/2010 )
Life Dress Plays Game Of Life
Interesting designer fashion displays the game of life while the wearer mingles, playing the game of life herself.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 12/21/2009 )
Femphonic Audio Jacket With On-Sleeve Controller
Electronic ontrols built into clothingis an idea that is at least sixty years old. I still like it.
(re: Murray Leinster, 12/16/2009 )
Motorcycle SuperFabric Now With d3o Shock Absorption
It's not quite a super-suit, but the new multi-function motorcycle protection garment from d3o and SuperFabric is getting us closer.
(re: Various, 7/21/2009 )
Air Bag Jacket Saves Life Of Motorcyclist
Although this is an old story, it's a pretty good call by an sf writer.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 6/23/2009 )
TV-B-Gone Hoodie
I've been at the Google I/O conference this week, and this was just one of the cool devices featured at their after party.
(re: Murray Leinster, 5/28/2009 )
Photo-Veil Camo Digi Military Wrap
Gather ye your images from divers sources, then place on a mesh to confuse thine enemies. Dick, Gibson, Martin - of whom does this remind you?
(re: George R.R. Martin, 4/26/2009 )
Gundam Robot Slippers Have Giant Mech Sound
I'm still working on an sfnal twist to this story - other than the Gundam angle, of course.
(re: Yoshiuki Tomino, 2/9/2009 )
SG5 Solar Mesh Wetsuit For Aquatic Superheroes From Billabong
This nifty item of apparel is exactly what you aquatically based superheroes have been looking for.
(re: Varioius, 1/14/2009 )
Thought-Screen Helmets A Classic American Craft
Fashionable, practical and above all, home made. I also have some new materials to recommend.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 11/28/2008 )
Blackhawk Built-In Tourniquet Pants, Shirts
Radical clothing system has real practical value; I can see this for extreme hikers, mountain climbers, etc. as well.
(re: Joe Haldeman, 11/6/2008 )
GPS Lingerie 'Find Me If You Can'
Misplaced your girlfriend? No problem - if she wants to be found. With video.
(re: Murray Leinster, 11/3/2008 )
Solar Power Necktie (Clip-On Only)
Another great application for circuit/textile combinations. What's the earliest reference to the idea of combining textiles and wiring?
(re: David H. Keller, 8/18/2008 )
Solar-Powered Bra
This versatile item of apparel also comes with two reusable drink containers.
(re: Schachner & Zagat, 5/14/2008 )
T-Sketch The Whiteboard T-Shirt
Oh, sure, I've seen this before. You remember those bell-shaped aliens from another universe in that 1931 story, right? Okay, maybe not. But I do.
(re: Schachner/Zagat, 3/28/2008 )
Self-Cleaning Wool And Silk Fabrics
Self-cleaning clothing would be great; it would be particularly good for clothes that ordinarily must be dry-cleaned, like wool and silk.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 2/18/2008 )
NavJacket Guides Skiers With Built-In Display, Headphones
Amazing jacket is nicer than my car - it has GPS-guided voice and screen navigation. And lots of other features. And you can ski in it.
(re: Niven and Barnes, 12/14/2007 )
Sensor-Equipped Dress Tells You How She Feels
This dress communicates more than just a sense of fashion.
(re: J.G. Ballard, 12/1/2007 )
T-Qualiser Club Shirt Has Electro- Gobbledi- Googescence
This shirt tells you whether you're getting enough base at the club.
(re: Rudy Rucker, 6/6/2007 )
Nanoparticle-Treated Clothing Prevents Colds And Flu
The catwalk now holds the key to disease prevention.
(re: Various, 5/8/2007 )
Digital Lederhosen MP3 Player Bavarian-Style
At last, traditional Bavarian lederhosen are now available with MP3 controller buttons.
(re: Murray Leinster, 3/27/2007 )
Transformer Clothing
J.G. Ballard wrote about clothing that would do this - but it's been implemented using a more mechanistic technology.
(re: J.G. Ballard, 1/30/2007 )
Self-Cleaning Sportswear
Newfangled clothing may never need to be washed - even your old gym socks.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 1/4/2007 )
Rollerman Jean-Yves Blondeau
Design student wants to prove people can roll in any position. QED, baby.
(re: Various, 11/8/2006 )
Pong Dress
The Pong Dress implements the classic video game in a fashion plate setting.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 8/24/2006 )
Scientific Proof For Superhero Tights
Superheroes wore skintight suits for a great reason, say French researchers.
(re: Various, 6/21/2006 )
Chameleon T-Shirts With Electrochromic Polymers
At last, William Gibson's polycarbon suit is starting to take shape - good news for all Panther Moderns.
(re: William Gibson, 4/10/2006 )
Fabrican - Spray On Clothing
To change your look, just spray it on. It's clothing in a can - and Stanislaw Lem wrote about it in 1961.
(re: Stanislaw Lem, 3/26/2006 )
PKD's Scramble Suit In A Scanner Darkly Movie Trailer
The new trailer for Philip K. Dick's novel has some cool views of one of my favorite items - the scramble suit.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 2/22/2006 )
Skiers Get d3o-Based 'Impact Suits'
Looks like the science-fictional 'impact suit' of the 1970's comes true in 2006.
(re: D. Gerrold and L. Niven, 2/14/2006 )
Self-Cleaning Fabric - Polymer Film Sprinkled With Silver Nanoparticles
Researchers at Clemson University are trying to make your clothes cleaner - permanently. The secret is a polymer film of polyglycicidyl methacrylate sprinkled with silver nanoparticles.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 11/23/2004 )
Carbon Nanofiber Makes Smart Yarn
Carbon nanofiber can now be spun like yarn to make an amazing variety of new inventions possible.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 11/22/2004 )
MP3 Player Jacket Has Control Sleeves
A jacket with a built-in MP3 player is available from Rosner GmbH & Co., a German clothing firm. The 128 Mbyte player (developed by Infineon) is controlled by manipulating cloth buttons on the left sleeve. Headphones? They're in the collar.
(re: Larry Niven and Steve Barnes, 7/27/2004 )
Scentsory Chameleon Bodysuit: Biometric Fashion
The Scentsory Chameleon Bodysuit is a "smart second skin" with integrated printed organic opto-electronics and integrated flexible nano-genetic devices on textiles.
(re: Rudy Rucker, 5/19/2004 )
Raven - VectraSense ThinkShoe With DigitalDNA
The Raven ThinkShoe, an atheletic shoe that senses activity levels and adjusts dynamically, is now available from Vectrasense.
(re: Bruce Sterling, 5/6/2004 )






Artificial Intelligence
Data Storage
Input Devices
Living Space
Output Devices
Space Tech
Virtual Person


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