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- For making clothes, see Textile industry
Clothing is items made out of cloth or leather which is worn by sentient creatures to protect them from the elements, from damage, and to cover themselves. Articles of clothing can work similar in concept to armor, but distinguished by the fact that they are owned by your dwarves and, in theory, provide significantly less protection against attacks. There have been humorous bugs in the past where animal teeth were not hard enough to bite through silk shirts and artifact glass serrated disks could not pierce goblin clothes.
Currently dwarfs need no protection from cold environments and don't care if they're naked, so the only use for clothes (besides selling them to caravans) is the slight protection they offer against attacks, and keeping your dwarfs from stepping barefoot in the poisonous blood left by some forgotten beasts. Some players claim that leather cloaks and hoods offer significant protection from attacks.
While in a stockpile, clothing is usually safe from being damaged, but as soon as a dwarf puts on an item of clothing, it begins to degrade, and will wear out eventually.
Clothing and armor all have a size associated with them, and equipment made for one size of creature cannot be worn by larger or smaller creatures. For dwarves, this applies to clothes and armor worn by humans and trolls (which will appear to be "large"*) as well as kobolds (which will appear to be "small"); goblins and elves are the same size as dwarves (the distinction of "stout", normal, and "narrow" no longer exists), so their clothing and armor can be equipped rather than being limited to melting (in the case of metal armor) or use as trade goods (especially once decorated).
- (* with one exception: Items made from leather from large rats will appear as "large rat leather ______". Human-sized gloves made from large rat leather would be "large large rat leather gloves." There are no "rats" that provide leather, so while confusing, this is definitive.)