News center
Grade-A components, exacting quality protocols.

Classifying textile apparel for import and export

May 26, 2023

Get help to classify textiles and which headings and codes to use.

This guidance refers to chapters and headings in the UK Global Online Tariff. If you’re importing goods into Northern Ireland, or if this guidance does not include your item, read more information.

Textile garments are classified under Chapter 61 if made from knitted or crocheted fabric. Chapter 62 covers clothing if they’re made from woven or non-woven fabrics, for example, felt.

Garments with a left over right closure at the front are classed as men’s or boys’ garments. Those with right over left closure at the front are classed as women’s and girls’ garments. This applies unless the cut of the garment clearly says that it is designed for one sex or the other.

Where garments cannot be identified as for either sex, they must be classified in the headings covering women’s or girls’ garments.

Shirt-blouses are classified under heading 6106 or 6206. They’re defined as garments:

Blouses classified under heading 6106 which are knitted or crocheted, must be:

The majority of the above also apply to blouses of heading 6206. However, they do not have to have an opening at the neckline.

Blouses and shirt-blouses must not have:

If the garments have pockets below the waist, they could be classified as pullovers or cardigans of heading 6110 when knitted or crocheted, or jackets of heading 6104 or 6204.

If the garments have a means of tightening at the bottom of the garment or an average of less than ten stitches per linear cm, they could be classified under heading 6102 or 6110 if knitted or crocheted or as wind jackets under 6202 if not knitted or crocheted.

Shirts for men or boys are classified under heading 6105 or 6205. They’re defined as garments with:

If the shirt features belt loops and belts, the essential characteristics of the garments and how they’re intended to be worn need to be taken into consideration. They could, in some cases, be classified as jackets in headings 6103 or 6203 or knitted cardigans in 6110.

If the garment has pockets below the waist, it could be classified as a jacket or cardigan.

They should be classified under heading 6101, 6201 or 6110, if they have either:

If the garment does not have sleeves, it could be classified under headings:

If the outer shell of a jacket or blazer has 3 or more panels (2 of which are at the front) sewn together lengthwise, they’re classified under headings:

However, similar garments with tightening at the base such as windcheaters and similar garments are classified elsewhere under their own headings.

Jerseys and pullovers are classified under heading 6110 if they:

They can be made of any type of knitted or crocheted material, including light or fine-knit fabrics, of any textile fibre. They may have any form of decoration, including lace or embroidery.

Heading 6110 also includes:

Heading 6110 does not include:

Lightweight fine knit roll, polo or turtle-necked jumpers and pullovers are specifically covered in subheadings 6110 20 10 or 6110 30 10.

Fine knit means at least 12 stitches per cm in both directions. These garments are usually knitted in single jersey. They’re lightweight and must be close fitting.

These are classified under heading 6101, 6102, 6201 or 6202.

These headings exclude garments made from fabrics such as felt or other non-wovens which are classified under heading 6210.

If they’re made from knitted or crocheted fabrics that have a visible non-cellular coating on one surface, they’re classified under heading 6113.

If they’re made from a woven fabric with a visible non-cellular coating on one surface, they’re classified under heading 6210.

Parkas are defined as loose fitting outer garments designed to provide protection from cold, wind and rain that:

Anoraks are similar, but only range in length from well below waist length to a maximum of mid-thigh. They must have:

In addition, anoraks usually have at least one of the following:

In relation to anoraks, the term ‘and similar articles’ includes garments that have the features of an anorak except for either a hood or a lining.

Windcheaters are garments that are designed to afford some protection from the weather and extend to the hips or just below. Made from close-woven fabric, they do not have a hood but do have:

Wind jackets are commonly referred to as blousons. Usually a full, loose fitting cut and extending to the waist or just below. They have long sleeves that can extend below the bottom of the garment. They can be, but are not necessarily, weather protective. They feature:

Wind jackets can also have outer pockets, a lining or hood.

In relation to wind jackets, the term ‘and similar articles’ includes garments that have the above features except for one of the following:

Car coats are loose fitting outer garments with long sleeves and are worn over all other clothing for protection against the weather. They have a more formal appearance than parkas and are generally made from non-lightweight fabrics such as tweed or loden cloth.

Car coats can vary in length from below the crotch to mid-thigh and can be single or double breasted.

Car coats generally have:

Car coats do not have hoods or a means of tightening at the waist and or bottom of the garment, although they may have a belt.

The expression ‘and similar’, as far as car coats are concerned, includes garments, which have the same characteristics as car coats but have a hood.

Overcoats and similar articles cover the body to at least the mid-thigh. They must meet minimum standard sizes for men and women. Measure from the collar seam at the nape (seventh vertebrae) to the bottom edge with the garment laid flat.

In classification terms, there is no distinction between men’s and women’s T-shirts, they’re all classified under heading 6109. This heading also covers other forms of singlets and vests.

A T-shirt can be:

They can be of one or more colours and have decoration in the form of advertising, pictures or inscriptions of words created through printing, knitting or other similar processes. However, the decoration must not be lace. The bottom of the garment is usually hemmed and does not have any means of tightening or ribbed waistband.

Singlets and vests include such garments even if they are:

Garments of heading 6109 cannot have any form of:

However, if it’s a man’s sleeveless garment, it may be classified under heading 6114.

Long garments that extend significantly below the waist and do not need another garment to be worn on the lower part of the body must be classified as a dress. There are specific lengths that must be considered when making this choice.

Skirts and divided skirts are garments designed to cover the lower part of the body. Normally starting at the waist and can extend to the ankles or below and are worn in combination with an upper garment. They’re classified under heading 6104 or 6204.

Where skirts also feature braces, they’re still usually classified as skirts. If the garments also feature bibs at the front and or back, they’re still classified as skirts provided they cannot be worn without the addition of an upper garment. If they can be worn on their own they are classified as dresses.

Divided skirts are skirts that, while covering the legs separately, still hang as a skirt and have a cut and width that is clearly different from shorts or trousers.

Where a sarong has a shaped tie fastening, it should be classified as a skirt under heading 6104 or 6204. If it’s a square of fabric which has been further worked, such as with hemmed or rolled edges, it should be classified as a scarf or shawl. If it has unfinished edges, it should be classified as a fabric.

Trousers, dungarees and shorts are classified under heading 6103, 6104, 6203 or 6204.

Trousers are defined as garments that cover:

If a garment features braces, it is still classified as trousers if that remains the garment’s essential character. Bib and brace overalls (also known as dungarees) may or may not cover the knee.

Shorts are garments that have the same features as trousers but do not cover the knee.

They’re never classified as industrial or occupational clothing.

Dresses are defined as garments that are intended to cover the whole body, starting from the shoulders, and can extend to the ankles or below. To be classified as a dress, the garment must be capable of being worn without any other garments other than underwear.

They’re classified under heading 6104 or 6204.

Where the upper part comprises braces with bibs on the front or back, they’re classified as dresses only if they can be worn without any other garments other than underwear. If not, they should be classified as skirts.

Items that you may consider classifying elsewhere, such as T-shirts, blouses or pullovers that are long and extend well below the waist may need to be classified as dresses if they exceed specific lengths. These lengths are:

The maximum length measurement is taken from the highest point on the shoulder seam to the bottom of the hem.

A suit is defined as a set of garments comprising 2 or 3 pieces with their outer surfaces made up of identical fabrics. The component parts can be:

If several separate components to cover the lower part of the body are presented together, the main lower part should be one pair of trousers or a skirt. The other garments should then be classified separately in their own heading.

To be classified under heading 6103, 6104, 6203 or 6204, a suit or ensemble can feature trimmings or decorations not found on all components. This only applies when the trimmings or decorations are of minor importance and only found on a small number of places on the garments. These could be on collars, sleeve ends or on lapels and pockets.

The following are always classified as suits, regardless of whether they meet the above conditions:

In most cases, an ensemble must only contain one item that covers the upper half of the body and one or 2 different garments designed to cover the lower part of the body. A garment that covers both the upper and lower parts of the body, such as a dress cannot form part of an ensemble.

However, there are specific exceptions where ensembles may include 2 upper garments. One of which is a pullover when presented together with a cardigan to form a twinset. A waistcoat can also form a second upper garment. (Note: a lower garment must also be included).

Garments classified in their own right under heading 6107, 6108, 6109, 6207 and 6208 cannot be part of an ensemble.

To be classified as an ensemble, the upper and lower garments must be made up entirely in a single identical fabric. This means equivalent in construction, yarn and colour as if made from a single roll of fabric.

The packaging can take various forms and each garment can be in its own packaging, but when presented to Customs, the ensemble must be presented as a single unit in a form ready for retail sale.

Retail packaging includes plain poly bags, labelled retail poly bags or boxes containing one ensemble. The parts of the set must be packaged together. Using adhesive tape to bind 2 poly bags together does not qualify. Check the PDF for acceptable packaging options.

Chart of packaging for ensembles to be put up for retail sale as a single unit (PDF, 129 KB, 1 page)

Track suits are defined by the general appearance and nature of their fabric and the fact they are clearly meant to be worn exclusively or mainly for sporting activities. They are classified under heading 6112 or 6211. However, there are different criteria for knitted and woven track suits.

Track suits are comprised of 2 garments:

A garment to cover the upper part of the body down to, or slightly below, the waist. This garment:

A pair of trousers, which will be:

The trousers may also be fitted with ribbed or elasticated bands, zips or other tightening elements at the bottom of trouser legs which generally go to ankle level.

Knitted tracksuits must not be lined, but the inner surface of the fabric may be raised (napped).

Woven tracksuits may be lined. Components of a tracksuit made up with an outer shell of a single identical fabric should be classified under one subheading under heading 6211.

Sets of garments such as shell suits whose components are made up in separate fabrics (even if the only difference is colour) must be separately classified as upper and lower parts under heading 6211.

Ski suits can be a ski overall or a ski ensemble. It should be clear that you wear these for cross country or alpine skiing and are classified under heading 6112 or 6211.

A ski overall is a one-piece garment designed to cover the upper and lower parts of the body. It should also have sleeves and collars and may also include pockets or foot-straps.

A ski ensemble is a set of garments made up of 2 or 3 pieces and put up together for retail sale. It should have one garment closed by a zip such as:

A ski ensemble will also have a second garment such as:

A waistcoat is an optional third garment.

A ski ensemble may also be a ski overall with a type of padded, sleeveless jacket.

All the components of a ski ensemble must be made up of the same texture, style and composition. They must be of corresponding or compatible size. They can however be of different colours.

Swimwear are garments that in their general appearance, cut and nature of fabric, are recognisably intended to be worn solely or mainly as swimwear. Swimwear are generally made of man-made fibres and are classified under heading 6112 or 6211.

Swimming shorts must have inner briefs sewn to the garment or a least a lining in the front of the crotch and be tight at the waist, such as having a drawstring or fully elasticated waist.

Swimming shorts may have pockets, provided that:

Swimming shorts cannot have a front opening or opening at the waist, even if closed with a closing system.

Unless all these conditions are met, the garments must be classified as shorts under heading 6103, 6104, 6203 or 6204.

To be classified as a sports bra under heading 6212, it has to have a clear definition of cups or separation of the breasts. The separation can be in the form of clear individual cups or merely stitching or gathering of material between the breasts.

The garment is designed to cover the upper part of the body and extend down to just below the bust, with a body supporting function. This garment is designed to be worn next to the skin as an undergarment.

If the bra merely has elastic around the bottom with no separation of the breasts, it would not be classified to this heading.

These bra’s generally have a lining in the cups, with side openings for inserting padding to enhance the breast for aesthetic purposes or for the insertion of breast forms following a mastectomy. They’re classified under subheading 6212 10.

Men’s or boys’ pyjamas are classified under heading 6107 or 6207, and women’s or girls’ pyjamas are classified under heading 6108 or 6208.

In general terms, to be classified as pyjamas the garments must be clearly identifiable as intended exclusively or mainly as nightwear.

Pyjamas comprise 2 garments – one for the upper part of the body (generally a jacket-type garment or pullover) and another for the lower part of the body (usually trousers or shorts of a simple cut).

The components must be of corresponding or compatible size and of matching cut, constituent fabric, colours, decorations and degree of finish to show clearly that they are designed to be worn together. They must be of a suitable fabric to wear at night, have a loose fitting cut and not have any potentially uncomfortable features such as large or bulky buttons nor excessive applied decorations.

Pyjama trousers when presented without an upper garment, and Chinese style satin pyjamas, cannot be classified as nightwear.

Sets of knitted garments comprising a pair of shorts and a T-shirt-style upper are not classified as pyjamas. However, sets of garments known as ‘baby dolls’, comprising a very short nightdress and matching briefs, can be classified as pyjamas.

Nightdresses can be:

They cannot be classified as nightdresses if the garments have:

Garments that are a long, loose-fitting and T-shirt style, even with printed night time graphics are not classified as nightwear and should be classified as dresses.

One-piece nightwear that covers both the upper and lower body, covering each leg separately is covered under subheading 6107 91 to 6107 99, or 6207 91 to 6207 99 for men’s or boys’ or 6108 91 to 6108 99 or 6208 91 to 6208 99 for women’s or girls’. They must cover:

Saris are designed to be worn draped around the body from the shoulder to the ankles. They cover part of the upper body and the whole of the lower body. They are made from woven fabric and are classified under heading 6211 if they meet the criteria below.

They’re worn with a choli, or blouse, which covers the shoulders and the bust, and a waist petticoat.

Saris are rectangular pieces of woven fabric approximately 4.5 to 5.5 metres in length and 122cm wide. They’re made from lightweight fabrics of silk, cotton or man-made fibres but are not made of wool. They have 2 selvedges running along the length of the fabric.

In order to be classified as a garment, at least one of the 2 shorter edges must be finished off, as specified in legal Note 7 to Section XI including:

Saris with 2 selvedges and 2 raw ends are classified as fabric in the piece even though they may be wearable in this form.

Saris may be made in any colour, plain or with any form of decoration or pattern including embroidery, hand printing or embellishments of gold and silver thread.

Occasionally a sari is approximately one metre longer than the standard length. This additional piece of material may be detached by the wearer and used to make the choli, or blouse.

The point of division between the sari proper and the additional piece is made obvious by a line of drawn thread work across the width of the fabric or by a change in the pattern. Such ‘composite’ articles are classified as saris providing at least one of the shorter ends is made up within the terms of legal Note 7 to Section XI. In other cases, they’re to be classified as fabric in the piece.

The choli is a short top, which does not reach the waist. It is usually classified as an ‘other garment’ under heading 6114 or 6211.

Kurta salwar or shalwar kameez are not usually classified as suits or ensembles. A kameez is a garment designed to cover the body from the shoulders to the knee, although in some cases this garment may be slightly shorter. It’s usually classified as a dress under heading 6104 or 6204.

A shalwar is a garment designed to cover the lower part of the body and is usually classified as trousers under heading 6104 or 6204.

A dupatta is a scarf or shawl, often worn with this outfit. It can be classified as an accessory to the dress, as long as it is made of the same fabric and matching in colour and design. When imported separately, it should be classified under heading 6117 or 6214.

Lehengha or ghagra suits may be classified as ensembles if they meet the criteria of specific issues. If it does not meet the criteria for an ensemble, then the garments would be classified separately. This outfit is made up of an upper garment, which is normally a jacket and a skirt.

Turbans are not classified as garments but as ‘other made up textiles’ and are classified under heading 6307.

Babies’ garments are classified under heading 6111 or 6209.

They must be intended for infants of a body height not more than 86cm (commercial size 86). Garments clearly designed for newborn babies, should always be classified under these headings, regardless of their dimensions. For example:

Under Commission Regulation (EC) No 651/2007, item 2, sleeping bags with sleeves or armholes designed for children or adults (over 86cm) are excluded from heading 6111 or 6209 and classified as ‘other garments’ under heading 6114 or 6211.

There are specific and detailed measurements that define the maximum sizes of many garment types for them to fall into commercial size 86cm.

Note 1: All chest measurements are taken from armholes with the garment in its relaxed (unstretched) position.Note 2: Measurements 22 and 23 are taken inside the garment when quilted or padded.Note 3: Where a garment is fitted with adjustable straps, the straps should be positioned either on the buttonhole giving the shortest adjustment, or with a moveable buckle or clasp positioned 8cm from the unattached end of the strap.Note 4: Measurements 10 and 15 are taken to a fixed leg end. Lengths should not exceed those specified to allow for unfixed roll-up or turned up.

Industrial and occupational clothing is worn solely or mainly to provide protection (physical or health) and made from tough or non-shrink fabric. They are usually made from:

They feature safety seams or double seams to increase their strength. Also, often fastened with:

Pockets are generally stitched on and slit pockets are usually made of the same fabric as the garment.

Only garments of a commercial size of 158 (having a body height of 158cm) or more can be considered industrial or occupational garments. Uniforms and official garments, for example, judges’ gowns or church vestments, are not considered industrial or occupational garments.

Garments which also include an electrical item such as headphones are always classified with the textile garment under Chapter 61 or 62.

Ear muffs are not regarded as apparel and are classified as ‘other made up clothing accessories’ under heading 6117 or 6217.

Hairbands are made from textile fabrics with an integrated flexible metal wire, to make it easier to tie the hairband together at each end. They’re classified as ‘other made up clothing accessories’ under heading 6117 or 6217.

Gloves made from a combination of textile fabrics are usually classified according to the fabric that appears on the palm side (including the finger fronts and the parts between the fingers) under heading 6116 or 6216.

If the whole of the front side is not one single fabric, it should be classified according to the most used material over the whole of the glove.

Some sports gloves are an exception. If their essential character is defined by a material on a different part (for example, a goalkeeper’s gloves used for ice hockey where the fabric on the back protects the hand) they should be classified under that material.

Some other gloves are classified elsewhere:

These items that do not cover the feet are classified under heading 6406.

The bra extension is classified under heading 6217. These consist of a strip of textile material of about 3.5cm wide and 7cm in length and have hooks at one end and eyes on the other end, both of base metal. It can be attached to the backside of a bra.

A bra extension does not only prolong a bra, but it mainly enables women who cannot wear universal sizes, to wear a bra. This allows a bra to fulfil its function as body support by adapting it to women who cannot use universal sizes.

If this guidance does not cover your specific item in detail and you’re importing goods into Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), you can search for it in the Online Trade Tariff.

If you’re importing goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK, and the EU and the goods are not ‘at risk’ of onward movement to the EU, you should also use the Online Trade Tariff.

If you’re importing goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK and the EU, and the goods are at risk of onward movement to the EU, you should use the Northern Ireland (EU) Tariff.

If this guidance does cover your item, you’ll still need to look up the full commodity code to use in your declaration on the appropriate tariff.

You can find more ways to help you find a commodity code by referring to the links given in this section.

This guidance has been updated to include the definition of 'bra extensions'.

The definition of a 'Sports bra' has been added to the page.

The further information section has been updated to show the change of contact details.

First published.