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39 Different Types of Clothes Hangers

Various clothes hangers collage

Clothes hangers were first created as space-saving hooks in 1869 by New Britain’s O.A. North. Before its mass production during the Industrial Revolution, only royalties and nobles used hangers because they had more clothes to hang, particularly their large Victorian dresses that resembled flying birds. The most popular type of hangers during those times were aptly named Eagle Wing Hangers.

Though not much has changed since its invention, clothes hangers have been used in many different ways since then. It’s the most common DIY material used in school and the second most stolen hotel item, next only to towels. Collectors are also willing to pay hundreds of dollars for antique hangers.

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A. Material

1. Wire

Wire clothes hanger

Source: Etsy

The problem with wire hangers is that they tend to vary pretty widely in their quality. If you have ever picked up dry cleaning before, then you probably have received thin wire hangers with your clothes. The cleaners use these because they can easily buy them in packs without spending a fortune on hangers that they are going to give away to their customers.

While these thinner wire hangers will last for a while, they will not hold their shape for a very long period of time and can even cause your clothes to become misshapen when they are hung. You also have to watch out for wire hangers that rust as this will instantly damage your clothing. Because of this problem, it was very popular in the past for people to use yarn or plastic material to cover their wire hangers and to help protect their clothing.

2. Metal

Metal clothes hangers

Source: Etsy

Hand-forged metal hangers are not going to have a lot of the problems that thinner wire ones do. These hangers are generally made out of iron, although you can find some that are made of copper. These wires are not going to bend and since they are thicker than wire hangers are, you won’t have unsightly bulges and creases in your clothing when you use them for storage for an extended period of time.

Additionally, these hangers aren’t going to rust when they get wet. They are very heavy-duty and are made to last for an extended period of time without any problems. Because of their strength, they are ideal for hanging very heavy winter coats as they will not buckle or bend under the increase in weight the way that less expensive or weaker hangers will tend to do.

3. Velvet

Velvet clothes hangers

Source: Wayfair

Velvet hangers provide a little friction to the clothing items so that they do not slip when they are hung up in the closet. They also usually have small indentations on the arms that will allow them to hold up strappy dresses without them falling to the floor. When you use velvet hangers, you want to be very careful that your clothes are completely dry as wet clothing will cause the color of the velvet to actually transfer to the item that you have hung up.

4. Wooden
Wooden clothes hanger

Source: Wayfair

Wooden hangers are available in a number of styles and features. They all have exposed wood that has been finished to some degree and it is this that your clothing will rest on. Automatically, they look nicer than other types of hangers and will instantly improve the overall appearance of your clothing and your wardrobe.

They are often wider than other types of hangers, which helps to more evenly distribute the weight of the item that is hanging up, preventing the clothing from becoming stretched out of shape. Because they are so durable, you are unlikely to have to replace your wooden hangers, which can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Your clothing will not stretch out when you opt for wooden hangers, which will keep it lasting longer and looking its best. This is especially important for people who like to hang t-shirts as plastic and wire hangers will instantly stretch out the collars.

5. Plastic

Plastic clothes hangers

Source: Wayfair

There are a few reasons why people opt to use plastic hangers in their closets even though the hangers do not instantly update the wardrobe’s appearance the way that wood hangers do. It’s not nearly as expensive to buy a lot of plastic hangers and since they are available in so many styles and sizes, you can easily find perfect ones to meet your needs.

If your plastic hangers get dirty, they are very easy to wipe off with a damp cloth and you never have to worry about the hanger rusting or growing mold or mildew. Unfortunately, plastic hangers are not as long-lasting as other types of hangers are and when they break, there isn’t any way to recycle them so they do take up space in the landfill.

They will tend to bend and buckle over time, which means that you have to replace them on a regular basis to keep your clothing looking its best. Unfortunately, if you do not keep an eye on the condition of your plastic hangers, then you may not realize that they are deforming and your clothing can suffer because of it.

6. Satin Hangers

Satin hangers are fabric and have contoured padding to protect your clothes from creases or damage. They bring a look of class and sophistication to your closet. You can even find them with bows or other touches to make them more appealing.

These are the perfect option for special occasion clothing and dresses. You can find them in many different colors to match your outfit or your closet if you want to make it more visual. This type of hanger is not best for a heavier type of clothing such as coats.

7. Fabric Hangers

These are a unique type of hanger for a fun look for your closet. They usually have prints on the fabric. They are considered a specialty hanger with fabric wrapped around the hanger and some type of material to provide padding for the clothing.

You can special order these hangers, but you can also create them yourself if you are so inclined.

8. Flocked Hangers

These hangers have a hard frame covered by a soft shell. They are a close cousin of the padded hanger but are often more durable. They have softer material on the outside. They protect your clothes while providing stability.

This is considered a slim hanger because it is thinner than other fabric materials. They hold their shape and do not usually bend and work well for heavier clothing, such as coats.

9. Huggable Hangers

A huggable hanger is a great option when you want to organize your closet and save space. They take up half the space of most other hangers, especially the equally loved and hated plastic hanger. They have a velvet-like surface that grips your clothes to prevent them from falling on the floor.

The huggable hanger comes in a wide range of colors. You can color coordinate them or just pick your favorite color and go to town. They are perfectly shaped as not to put any weird bumps in your tops.

There are numerous accessories for huggable hangers, such as clips, to make them even more useful.

10. Petite Hangers

Do you wear petite clothes and find that the average hanger is often too big for your tops? The petite hanger is just for you. These hangers are more narrow and will not put bumps in your clothes in awkward places.

A petite hanger is typically about 2 inches shorter than an average hanger.

B. Features

1. Clips

Clothes hangers with clips

Source: Houzz

Being able to clip your clothing onto your hangers means that you won’t ever have to worry about the item falling off. This is ideal if you need to store pants, scarves, or even linens in your closet and want to keep them hanging up neatly instead of folding them in a stack. The problem that you have to watch out for when you use clips is that they can compress the fabric and leave marks in the fabric itself if you are not careful.

There are a few ways to combat this problem. One is to make sure that the clips you buy are padded and the other is to use a piece of fabric in between the clips and the item that you are going to hang. This will help to protect the fabric of your item from being marked by the clips.

2. Swivel

Swivel clothes hangers

Source: Hayneedle

Instead of trying to put your clothes hanger back in your closet in the right direction, when you opt for one with as swivel head, you can easy push it into your closet without worrying about the direction that it is turned. The head itself will turn as it is pushed against the closet bar so that it is facing the right direction for hanging. This makes it especially easy for children to hang up their own clothes as they won’t have to worry about the direction of the hanger and can complete the task by themselves.

3. Cedar

Cedar hanger

Source: Hayneedle

If you are worried about odors in your closet or moisture affecting your clothing, then you will want to opt for cedar hangers. It’s very popular for people to hang a piece of cedar among their clothing to help protect against insects and moths but for the same benefit, you can easily opt for cedar clothes hangers.

These work the same way that regular clothes hangers do except that you get all of the benefits of cedar at the same time. You won’t ever have to worry about the condition of your clothing when you opt for cedar.

4. Ultra-Thin

Ultra thin clothes hangers

Source: Houzz

Being able to pack a lot of clothing in a small closet can be very tricky when you use traditional bulky hangers. When you have a small space but a lot of clothing, then your best option for getting everything hung up and keeping it from being damaged is to opt for ultra-thin hangers. These are much thinner than traditional hangers, which means that you can use more of them in a space, allowing you to easily hang up all of your items.

The problem with ultra-thin hangers is that they are not always as strong as traditional hangers and can bend over time if you use them to hang things that are too heavy. For this reason, you will want to check the condition of your ultra-thin hangers from time to time as this will allow you to keep an eye on the condition of your clothing and replace bending hangers as needed.

5. Padded

Padded clothes hanger

Source: Wayfair

Hanging delicate items in your closet doesn’t have to result in them coming out wrinkled and deformed when you buy padded hangers. Instead of your clothing resting on a hard, thin surface the way that it would if you were to use metal or plastic hangers, when you opt for padded hangers, the arms of the clothes hanger are going to be thicker and covered in soft padding.

This means that your lingerie, blouses, and sleepwear will all be able to hang without being damaged. These hangers are generally covered in satin, which is very soft and will ensure that your delicate clothing isn’t damaged.

6. Special Designs

Wooden clothes hanger

Source: Etsy

Clothes hangers that have designs on the hooks are often used in a nursery. These come with animal heads, with pictures on them, or even in different shapes that will appeal to children of all ages. Buying these clothes hangers is a great way to hang children’s clothing and still keep the closet cute and a part of the nursery design.

7. Tubular

Tubular clothes hanger

Source: Houzz

Tubular clothes hangers are the most common type of plastic clothes hangers that you can buy and are easy to find in many locations and stores. People love using them because they are relatively inexpensive and can generally hold any clothing item without bending.

Unfortunately, over time, they will lose their shape and this will damage the clothing hanging on them. It’s also important to watch out that the items you have hung up do not get strange creases or bumps along the shoulders.

8. Single Rod

Single rod clothes hanger

Source: Wayfair

Make getting your pants out of your closet in the morning really easy with a rod clothes hanger. You can simply slip your pants off of the road towards you and don’t have to hassle with taking the whole clothes hanger out. This also makes it easy to hang your clothes up as well.

9. Engraved

Engraved clothes hangers

Source: Etsy

While it’s not very common to use engraved clothes hangers in a regular closet to hang up everyday clothes, if you are getting married, then they are a great way to make sure that your dress or tux looks great in pictures. Engraving them with the person’s name as well as the date makes them into a great keepsake. For this reason, many brides have them made for their bridal parties.

10. Forged

Forged clothes hangers

Source: Etsy

For a one-of-a-kind clothes hanger that will stand out from other available options, look for one that has been hand-forged. These are metal, they are incredibly strong and durable, and you can sometimes buy ones custom-made to meet your needs.

11. Pack

Pack of clothes hangers

Source: Wayfair

It can be a pain to buy clothes hangers for your closet unless you are able to buy them in a pack. When you purchase a lot at once, you don’t have to worry about if your closet looks cohesive and matches as all of the hangers will create an attractive look. Buying all of your hangers at once allows you to switch out your clothes hangers with minimal effort.

12. Combination

Source: Hayneedle

When you buy combination clothes hangers, you don’t have to choose between hanging up pants or a shirt or jacket as there is space on the hanger for both. This makes it really easy to hang up suits and keep all of the pieces together or even to plan out the outfits that you are going to wear for the week and have them laid out for each morning.

13. Strap Notches

Clothes hanger with strap notches

Source: Houzz

If you have strappy items that you want to hang up, then you will need to invest in clothes hangers that have strap notches. These hangers have a place where the strap from your clothing will fit so that the item doesn’t fall. The problem with using hangers with strap notches for other items of clothing is that they will cause bumps and can leave your clothing misshapen if there is a regular shoulder.

14. Wide Shoulder

Clothes hanger with wide shoulder

Source: Houzz

Hanging up your suit coat used to be a hassle on regular clothes hangers but when you buy ones that have wide shoulders, you won’t have to worry about the piece slipping and falling. These hangers do a great job keeping your suit coat in shape while other hangers allow the shoulders to fall in and create a very unflattering look.

While these hangers don’t work well if you are hanging up regular items, if you need the extra width for your suit coat, then they are invaluable.

15. Heavy-Duty

Heavy-duty clothes hanger

Source: Houzz

Heavy winter coats will quickly ruin your clothes hangers and cause them to bend. Not only does this mean that you have to invest in new clothes hangers but it can damage your heavy clothing as well. The best way to protect heavier items from becoming misshapen when they are stored in the closet is to invest in heavy-duty hangers that are built especially to hold heavier items without bending.

Using these hanger with lighter items such as lingerie or t-shirts is probably overkill but a great heavy-duty hanger is indispensable when it comes to keeping heavy items on the hanger and in great condition.

16. Non-Slip

Non-slip clothes hanger

Source: Wayfair

Nobody wants to deal with his or her clothing slipping off of the hanger and puddling on the floor but if you do not buy non-slip hangers, then this is exactly what you will have happen. These hangers come in a few styles.

Some have a non-stick surface only in certain places on the arms of the hanger to hold onto your clothing while others are covered in velvet or another substance. Either way, non-slip hangers will ensure that your clothing stays on the hanger and will keep it looking its best.

17. Dry/Wet

Dry/wet clothes hanger

Source: Wayfair

No matter if you hang up wet clothing to dry instead of using your dryer or spend a lot of time in the water outside and need a way to hang up your clothing from those activities, buying hangers that can be used with wet or dry clothing is a good idea.

Water can damage many different clothes hangers but buying ones that can be used either wet or dry will ensure that not only do the hangers last for a long time but that your clothing isn’t damaged either.

C. Intended Use

1. Pants

Clothes hanger for pants

Source: Houzz

Pants hangers come in a number of different styles but the most popular ones have clips that allow you to carefully hang your pants by the bottom of the leg. Other options include open rods where you can slide the folded pants onto the hanger or ones that have a straight bar where you can carefully fold and then hang your pants.

2. Suit

Clothes hanger for suit

Source: Hayneedle

Hanging your suit together allows you to keep the pieces close to each other. This means that when it comes time to get dressed, you can easily grab your suit and go without a lot of hassle or searching. These hangers have a place to hang the jacket as well as the pants and many can also hold the vest as well if you hang it carefully underneath the jacket.

3. Skirt

Clothes hanger for skirt

Source: Wayfair

Hanging up your skirt and keeping it in great shape doesn’t have to be tricky when you have the right hanger. Look for one that has clips for hanging the skirt and make sure that they can be adjusted so you can slide them together or apart. This will allow you to hang skirts of any size without any problems.

Because skirts will fall off of other hangers, this is the only type that will really work as well as keep your closet from becoming too packed with bulky items.

4. Dress/Shirt

Source: Hayneedle

When most people picture a clothes hanger, this is what they are going to see in their minds. These are the ubiquitous clothes hangers and the ones that you can find most easily in a store. Being able to quickly hang up your dress or your shirt is easy when you have these hangers.

You can choose if you want them to be slim, to be non-slip, or have notches for straps so you can customize the hangers you buy for the clothing that you need to hang.

5. Belt

Clothes hanger for belts

Source: Houzz

It can be really tricky to hang up your belts in your closet if you do not have a dedicated belt hanger. Many people store their belts rolled up and in a drawer but this is not a good way to take care of your belts and can result in them prematurely aging.

Hanging them allows them to stretch out and allows the belt to relax after being looped around a body all day long. Look for a belt hanger that makes it easy to put belts on and get them off in the morning.

6. Tie

Clothes hanger for tie

Source: Houzz

Ties don’t have to take up a lot of room in your closet when you opt for a clothes hanger made specifically for them. While they will easily slip off of normal clothes hangers, ones that are made for ties are non-slip so that they do not all puddle on the floor. Look for one that has a swivel top so that you can turn it easily when looking for a specific tie and won’t have to worry about them all sliding off.

7. Nursery

Clothes hanger for nursery

Source: Wayfair

Hangers for a nursery or a child’s room are going to be a lot smaller than ones that are used for an adult. This is so that the child’s clothing does not get stretched out or damaged when it is hung up in a closet. It’s very difficult to find metal hangers that are small enough for a child’s clothes so you are most likely going to use plastic, wood, or velvet.

For special garments, look for padded hangers that will protect your child’s clothing. These hangers often come in fun colors that will appeal to children.

8. Sweater

Sweaters are challenging to hang because they are often made of delicate fabrics and must be handled properly. For this reason, they have their own hanger for those that do not want to fold them in a drawer. These hangers have a narrow flair at the shoulder portion of the hanger.

9. Scarf Hangers

A close look at a bright pink hanger for scarves.

If you have a scarf collection, you want to protect them. Scarves are often made of delicate fabrics like silk or thin materials and need to be hung properly. Good news, there is a hanger for your scarves.

They have many loops perfect for each individual scarf you have. They usually have a velvet type material covering the scarf hanger to protect your favorite scarves.

10. Lingerie Hangers

Lingerie is tricky because it is usually a silky material that slides easily. They usually have thin straps that also make it difficult to keep them on a hanger.

A lingerie hanger has velvet or fabric wrapped around it to protect the delicate material of your undergarments. Having a hanger with fabric on it allows your lingerie to stay put and not fall, all while protecting the fabric from wear.

11. Shoe Hangers

This may seem like a silly type of hanger until you use one. If you have many shoes and do not have the space to keep them in boxes, a shoe hanger is exactly what you need. This type of hanger comes in many different options.

They are usually attempting to save space while keeping all your shoes in one place. They typically attach or hang on the back of your closet door.

They may have a pocket in which your shoes fit next to each other. Or, they may have a rounded type of hook that you can slide your shoe on.

12. Travel Hangers

If you find yourself often traveling for business or pleasure, you probably need a travel hanger. Hotels provide hangers, but they may not have enough or may not have the kind you want. If protecting your clothes is important to you, then a travel hanger is for you.

These hangers fold so you can store them in your luggage. They provide you with a sturdy option to preserve your clothes and minimize wrinkles.

Brief History

A set of wooden clothes hangers.

Some people like to attribute the modern-day clothes hanger to Thomas Jefferson. The general thought is that O.A. North invented the first hanger in 1860. It was made from wire and twisted in the middle creating ovals and a hook on top.

These hangers were marketed to align themselves with the newly formed unions. The next 150 years brought about some slight changes to the hanger. It remained utilitarian, and the shape morphed slightly over those years.

The hanger was made from materials the extended beyond metal into plastic, velvet, and wood. When hangers were first invented, it was intended to hold only one item. Since then, hangers were created to hold multiple items.

Some have clips and divots to hold clothes in place. In more recent years, hangers have been used for decorations and projects. Some have been known to be bent in different directions and used to reach item hidden under the bed or in some other hard to reach place.

Where to Buy

Clothing hangers are easy to find, most of the time. It does seem when you need them immediately, you cannot find them. It is helpful to know where to look. 

Plastic hangers are the easiest to find in a local store, especially a container store. If you want a specialty hanger or wooden hangers, Amazon is always a safe bet. They have numerous styles that are sure to meet your needs. 

With a quick search, you can find online retailers selling the most popular version of any clothing hanger you would like. Other merchants, like Wayfair and Hayneedle, offer a wide selection of clothing hangers.

Ikea and Bed Bath and Beyond are also an excellent option to find many different hangers, including metal hangers and acrylic hanger options. You can purchase hangers online or visit your local store.


What Are the Right Hangers for Your Clothes?

When looking for the right hanger for your clothes, the weight of the item plays a significant role. You want to make sure the hanger you select can hold the weight without bending or breaking.

You want to make sure that the hanger is the appropriate size for your item. If it is too small, your piece of clothing will fall off.

Which Type of Clothes Hanger Do You Need Most?

Plastic hangers are the most common. Plastic hangers are inexpensive and easy to find, but they are the most generic. They can be used for a typical clothing item of average weight and size that you are likely to have in your wardrobe.

Is a Wire Clothes Hanger Recyclable?

Depending on where you live, wire hangers may or may not be recyclable. Each city makes those determinations based on the recycling equipment they have. Some of the equipment is not able to accept the metal and shape of wire hangers.

There are some other recycling options available to you. You can take them to the dry cleaner in your local area. Usually, they are glad to take them.

If both of those reach dead ends for you, you can make some designs and interesting projects with them, if you so desire.

Are Clothes Hangers Allowed on Airplanes?

Yes, most hangers can be brought on to a plane in your carry on bag. You can also carry most hangers in your checked bags. Be prepared for TSA to check your bags if you put a wire hanger in your carry on bag.

Is It Better to Hang Your Clothes or Fold Them?

There are some clothes that should be put on a hanger instead of being folded. These items include dresses, trousers, blouses, suit jackets, and anything that will wrinkle. Sweaters, t-shirts, and jeans are better suited to be folded.

Are Velvet Hangers Worth the Price?

Velvet hangers are ideal for tops that have a wide neck. They will not slip off a velvet hanger like they do many others. They have a slim design and will save space.

They are expensive and may bleed off your clothes. Depending on the material, they may leave fuzz on your clothes.

Can I Prevent Hangers From Leaving Marks on my Clothes?

If you use the proper type of hanger for your clothes type, you can minimize the bumps left on your clothes from hangers. Some other tricks you can try include turning your clothes inside out before hanging them on the hanger. When you turn the the right way, any bumps will be less noticeable.

If your hanger has a trouser bar, you can use that for tops as well as pants. Fold a short sleeved shirt in half longways and fold it over the bar.

What Are the Best Clothes Hangers?

The best hangers are a slim line hanger that prevents your clothes from falling onto the floor. Velvet non slip hangers are going to be your best choice. Remember to make sure your clothes are drying before hanging on a velvet hanger.

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