Not new to Stack Exchange (i.e., Stack Overflow), but new to WordPress.

I want to understand the power of categories, posts, custom post types, and the ability to generate dynamic content using them. This question may seem narrow, but use your imagination: this general idea is something many WordPress sites would want to execute.

Question: Short of extensive custom PHP coding, what are the options in WordPress to create the following dynamically generated content?

I want to inform everyone what's in my closet, with the user user experience being:

  1. User sees a gallery of Pants, Shirts, Dresses (...), and Shoes, each with a thumbnail representing that clothing group. I will add new groups in the future.
  2. User clicks, e.g., Pants.
  3. As I am overly vain, the Pants page is a gallery of pant brands I have in my closet. Most are Perry Ellis because, you know, I'm fashionable like that. Each brand has a thumbnail and hyperlinks to the brand website for that group (e.g., Perry Ellis's page for Pants).
  4. Immediately shown under each brand is a list of specific type of pants from that brand. Perry Ellis would list Khakis, Dress Slacks, and Jeans, but CK would just include Jeans and Shorts because I keep tearing holes in my CK dress slacks.
  5. Alternatively, the user can view my standalone brands page which lists all brands in my closet in a thumbnail gallery, with a bulleted list below groups (Pants, Shirts) and each bullet being a hyperlink to the brand's website for that group. (I.e., the exact hyperlinks from #3).

That's the end of the functionality. So this is not a strict hierarchy of: Clothing Category > Brand > Clothing Type, because many brands fall under many groups, and many types fall under many brands.

Immediate Ideas: I would think this is a WP Post Category for Pants, Shirts, etc. all linking to a parent WP Post Category of clothing groups. Then repeat for each individual brand, under a parent WP Post Category of Brands. Then the clothing types would be items in a list such as Gallery or a custom post type.

But there are several problems here: you cannot specify a thumbnail for post categories, meaning neither brands nor groups would have thumbnail images. Similarly, there wouldn't be a clear association between clothing group and brand that allows a URL.

I have to imagine there is some way (native functionality, existing plug-in, etc.) to do this without creating 3 new post types and my own plug-in from scratch. But I could be wrong.

What is one way to approach this? Obviously I do not want to create a separate page/post for everything, because I want someone to be able to add a new brand, type, or group, update the other posts with appropriate WP categories or tags, and all pages and galleries update automatically because everything is dynamic.


1 Answer 1


The names you used might mean you're looking to create an online shop. If that's the case, Woocommerce is what you need.

If the names where just for exemplification or you need to do something else with them, I would say you need the following:

You may decide if you want your taxonomies hierarchical (like the categories) or non-hierarchical (like the tags) - it's just a variable in the code used to create the taxonomy. If you're new with WP, maybe the code seems too much - but this was the first thing I learned to do in WP some 4 years ago, and doing it ever since.

Still, if you'd like an easier solution, you could use Custom Post Type UI or any similar plugin.

So far, one of your biggest questions is not yet answered: how to add an image to each taxonomy. You can find some custom code to add to your functions.php to enable that, there are even plugins offering just that feature. But my solution would be to use a different plugin: Advanced Custom Fields. It's really easy to use, and it helps you a lot in developing your custom theme. You can add lots of types of fields to your posts (including CPT), pages and taxonomies. If you need more (like repeater fields, for example), they have a PRO version for around $20 / 1 site - or $80 / unlimited sites.

With this you have your back-end pretty much set up. But you'll need to display all the data on the front-end. For this, you need to understand the template hierarchy. You don't need to read the whole page, just look at the image they have there - it's good enough to get the idea.

Basically, with what the structures presented above, you'd need the following templates (in your theme's root):

  • archive-product.php: list all the products
  • single-product.php: show a single product
  • taxonomy.php (or taxonomy-clothing_category, taxonomy-brand and so on if you want each of those to look different): list all the products in a taxonomy
  • as the taxonomy templates list the products (posts) in that taxonomy, and not the taxonomies themselves, I usually use a workaround for this situation: I create a custom page template (or more, if they need different designs) and use get_terms() to display those taxonomies. Usually, I would also use the slug of the pages in the process, so I would have this code in the custom template:

    global $post;
    $terms = get_terms( array(
      'taxonomy' => 'post_tag',
      'hide_empty' => false,
    ) );

    Doing this, you'd have this link structure for your site:

  • example.com/products/ - your list of products

  • example.com/products/nice-product/ - one of your products

  • example.com/clothing_categories/pants/ - the product in pants taxonomy (the slug in bold is set up when you create the custom taxonomy)

  • example.com/clothing_category/ - the custom page set up to display all the categories, with their images (the slug is set in the custom page)

I hope I was clear enough in my explanations, but if there is something unclear, let me know in the comments and I'll do my best to better explain that.

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