Clothing communicates various facets of a person’s life, such as age, sex, lifesty, occupation, religious beliefs. In addition, the dressing style of a person motivates, attracts, and provides an identity to him.
Our clothing should be in harmony with our personality and our surroundings, as clothing also possesses personality and can be classified as masculine or feminine formal or casual Colorful, attention sering clothing matches the personality of an outgoing persone a shy person will fred out of place with the attention that he will receive if he or she wears the same type of clothes. Clothing reflects our value system, antrades and interests in life. Clothung also conveys our self image, emotions, and conformance to groups
In most instances, an individual’s age can be easily judged by the kind of clothes be or she is wearing The a definite sophistication visible in the dressing style as one grows up and enters professional life. While a college student wears tee-shirts and jeans, they change to shirts and trousers in the case of an office goer.
in India, in the past, a change in the style of dressing distinguished adults from their younger peers. Boys attaining adhulthood moved on to wear trousers instead of short pants and girls started wearing saris A present, no such difference exists.
Clothes are used as a means is differentiate the seves. Even a buttoned down collar shirt, worn by both male and females, displays differences Men’s shirts are buttoned left over right, while women’s shirts are buttoned ght over left Men’s shirts are in straight cut, while women prefer wearing it with slight curves at the want to accentuate their figures.
However, there are many periods in the history of fashion when it was difficult to differentiate between males and females. The following are examples of some such periods
x In the 1900s, both men and women kept their hair long
X In the 1920s women cut their hair so short that it became difficult in differentiate them from men.
x in the 1960s, due to the hippy revolution, long hair was supported by both males and females, and unisex wardrobes were adopted by the young at heart
x in the 1980s, MTV stars, like Michael Jackson made androgynous dothing popular by adopting female styles of inake-up and dressing.
X In today’s time also, one finds females attired in shirts and trousers or business sults and if they maintain a short hairstyle, it becomes practically impossible to recognize them from the back.
Clothing is also used to indicate the marital status. Among Hindu women, it is customary to wear mangaluru, a necklace made up of black and golden beads, and to apply smdoor on their forehead after marriage. Both these symbols are abandoned after the death of her husband. These customs are not rigidly followed with changing times
In the past, it was customary for widowed Indian women to get their heads shaved and wear white clothes. This practice is rarely followed these days as it is despised by the society,
The culture of a society influences the clothing of its people. For example, the traditional dress of the Japanese, the kimono, reflects the culture, customs, and traditions of the Japanese people. The kimono, with its fitted skirt and flowing sleeves, adds grace to the wearer as women are forced to take small steps at a time and hence walk in a dignified manner.
The climatic conditions of a place also play an important role i influencing the costumes of the people. This can be seen if one compares the costumes of African tribes to that of Eskimos
Due to the hot weather conditions, African people wear less elaborate clothing, leaving most part of the body bare for accessories, such as beads, tattooing, and feathers. Eskimos need to cover their bodies with full costumes of skin and fur; therefore, there is no use of accessories. These cultural differences are becoming less and less defined with advancements in modern communication and transportation techniques
Clothes are the means to accentuate or camouflage the figure type. It is important for a person to know his or her figure type and select clothing that flatters the figure Due importance should be given to fashion trends but they should not be followed blindly. To state an example, a stout person would look even heavier wearing a gathered skirt with a hip length top, even though this may be in fashion.
The lifestyle of a person depends on various factors, such as his or her family, financial status, education, occupation, hobbies. We all lead different lifestyles during different phases of life. For example, the lifestyle you adopt when you are a college student will be different from the lifestyle your kids will follow when they will study in college.
Clothing acts as a means to showcase your lifestyle, as there exists a consistency in mannerism in terms of your friends, your activities, your beliefs, and the clothing style adopted by you. A carefree lifestyle of a youngster is visible through his or her lifestyle, such as spendthrift attitude, bright-colored clothes, speeding automobiles, and junk food habits.
At times, a person’s profession, such as doctor, nurse, lawyer, fireman can easily be judged by his attire. Even if the exact occupation cannot be known, one can at least come to know whether or not the person is employed in a white-collared job or a blue-collared job. This is because you would not expect a person dressed in a business suit to be employed as a mechanic in a company.
The quality and quantity of clothing possessed by a person reflects his or her economic status in the society as well. For example, a maid servant working for a rich family may own two to three cotton saris, whereas her employer may possess unlimited number of ensembles in all the rich fabrics one can think of.
The casual wear and sportswear industry has developed with the increase in the purchasing power and leisure time of the people, as these factors created a need for separate clothing for recreational purposes.
Clothing communicates the social rank of a person in the society. There are unlimited options available for clothing as regards the color, symbols or insignias surface embellishments, and designing of garments.
All can be used to highlight the status of the wearer. At all times, uniforms bearing insignias, badges, and medals have been worn to identify the position of
Values and Attitudes
Our value system plays a major role in clothing selection. People have different values that influence their choice of clothes. For example, a person whose value system lays down a lot of importance to the cost of the clothing will pay attention to the quality and price of the product. Similarly, for a fashion conscious person, the most important aspect while making a purchase will be its acceptance in his or her peer group.
Our attitude is reflected in the clothing style adopted by us Attitude is an expression of the value system important to us as an individual
As there is always a difference in the value system of parents and children, there exists a conflict over issues, such as buying of products, grooming, and lifestyle.
There are different ways in which individuals can express their fashion interests. These interests are reflected in the clothes they wear, colors they choose, accessories they carry, makeup they wear and places they visit. Many people keep in touch with the latest fashion magazines and television.
On the other hand, the clothes throw light on peoples recreational Interests, sports activities and entertainment avenues
During elections, supporters wear badges and tee-shirts to exhibit political favoritism
Clothes are used as a means to showcase the religious beliefs of a community, for example, Muslim women wear burgas and Sikhs wear turbans. Sadhus can be seen wearing saffron cloth depicting their religious beliefs. Similarly, nuns can also be identified by their dress,
Industrialization also helps in bringing about changes in clothing styles. Along with economic and technological advancements, a corresponding growth in fashion is witnessed during this time. This, in turn, lead people to abandon their traditional garments to give themselves a westernized look.
This can be seen among Indian males of all classes, who have abandoned their traditional costumes, such as dhoti- kurta, kurta pajama, lungi, and adopted westernized shirts-trousers for daily wear.
Clothes can convey our emotions also. We tend to select and dress up in ensembles, which highlight our mood, that is, whether we are happy, cheerful, sad, relaxed, or tensed. A bright, cheerful dress is usually worn when you are going out with friends for a party. Similarly, a dull-looking dress is worn to indicate a sad mood, such as after getting bad grades in the exams.
At times, clothes also serve the purpose of changing the mood. For example, you may select a bright, yellow colored dress to uplift your mood.
Conformance to Groups
A need to conform to groups starts very early in life. Around the age of 6 years or so, children start taking interest in their and their friends’ clothes and want to dress up like them.
Children also enjoy activities, such as sports, trekking, and scout troops, as these provide them with the satisfaction of belonging to a group.
Adults also prefer wearing clothing elements, such as uniforms, pins, and badges, etc., which make them part of a prestigious group. For example, players of a particular team feel proud to wear the dress that conforms to the team or give them the feeling of belonging to a group.
Clothes attract attention of the onlooker and leave a long-lasting visual impact. We wear clothes for physical, social, and psychological reasons. Three theories were developed to explain the origin of clothing-the Protection theory, the Modesty theory, and the Adornment theory.
According to the Protection theory, clothing is developed to provide humans protection against physical and psychological dangers. The Modesty theory focuses on the feeling of shamefulness as the reason for wearing clothes. According to the Adornment theory, clothing evolved out of a desire for self-adornment to make us look beautiful, attract the opposite sex, show social status, and avoid evil spirits.
All the above theories, however, provide an incomplete picture of the reasons behind clothing. Therefore, a multidimensional Combined Need theory was proposed, which holds all the reasons given in the c previous theories with regard to the need for clothing to be true, but with varying degrees of importance and significance.
Clothing communicates a person’s age, sex, physical appearance, lifestyle, occupation, and social status to the onlooker.
Our clothing should be in harmony with our personality and our surroundings. Clothing also reflects our value system, cultural influences, and attitudes and interests in life. Clothes convey our self-image. emotions, and conformance to various groups at various stages in life.