A primary function of clothing is to improve the comfort of the
wearer by providing protection against the elements. Clothing provides
protection from sunburn in warm weather, and protection from frostbite
in cold weather. In addition to comfort and protection, it is
often worn so that the wearer can be stylish and trendy. Clothing
also performs a range of social and cultural functions. Clothing can be
used to indicate social status and convey individuality or occupation.
In many societies, norms about clothing reflect standards of modesty,
religion, gender, and social status. In many cultures, gender
differentiation of clothing is considered appropriate for men and women.
The differences are often in regard to styles, colors, and fabrics.
In Western societies, skirts, dresses and high-heeled shoes are usually
seen as women's clothing, while neckties are usually seen as men's
clothing. Trousers were once seen as exclusively male clothing, but are
nowadays worn by both genders. In some countries the gender divide
in regard to fashion has decreased. The world of clothing is
always changing, as new cultural influences meet technological
Clothing is fiber and textile material worn on the body. Clothes can
be made out of natural or synthetic fibers.
Natural Fibers: Plant fiber such as cotton, linen, hemp, etc.
Or animal skin and hair such as wool, leather, cashmere, etc.
Synthetic Fibers: Lycra, Polyester, Rayon, Acrylic, etc.
Learn more about
used to manufacture clothing.
The amount and type of clothing worn is dependent on physical
stature, gender, as well as social and geographic considerations.
Physically, clothing serves many purposes: it can serve as protection
from weather, and can enhance safety during hazardous activities such as
hiking and cooking. It protects the wearer from rough surfaces,
rash-causing plants, insect bites, splinters, thorns and prickles by
providing a barrier between the skin and the environment. Clothes can
insulate against cold or hot conditions.
Archeologists have identified very early sewing needles made of bone
and ivory which were found near Kostenki, Russia in 1988 and are dated
to about 30,000 BC. Dyed flax fibers that could have been used in
clothing have been found in a prehistoric cave in the Republic of
Georgia that date back to 36,000 BP.
Making fabric by hand is a tedious and labor-intensive process. The
textile industry was the first to be
mechanized, with the powered loom, during the Industrial Revolution.
Different cultures have evolved various ways of creating clothes out
of cloth. One approach simply involves draping the cloth. Examples of
garments consisting of rectangles of cloth wrapped to fit include the
dhoti for men and the sari for women in the Indian subcontinent, the
Scottish kilt and the Javanese sarong. The clothes may simply be tied
up, as is the case of the first two garments; or pins or belts are used
to hold the garments in place, as in the case of the latter two. The
cloth remains uncut, and people of various sizes or the same person at
different sizes can wear the garment.
Another approach involves cutting and sewing the cloth, but using
every bit of the cloth rectangle in constructing the clothing. The
tailor may cut triangular pieces from one corner of the cloth, and then
add them elsewhere as gussets. Traditional European patterns for men's
shirts and women's chemises take this approach.
Humans have shown extreme inventiveness in devising clothing
solutions to environmental hazards. Examples include: space suits, air
conditioned clothing, armor, diving suits, swimsuits, bee-keeper gear,
motorcycle leathers, high-visibility clothing, and other pieces of
Used, unwearable clothing can be used for quilts, rags, rugs,
bandages, and many other household uses. When you are finished
with your clothes, please keep in mind that you should try to help the
environment as best you can. Think about
recycling clothing and also think about purchasing product made
with natural fiber instead of synthetics.
In some societies, clothing may be used to indicate rank or status.
In ancient Rome, for example, only senators could wear garments dyed
with Tyrian purple. In traditional Hawaiian society, only high-ranking
chiefs could wear feather cloaks and palaoa, or carved whale teeth.
Under the Travancore Kingdom of Kerala, (India), lower caste women had
to pay a tax for the right to cover their upper body. In China, before
establishment of the republic, only the emperor could wear yellow.
History provides many examples of elaborate sumptuary laws that
regulated what people could wear. In societies without such laws, which
includes most modern societies, social status is instead signaled by the
purchase of rare or luxury items that are limited by cost to those with
wealth or status.
By the early years of the 21st century, western clothing styles had,
to some extent, become international styles. This process began hundreds
of years earlier, during the periods of European colonialism. The
process of cultural dissemination has perpetuated over the centuries as
Western media corporations have penetrated markets throughout the world,
spreading Western culture and styles. Fast fashion clothing has also
become a global phenomenon.
Thank you for taking the time to view this page. We hope that it
has helped you learn a little more than you knew before you started
reading. Please join us in discussions at the
Network so that we can all learn more about clothing, the apparel
market, and textiles. Also, if you have some spare time, please
check out our fashion blog
so you can see what trendy garments and accessories the celebrities are
currently wearing. In addition to spotting celebs and trend
reporting, our blog also provides various posts regarding
clothing industry resources and much more.
It may be a good idea for you to also visit the
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