People wear clothing for several reasons:
• To protect them from the elements
• To increase their physical attractiveness
• To reflect their emotions (we “dress up” when we’re happy, for example)
• To express religious ideals
Since the ancient world, clothing has also signaled social status. Colors and textiles combined to separate the rich from the poor. However, with an increase in trade and cheaply produced cloth came a change in style. From the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, popular fashions started challenging the social hierarchy. The working class could save and purchase brightly colored clothing, while the noble classes began copying the sturdy outfits of the rural workers. People could no longer tell a lady from her maid, or a gentleman from a worker, just from their clothing. Social boundaries blurred and society was transformed.
By the twentieth century, high fashion’s defining authority had been largely destroyed. The youth of both genders wore jeans and t-shirts and valued comfort and durability over tradition. Fashion was less about made-to-measure and more about mass-production.
Fashion isn’t only about clothing and accessories, of course. There are fashions in automobiles, furniture, and even homes. However, one of the constant qualities of fashion is its changeability. What’s current today is old-fashioned tomorrow As Shakespeare put it, “Fashion wears out more apparel than the man.”. It’s even been said that the fashion industry is behind this change – otherwise, you’d be satisfied with your old clothing and not keep buying the latest trend.
The first fashion magazine is thought to have appeared in Frankfurt, Germany around 1586, but before then, people studied paintings, lithographs, and sketches to see what was fashionable. Rulers and politicians have always set trends – but so have musicians and other celebrities. In the modern world, actors are big trend-setters.
People often think of fashion as a Western tradition, but it certainly existed in Eastern societies as well. In eleventh century Japan, the word imamekashi meant fashionable or up-to-date, and was considered high praise indeed. The French word for fashion is la mode, and a great many scholars feel there’s a definite connection between la mode and modernity.
People also think there’s a huge difference between haute couture fashion and ordinary clothing, but that’s not necessarily true. Designers like “Coco” Chanel or Yves Saint Laurent sold pricy clothing to a small number of the upper class – but those designs were quickly copied by manufacturers and sold to the masses. It’s true that such designers often set the trend, but that trend is soon spread throughout society rather than remaining a marker of class.
Another myth is that men don’t really wear fashion. This is certainly not true, although men’s fashion has settled into a relatively stable form since the development of the “business suit.” In fact, before the eighteenth century, it was the man who wore the brightly colored, elaborate clothing and the woman who wore sedate black or brown. The development of inexpensive, colorful cloth brought about the cultural change that coaxed women to purchase these new fabrics and wear them. If you want to get more details on fashion, visit on hyperlinked site.
Finally, there’s the idea that fashion somehow reflects the economy or societal change. The latest research shows we humans have “internal taste mechanisms” that drive fashion change even if there are no big changes in the economy or culture. So you can’t just look at external influencers to explain fashion change – there’s something going on inside of us as well.
“Clothes create a wordless means of communication that we all understand,” said Katherine Hamnett, a British fashion designer. Clothing shows what groups people belong to, and styles show who they are. Think about that the next time you’re choosing which t-shirt to wear with your blue jeans. What statement are you trying to make?