Clothing is an exclusively human phenomenon and can be found in all societies. The amount and type of clothing worn depends on factors such as functional considerations (i.e. protection from the elements) as well as social considerations. In addition, elaborate clothing has often been used as a sign of social status or wealth throughout history.
Clothing styles can also denote rank and positions of power. For example, in ancient Rome, only emperors were allowed to wear purple togas. In a sense, clothing performs a variety of cultural functions and can denote occupations, sexual differentiation, as well as political and religious affiliations. A uniform, for example, may identify civil authority figures such as policemen, judges, and soldiers. Monks don habits and Buddhist monks wear saffron robes.
Clothing and fashion have undergone periods of constant innovation in the Western World since the High Middle Ages. Hence, clothing is often tied to concepts of fashion. Fashion is any mode of dressing or adornment that is popular among large numbers of people for a particular time or place. Fashion and clothing evolve constantly, with observable changes among different periods and generations.
Fashion in the modern world has been affected by dramatic shifts in human societies. Globalization and the increasing democratization of fashion has meant that more clothing choices are available than ever before. Fashion has become a mark of individualism, self-expression, and creativity. A woman can now wear referee top with a pair of skinny jeans. On the other hand, men can wear army jackets with t-shirts.
In the modern world, the growth of individualism in fashion has sparked questions about human psychology. Many pop psychologists now tell people that you can spot tell-tale signs in clothing that reveal a person’s psychological health, character, and other traits. This may lead to stereotyping. A sloppy dresser is deemed depressed or unmotivated individual, while the businessman who wears a referee top is said to have a predilection for sports.
Other stereotypes have arisen among pop psychologists: the flashy dresser is screaming for attention and the person who is always garbed in head to toe designer gear is insecure. Meanwhile, the athletic dresser may be a woman perennially garbed in referee shirts for ladies or a man who wears sports jerseys in every occasion are both deemed obsessed with exercise or competitive sports.
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