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For even more fashion insights, find us on Facebook Facebook. The amount and type of clothing worn depend on body type, social, and geographic considerations. Some clothing can be gender-specific. Physically, clothing serves many purposes: 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, and they can provide a hygienic barrier, keeping infectious and toxic materials away from the body.
Clothing also provides protection from ultraviolet radiation. Wearing clothes is also a social norm , and being deprived of clothing in front of others may be embarrassing , or not wearing clothes in public such that genitals , breasts or buttocks are visible could be seen as indecent exposure.
There is no easy way to determine when clothing was first developed, but some information has been inferred by studying lice which estimates the introduction of clothing at roughly 42,—72, years ago.
The most obvious function of clothing is to improve the comfort of the wearer, by protecting the wearer from the elements. In hot climates, clothing provides protection from sunburn or wind damage, while in cold climates its thermal insulation properties are generally more important. Shelter usually reduces the functional need for clothing. For example, coats , hats , gloves and other outer layers are normally removed when entering a warm home, particularly if one is living or sleeping there.
Similarly, clothing has seasonal and regional aspects, so that thinner materials and fewer layers of clothing are generally worn in warmer regions and seasons than in colder ones.
Clothing performs a range of social and cultural functions, such as individual, occupational and gender differentiation, and social status. Clothing may also function as a form of adornment and an expression of personal taste or style. Clothing can be and has in the past been made from a very wide variety of materials. Materials have ranged from leather and furs to woven materials, to elaborate and exotic natural and synthetic fabrics. Not all body coverings are regarded as clothing.
Articles carried rather than worn such as purses , worn on a single part of the body and easily removed scarves , worn purely for adornment jewelry , or those that serve a function other than protection eyeglasses , are normally considered accessories rather than clothing, except for shoes.
Clothing protects against many things that might injure the uncovered human body. Clothes protect people from the elements, including rain, snow, wind, and other weather, as well as from the sun. However, clothing that is too sheer, thin, small, tight, etc. Appropriate clothes can also reduce risk during activities such as work or sport. Some clothing protects from specific hazards, such as insects , noxious chemicals, weather, weapons , and contact with abrasive substances.
Conversely, clothing may protect the environment from the clothing wearer: Humans have been ingenious in devising clothing solutions to environmental or other hazards: Meanwhile, the distinction between clothing and protective equipment is not always clear-cut, since clothes designed to be fashionable often have protective value and clothes designed for function often consider fashion in their design.
The choice of clothes also has social implications. They cover parts of the body that social norms require to be covered, act as a form of adornment, and serve other social purposes. Someone who lacks the means to procure reasonable clothing due to poverty or affordability, or simply lack of inclination, is sometimes said to be scruffy, ragged, or shabby.
Although dissertations on clothing and its functions appear from the 19th century as colonists dealt with new environments,  there was concerted scientific research into psycho-social, physiological and other functions of clothing e. In most cultures, gender differentiation of clothing is considered appropriate. The differences are in 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 can nowadays be worn by both genders. Male clothes are often more practical that is, they can function well under a wide variety of situations , but a wider range of clothing styles are available for females. Males are typically allowed to bare their chests in a greater variety of public places.
It is generally more or less acceptable for a woman to wear clothing perceived as masculine, while the opposite is seen as unusual. In some cultures, sumptuary laws regulate what men and women are required to wear. Islam requires women to wear more modest forms of attire, usually hijab. What qualifies as "modest" varies in different Muslim societies. However, women are usually required to cover more of their bodies than men are.
Articles of clothing Muslim women wear for modesty range from the head-scarf to the burqa. Men may sometimes choose to wear men's skirts such as togas or kilts in particular cultures, especially on ceremonial occasions. Such garments were in previous times often worn as normal daily clothing by men. Clothing designed to be worn by either sex is called unisex clothing. Unisex clothes, such as T-shirts, tend to be cut straighter to fit a wider variety of bodies. The majority of unisex clothing styles have started out as menswear, but some articles, like the fedora , were originally worn by women.
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. 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.
In addition, peer pressure influences clothing choice. Some religious clothing might be considered a special case of occupational clothing. Sometimes it is worn only during the performance of religious ceremonies. However, it may also be worn every day as a marker for special religious status. For example, Jains and Muslim men wear unstitched cloth pieces when performing religious ceremonies. The unstitched cloth signifies unified and complete devotion to the task at hand, with no digression.
The cleanliness of religious dresses in Eastern religions like Hinduism , Sikhism , Buddhism , Islam and Jainism is of paramount importance since it indicates purity. Clothing appears in numerous contexts in the Bible ; the most prominent passages are: Furthermore, the priests officiating in the Temple in Jerusalem had very specific garments, the lack of which made one liable to death. The Quran says about husbands and wives, regarding clothing: Jewish ritual also requires rending of one's upper garment as a sign of mourning.
This practice is found in the Bible when Jacob hears of the apparent death of his son Joseph. According to archaeologists and anthropologists, the earliest clothing likely consisted of fur , leather , leaves, or grass that were draped, wrapped, or tied around the body. Knowledge of such clothing remains inferential, since clothing materials deteriorate quickly compared to stone, bone, shell and metal artifacts. Archeologists have identified very early sewing needles of bone and ivory from about 30, BC, found near Kostenki , Russia in Scientists are still debating when people started wearing clothes.
Ralf Kittler, Manfred Kayser and Mark Stoneking, anthropologists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology , have conducted a genetic analysis of human body lice that suggests clothing originated around , years ago.
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