Origins and Functions of Clothing

Origins and Functions of Clothing

Clothing is a garment made from various kinds of materials and taking several forms used by men and women to cover their body. These garments maybe made from woven materials (silk, polyester), animal skin (leather and fur) or from synthetic materials (spandex). Some of the pieces of clothing commonly worn are slacks, jeans, skirts, shorts, shirts, blouses, vests, coats.

Origins of clothing

Fur, leather, grass or leaves were believed to be some of the earliest materials that made up clothes. These materials were tied around the body, draped or wrapped. Archeologists and anthropologists debate on the exact date of the origins of clothing since clothes made from fur, leather, leaves and grass deteriorate rapidly compared to other materials. In Kostensi, Russia, prehistoric sewing needles made of bones and ivory were identified as from 30,000 BC. There was also a discovery of dyed flax fibers in a prehistoric cave in the Republic of Georgia that is believed to be 36,000 years old.

Functions of clothing

The primary function of clothing is the covering of the body as protection against the elements. In cold regions, it is to keep the body warm. In warm regions, clothes serve as protection from sunburn or wind damage. Early humans may have saved the skins of the animals they hunted and used them as clothes to keep warm or gathered leaves and grass to cover their bodies.

The social aspect of the wearing of clothes is another function. Clothing is used to serve as class distinction. In American Indian tribes, their chief or leader wore elaborate headgear. In Ancient Rome, the wearing garments dyed with Syrian Purple were limited to senators.

Another function of clothing is the maintenance of decency. In the Bible, Adam and Eve covered their bodies when they realized that they were naked after eating the fruit from the forbidden tree. In some Islamic countries, women were required to cover the whole of their bodies except the face. In most societies, it is indecent for men and women to mingle with others without wearing clothes. With more relaxed standards in modern times, this function is being undermined as some clothes tend to be provocative that the distinction of decency is becoming blurred.

Another use for clothing is for uniforms for occupations, affiliations, etc. Judges and magistrate wear robes in courts. The members of team sports wear identical jerseys to distinguish themselves from other teams. Even in the military, each unit (army, navy, air force) have their distinct uniforms.

Self-expression is another function of clothes. In general, wearing clothes with the color of black is a sign of mourning. Also, modern times have seen the influence of fashion to pop culture. Elaborate and artistic pieces of clothing for every occasions and moods are almost always available to most.

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