This article is in continuation to Functions of Clothing-1 (https://eduindexnews.com/2021/06/16/functions-of-clothing-1/). If you haven’t given it a read first, I would recommend doing that to understand this article in a better manner.
So, lets continue from where we left and move to the third function of clothing:
III. CULTURAL FUNCTIONS OF CLOTHING
a) Clothes reflect the culture of the wearer- As per evidence, individuals have always adapted materials within the environment to clothe themselves as a result clothes reflect the culture of the wearer.
b) Clothes reflect the cultural beliefs of an individual c) Clothing is in accordance with the superstitious beliefs- Superstitions, fear of the unseen, belief in evil spirit and demons, and luck have all been responsible for the use of certain garments, jewelry and other body adornment. For e.g. Cowries shells protect women from sterility in many pacific cultures; Bridal veil protect the bride from evil spirits etc.
d) Clothing helps to establish ethnic identification e) Marital status can also be reflected by choice of clothing – By wearing specific clothes one could easily identify marital status of a person. For e.g. Hair arrangements have often been used for this purpose. Among the Hopi Indians the young girls wore their hair in large spirals on either side of their head as a symbol of the immature squash blossom. After marriage the hairstyle was changed to two long braids worn down back. Rings are also popular in many cultures as symbol of marriage. Its placement varies from culture to culture. Sometimes the ring is placed in the nose or on the toes. Another example could be Kimono dress in Japan. To show age, different color kimonos were used. For young and marriageable young women bright colored kimonos and gaily patterns while for mature and married women dark solid color kimonos were used.
IV. PHYSICAL FUNCTIONS OF CLOTHING
a) Clothes enhances body shape and proportion
b) Clothes also reflect the physical fitness of the person- People wear special apparel for physical activities such as cycling, weight lifting and aerobics. Fitness apparel is worn not only in the gym but also in casual social situations. For e.g. athlete shoes are not worn by many for work and for play. Headbands, leotards, and tights are examples of clothing that originated for athlete pursuits. The fashion industry labels this new division of clothes activewear. Frequently even those who do not participate in sports still want to look as if they are part of the physical fitness scene and have Nike/Adidas clothes in their wardrobe along with Prada, Gucci etc.
V. PSYCHOLOGICAL FUNCTIONS OF CLOTHING
a) Clothing communicates-Clothes has been called a silent language i.e. through dress, individuals tell others that What kind of person they are. Thus one should pay close attention to clothing messages present in clothing symbols. Clothing symbols are not static. They assume different meanings depending upon where, when and how the clothing is worn and who wears the clothing.
➢ For e.g. a body draped in white sheet sends one message on Halloween night while at a college fraternity/sorority Roman theme party. ➢ Another e.g. uniforms which represents power and authority; social or cultural role; rank and privilege; identification and membership; loyalty; professionalism etc.
b) Clothes give the first impression of a person to others and lead to halo effect and stereotyping – Impressions are an important form of nonverbal communication. Its formation is when an observer makes attribute and behavior judgments of wearers based on observable characteristics. Many times a person has only one chance to make a first impression after which approval or rejection results. This happens in social situations; school competitions and job interviews. This leads to the halo effect which results when a few observable characteristics act as a gateway to the assignment of other positive or negative characteristics. For e.g. a teacher likes the way a student looks and acts in the first class meeting and may assume the student is very intelligent. Subsequent class work this student produces may be subjected to halo effect which may lead to good marks that are not earned.
First impression also leads to stereotyping i.e. a standardized mental picture held in common about members of a group. This can influence the understanding of others. For e.g. Blondes are dumb; obese people are lazy; homosexuals have AIDS; African Americans are good dancers; Asian get good grades etc.
If individuals further receive information regarding a person that conflicts with the stereotype and do not revise their assumptions but rather hold to their stereotyping and prejudice results.
I hope this article gave you a detailed perspective on the functions of clothing and how essential they are in our being.