Functions of Clothing-2

This article is in continuation to 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:


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.


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.


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.