Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel, and attire) are items worn on the human body. Typically, clothing is made of fabrics or , but over time it has included garments made from animal skin and other thin sheets of materials and natural products found in the environment, put together. The wearing of clothing is mostly restricted to and is a feature of all human societies. The amount and type of clothing worn depends on gender, body type, social factors, and geographic considerations. Garments cover the body, footwear covers the feet, gloves cover the hands, while hats and headgear cover the head. Eyewear and jewelry are not generally considered items of clothing, but play an important role in fashion and clothing as costume.
Clothing serves many purposes: it can serve as protection from the elements, rough surfaces, sharp stones, rash-causing plants, insect bites, by providing a barrier between the skin and the environment. Clothing can insulate against cold or hot conditions, and it can provide a hygienic barrier, keeping infectious and toxic materials away from the body. It can protect feet from injury and discomfort or facilitate navigation in varied environments. Clothing also provides protection from Ultraviolet. It may be used to prevent glare or increase visual acuity in harsh environments, such as brimmed hats. Clothing is used for protection against injury in specific tasks and occupations, sports, and warfare. Fashioned with pockets, belts, or loops, clothing may provide a means to carry things while freeing the hands.
Clothing has significant social factors as well. Wearing clothes is a variable Dress code. It may connote modesty. Being deprived of clothing in front of others may be Embarrassment. In many parts of the world, not wearing clothes in public so that genitals, , or buttocks are visible could be considered indecent exposure. Pubic area or genital coverage is the most frequently encountered minimum found cross-culturally and regardless of climate, implying social convention as the basis of customs. Clothing also may be used to communicate social status, wealth, group identity, and individualism.
Some forms of personal protective equipment amount to clothing, such as coveralls, chaps or a doctor's white coat, with similar requirements for maintenance and laundry as other textiles ( function both as protective equipment and as a sparring weapon, so the equipment aspect rises above the glove aspect). More specialized forms of protective equipment, such as are classified protective accessories. At the far extreme, self-enclosing or are form fitting body covers, and amount to a form of dress, without being clothing per se, while containing enough high technology to amount to more of a tool than a garment. This line will continue to blur as wearable technology embeds assistive devices directly into the fabric itself; the enabling innovations are ultra low power consumption and flexible electronic substrates.
Clothing also hybridizes into a personal transportation system (ice skates, roller skates, cargo pants, other outdoor survival kit, one-man band) or concealment system (, hidden linings or pockets in tradecraft, integrated holsters for concealed carry, merchandise-laden on the black market — where the purpose of the clothing often carries over into disguise). A mode of dress fit to purpose, whether stylistic or functional, is known as an outfit or ensemble.
Recent studies by Ralf Kittler, Manfred Kayser and Mark Stoneking—anthropology at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology—have attempted to constrain the most recent date of the introduction of clothing with an indirect method relying on Louse. The rationale for this method of dating stems from the fact that the human body louse cannot live outside of clothing, dying after only a few hours without shelter. This strongly implies that the date of the body louse's speciation from its parent, Pediculus humanus, can have taken place no earlier than the earliest human adoption of clothing. This date, at which the body louse ( Body louse) diverged from both its parent species and its sibling subspecies, the head louse ( Head louse), can be determined by the number of mutations each has developed during the intervening time. Such mutations occur at a known rate and the date of last-common-ancestor for two species can therefore be estimated from their frequency. These studies have produced dates from 40,000 to 170,000 years ago, with a greatest likelihood of speciation lying at about 107,000 years ago.
Kittler, Kayser and Stoneking suggest that the invention of clothing may have coincided with the northward migration of modern Homo sapiens away from the warm climate of Africa, which is thought to have begun between 100,000 and 50,000 years ago. A second group of researchers, also relying on the genetic clock, estimate that clothing originated between 30,000 and 114,000 years ago.
Dating with direct archeological evidence produces dates consistent with those hinted at by lice. In September 2021, scientists reported evidence of clothes being made 120,000 years ago based on findings in deposits in Morocco. However, despite these indications, there is no single estimate that is widely accepted.
According to anthropologists and archaeologists, the earliest clothing likely consisted of fur, leather, leaves, or grass that was draped, wrapped, or tied around the body. Knowledge of such clothing remains inferential, as clothing materials deteriorate quickly compared with stone, bone, shell, and metal artifacts. Archeologists have identified very early of bone and ivory from about 30,000 BC, found near Kostenki, Russia in 1988.Hoffecker, J., Scott, J., Excavations In Eastern Europe Reveal Ancient Human Lifestyles, University of Colorado at Boulder News Archive, March 21, 2002, colorado.edu Dyed flax fibers that could have been used in clothing have been found in a prehistoric cave in the Republic of Georgia that date back to 34,000 BC. Supporting Online Material
Although modern consumers may take the production of clothing for granted, making fabric by hand is a tedious and labor-intensive process involving fiber making, spinning, and weaving. The textile industry was the first to be mechanized – with the power loom – during the Industrial Revolution.
Different cultures have evolved various ways of creating clothes out of cloth. One approach involves draping the cloth. Many people wore, and still wear, garments consisting of rectangles of cloth wrapped to fit – for example, the dhoti for men and the sari for women in the Indian subcontinent, the Scottish kilt, and the Javanese sarong. The clothes may be tied up (dhoti and sari) or implement pins or belts to hold the garments in place (kilt and sarong). The cloth remains uncut, and people of various Clothing sizes can wear the garment.
Another approach involves measuring, cutting, and sewing the cloth by hand or with a sewing machine. Clothing can be cut from a sewing pattern and adjusted by a tailor to the wearer's measurements. An adjustable sewing mannequin or dress form is used to create form-fitting clothing. If the fabric is expensive, the tailor tries to use every bit of the cloth rectangle in constructing the clothing; perhaps cutting triangular pieces from one corner of the cloth, and adding them elsewhere as . Traditional European patterns for and take this approach. These remnants can also be reused to make patchwork pockets, hats, vests, and Skirt.
Modern European fashion treats cloth much less conservatively, typically cutting in such a way as to leave various odd-shaped cloth remnants. Industrial sewing operations sell these as waste; domestic sewers may turn them into .
In the thousands of years that humans have been making clothing, they have created an astonishing array of styles, many of which have been reconstructed from surviving garments, , , , etc., as well as from written descriptions. Costume history can inspire current , as well as costumiers for plays, , television, and historical reenactment.
Clothing has been made from a wide variety of materials, ranging from leather and to woven fabrics to elaborate and exotic natural and Synthetic fiber. Not all body coverings are regarded as clothing. Articles carried rather than worn normally are considered accessories rather than clothing (such as Handbags), items worn on a single part of the body and easily removed (scarves), worn purely for adornment (jewelry), or items that do not serve a protective function. For instance, corrective eyeglasses, Arctic snow goggles, and sunglasses would not be considered an accessory because of their protective functions.
Clothing protects against many things that might injure or irritate the naked human body, including rain, snow, wind, and other weather, as well as from the sun. Garments that are too sheer, thin, small, or tight offer less protection. Appropriate clothes can also reduce risk during activities such as work or sport. Some clothing protects from specific hazards, such as , toxic chemicals, weather, armor, and contact with abrasive substances.
Humans have devised clothing solutions to environmental or other hazards: such as space suits, air conditioned clothing, armor, diving suits, swimsuits, bee-keeper gear, motorcycle leathers, high-visibility clothing, and other pieces of protective clothing. 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 incorporate 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 appropriate clothing due to poverty or affordability, or lack of inclination, sometimes is said to be worn, ragged, or shabby.Baradel, Lacey. "Geographic Mobility and Domesticity in Eastman Johnson's The Tramp." American Art 28.2 (2014): 26–49
Clothing performs a range of social and culture functions, such as individual, occupational and gender differentiation, and social status. Alternative (This work is one of the earliest attempts at an overview of the psycho-social and practical functions of clothing) In many societies, norms about clothing reflect standards of modesty, religion, gender, and social status. Clothing may also function as adornment and an expression of personal taste or style.
Clothing presents a number of challenges to historians. Clothing made of textiles or skins is subject to decay, and the erosion of physical integrity may be seen as a loss of cultural information. Costume collections often focus on important pieces of clothing considered unique or otherwise significant, limiting the opportunities scholars have to study everyday clothing.
In most cultures, gender differentiation of clothing is considered appropriate. The differences are in styles, colors, fabrics, and types.
In contemporary Western societies, , dresses, and are usually seen as women's clothing, while usually are seen as men's clothing. Trousers were once seen as exclusively men's clothing, but nowadays are worn by both genders. Men's clothes are often more practical (that is, they can function well under a wide variety of situations), but a wider range of clothing styles is available for women. Typically, men are allowed to bare chested in a greater variety of public places. It is generally common for a woman to wear clothing perceived as masculine, while the opposite is seen as unusual. Contemporary men may sometimes choose to wear men's skirts such as togas or in particular cultures, especially on ceremonial occasions. In previous times, such garments often were worn as normal daily clothing by men.
In some cultures, regulate what men and women are required to wear. Islam requires women to wear certain forms of attire, usually hijab. What items required varies in different Muslim societies; however, women are usually required to cover more of their bodies than men. Articles of clothing Muslim women wear under these laws or traditions range from the headscarf to the burqa.
Some contemporary clothing styles designed to be worn by either gender, such as T-shirts, have started out as menswear, but some articles, such as the fedora, originally were a style for women.
In some religions such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism the cleanliness of religious dresses is of paramount importance and is considered to indicate purity. Jewish ritual requires rending of one's upper garment as a sign of mourning. The Quran says about husbands and wives, regarding clothing: "...They are clothing/covering (Libaas) for you; and you for them" (chapter 2:187).Christian clergy members wear religious vestments during liturgy services and may wear specific non-liturgical clothing at other times.
Clothing appears in numerous contexts in the Bible. The most prominent passages are: the story of Adam and Eve who made coverings for themselves out of fig leaf, Joseph's coat of many colors, and the clothing of Judah and Tamar, Mordecai and Esther. Furthermore, the priests officiating in the Temple in Jerusalem had very specific garments, the lack of which made one liable to death.
In the Western dress code, jeans are worn by both men and women. There are several unique styles of jeans found that include: high rise jeans, mid rise jeans, low rise jeans, bootcut jeans, straight jeans, cropped jeans, skinny jeans, cuffed jeans, boyfriend jeans, and capri jeans.
The licensing of designer names was pioneered by designers such as Pierre Cardin, Yves Saint Laurent, and Guy Laroche in the 1960s and has been a common practice within the fashion industry from about the 1970s. Among the more popular include Marc Jacobs and Gucci, named for Marc Jacobs and Guccio Gucci respectively.
In the early twenty-first century a diverse range of styles exists in fashion, varying by geography, exposure to modern media, economic conditions, and ranging from expensive haute couture, to traditional garb, to thrift store grunge. are events for designers to show off new and often extravagant designs.
Coalitions of , designers (including Katharine Hamnett, American Apparel, Veja Sneakers, Quiksilver, eVocal, and Edun), and campaign groups such as the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights as well as textile and clothing trade unions have sought to improve these conditions by sponsoring awareness-raising events, which draw the attention of both the media and the general public to the plight of the workers.
Outsourcing production to low wage countries such as Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka became possible when the Multi Fibre Agreement (MFA) was abolished. The MFA, which placed quotas on textiles imports, was deemed a protectionist measure. Although many countries recognize treaties such as the International Labour Organization, which attempt to set standards for worker safety and rights, many countries have made exceptions to certain parts of the treaties or failed to thoroughly enforce them. India for example has not ratified sections 87 and 92 of the treaty.
The textile industry has functioned as a consistent industry for developing nations, providing work and wages, whether construed as exploitative or not, to millions of people.European Parliamentary Research Service. “Workers' Conditions in the Textile and Clothing Sector: Just an Asian Affair?” European Parliament, Aug. 2014. www.europarl.europa.eu/EPRS/140841REV1-Workers-conditions-in-the-textile-and-clothing-sector-just-an-Asian-affair-FINAL.pdf.
Often, people wear an item of clothing until it falls apart. Some materials present problems. Cleaning leather is difficult, and bark cloth (tapa) cannot be washed without dissolving it. Owners may patch tears and rips, and brush off surface dirt, but materials such as these inevitably age.
Many kinds of clothing are designed to be Ironing before they are worn to remove wrinkles. Most modern formal and semi-formal clothing is in this category (for example, and suits). Ironed clothes are believed to look clean, fresh, and neat. Much contemporary casual clothing is made of knit materials that do not readily wrinkle, and do not require ironing. Some clothing is permanent press, having been treated with a coating (such as polytetrafluoroethylene) that suppresses wrinkles and creates a smooth appearance without ironing. Excess lint or debris may end up on the clothing in between launderings. In such cases, a lint remover may be useful.
Once clothes have been laundered and possibly ironed, usually they are hung on or folded, to keep them fresh until they are worn. Clothes are folded to allow them to be stored compactly, to prevent creasing, to preserve creases, or to present them in a more pleasing manner, for instance, when they are put on sale in stores.
Certain types of insects and larvae feed on clothing and textiles, such as the black carpet beetle and Clothing Moth. To deter such pests, clothes may be stored in cedar-lined closets or chests, or placed in drawers or containers with materials having pest repellent properties, such as lavender or . Airtight containers (such as sealed, heavy-duty plastic bags) may deter insect pest damage to clothing materials as well.
EU member states exported €116 billion of clothes in 2018, including 77% to other EU member states.