Read the title again. Do you have an answer to that question? Of course, we all have. In this entry, we will enumerate all the reasons why we, humans, wear clothes. We will look into different perspectives of people from different professions and life situations.
CLOTHING MOTIVATIONS: Why People Wear Clothes
“People wear clothes to keep them warm during cold weathers or to protect them from the beaming heat of the sun,” says Nicole Nuñez, a student in Canada, where some of the world’s harshest winter weather can be experienced. Truly, clothing serves as our ‘second skin’ and protects us from the following:
- From weather (ex: Eskimos wear two layers of clothes to keep them warm; the inner layer of fur against the skin and the outer layer of fur facing out.)
- From environmental dangers (ex: Hikers wear long clothes to be protected from rough surfaces, rash-causing plants, insect bites, splinters, thorns and prickles.)
- From occupational hazards (ex: Chefs wear protective clothing, like apron, for fire protection.)
- From enemies (ex: Warriors wear full suits of armor to protect their body from being hit whenever they go to battle.)
However, there are circumstances that you set aside your protection, like wearing two-piece while exposed to the sun, because you are motivated by other factors such as adornment and conformity.
Most people want to look good. Most people love attention. Most people wish to be noticed. Dressing beautifully gives a positive psychological effect to everyone. It can boost your self-confidence and lighten your mood. Based on Freud’s theory of personality, fashion change is driven by the pleasure-seeking libido. The pleasure women experience is indirect, based on imagining themselves as objects of male gaze. The pleasure men experience is more direct, with women’s clothing eliciting an erotic male response. (Changing Fashion: A Critical Introduction to Trend Analysis, 2007)
Identification is the process of establishing or describing who someone is or what someone does. Uniforms are a way of identifying roles and can also decrease racial, religious, and other barriers (Why People Wear Clothes).
- A bride wears a white wedding dress.
- A graduating student wears a cap and gown.
- Police officers, members of armed forces, etc., wear uniforms.
Modesty is a social and moral construction that defines how we appropriately present ourselves, in terms of body exposure and covering (Changing Fashion: A Critical Introduction to Trend Analysis, 2007).
“People wear clothes as it is a primordial need to cover ourselves,” says Esther Pangco, a student from De La Salle-College of St. Benilde. In the Bible, in the book of Genesis particularly, Adam and Eve were naked at the very beginning. After they have eaten from the forbidden tree, it was when they realized their nakedness. This is the Christian explanation why most people feel the need to cover their body.
“People wear clothes to become decent and to gain respect,” says Atty. Melba David, a Filipino lawyer. Through clothing, the social status of a person can easily be determined. If you see someone formally dressed, you can right away assume that he/she is a professional or an honorary. “Good” or “High” status is usually associated with recognition, prestige, and social acceptance (Why People Wear Clothes).
But sometimes, looks can also be deceiving. One may be dressed in simple clothing even with the fact the he/she is a professional. On the other hand, an unemployed can dress as extravagant as you can ever think. To sum it up, clothing can just give you impressions; it is up to your judgment how you’re gonna act with people around you.
Conformity is the agreement between an individual’s behavior and a group’s standards or expectations. A conformist is one who follows the majority’s desires or standards. (Dictionary.com)
Some people are driven by the psychological need to fit in and feel secure (Changing Fashion: A Critical Introduction to Trend Analysis, 2007). They are those who follow the latest trends and the popular styles in a certain place and time. But remember, too much conformity can mean a loss of your personal individuality.
“People wear clothes to stand out or be unique. Your style/wardrobe choices give you a chance to show your creativity,” says Tanner Walters, an international male model. Through our clothing, we can express ourselves and our interests.
- Wearing a t-shirt of your favorite band
- Having a tattoo