What to Wear
I we had just arrived on this planet, a fully grown adult, and we had to decide what to wear, how would we choose?
If we were free from all the influences that affect our decisions about clothes where would we begin?
Warm and Comfortable
I assume that our first consideration on arrival in this beautiful little blue/green planet would be to cover our bodies in garments that are warm and comfortable.
We would need something to keep us dry and warm in the rain and the cold or protect us from the sun and the heat.
How long would it take before we began to feel the pressure to fit in, to belong?
Choose our Clothes
To begin with would we feel the need to choose our clothes according to gender? Perhaps to someone making a completely free choice there would be no need for men’s clothes and women’s clothes.
Fashion can be a dictator or fashion can be our friend. Fashion and clothes are a form of non-verbal communication.
In the 20th century it did become allowable for women,in the western world, to wear clothes similar to men’s clothes; trousers, jeans, shirts, trouser suits.
As the dress code became more relaxed this reflected the increased freedom and influence that women enjoyed outside of the home.
Women can now wear a comfortable and warm tuxedo for evening wear instead of a skimpy, uncomfortable evening dress.
Our Tribe Our Group
In fact, when we just arrive, as babies, we don’t come with any ideas about how to dress. We do just want to be warm and dry and comfortable.
As time goes by and we grow up, we gradually pick up the influences of our tribe, our group. We learn how to dress so that we fit in. There is actually a dress code to which we need to conform.
Antonio tells us all about dress codes for men. Who knew that getting dressed could be so complicated?
Antonio explains his quite complicated subject very well. I think most men would need the services of Jeeves to cope with getting dressed if they had to stick to these rules.
Luckily when men need to dress well for a special occasion they can simply wear a smart suit.
We like to think that we are expressing our personality, our individuality, by how we choose to dress. Other people often influence or control the decisions that we make about the clothes that we wear.
How to Dress
These controls might be imposed by our family, our community, our religion. Sometimes the rules are clearly spelled out but more often in our society it is the result of the natural human need to conform, to fit into the group, to belong.
Often our decisions about how to dress are controlled by the fashion industry, culture, history, even our employer.
Daria tells us about dress codes for women at work. Because women have more choices there are more pitfalls to be avoided.
Daria has some great ideas which she presents very clearly but her background music isn’t so good.
‘You think you made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when in fact you are wearing a sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room.’
When she says ‘the people in this room’ she is referring to the fashion experts who, in that scene, all engaged in making an important decision about a belt.
How did the basic need to cover our bodies to protect us from the cold or the heat become so complicated and develop into the powerful fashion industry?