What we wear tells people who we are and how to treat us.
Hello, Dear Readers and followers, welcome back to my new story, I hope all’s well. Today, I find this to be a very interesting topic with different amazing virtue facts about this topic, and here are my thoughts based on research papers I have read.
I have a theory. I just hope it doesn’t start an online war between me and other people. You may not like this answer, but The main purpose behind this story is any way that we might define clothing in a limited way from our own perspective.
Well, many people have answered this question according to their perspectives.
The Significance of Clothes:
Each living thing has its own way of surviving. We, humans, are a different case. We are the most developed species on earth w.r.t brains. We can think rationally and can make the best use of our surroundings. we by nature are intelligent. We are continually refining the clothing.
Our bodies adapted so much to clothing that we can’t live without it, down to our mindset. Clothing is thought to have developed alongside emotions, embarrassment, and shame, as well as modesty.
Clothes play a vital role in our lives. our need for clothing comes in one part from our need to protect from the elements. Also, there’s the societal expectation that we cover up at least certain areas of our bodies. In most parts of the world, it’s enshrined in law.
Humans began wearing clothing about 83,000 to 170,000 years ago and there is its own history behind it, probably in order to protect us from the elements, as well as being an ornament or fashion statement used to show our personality.
In the ancient era, it was just to cover our bodies. But today we have a whole different scenario, clothing can define our personality, can depict a character and for some, it belongs more to a kind of social status( those high-class things). It also acts as an instrument to define ourselves to the world that who we are and being in our own comfort zone.
Clothes are by definition a unique way of representing ourselves without having to say or do anything. It is a statement defining how we are similar it different from others. Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel, and attire) are items worn on the body.
Typically, clothing is made of fabrics or textiles, 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 human beings and is a feature of all human societies.
The amount and type of clothing worn depend 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 a costume.
Clothing conveys a message about who we are if we respect or disrespect others who see us at a special event, how or if we respect ourselves, and how we want others to treat us. Our clothes also become a part of our identity. Whether we like it or not, what we wear gives off signals that help people to form an impression of us.
It’s a very simple line but has a very deeper meaning. Clothes not only hide our bodies but also reflect our personalities. The phrase first impression is the last impression shows the importance of clothing. Since our first impression is also based on the way we dress.
We wear clothes to project authority, and catalog body variations. Also, different cultures have associated different colors with happiness and sadness. Certain types of clothes also provide us with identity.
Clothes are something that evolved with us just like the language or how we cook our food. It is part of social development and helped one identity in tribes. With time our surroundings have changed. We are supposed to go to work no matter how harsh the weather is outside. One could simply fall sick if we do not have layers of clothing around our bodies. it is a way to express ourselves and be modest. It is a way to judge someone before we meet them.
The delight of the dress comes effectively in the unforeseen thickness of velvet into which our fingertips sink or a thin, weaved tie the specific shade of greenery. Garments can work upon us rapidly the suit that orders our consideration with the position it exudes, the fluorescent vest that cautions us of the risk from which we should turn, the outfit whose brilliant gloss calls our eye like a sunbeam in an obscured room.
In any case, the universality of garments implies that we can be thoughtless of them as well. We infrequently think to take the things we wear and hold them up to the light, reviewing them as objects of scholarly request.
The History of Clothes:
There is an interesting story here. clothes are made of organic material which means they degrade very fast, hence why no one can find much evidence from the past. Clothing was probably invented some million years ago because there is a conflict not an exact number anywhere, different people have different opinions.
In history, there were many concepts that may appear weird today, but normal at that time. As time passed, the clothing changed. According to history, clothes changed along with culture, fashion, and wealth. The first material used for clothing is the natural fibers obtained from both plants and animal sources. These include cotton, flax, wool, leather, silk, etc. With time, clothing started acquiring other purposes as well, becoming status, gender, and later, wealth symbols.
It is also interesting to see how popular culture has influenced men's and women’s apparel history over the centuries as theater and art became more mainstream.
The Religious History of Clothes
Religion is a set of beliefs, symbols, and practices based on the idea of the sacred (which people define as extraordinary, inspiring a sense of awe and reverence) and unites believers in a socio-religious community.
The interaction between religion, culture, and cloth is fascinating. It can be a window into the social world, which is bound by a tacit set of rules, customs, conventions, and rituals that guide face-to-face interaction. To many religious organizations, clothing is an important symbol of religious identification.
Adam (PBUH) is regarded as the first human being, as well as the first Prophet of Islam. The story of Adam and Eve varies slightly across the Abrahamic religions while maintaining some similarities.
people also believed that God wanted them to cover up.
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all have individual forms of dress that visibly identify members of the religion and that help maintain the traditions, customs, and hierarchies of the religion.
Christians believe that the body is a gift from God, thus it should be treated with respect. They also believe that there is a relationship between the thought system and the body. They believe that an idle body is free and easily manipulated by the devil. They believe that the body withers away and the soul that was in the body goes back to God after the death of an individual. This might be the reason why they believe that the body is a temple of God because it holds the spirit, which is the breath of God.
The history of Christianity shows that early Christians had several religious clothing like others. One such clothing is the veil. The veil among the early Christians was used to cover the head of a woman when in the temple. The veil was a way of humbling the woman before God and a show of respect towards the woman’s husband. In this day and age, there are some groups in Christianity who still find the veil relevant in prayer.
They also beliefs about dress within Christianity are influenced by the biblical account of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
7 Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Genesis 2:7 (ESV)
In the Bible, the first clothes are made by Adam and Eve after they have eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and realized that they are naked. They sew themselves aprons of fig leaves. Later, God himself, before ejecting Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden, makes them coats of skins presumably very nice ones! God himself, therefore, is portrayed as the first tailor, and he works in leather (maybe so that their clothes will last).
Islam gives guidance about all aspects of life, including matters of public decency. Islam has no fixed standard as to the style of dress or type of clothing that Muslims must wear. However, some minimum requirements must be met. Islam has two sources for guidance and rulings: the Quran which is considered to be the revealed word of Allah, and the Hadith or traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), who serves as a human role model and guide.
Clothing in the Quran has been talked about in several verses. The Quran pays a great deal of attention to the way a human being covers himself. Clothing is what shows a person’s dignity and therefore the Quran recommends that we dress modestly.
When Prophet Adam and Eve were living in the garden of Eden, they had some form of coverage that covered their private parts. Some exegetes say that it was something like a part of their skin. In any case, God had promised them that they would not be naked in the garden of Eden, but warned them not to eat from the forbidden tree:
You will neither be hungry in it nor naked. ( Quran 20:118)
Satan knew that if they eat from the tree their private parts would be exposed and they would be expelled from heaven:
Then Satan tempted them, to expose to them what was hidden from them of their nakedness, and he said, ‘Your Lord has only forbidden you from this tree lest you should become angels, or lest you become immortal. ( Quran 7:20)
So Adam and Eve ate from the tree, their private parts were exposed, and God made them descend to earth. This verse is from surah A‘rāf. In the same surah, God says the following in the Quran about clothing:
O Children of Adam! We have certainly sent down to you garments to cover your nakedness, and for adornment. Yet the garment of God wariness — that is the best.’ That is [one] of Allah’s signs, so that they may take admonition. ( Quran 7:26)
This beautiful verse states that we must cover our nakedness with our clothes as it is a sign of modesty and also an adornment and something to show to others for beauty. Then, God uses a metaphor and says the garment of God's wariness is the best. That is, what is even more important than covering our body from nakedness, is covering and shielding our soul from sins and wrong deeds.
Allah then says:
‘O Children of Adam! Do not let Satan tempt you, like he expelled your parents from paradise, stripping them of their garments to expose to them their nakedness. Indeed he sees you — he and his hosts — whence you do not see them. We have indeed made the devils friends of those who have no faith.’ ( Quran 7:27)
This verse points to the stark fact that people are tempted by Satan not to cover themselves and expose their bare bodies to others, whether male or female. Therefore, we must not listen to the temptations of Satan so that he strips us of our garments, whether it is physical or spiritual.
The Purposes of Clothes:
The clothes that we wear have serves many practical purposes. We wear clothes for many reasons but the most basic is for self-respect in society and for comfort. Reasons as to why we wear clothes will depend from person to person with age, gender, location, and personality being major factors. There is no single reason it is a mix of various reasons and every individual would be at their own unique point in the continuum between the factors.
The “need” to feel clothed is a relatively recent cultural development. As a result, we are decidedly more sensitive about moving about in the environment without the protection afforded by our Clothes and shoes. So, the “need” for clothing is primarily one of climate. Without it, we could not reasonably function in much of the planet’s environments. But the need is not the only reason for clothing. Another quite potent factor is the related areas of adornment and status.
Clothes are worn for different reasons. The basic reason is to protect ourselves from the vagaries of nature. You wear cotton in summers and woolen in winters. It 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.
Let’s see if we can put these together to explain clothing and a few other things.
However, the ideas above try to explain why humans started wearing clothes.
In the modern complex society, there are many other reasons why we wear clothes because Clothing can serve various functions and have more than one purpose:
1. Protection (Physical Need)
- From Weather
- From Environmental Dangers
- From Occupational Hazards
- From Enemies
2. Adornment (Psychological Need)
- Creates a positive emotional reaction in the viewer
- Most psychologists believe beauty is essential to human life
- Decorative clothing makes us more attractive
- Decorative adornment can be found in various cultures throughout history
- Beauty varies from culture to culture and person to person
3. Modesty (Social Need)
For the longest time, civilized society asks us to be clothed, whether this is right or wrong is a debate I do not want to get into but it is a major reason why we wear clothes.
- Covering a person’s body according to the code of decency of that person’s society
- Dictates the proper way cover the body for social acceptance
- Standards of decency are molded by our culture and social system
- The event you are attending influences your amount of modesty
- Humans like to indulge in the aesthetic aspects of clothing, this can be observed not only in posh societies but also in tribal ones and humans have always used clothes or accessories for purpose of vanity.
- Total characteristics that distinguish an individual, especially his or her behavioral tendencies
- Certain ways of dressing give clues about personality traits (ex: people who wear very decorative things are usually very sociable)
- Human folks are always very communicative and expressive, they often use clothing as a means to express individuality, mood, and views.
5. Representing cultures and groups
- Sometimes by wearing certain clothing we confirm being a part of a group. For example, An Indian female Celebrity Wearing a Saree at a film festival she attends, thereby uses her clothes to represent the group she identifies herself with, in the given example it suggests her Indian roots.
6. PRACTICAL & FUNCTIONAL
The invention of pants was created so that men (who went to war) could ride horses with ease. I mean, my skirt gets caught on the seat even when I try to get off a bicycle. Imagine going to war.
Clothes have evolved in their own time to become more efficient.
- Underwear has become lighter and less itchy
- Pockets in jackets and pants
- Fabric (denim, flame retardant, etc. ) for durability
- Lycra, neoprene, mesh for high performance (swimwear and all sports)
7. STATUS & JOBS
Kings, emperors, samurais, and soldiers, are titles and ranks that to this day present the persons' role and where they come from. In current times, it makes sure that I don’t mistake a fellow shopper as a shop assistant, or it creates trust when I see uniformed personnel.
- At one point, the color purple was reserved for kings and queens because it was a sign of nobility. The purple dye was very expensive to produce at that time too.
- High heels were first made for a man King Louis XIV of France- for added height (equals higher status).
- A soldier's uniform, scouts, school prefects, and sandwich artists in the subway, all help us identify quickly who to turn to.
8. FASHION TRENDS
Now, this last one is a grey area in terms of need. Dressing up to the occasion (dress codes) shows respect. Dressing like the people around you makes you more relatable, and trend also communicates what is attractive at that time or era. Different cultures also see attractiveness differently. So part of being in trend also means survival. To be accepted in a community, to be liked, and to land you a job. That’s a major need.
But, the fine line for need is drawn when a trend becomes too much skewed to the “attractiveness” factor, to having what others have, to keep on buying in fast fashion to stay on par with the “influencers” or friends.
In the past, clothes were simply a way of covering their body to protect it against dirt, and dust and to aid in protecting the body against the weather such as a cold. Throughout history it has evolved, it has gone from being a protective element to a symbol of status.
There is also the taste for embellishment. Humans in all cultures and weathers have decorated their bodies in all kinds of fashion.
Dressing in an Islamic way attracts a few remarks but also a great deal of respect. Dressing Islamically also allows one to be easily recognized wherever one goes. We should be proud of being Muslims. It also allows Muslims to know one another and greet each other with ‘Assalamu-Alaikum’, or ‘Peace be upon you.
Being a Muslim brings discipline, as you will want to be on your best behavior and guard at all times, to respect your Lord and religion. What all society can see are, ‘Your clothes’, which give you your identity.
I believe these points will help.
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And all praise and thanks are due to Allah, without Whose help and guidance nothing can be accomplished. May Allah bless you with happiness, success, guidance, health, and knowledge. May Almighty Allah give us the strength to follow the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) and make us part of the group who is among the most righteous! Ameen.
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