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The Fashionable Swashbuckling Pirates

 

Do you ever fantasize about being one of the fashionable swashbuckling pirates that sailed the restless ocean? Perhaps you picture yourself as the hapless maiden in need of rescue. Either scenario calls to mind exciting adventure away from the hum-drum of everyday life. Just as with cosplay, the spirited privateer life has a great following. Costumes and role play come into the drama.

Many people get their ideas of buccaneer fashion from the ever-so-swashbuckling Jack Sparrow. The infamous character of Jack Sparrow was played by actor Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. Sparrow’s derring-dos take place during the so-called Golden Age when privateers took to the seas and displayed their courage. This was during the Age of Exploration, therefore many explored and plundered the deep blue seas.

 

There are not a lot of written or artistic accounts of buccaneers during this period, but we do have some ideas about what they wore. We even know that as early as 55 B.C., seamen were dressing in blue as camouflage against the waters of the ocean.

 

Fancy Dress on Rough Seas: Pirating in the Golden Age

By the time the Golden Age of piracy came around, roughly 1650-1730, the fashion for pirates had changed but was still practical. The deckhands spent their days barefoot so that they could easily grip the ropes with their bare feet. Their simple breeches were topped with linen shirts tied with a sash.

Those in charge on board ship, the Bosuns and quartermasters, typically wore the same along with waistcoats and hats. Of course a variety of assorted weapons were always a part of their attire. Shoes or sandals were worn by most to protect the feet from the harsh environment. Captains wore similar clothing along with plenty of flashy jewelry and accessories. There were some that were known to top off their looks with a jaunty pet, such as a parrot or a monkey.

Seamen also tended to have two styles of dress: rough and fancy. As the names suggest, a rough dress was for their work-a-day lives on board ship. Fancy dress was kept for more formal occasions and tended to include lace, brocade, fine metal buttons and jewelry.

 

Cabin Boys and Swabbies

In contrast, cabin boys, powder-monkeys, and swabbies likely wore simple breaches and blouses topped with a scarf or sash. These shipmates sometimes called swabbies, or sea dogs lived their life aboard ship surrounded by the turbulent waves. They had little need for fancy clothes.

Lady Buccaneers

Privateers or pirates were almost exclusively male. A few brave, bold women, however, were able to penetrate the old boy’s club of the high seas. Most of them would dress as men to keep their cover safe. Two of the best-known female buccaneers were Irish born Anne Bonny and cohort Mary Read. It was reported that Mary’s Mother passed her off as a boy when she was young. Desperately needing financial support from relatives, this ruse worked for a while. Anne Bonny, it seems simply enjoyed the unbridled lifestyle. Resisting a betrothal set up by her Father, Ann ran off to marry sailor John Bonny in 1718.

Mary Reed

For the protective cover, or just to fit in with the rowdy men, these two women held their own when drinking and swearing. They didn’t necessarily keep their sex a secret and typically wore men’s clothing. This was for both safety and convenience when traveling the high seas.

Grace O’Malley

Many pirates, both men, and women seem to have strayed from the rowdy island of Ireland. The infamous Grace O’Malley was known as a “brutal and thieving pirate controlling the coastlines through intimidation and plunder.

 

Pillaging and Plundering

Much like a modern-day thrift shop, a scurvy dog’s wardrobe consisted of a lot of cast-offs. Because of this, there was little to distinguish a pirate or buccaneer from a land-lubber. Since they worked with fishing nets and sails in need of constant repair, they were pretty handy with needles and thread. This made customization of the supplies at hand a breeze. To their artful clothing, they often added embroidery or decorations.

Baubles and Beads

When wealthy prisoners were captured, the booty that included fine fabrics and flashy baubles were treasured. With these hand-me-downs, their wardrobe could get a big upgrade. The laces, furs, precious gems, and metals were a celebration to behold.

Claiming their prize, Bellamy and his crew capture the Whydah without incident, scratch out an inventory, and divide the loot. “There was little bloodshed,” says expedition historian Kenneth J. Kinkor. “Sailors didn’t get paid enough to risk their lives against pirates.”

 

Certainly, the plunder was also just as likely to be sold off to the highest bidder to pay for ale or rum. The score of rum was a privateer’s best friend as many imbibed of liquor on a daily basis. This was partly due to the fear of contracting dysentery from the water. More likely though, it was the taste for liquor itself.

 

Because of the sumptuary laws of the time, not only the fabrics used but the colors worn were dictated by law. This was for class distinction, social level, and to identify the privilege allowed a person. Rebel pirates relished the ability to turn their nose up at authority by wearing colors and fabrics not allowed. This defiant attitude led to mismatched clothing galore. This motley display of clothing resulted in the term, motley crew.

 

Hats and Bragging Rights

No seaman’s outfit would be complete without the distinctive hat. Some pirates were known to even rank, or outrank, each other with their hat. The hats could be found in many shapes and sizes and were often worn with a scarf wrapped around the head. While the scarf was worn for fanfare and to hold the hat on in bad weather, it was useful for many other things as well.

 

Throughout the centuries, seafaring people would choose headgear wisely to protect their skin from the sun. The wide-brimmed cavalier hat was a long-time favorite as was the tricorn favored in Europe at the time. When the cavalier hat proved too cumbersome, Bucs would pin the bill to the brim. This handy hack served a double purpose, as they quickly learned. It helped divert sea spray from their faces and kept the rain off their heads.

 

Corsets and Pirate Wenches

All of the women, however, likely had one garment that no man needed: a stay or corset. Stays were designed to flatten the torso and would be used to maintain a long, lean look that could help lady buccaneers conceal their treasure chest a little more easily.

For women who were open about their sex, the corsets would be worn beneath their bodice. The overbust corset style would extend from just below the arms to the hips while the underbust style extends from the mid-ribs to the hips and lifts the breasts.

 Female Pirates Stand Proud

Then, as now, women would wear different clothes according to their station and job. Powerful captains, such as the female Chinese born Ching Shih, ruled the high seas commanding many ships and pirates alike.  Being a former prostitute herself, Ching likely dressed much like her male counterparts with rich brocades and velvet, precious metal buttons and buckles. The ostentatious tricorn hats that were worn at the time were often embellished with feathers, trims, and often a pretty brooch or two.

 

Yo Ho Ho, a Pirate’s Life for Me!

Today, the Pirate Code is defunct, but modern day fans of Grace O-Malley, the fictional Elizabeth Swann and others of their ilk can get their pirate-y fix by mixing and matching men’s and women’s clothing to achieve the perfect pirate costume.

Black and white are always classic background colors that pair well with more vivid jewel-toned colors such as velvety purple, lush crimson, emerald, and rich blue. These colors add vibrant depth and life to any costume and emphasize the outlaw nature of the high seas life.

 

A Hail to Pirate Wenches: To a pirate festival you go

The lure of rebellious pirate lore stays in the hearts of many modern day mutineers. Because of this, pirate festivals abound throughout the United States and abroad. Many boast several days of fun and debauchery. This allows the typically sedate personalities to become turncoats with fashionable dress and renegade behavior.

For the female pirates attending a big pirate festival or fancy dress bash, you can slip into some sexy fishnet tights to recall the netting on those big old ships. Next, add form-fitting leather or velvet breaches topped with a loose linen or silk blouse. A tightly laced corset with a full taffeta skirt offers a feminine alternative for those who want a sexier look. Many websites offer both custom and ready-made costumes for your escapade.

During the Golden Age, women would wear low heels. Efficiency isn’t necessarily the look of the day though as you won’t be climbing ropes or walking the plank. If you want to go sky high with your boots, now’s the time to do it!

Pirate Corsetry

No wench costume would be complete without some sexy, sultry corsetry. You can cinch the waist and add voluptuous curves for an eye-catching appeal. Because a well-made corset can be a major purchase, you might want to choose that first and build the rest of your pirate costume around it. Sultryladycorsets.com is a good choice for your investment.

Add your sash, some big hoop earrings, a gold chain or two, gemstone rings, and your look will be complete. Top your hair with a fashionable swashbuckling pirate hat and you’re ready for adventure. Don’t forget to grab your dagger, cutlass or pistol as you board the ship.

 

For some exciting and entertaining pirate fun check out the upcoming festivals near you. You can’t go wrong with a day of fun and frolicking.  http://www.privateerdragons.com/festivals.html

Finally, it’s time for some devil-may-care adventures. Just don’t forget to BYOR: Bring your own rum!

 

 

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Don’t Ignore These Tips About Color-To Be Attractive To The Opposite sex

Tips on The Psychology of Color and Clothing 

 

No matter where you fall on the fashion spectrum, you might be surprised at just how big of a role color plays in your wardrobe. Because of this, don’t ignore these tips about color if you want to be attractive to the opposite sex.

What’s in your closet right now? Do you find yourself gravitating to a lot of blacks because it’s slimming? Maybe you’re like Andy Sachs from “The Devil Wears Prada,” wearing primary blue with deliberate indifference and a little bit of insecurity. You could even have a rainbow of clothing in your closet but feel you have nothing to really wear.

Why Do We Choose the Colors We Do?

Traditionally, we associate specific colors with certain traits. We see dark colors as formal and authoritative and lighter shades as more casual and relaxed. Brighter colors tend to be associated with energy, while subdued colors have a more conservative feel to them. These energies are then linked to both seasons and genders: Men are often drawn to darker and bolder colors while women seek softer, lighter shades.

It has often been heard by some men that they are “color blind.” Thus they may have their spouse or some female friend help them to choose coordinating colors to wear. The National Eye Institute reports, “Color vision depends on our eyes and brain working together to perceive different properties of light. Men are much more likely to be colorblind than women because the genes responsible for the most common, inherited color blindness are on the X chromosome. Males only have one X chromosome, while females have two X chromosomes.”

Men VS Women

 

With that point in mind, the question can be asked, are men more attracted to women that wear the darker colors that appeal to them? And furthermore, do men find certain fabrics such as leather more engaging when worn by women?


While we have ideas about the messages colors send, we don’t have a lot of actual data about why.

Hues and Moods

The world around us is a veritable rainbow of brilliant shades, tints, and tones, and for reasons that we might not even fully understand, we are almost irresistibly drawn to specific colors. It’s safe to say that our feelings and ideas about colors are heavily influenced by not just our personalities and personal preferences but also our upbringings and cultures. For example, in China, wedding gowns are traditionally red while in the U.S., they are white or ivory. In India, yellow has a sacred meaning to Hindus, whereas, in western countries, blue might be considered religious due to its association with the Madonna.

Some shades affect us on a deep and almost primal level. When a juvenile center painted its rooms a bright, cheerful pink, the children who were manic or psychotic were able to calm down more quickly and with fewer staff interventions. More than 1,500 hospitals and other facilities followed their example and created “passive pink rooms” to help calm patients and inmates.

 

Although closely related, red appears to have the opposite effect. Red has been used effectively by restaurants desiring to stimulate the appetites of their diners. The color red has also been associated with passion since the beginning of time. Ladies lingerie in red sells abundantly for Valentines Day pairing it with love and excitement. Similarly, the color black can be associated with sinister or even daring. Motorcycle riders often wear black to display a badass attitude.

Many Shades of Gray

Our relationship with various colors may ultimately be as simple as the light spectrum’s effects on us.  However, keep in mind that the psychology of your wardrobe choices could be revealing more than your decolletage and exposing some of your deepest secrets. Is there a color you don’t particularly like?

Colors and Their Meanings

 

Red is traditionally associated with sensuality and a deep need for physical contact and stimulation. Orange, which is closely related to red, is also related to physicality as well as a need for social acceptance. Bright and sunny yellow reveals a need for novelty and a strong sense of logic. The color green is known as the color of life. Those drawn to it are all about giving and receiving love and acceptance. Blue is the color of a peaceful sky, and those who wear it are drawn to truth. Those wearing blue are thought to have a commitment to their beliefs and ideals. Lush, velvety purple is associated with emotional security, and those who thirst for purple tend to be perfectionists. Bright bubblegum pink is the tint of love, and those who wear it tend to yearn for acceptance.

Dressing To Impress

Remember the old saying, “Dress for the job you want not the job you have”? That’s based on the psychology of colors and how others perceive you. If you want to feel good, you need to dress well. Take things to the next level, even if you have reservations.  Accessories or a scarf of a contrasting color can keep things interesting.

If you want to dress to impress for a first date, consider the colors that may be attractive to the opposite sex. These will be different for men than they are for women. Wearing colors that are surprising or shocking may unknowingly give off a false impression. In the same vein, wearing a color to bring out the intensity of your eyes will draw them to look at you more closely.

 

How to Determine The Colors To Wear

 

Start by identifying your undertones. While there are just about as many skin tones as there are people, there are only two undertones: cool and warm. Cool skin tones have blue or pale pink undertones while warm skin tones have yellow or orange tints. People with warm skin tones tend to have veins that look slightly green, while people with cool skin tones have purple or blue veins. Warmer skin tones look best in warm colors, and cool skin tones look best in cool colors.

Next, figure out your skin’s shade. The best colors for you will be those that contrast in brightness with your skin. Lighter skin shades look best in rich, bold jewel tones. Likewise, darker skin shades look great in saturated or bright shades. To bring out your eyes or make them pop, look for a shade that is close to them or one that contrasts sharply with them. For example, match a blue bustier with blue eyes or contrast a purple scarf with green eyes.

Personalizing Your Look

To create your own personal style palette, start with the two or three colors that speak to you. Use these for the foundation pieces of your wardrobe. Add four coordinating or complementary colors in essential pieces, such as button-downs, cardigans, or tees. Use one or two neutrals, such as a gray, dove or basic black, for foundation pieces, to balance out your look. You can add a few bright accents through accessories, and use jewelry for a finishing touch. Remember that silver and platinum are cool metals while bronze, gold and rose gold are warm metals.

Above all else, have fun with your looks. The red sneakers effect is a real thing: Making a bold fashion choice can help you stand out from the crowd and make a strong impression on others. Step away from dull and boring and step into something that makes you feel a little more like you.

So the bottom line is, don’t ignore these tips about color if you want to be attractive to the opposite sex.

 

pirate costume sash 1-Sultry Lady Corsets

Fetish Fashion For Those Inspired To Go Beyond The Ordinary

Fetish Fashion for those inspired to go beyond the ordinary is an adventurous and feisty look. It is a look that has moved beyond the bedroom and onto runways around the globe. From studded corsets and strappy leather dresses to PVC minis and plastic harnesses, there’s sure to be something for everyone. 

When you think of “fetish wear”, it might bring to mind vinyl clothing, dark dungeons and whips, and chains. However, you might be surprised to find out that many of today’s top designers are inspired by this sexy, cutting edge concept of appearance.

Opening a new door in your wardrobe can start an unexpected and exciting adventure. Moreover, expanding your viewpoint can have a dynamic impact on your life.

Taboos and More

Humans have always been a little bit on the kinky side. The erotic poetry of ancient Greeks was legendary. Likewise, the ancient Roman emperor Caligula has become synonymous with sexual excess. And subsequently, associating fetish fashion with sex is not a new concept.

Everyday Leather Fetish Fashion

From the beginning of time, there has been a draw to taboos and the forbidden. Crossing over to the dangerous side holds an unknown thrill and raises the heartbeat. The intake of breath increases and the stimulation is intoxicating.

The Inaugural Los Angeles Fetish Film Festival Awards, Red Carpet and Fashion Show held at Bar Sinister, Hollywood, CA on April 16, 2011

Therefore, it is only plausible that our clothing is involved. It is an outward expression of our inner emotions. Fetish fashion for those inspired to go beyond the ordinary, the range of expression is limitless. Our clothing choices can certainly allow us to bring our private desires into a more public realm.

With clothing, we can tap into our sexier side through the sensuality of certain fabrics. The cut and the ornamentation determine the outcome.

Fabrics such as slippery satin or rich velvet look and feel sensuous. Vinyl and leather, on the other hand, have a sexier, perhaps thrilling feel to them. Similarly, strappy, studded garb reveals a tougher, BDSM-feel.

Kinky clothiers have a history as long as the history of kink itself. The interpretation begins with the wearer. Just one simple item added to your outfit can make or break the ostentatious look.

From Underground Trend to Haute Couture

A peek into the realm of fetish-wear can be traced back to the 17th and 18th centuries when women wore stiff stays and tight-laced corsets.

While the corset wasn’t initially worn to be provocative, it did have a dual purpose. It controlled the figure beneath closely tailored dresses while creating an alluring silhouette. Throughout history, the mindset about corsets changed back and forth from teasing and revealing, to restrictive and repressive.

Corset Wearing In The Boudoir

By the 1800s, a corset was usually worn for proper form and decorum. To be without a corset was considered improper. However, wearing it in the boudoir was considered over-the-top sexy.

The same type of duality is what makes fetish-wear so hot today. In fetish wear, we see rebellion vs. restriction, domination modified by submission, and aggression tempered by trust.

Leaders Trending Rebellious Clothing

Post-WWII London saw a big boom in bondage wear as the underground gay community began to emerge in style. By the 60s and 70s, the punk subculture and rock stars like Alice Cooper had popularized latex and leather. Major designers hopped on the flamboyant trend. We witnessed Vivienne Westwood leading the charge with her punk-inspired lines complete with zippers, straps and safety pins.

In addition, Madonna burst onto the scene in the 1980s, voguing in her fishnets, fingerless gloves, and leather bustiers.

Designer Jean-Paul Gaultier blended the worlds of pop and kink seamlessly with his infamous cone bras, nylon tattoo tops, bodysuits, rubber, and latex. His looks often played with power, dominance, and control.

Jean Paul Gauthier Fashion week-Paris

Corsets and Fetish Fashion

A well-known corsetmaker, Mr. Pearl establishes himself into the world of fetish wear and corsets with designs that “displayed innovative expression, and encouraging one to bend the rules”.

Mr Pearl-and his couture corsets

By the 1990s, fashion designer Alexander McQueen was subverting conventional fashion with his ideas of edgy romance and “savage beauty.” Known for dressing such style icons as Kate Moss, he used fabric and exquisite tailoring to tease out flowing movements and dizzying shapes. Quite often he did this with leather embellished with metal hardware. His themes encompassed bondage, playful disguises, and exotic contortions.

Today, design brands from Helmut Lang and Prada to Louboutin and Rihanna continue to tap into the world of kink and BDSM to bring us clothing lines that speak to us.

From the Dungeon to the Street

One does not have to descend into the depths of carnality to get a kick out of kink. Instead, many are inspired by various punk, goth, and BDSM subculture’s motifs. Sexual imagery is often a large part of fet-fashion, but it doesn’t have to be the primary focus.

Using personal style, one can tame down the kink in couture. Add a touch of shiny latex or leather accessories to toughen up a look. Skip harnesses and bondage gear and take a strappy look to the beach in a cagey bathing suit and gladiator sandals. 

If you’re not quite ready to step into thigh-high leather boots or a latex harness, you can still make a bold fet-fashion statement by experimenting with pieces that speak to you. Draw inspiration from punk, goth and BDSM subcultures.

Mr Pearl Corset Attire

Adding pieces like a sexy corset or bustier can work with nearly anything in your wardrobe. These unique items can be paired with dresses, jeans and more. If you’re really feeling like a walk on the wild side, slip on something a little more daring underneath your regular work clothes for a fun surprise later.

Exploring Your Own Wild Side

In conclusion, while not all of today’s hottest sexy style trends are boardroom appropriate, they’re still making some pretty strong waves in the street. Try one or all of them on for size as you explore your own wild side.

Latex Clothing

Fetish clothing, underground kink, and provocative cosplay can free you from burdensome restrictions and let you push boundaries just a bit. Try out a teaser outfit to test the reactions. Perhaps the best surprise will be had by you.

If you liked this post and found it interesting, please leave a comment.

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10 Best Reasons To Join The Cosplay Culture

The cosplay culture is a hot topic. More and more people are discovering the fun of dressing up in cosplay costumes as their favorite characters. Their fantastic creations can be shown off at conventions and festivals.

Marvel comic characters

First they start with ideas that are gleaned from graphic novels, movies, comics, books and TV shows. Moreover, those who are into cosplay craft costumes range from simple to complex. The actor will often spend hundreds of dollars and even more hours creating just the right look.

“I have one power. I never give up”. Batman

What’s the attraction?

The History of Cosplay

People have loved dressing up for centuries. Fancy dress and masquerade balls were once the primary outlets for people who wanted to be someone else for the evening.

In fact, the first known occurred at a masquerade ball. That was when Ohio couple Mr. and Mrs. William Fell dressed up as newspaper comic characters. The trend didn’t take off right away, but it did spark an interest. 

In the 1970s, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” brought cosplay to theaters around the country. At showings of the film, moviegoers would arrive dressed up as various characters. Their style would range from fishnet stockings and a cosplay costume corset worn by Dr. Frank N. Furter, to Magenta’s flirty French maid costume. After that the film quickly became a cult classic. Likewise, part of its popularity has its standing in personation culture.

Cosplay Extravaganza

More than four decades later, cosplay continues to attract corseted and be-glittered guests to midnight screenings across the country.

Around the same time in history, steampunk fashion started picking up steam. This Victorian/cyberpunk trend was a blending of history, technology and sci-fi. Because of this, one big costuming extravaganza was created.

custom cosplay costume


Still, it wasn’t until the mid-1980s that the role-playing trend finally got its name. Japanese producer Nobuyuki Takahashi observed sci-fi convention attendees in their array of costumes and coined the term “cosplay”. To clarify, this combined the words “costume” and “play.”

As it turned out, Japanese anime fans had been dressing up as their favorite characters since the ‘70s, too. Now they had a name for the phenomenon. As a result, it exploded in popularity both in Japan and the U.S. and eventually, around the world.

Cosplay Today

Today, people from all walks of life get into cosplay. The reasons can be as varied as the people involved. Pretending gives us an opportunity to channel creative interests into intricately detailed costumes, to interact with other members of fandoms, and to express ourselves in new ways.

Even better, it’s a hobby anyone can get into, from your next door neighbor to such well-known celebrities as Tom Hiddleston and Matt Smith.

So what are the Top 10 Reasons to Get Involved in Cosplay?

10. Cosplay is inclusive.

Anyone can dress up as anyone they want. When it comes to subterfuge, the limits are your own imagination. Age, ability, size, sex, and other personal characteristics fade into the background as you transform into your character.

Wonder Woman cosplay outfit


9. Cosplay is freeing. 

Acting can be a fantastic way to really let your hair down. It can be especially liberating for people who just don’t feel like they fit in. When you mask your appearance, you can to shed all those worries and use your character to connect with people.

8. Playing a role can boost your confidence.

First of all, step into the shoes of someone else for a few moments or days. After that, forget the worries of your day-to-day life. You can tap into the strength of your character and experiment with new ways of looking at things. Consequently, this can translate into real-life confidence.

Maleficent


7. Cosplay is versatile.

Cosplay ideas range from the classic steampunk costume to fanciful anime costumes, to colorful superhero costumes. Because of this, you can be as simple or as sexy as you want. For instance, try dressing up your look with handcrafted details or adding a costume corset for an alluring boost.

6. Dressing up is creative.

Whether you’re planning, creating or purchasing your costume, you’re getting ample opportunities to be creative. Showcase your imagination as you pull together disparate elements to create a whole new version of your favorite characters.

Avengers



5. Cosplay builds community. 

Although you can certainly roleplay on your own, it’s even more fun to do it as a group. You can go with a partner, a friend or a lot of friends using themed costumes, or you can go to your favorite con convention or party alone. Make new friends for future dress-up adventures.

cosplay Disney princesses characters



4. Cosplay can be a way of life. 

Socializing, expressing yourself and enjoying the process can all be great benefits of masquerade. Some people, however, take it a step further and make cosplay their livelihood. In addition to their own costumes, they create cosplay costumes for others. This is one hobby that can be quite profitable if you have the passion and talent.

Wonder Woman

3. Costuming is an art form.

The design, detail, and creativity that go into the average costume make it more art than game. However, unlike costume designers, you’re usually working with a limited budget and without a team of professional when you start creating your costume. That’s pretty impressive!

Many costume clothing designers share their ideas online. You can follow step by step instructions on ways to make an incredible costume on Youtube. https://youtu.be/VZ5hnFF6EdE

Moreover, you can buy a book from Amazon to learn how to make your cosplay costume.



2. Role-playing is an escape.

You can be anything you want to be when you role play: cartoon princesses, sexy siren, frightening sci-fi character, video game persona and more. You can be the hero or villain of your own dreams!

1. Cosplay is fun. 

Of all the reasons people cosplay, this might just be the biggest. Cosplay gives you an opportunity to relive your favorite childhood comic characters. You can get involved in your fandom in new and exciting ways, creating colorful works of art that you can wear.

Get Inventive With Cosplay


For some, play acting is a fun weekend hobby. For others, it’s a way of life. Many spend thousands creating just the right costume, but you can just as easily use items you already have. Much like dressing up for Halloween, cosplaying gives you an outlet for playful creativity.

If you’re ready to jump onto the cosplay train, there’s no better time to get started. Planning and making your own costume is just a fraction of the fun.

cosplay helmets made of Worbla

https://www.worbla.com/

Don’t limit your role play to conventions, movies or festivals. Try hosting a steampunk costume party or sci-fi theme night with your friends. In short, wear a cosplay Halloween costume to take the holiday to the next level. There are simply no limits when it comes to cosplay costume play.

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Why Corsets Are So Expensive

We are a society that thrives on merchandise. Every day we are confronted with new things to buy. If you have the extravagant taste of a connoisseur you may ask yourself why some corsets are so expensive? In contrast, if there is a comparable item, what makes one cost more?

Some of the items we buy in life are produced to make our life easier, while some of them are just for show. There are things to make you feel good and others to make you look better, younger, and feel happier.

Ferrari

While most of these things may start out as a new idea that someone has come up with, be it a design for a new purse or a tailgate on a new truck, they all have a beginning. From there the item gets refined, improved upon, copied and enhanced. The price may start out as minimal or exorbitant, depending on how much it initially cost to produce it.

But how do we get to the decision making step in the first place?

It Finally Happened

It finally happened, your favorite shoes have taken their last breath. No more coaxing can revive them. The heels are worn and the leather is tired, therefore no amount of sprucing will improve them. You’ve been dreading this time for decision making. Your old shoes are now considered vintage. You had a bond with them like an old pair of slippers. They have carried you through many good times and you will mourn their passing.

The company no longer produces the style or color you have. Now you will have to choose another pair that you are not familiar with. And most importantly, because you may have the new ones for a long time, you are careful about your decision-making process. You do thorough research and weigh your options.

Christian Louboutin shoes

The models you have been looking at are unsimilar. They are a different style with a different look, a higher heel and peculiar material. Decisions galore overwhelm you.

The new shoes can make or break an outfit! It becomes overwhelming you begin to wonder if you should just look for something else entirely. You really just want a good looking pair of shoes. A pair of shoes that are comfortable and don’t leave you wondering if it will match this outfit or that one. You want shoes that you don’t have to think about first thing in the morning with a foggy head.

Daily Decisions

In conclusion, while I am hopefully amusing you with my story of the search for a new pair of shoes, I have made you aware of some of the choices we make on a daily basis.

While not all of these choices are of utmost importance, some are. Some of them are simple choices that won’t alter your lifestyle. Some of them may send a significant jolt to your bank account.

Cost Relevance to Quality

Let’s take the example of the new shoes. While researching information about shoes online we can see that there are literally thousands to choose from. They range from very simple to the exclusive. Furthermore, the price range is adjusted accordingly.

Some people believe that the cost of an item is relevant to the quality. Whereas this may not always be the case, the final decision is based on their opinion.

Why Quality is Expensive

Some people just want to pay more. Some want the unique and rare that is seldom seen. They also may want to have something that others cannot afford. Or perhaps something that no one else has. Because of this, there is always the market for the expensive.

Opus One Wine

The exclusive comes at a high price, however. Be it perfume, shoes, a fine wine, jewelry, or cars, everything has a value attached to it. The value of the exclusive is usually based more on desire than need, because it makes you feel good about yourself.

The Reason for the Decision

How do we come to the final decision? First, you must decide the reason for wanting the item in the first place.

Sometimes you want to spend the extra money to have something entirely exclusive, and other times you want to just fill out your wardrobe.

Some days you dress to impress, and other times you stay in and wear sweatpants.

What About Corsets

Ditta Von Teese

Now let’s relate this to corsets as this is my specialty. Corsets are an exclusive and unique fashion item. Because they are a fashion item that is not worn every day. They can, however, be an awe-inspiring fashion statement. Perhaps you want an addition to your wardrobe that will make others stand up and notice. Corsets can show off curves that you didn’t think you had, with an instant waist reduction.

A striking corset can instantly stop conversations and have everyone reaching for their cell phones. Speechless, stunning, and impressive, are the words on the lips of the onlookers. Cameras are recording and the envy is significant.

Let’s Make a Comparison

In short, I have been asked why corsets are so expensive. “Why should I pay upwards of a thousand dollars for something that I can get for two-hundred dollars somewhere else?” you ask.

Well first you must do your homework. Most importantly, are the two items that are so far apart in price really comparable in quality?

Do you get the same customer service, amenities, and quality when you purchase Honda as you do a Mercedes? I should say not. That is not to say that one is completely inferior to the other. They are simply different purchases for different reasons.

If you are purchasing a pecocky corset to wear to a costume party, then you may not want to fork over a lot of money. However, if you desire a corset that you will wear many times, you will want one that fits correctly and is well made.

Custom Corsets

First, let’s understand the word ‘custom’. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, custom, is defined as “something made or performed according to personal order”.

So what does a ‘custom-made corset’ actually mean?

A custom corset is a corset made to your measurements and design specifications. This involves a process that will require you to have some involvement. The design can be as outlandish and inspiring as your imagination.

Many hours are required to produce a custom corset before the final model is finished. But as with any custom item, the cost is equal to the amount of customization you desire.

In this article we are going to outline the basic process of making a custom corset. Hopefully then you will understand why corsets are so expensive.

Basic Steps of a Custom Corset

To begin a custom corset there are four basic steps:

1 .   You provide your measurements to the corset maker using the outline and charts they provide. This is usually a simple and straightforward process but takes a little time, and requires the assistance of a friend.

2.   Together with the designer, you will come to a conclusion about what design you would like. The type of fit you want to have is usually based on the reason for your purchase. Is it for a special occasion, for whittling down your waistline, or just to have a one-of-a-kind outfit? The helps to determine a cost estimate for you. This process can be done by email or by phone.

3.   A mockup is constructed for your fitting once the measurements have been determined. This is not as complicated as it sounds. The mockup can then can be mailed out, with photos sent back to the designer. Or you may be able to have an in-person fitting. Some corsetieres charge for this while some do not. 

4. The actual construction of the corset begins when the correct fit has been achieved.
Most corset makers pay particular attention to the branding of their company name and incorporate labeling into the construction of their corsets. This is their reputation at stake after all.

Initial Mockup

The Corset Construction

Now that you have started the process of the corset with the measurements and fit required, the construction process begins.

First of all, a corset is unlike most garments as the fully lined corset is like putting together a down jacket but with a precise fit. Each garment has two layers identical to each other that are sewn together back to back. That is where the similarities between the corset and the down jacket ends however. With the down jacket, each section is then stuffed with the soft down material and the finishing touches are completed. With a corset however, there are many steps to be completed before the final project is done.

Before the Start

Because a corset is a garment that requires a considerable amount of time to construct a good corset maker takes his or her time. To rush the process could mean skipping a necessary step completely. To do so could mean wasting the entire project to start over again.

The fabric needs to be prepared by finishing the edges or pressing the material in advance. All materials are usually gathered in advance to make sure the proper items are on hand.

The items used in the construction of a corset are not common items that can be found in a local sewing store. The correct size of busk needs to be purchased, as well as specific grommets and often special lacing. These specialty items can only be purchased through a place that supplies corset items. Stiffener and interfacing are specific items that make a well made corset stand out from the others.

The Busk Insertion

There is a variety of terminology used when referring to a corset today. Many people mistakenly refer to a corset-top as a corset when the two are worlds apart. For a garment to be correctly known as a corset it must encompass a busk in the front and also have lacing at the back.

The busk consists of the metal pieces in the front that close the finished corset. It has hooks shaped like loops on one side and small buttons or pins on the other.

It takes time and precise measuring to get the busk installed correctly as it is sewn inside the center front sections. Once it is installed it cannot be moved or changed without damaging the garment.

The Inner Layers

The interfacing and inner layers are added to the corset next. Sometimes multiple layers of stiffening and structure are added to make a fully bespoke item.

Depending on the corset being constructed, the interfacing may be attached or sewn onto the lining or outside layers of fabric at this point as well.

As with everything else in a corset, so many different types of interfacing can be used. Heavy interfacing made with goat hair, which is used in men’s suits, can be found inside the quality made corsets.

Fusible interfacing may be used on outside fabrics that may need extra structure. Another time extensive item is the hand stitching that may be needed to hold the various layers in place correctly.

Inside of southwestern corset-Sedona
Sultry Lady Corsets

Finishing the Waist

Before the boning is added many seamstresses add a cloth tape or ribbon at the waistline. This is sewn onto the inside at the waistline for additional support. This is done to keep the corset from pulling apart when the tight lacing is done for waist restriction. Because of this, your corset will last longer.

Sometimes the waistline tape is added later, depending on the preference of the seamstress or designer.

The Boning

The boning channels are stitched in next or boning tape is added. Every piece of boning requires its own space to sit correctly because e ach seam needs to be precise to have a beautiful finish. It will be quite obvious the more precise and exacting the seamstress is. 

With corsets that have a bra cup design at the bust there may be a special underwire for the bust section. This requires not only a separate boning channel for the underwire but often there is additional padding under the bust section as well.

Setting the Boning

Once the outside and inside sections are sewn together and the boning channels are sewn in, the boning needs to be inserted. Each and every individual piece of boning needs to be cut to the exact size for the corset to be exceptional.

The ends of the boning need to be finished or protected so that they do not cut the corset fabric during wear. This is done with a variety of methods, dependent on the type of boning used. Sometimes this is done with special stitching that is sewn on the outside by hand to hold the boning in place.

Many modern corset makers use a variety of boning types in one individual corset. This requires different techniques in finishing each piece of boning.

The Back

Now that the front busk is in, the interfacing added, sections are sewn together, and the boning is inserted, it is time to complete the back.

The back will typically have many grommets attached to each side for the lacing to go through. As with the front, precise measuring must be done to ensure correct placement of the grommets.

A machine is used to attach the grommets securely in place. If they are not attached correctly, the grommets will come out during wear or the lacing or unlacing of the corset.

After the grommets have been placed, lacing is added to the back for proper closure. Similarly, a variety of lacing types can be used from satin ribbon to nylon cord. Some corsetieres use various ways that they lace the corset together at the back. Moreover, this is done for uniqueness and design.

The Finished Edges

At this point the top and bottom edges are finished with an edging fabric. If there is fabric that goes up to or wraps around the neck, this needs to be added before the finishing edges now.

Finishing Touches

Now we are close to the final completion.

If there is a modesty panel in back this will be added at this point or sooner if the designer deems it necessary.

Any additional embellishments are added at this point for the final look.

Any necessary hand stitching may be done for support or design. Hand beadwork is applied as desired. The most noteworthy labels can be sewn on by hand or by sewing machine during the process.

In conclusion, many labor-intensive hours and attention to detail have gone into the corset. It is an exclusive garment that cannot be changed, and the size cannot be altered.

So Why So Expensive?

Below is an outline of the cost of a simple overbust corset with no embellishments as provided on the website of
Electradesigns: https://corsetmakers.livejournal.com/288314.html?replyto=2812730

How Much It Costs To Make Your Corset

(based on over-bust corset with no embellishment)

Price of over-bust corset with no embellishment $275

Corset Materials

1 yd fashion fabric $15

1.5 yd twill $11

.5 yd binding fabric $4

Grommets $5

10 yd Boning $15

Boning tips $2

Busk (regular) $15

8 yd Ribbon laces $10

12 yd Twill tape $5

3 yd fusible webbing $6

1 roll fusible webbing $2

2 spool heavy duty thread $5

Drafting paper $1

___________________

Basic materials $96

Mockup Materials

1 yd cotton duck $7

Thread $1

Boning $1

laces $3______________________

Basic materials $12

Total materials Costs: Approx $108

Labor for each corset:

pattern draft 5 hours

sourcing materials 5 hours

making mockup 5 hours

altering pattern 2 hours

make corset 40 hours+

email correspondence 5 hours+

Post office 1 hour

_______________________________

hours on each corset 63+ hours

$275 Corset price

-$108 Materials Costs

_____

$167 for labor

Divide $167 by 63 hours of labor = $2.65 hour for skilled labor

Now let’s say you didn’t count the time spent responding to client email, sourcing materials, trips to the post office, etc. That’s about 50 hours spent on each corset., which comes to $3.34 an hour. That’s half the minimum wage in America.

Equipment:

sewing machine

sewing machine attachments

pattern drafting tools

sewing tools

steel bone cutting tools

industrial grommet setter

iron/ ironing board

electricity

workspace

storage space

file cabinet

washing machine/ dryer

drafting table

books

Education/ Experience

Two years of FIDM fashion design major ($60,000)

15 years corset making

18 years sewing

pattern drafting

fashion illustration

technical flats

custom tailoring

artist

Additional Expenses:

PayPal fees

Ebay fees

Web site fees

Internet 

Model/ Photographer

Web hosting fees

Computer software

Shipping for materials

Advertising

Sample corsets

Custom Corsets Made by Corsetieres


Whereas some of the items that were used in the making of their corsets are a different quality from other corset makers, the basic cost is comparable. Because each corset is somewhat or sometimes completely different, the cost of time and materials vary considerably.

Most corset makers use certain items in each and every corset they make. As a result, they have reliable quality in their products. Outer materials vary considerably, while interfacing, lining materials, boning, and finishing touches are consistent.

Some corsetieres send their designs off to a manufacturer to be produced on an assembly line. Other custom corset makers do each and every item by hand themselves.

The Cost of a Well Made Corset

Hopefully, this has given you a peek into the process of a well-made corset. The next time you ask “why corsets are so expensive”, perhaps you will have a better understanding.

As with that pair of shoes that you are hoping to buy, you get what you pay for. Quality does not come cheap. Much more goes into the production of a well made item.

Finally, it is up to you to decide if you want the item that is better made, more exclusive, yet more costly. Only you can decide if that Yeti cooler is worth the money or the Rolex watch is within your budget.

actor Billy Porter at the Oscars

The Realized Dream

The news reporter Robin Abcarian writes in her article on actor Billy Porter and ‘His fashion statement’, “Just like the fashion runways of the world, the Oscars red carpet is a fashion fantasy land. For the fantasy to work, everyone must buy in”.

Billy Porter is best known for his performance as Lola in the musical production of “Kinky Boots”. In addition, his attention-grabbing works from television to the theater have taken him to the red carpet many times.

For Billy Porter it was a realized dream of wearing a voluminous ball gown on the red carpet at the Oscars. “I’ve always wanted to wear a ball gown” he says, “I just didn’t know when“.

Share the Elation

In the article written by Robin Abcarian he continues, expressing his elation at having the gown custom made for him by designer Christian Siriano. The first time he tried it on he says “I felt alive. I felt free. And open, and radiant. And Beautiful! Which has not always been the case for me. I haven’t always felt so good about myself. It really is astonishing how much of an effect clothes can have on your spirit.In conclusion, he finished with the emotions he felt on Oscar night by relating, “I felt like I can float on air. I can conquer the world.”

We all have that opportunity. So what’s in your closet?

pirate costume sash 1-Sultry Lady Corsets

Breasts Revealed: The History of Breasts in Fashion

Cultural taboos in society often frown on revealing the female breasts. Even innocuous activities such as public breastfeeding can garner controversy and public disapproval. Society hasn’t always had such a prudish take on this natural, necessary body part. In fact, delving into history, they were used as a sexy fashion accessory or political statement.



The Cultural Significance of Cupid’s Kettledrums


Breasts have been turning heads just about as long as women have had them.  Cultural impact has a strong influence on the way people perceive female breasts. The practical function of breasts is often ignored because of cultural influence.

Mary Magdalene breastfeeding Jesus

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Breasts signify the onset of sexual maturity, symbolize motherhood and embody the beauty of the female form. In religious art, they play a prominent role. There are numerous paintings of Madonna nursing the Christ child. And more of nude statues of ancient goddesses concealing their genitals but displaying their breasts proudly. Even legends offered a nod towards the incredible natural power of a woman’s breasts. Such as the legend of Pero keeping her own father alive when he was sentenced to starvation.


Ancient Egyptian Women

 

Thanks for the Mammaries!



Breasts have often been associated with motherhood and religion. But they have also been a flirty fashion statement for centuries. Ancient Egyptian women, for example, wore elaborate jeweled dresses designed specifically to show off their breasts. As time passed, social and cultural norms changed, especially in the Western world.

By the 15th century, fashionistas were increasingly showing off “nature’s fonts”. In fact, some of those most stylish ladies, especially at court, became quite well known for their fashion derring-dos.

actress and singer, Madonna


While Western women didn’t necessarily have a “let it all hang out” attitude, breasts were definitely on display more.

Early modern Europeans and Americans had a bit of a Madonna-Whore complex when it came to breasts. Mothers and queens could bare their bosoms without fear of social judgment. For them, breasts signified purity and the nurturing relationships between mothers with their babies and queens with their countries. Mistresses and prostitutes were also known to share their “three-penny bits”. These women, however, had somewhat fewer notions of purity and a lot more implications of fun.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtly Cleavage


Court fashions tended to expose a considerable amount of cleavage, whether a woman was a queen, mistress or courtier. Possibly far more than we’re used to seeing even today. Agnes Sorel, the darling of King Charles VII’s court and the first officially titled mistress, made many bold statements. She made cleavage a hot commodity in the rarified style world of the 15th-century court.

Agnes Sorel

Royal mistresses weren’t just “the other woman” in those days. The mistresses often played important political and personal roles at court and were considered trendsetters. As the maitresse-en-titer, Sorel was no exception. She’d deliberately wear her bodice open with glittering jewels to better frame her shapely breasts. Her daring couture coups set tongues wagging and shocked the more buttoned-up courtiers. It also ignited a trend, however. One that continues today with models on the runway and celebs at awards shows.

Renaissance fashion


Renaissance Era Fashion

By the 16th century, women were wearing low-cut dresses as a rule rather than a flirty exception. An extra dose of titillation was added with specially made cosmetics that would deepen the color of their areolae. This could heighten their sex appeal. Stays, later known as corsets, were used to flatten and support the torso during this time period. Later on they had the added benefit of creating an alluring swell of breasts above the stays.

While French and Venetian courts were more open-minded regarding partial nudity, English courtiers were a little more reticent. The English women tended to soften the risque look for a more dramatic effect. The exposed bosoms were often displayed with a gauzy scarf. Even these modest adjustments were left by the wayside over time. 



Busts and Bustiers 



A simple “nip slip” or flashing carried with it a certain daring but was still considered socially acceptable. This was particularly seen in the elite and aristocratic classes. The right garments made breast exposure not just possible but highly desirable. Although generally considered an undergarment, corsets were often just as decorative as the dresses worn over them. Many displayed luxe brocade, decorative embroidery, and other beautiful details. Corsets can create curves which not only emphasize the breasts but also nip in the waist and create robust hips.


Earlier corsets tended to be long in front with shoulder straps. This ensured a straight posture and high breasts. The contrast they created, with a flat torso and rounded breasts, made the, prized possessions. The style was equally effective whether women had large or small breasts. Eventually,
near the end of the 18th century, corsets began to shrink into something resembling bustiers. This created the alluring shape so many women still crave today.

Victorian Era Women

Victorian era

By the Victorian era, breasts had become a little more outré. Even the slightest hint of decolletage being considered risque in the extreme. Women covered up more with their dresses often reaching their necks. Still, that didn’t mean women were moving away from their natural shape. If anything, they had found new ways to emphasize their curves, using sleek styling, cinched waists, and voluminous bustles. 

 

 

 

 



From Bubbies to Boobs



Women’s bodies have come a long way over the years. Today’s women are just as stylish in sleek yoga pants or workout wear as they are in business suits and formal wear. Shapewear has taken the place of busks and girdles for many women. But corsets will continue to enjoy a certain amount of popularity and sex appeal.

actress Emma Watson

A corset can create curves and offer strong support for good posture. A stunningly sexy corset can be worn on the top of your clothing or undercover. An intimate environment calls for a corset in place of your clothing.

actress Charlize Theron

 

 

 

Maybe it’s time to start channeling your inner Agnes Sorel with your own daring, vintage-inspired, breast-emphasizing corset!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pirate costume sash 1-Sultry Lady Corsets

The Progress of Fashion-Part 4

The Progress of Fashion-Part 4

A Hot Date for Saturday Night

You have a hot date lined up for Saturday night. It’s opening night for the Broadway production of Kinky Boots. You’re full of excitement with the anticipation of the upcoming evening. Subsequently, what is one of the first things that you will think of in preparation for this date?

Micah Gianelli

“What will I wear?”

What we will be wearing is always first and foremost in the front of our mind. Whether we are trying to make an impression or we are dressing for the weather, what we have on our body is of importance.

Thus we follow the progress of fashion.

Fashion and Style of Dress

Has it always been like this for people? How did all this worry and concern about the progess of fashion and our style of dress come about anyway?

While this is a vast and complicated subject that could take hours to discuss, I am going to briefly go through the timeline of the ever changing world of fashion.

This is the last of a four-part series discussing styles throughout history and the progress of fashion.   

Part 1: Earliest Known Evidence of Clothing

In the first of my four-part blog, I raised a few questions about the progress of fashion. Why have people always been so concerned about the type of clothes they wear? I portrayed the earliest known evidence of clothing. 

In the beginning, we know that the first coverings were made from primitive elements that could be found in the environment where a person lived. As a result, this meant that plants and animals were used extensively.

Created out of necessity, the garments functioned purely to cover the body for modesty, protection and warmth.

Animal furs and the various plants at hand were put to good use. Later, fabrics made of shorn animal fur or plant fibers were woven into yards of materials. These were usually draped loosely over the body and fastened with crude but functional elements.

The Changing of the Wardrobe

So why did they continue to change their wardrobe when it was perfectly functional as it was? Maybe it was the desire to spice things up, or maybe they just had time on their hands, we’ll never really know.

What we do know is that various fibers from both plants and animals were further enhanced to create beautiful fabrics. From this fabric clothing could then be designed and constructed into delightful and often elaborate outfits.

Fibers and the Fabrics Made From Them

Wool made from the furs of sheep, alpaca, goats, rabbits and camels has always been a good stand by for fabrics and the garments made from them. Wool accepts colored dyes well and has proven to be an excellent insulator. It’s proven to be durable and stand the test of time.

Cotton fabric is made from fibers pulled from the cotton plant. “Cotton fabric is soft, breathable and absorbs and releases moisture quickly”. [1]  Therefore cotton is a user-friendly fabric that is used extensively.

silk worm

“Silk fabric is made by collecting filaments from a mulberry silk moth’s cocoon, combining the output from four to eight cocoons into a single strand of raw silk”.  “Fabrics made from silk was first produced in China around 3000 B.C. Silk textiles have been found in ancient Chinese and Egyptian tombs”. [2]

“Linen textiles appear to be some of the oldest in the world: their history goes back many thousands of years”. Linen is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant. Consequently, linen is a very durable fabric which has many uses.

linen harvest

Linen fabric is laborious to manufacture, but is very strong, absorbent and dries faster than cotton. Garments made of linen are valued for their exceptional coolness and freshness in hot and humid weather”. [3] 

Fabrics in Color

Once it was discovered that these fabrics could be dyed using plants, roots and berries, a whole new world opened up to the budding fashionistas.

dyed yard

After learning the types of fabrics that people are using we are left with a question. Does the clothing a person wears display intelligence or moral character?

Part 2: Clothing Worn Around the World

In Part Two of this blog I went over the different types of clothing worn around the world. This often varied greatly with the climate, the objects that they had on hand to embellish their garments, and religious differences.

Doris Imalenowa in traditional African dress.

Some of the clothing designs displayed brightly colored and heavily embellished garments. Perhaps it can be said that the people of this type of clothing were happy and upbeat in personality.

Happy Victorian girls
somber Victorian ladies

Meanwhile, others had very plain and simple frocks showing a more somber, and serious disposition. Consequently, from this, we could get a peek into their possible personality types. 

Part 3: Uniforms and Clothing Worn to Work

Part Three discussed the value of making a lasting impression while following the progress of fashion. While the clothing you wear in your own home may not be that important, don’t discount the encouragement you can feel with your clothing choice. Above all, a better clothing choice can make you feel like a happier person.  

I made note that uniforms in many businesses have been created for work environments. This is to set individuals apart from everyday people.

We often have a different opinion of a person in uniform than we do of someone in casual clothing.

Most noteworthy however, I have shown that conformity and unification are a part of the human desire to bond together. Nurturing the social connection is paramount to the survival of our civilization.

 Part 4: The Progress of Fashion

In conclusion, as we wrap things up with our modern day perspective, have we changed our opinions along with our fashions?

The love-and-adornment-of-self did not begin with our modern day social media. We have had thousands of generations to fine tune the art of narcissism.

Thus began the origin of fashion design. Not to be outdone, the competition commenced. Not only did the types of fabrics used play a big role, but the colors and various embellishments were of utmost importance.

Does this make us vain and self centered? Well, yes and no. It is certainly not self centered to want to dress comfortably for the weather. Nor is it out of line to dress appropriately for the occasion or dress to be noticed once in awhile. Dressing sharp makes a person feel good about themselves and self confidence is important to well being.

Being consumed about dressing to be noticed each and every time you go out in public may become a problem however. The problem with your bank account could be number one. And then there is the deflated ego when you are not noticed in the way you anticipated.

With research in published studies by Forbes Magazine, it was found that “What we wear speaks volumes in just a few seconds. Dressing to impress really is worthwhile and could even be the key to success.”

So how did simple dressing become so complicated? 

Let’s start with Fashion as far back as the 14th century when things really started to get interesting.

The Renaissance: 14th -17th Centuries

The Renaissance began in FlorenceItaly, in the 14th century.[4]  This Renaissance — or rebirth — also hailed the beginning of a new era in clothing, when one’s station in life was often determined almost exclusively by apparel. Sumptuary laws prohibited who could wear what, making it easy to judge people simply by what they wore.

However, “Sumptuary laws were rarely enforced. The poverty endured by the lower classes was enough to prevent them from attempting to imitate their betters. Finer fabrics and embellishments increased with the wealth of the wearer.” [8] 

In this we notice that clothing makes a large distinction between the haves and the have-nots. Most noteworthy is that a distinction was always made between the rich and the poor.

 “Italy, Germany, England and France each had their own distinctive looks during the Renaissance” writes Scott Robinson of Central Washington University.

So while the class distinction continued, it varied from one country to the next.

Corsets Worn During Medieval 14th to 15th Centuries

Iron Corset

Catherine de’ Medici certainly had an incredible influence over the clothing worn at the time. Considered to be the originator of the steel cage corset, “On top of it all this formidable woman influenced fashion for the next 350 years by banning thick waists at court” “Since then waists were diminished by whale bones and steel cages”. [6]

Elizabethan Era 1558-1603

During the Elizabethan Era, between 1558-1603, sumptuary laws restricted commoners to garments of only one color and of mostly rough unrefined linen. The wealthy upper class could wear multiple colors, fabrics and jewels however, putting their wealth on display.   

On an interesting note, yellow was a popular color in 1510. That is until prostitutes began to wear the color hence it soon fell out of desire with the wealthy.

Enter the 1700’s

Hoop skirt and corsets remained the mainstay for women to display the female form. “The French aristocracy clung to the lavish displays of court fashion just as they held on to their luxurious lifestyles, despite changes in the economy. They ended up racking up debt as high as their hairdos”. [7]

Court etiquette demanded rigid, formal attire. Women wore corsets that accentuated an extremely stiff posture. Called stays, corsets were made of stiffened fabric with boning in front and back. They laced in back, in front, or at the sides. Court costume was made of high quality, expensive materials including silks, satins, and taffeta”. [7]

French fashion in 1700

As we have learned, America leaned heavily on the styles of European fashion as a representation of haute couture.

“By the mid-1760s, women’s magazines (in America) offered even rural women glimpses of current styles”. Because of this, it “gave women the ability to become fashion consumers” while remaining countrified.

1800’s -1900’s Fashion  

“1880  was the decade of severely tight and restrictive corsetry that was worn under dressed (sic) with long bodices, tight sleeves and high necks”.[9] Pleating was evident in most dresses and skirts and a dress could easily weigh from 15 to 20 pounds.

 “During the 19th-century men retained the white waistcoat and black tail-coat and trousers of the early 19th century for evening wear”. [9]

So as we can see from this, there was a standard of dress for both men and women that was adhered to on a daily basis. What was worn in the home also differed from what was worn in public. There was also  a change in clothing from day to evening.

Our Fashion Standard for Today

From here on out we will talk of the American ideals and our form of dress in the progress of fashion.

By far the majority of our fashion ideas and icons here in America have stemmed from European beginnings. Therefore, we have followed the hierarchy of European court dress throughout our history to a degree.

Standard of Dress

Up until after World War Two there was a certain form or style that was typically followed by most people as a standard of dress. Women wore skirts and dresses, men wore pants and jackets or suits.

garment factory circa 1950

This changed with varying degrees as the age of industrialization came into play. Clothing began to be mass produced in factories. As a result, this made it possible for more variety in the wardrobe.

World War Distinction 1914-1946

The war times produced a military look to clothing with an emphasis on suits for both men and women. Pride in our nation was paramount hence this was displayed in both clothing and patriotic attitude.

1940’s fashion

Corsets were set aside to assist in war efforts. Elastic garments called girdles then came into play to enhance the female figure. “Shortly after the United States’ entry into World War I in 1917, the U.S. War Industries Board asked women to stop buying corsets to free up metal for war production. This step liberated some 28,000 tons of metal, enough to build two battleships”. [11]

In the 1940’s “Men were still pretty dressed up. Suits, ties and hats were commonplace in public. Women wore dresses and skirts — they still didn’t wear slacks yet”.[12]

circa 940

“Another thing women ALWAYS wore: gloves. Preferably a pair that matches your outfit. Fur was very popular, as were animal skins. Crocodile purses, wombat collars, lambskin lining, and leather sleeves — no animal was off limits.”[12]

In short, after the end of World War 2, fashion trends took a distinct change.

The Years of 1950’s-1970’s

The website fondly named Retrowaste.com informs us of the vintage years of 1950’s-1970’s stating, “The important thing is that people were beginning to feel a little more freedom when it came to their fashion choices. No longer did people feel like they had to conform to a certain look for certain situations.” [13]

1950- After WW2-The First Decade

Marilyn Monroe

It was after the great economic depression and the first decade after World War 2. America was once again feeling prosperous and rejuvenated.

1950’s fashion

Clothing was still conservative for the most part, although a lot of satin and silk could be found on women along with polka dots, plaids, and floral prints. The daytime dresses were hemmed to the knees, but by evening they were usually long and flowing to the floor. Trim waistlines were shown off due to full circle skirts.

1960-The Decade of a Nation in Turmoil

The early sixties were more reminiscent of the 1950s — conservative and restrained; certainly more classic in style and design.” [14] The pressure and turmoil of a nation under stress had its effect however, and by the end of the decade a distinct change had taken place.

 “It’s almost like the 1950s bottled everyone up so much that the late 1960s exploded like an old pressure cooker. Women were showing more skin than ever before.” [14]

Fashion in 1960

First of all the assassinations of JFK and MLK shocked the nation. While civil rights movements were in full swing, we merged into the Vietnam War.

Experimentation with psychedelic drugs was rampant among the protesting youth, and the effects were heard in music as well as fashion styles.

Music Impact on Fashion

Music from the Beatles transformed our country. Because of this, any fashion styles that looked ‘straight out of London’ were in vogue. We were still in love with European fashion and “Groovy” became the word of the day.

By the mid to late 60’s “Bright, swirling colors, psychedelic, tie-dye shirts, long hair and beards were commonplace. Woman wore unbelievably short skirts and men wore tunics and capes.” [14] It seems our country had become bi-polar!

Also, men’s pants became flared at the bottom almost like women’s pants. It’s quite clear that at that time, women’s clothes were becoming more masculine while men’s clothes were becoming more effeminate.”[14]

1970- Over Population of Polyester

As 1970 entered the scene bright colors and polyester could be found everywhere. “Men and women alike were wearing very tight fitting pants and platform shoes. By 1973, most women were wearing high cut boots and low cut pants.” [15]

Donny & Marie Osmond

Almost every mans closet had a leisure suit and a few velour ones could be found as well. “And it is probably the first full decade in which women could be seen wearing pants in every walk of life.” [15]

1980-The Decade of Fashion Meltdown

By 1980 our country was exhibiting signs of a fashion meltdown. Designers lost all convention. Because of this, the outcome was interesting if not gaudy. Above all, it was a decade of ‘anything goes’.

Velour was hot and velvet was even hotter. For both men and women, the waistline was a little high.”[16] “It was an exceptionally flexible time when a woman could wear skin-tight cotton stirrup pants with leggings and a giant turtleneck sweater one day — and parachute pants with a small v-neck top and a high-waist belt the next.” [16]

1980’s era

Neon colors, as well as a lot of brown and tan, were worn on a daily basis. Block-shaped clothing, parachute pants, velour, and dressing like a tennis player, were all standard forms of dress. Thankfully denim continued to be a teenage mainstay. 

1990-The Time of Intensity

As we waved good bye to our troops heading off to the war in Iraq (AKA: Desert Storm) beginning in 1991, the military clothing styles slowly crept back into fashion. Hence camouflage material became the ‘in-look’ for civilians as well as the military.

Kim Kardashian leaves her home in SoHo, New York on February 9, 2015.

Clothing of this decade was loose and oversized on top with pant legs tapered in at the bottom. Women were thrilled that the old bell bottom pants from the last decade could be re-fashioned quite easily.

Teenagers pulled from Mom & Dad’s closet re-inventing the 1970’s look which was really hot again.

Rap music burst onto the scene with a younger turnout of musicians appearing. Generation X, hip hop and grunge attire made their first appearance. Flannel shirts and torn jeans re-emerged from hiding to the dismay of many parents. But the teenagers held fast to the look which still can be seen today.   

Dipset Boys

As the decade progressed, name brand designers re-emerged to the scene bringing sexy and glamorous styles back for the more discriminating fashion follower.

Fashion Today

So where does that leave us with fashion in our present day?

Well, after hundreds of years of fashion consciousness it seems we have finally reached a time period in history where “anything- goes”.

Chanel Fashion Line

Today, more than any other time in history we are witnessing a fashion acceptance of every style ever created. Gone are the standards that a person is expected to recognize in order to be considered in-fashion.  

Alstair Tombs of the University of Queensland, writes in his conference paper for a Global Fashion Management Conference, ‘Fashion is “me too”, style is “only me” Consumer preferences toward fast fashion and luxury fashion’: “The fashion industry has been dramatically transformed in the last 20 years with the introduction of fast fashion: a style of instant cutting edge fashion at affordable prices. Collectively the findings present strong supporting evidence that the differences in consumers’ need for uniqueness are likely to affect some fashion style preferences and not others”. “Fashion consumers are uniqueness seekers and have their own ways of portraying their individuality to society. (Workman & Caldwell, 2007) “.

“With the invention of cell phones along with social media, we have the evolution of a society that spans generations, in expressing their individuality.  They endeavor to interpret fashion trends and adopt the clothing style that suits their value and traits” writes Nithyapraksh Venkatasamy of the Bannari Amman Institute of Technology. [17]

Firstly, for the people in this era, it’s not just about throwing on some clothing to protect and cover themselves up. It is about self-expression and individuality. It’s about making a statement, sometimes even a political one.

We have certain fashion designers making bold political statements with their designs, and others boasting sustainability by using recycled and renewable materials.

And we have sports athletes that make protests using their work attire.

The tennis pro, Serena Williams, wore a green leotard on the court after having her previous ‘black catsuit’ banned from the game.

She then wore a black tutu to further her resistance to authority.  President Bernard Giudicelli said in the 500th issue of Tennis Magazine that stricter rules will be in place as ‘sometimes we go too far.’ 

PARIS, FRANCE – MAY 29: Serena Williams of USA during Day Three of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros on May 29, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Serena Williams green leotard
Serena Williams in a Tutu on the court

People are using clothing as a means of expression more than ever before. But it’s not just about expressing your beliefs and emotions; it’s a cultural movement that is in full swing.

It’s a movement that says “look at me!” Are people feeling left out, or are they just wanting to be noticed more?

While viewing the everyday current headlines and social media strings we will see a little of both. It seems like everyone wants to make a statement one way or another.

But in all honesty, there are worse things than having our visual senses jolted by a person’s fashion statement.

I believe the fashion designer Ralph Lauren said it best. “Fashion is not necessarily about labels. It’s not about brands. It’s about something that comes from within you”.

Victoria Beckham attends her Flagship London Store in Mayfair.


References

[1] https://www.reference.com/beauty-fashion/cotton-made-fabric-36d339098e037173 How Is Cotton Made Into Fabric?

[2] https://www.reference.com/hobbies-games/silk-fabric-made-fb7b95352e47bc83 How Is Silk Fabric Made?

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linen Linen from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[4]  Burke, P., The European Renaissance: Centre and Peripheries1998

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Medici Wikipedia, House of Medici

[6] https://corsethistory.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/its-all-catherine-de-medicis-fault/   History of Corsets

[7] https://bellatory.com/fashion-industry/Womens-Fashions-of-the-1700s by Dolores Monet

[8] https://bellatory.com/fashion-industry/Fashion-History-Clothinig-of-the-Early-Middle-Ages-Dark-Ages-400-900-CE by Dolores Monet

[9] https://prezi.com/px9toowamfqr/fashion-from-the-late-1800s-to-the-early-1900s  by Savannah Pesch

[10] https://bellatory.com/fashion-industry/Renaissance-Fashion-Womens-Clothing-in-Elizabethan-England by Dolores Monet

[11] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_corsets Wikipedia

[12] https://www.retrowaste.com/1940s-fashion     1940s Fashion: Clothing Styles & Trends

[13] https://www.retrowaste.com/1950s/fashion-in-the-1950s  

[14] https://www.retrowaste.com/1960s/fashion-in-the-1960s

[15] https://www.retrowaste.com/1970s/fashion-in-the-1970s

[16] https://www.retrowaste.com/1980s/fashion-in-the-1980s

[17] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282571020_Fashion_trends_and_their_impact_on_the_society

[18] https://www.popsugar.com/fashion/Serena-Williams-Green-Bodysuit-Australian-Open-2019-45678912 Serena Williams’s Outfit Isn’t a Leotard — It’s a Badass “Serena-tard,” Thank You Very Much , 1-19-2019 by Victoria Messina

 

pirate costume sash 1-Sultry Lady Corsets

The Value of Making a Good Impression-Part 3

The Value of Making a Good First Impression

Do you realize the value of making a good first impression?  As human thinking has shown, “It’s in our nature to form hasty opinions and make quick generalizations”. [1] People notice what we wear, and they form opinions of us based on that first instantaneous glimpse.  th

This is the third part of my four-part blog on The Clothing We Wear. Stay with me as we further explore the type of clothing people wear and the reasoning behind it.

Next, read through the story I am about to tell and contemplate your own daily fashion statement.

Pajamas in the Park

Sitting in the park in the early morning with the warm breeze blowing through my hair, I close my eyes, roll my head back, and lift my face to the sun. The warmth of the sun is comforting as I lean back on my arms and swing my legs which dangle from the picnic table top that I chose to sit on. Somehow dangling my legs makes me feel free and child-like, without responsibilities. It feels good to be alive at this moment in time. I inhale a deep breath and lower my face to look out over the park, observing the people that are passing through.

Something catches my attention at the corner of my vision. Is that man walking a dog actually wearing his pajamas? My eyes cannot look away and my mind is stunned. The reality hits home that indeed he is. To amuse the onlooker, even more, his comical reddish-brown hair is sticking out in every direction. Apparently, his appearance is not a major concern of his daily presentation. The faraway look in his eyes depicts a man lost in thought. The dog is oblivious to the man’s exhibition however and happily trots along in front leading him on a routine daily walk, unimpressed by the leash to which he is tethered.

The pajamas are loose and baggy, navy blue in color with small defined designs on them. As he comes closer into my field of vision the designs appear to be mini Scottish Terriers, a fitting replica of his own little pooch. The tortoiseshell framed glasses perched on his nose and the dark-colored jogging shoes complete his attire.

I would think he simply rolled out of bed and hooked up the dog before heading absentmindedly out the door except for the jogging shoes and glasses. I wonder if he is even aware that he is out in public, traipsing through a city park.

Dressing the Way You Feel

Have you witnessed this scene before? Are you someone that can be seen walking your dog or going out to the mailbox in your pajamas or bathrobe? Or even more entertaining, do you run to the grocery store dressed in clothes that would be better off worn at a burlesque costume party?

Maybe you are not feeling well or perhaps you’ve had an argument with your best friend. Need the comfort of Mom and home cooked food? Out come the sweatpants and chicken soup.

If you’re like most people, your emotions can be identified by your facial expressions. But your clothing can be extremely revealing as well.

As human beings, we are subject to daily mood changes according to our body chemistry. On some days we are concerned with how we appear to others. Other times, we experience indifference worthy of a sloth. dv1554007_XS

Your personal style is a form of nonverbal communication, just like your facial expressions and your body language. If someone were to smile while giving you some really bad news, you would feel especially uncomfortable. If an acquaintance invited you to her house for a friendly lunch and then sat with her arms folded and legs crossed, you would think something was amiss. Similarly, when your clothes do not match who you are as a person, you and others around you experience a lack of harmony, a dissonance.”

“It’s hard to convince others — but more importantly yourself — that you are a vibrant human being when you look like you can barely convince yourself to roll out of bed in the morning.” (Chivers, 2010-18)

Is it really that important to be concerned about what we wear at all times? Maybe not while you’re in the comfort of your own home. Don’t discount the encouragement you can feel with your clothing choice, however. A better clothing choice can make you feel like a happier person.  “Often we can change the entire day simply by changing our perspective, and choosing to have a good day.”[4]

“The clothes you wear and the way you groom yourself will change the way other people hear what you say. It will subconsciously tell them if you’re like them or if you’re different. It will determine whether they listen or ignore. Trust or distrust. How you dress yourself changes who you are. It changes the value of what you have to say. At least to the people who are looking and listening.”[5]

The Clothing We Wear to Work

Now that we have briefly touched on what you wear at home let’s look at the clothes you wear to work.

Dressing for the Job Interview

You’re concerned about the effect you will have on a potential new boss at a job interview, so you dress in a new suit you have recently purchased for this occasion. You want to exhibit your best side so your hair is gelled to perfection and your shoes are polished. You hold your head high with your shoulders back displaying good posture. This makes you feel good about yourself. Why, because you are dressed to impressed. You know that you are looking your best and you feel proud of yourself. Take note here that you have taken the time to project a good image.

The Business Suit

Think of a debonair man in a business suit and tie jumping out of airplanes and taking on the evil masterminds of the foreign world. Yes, the infamous James Bond comes to mind. He is suave and sophisticated. Women drool over his vision and men want to emulate him. sean-connery-james-bond-three-piece-suit

The modern-day suit is the image of a polished, well put together man, of the business world. It demonstrates someone in charge of the situation that people look up to with respect.

But where does the suit have its beginnings? And why has it retained the appeal and status for so long?

In fact, the suit’s prehistory begins in the evolution of court dress in Britain. After a nasty outbreak of plague in 1665, the lacy and elaborate court outfits suddenly seemed like a political liability to Charles II, who ordered his nobles to begin dressing — for a while — in modest tunics and breeches in your usual office-drab colors (navy, grays, shudder-inducing taupes).” [12]

“ We do not know exactly who had the idea for the first lounge suit (as our modern suit is properly called), or what he designed it for. But the first one did appear in the mid-19th century, and quickly became both a casual garment for the elite and a dress-up item for the working class.” [12]

“Eventually, we Americans figured out how to dress ourselves. This newfangled vestment was so darn easy to wear! It appeared on everyone from cab drivers to business executives and made all appear polished and professional. Hollywood picked the look up and ran with it.” sic [12]

An interesting bit of trivia about the suit is also revealed. “And, though you may find it hard to believe, at one point Americans associated the suit with rebellion in the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943.” [12] The riots were called such because “zoot suits” with broad, padded shoulders, double-breasted coats, plus ultra-baggy-legged trousers that tapered at the ankle were worn to intimidate. It must have worked as roving bands of teenagers crowded the street corners looking for a fight.

The business suit has since become the chosen attire of every well-dressed man in the business world who wants to be taken seriously. Even women have taken up the look in the boardroom, with the freedom to pair it with pants or a skirt. It commands respect.

Uniforms in the Workplace

There are certain professions that have an established uniform for their work attire. Have you ever wondered why that is? Let’s take a look at the various professions and the uniforms that they wear to set themselves apart from everyday people.

Uniforms of Police, Military, Fire, EMS, Security, and Tactical

When any type of clothing can be worn with the same results of covering the naked body, then why is a uniform necessary?

“If the dress of the members of an organization remains the same then there is a sense on commonality which develops amongst them. Uniforms also depict solidarity, and this has been this way throughout, right from the days of the Roman Empire to the modern day manufacturing houses.”[7]

When everyone has a uniform appearance they feel like they belong to a group.”[9] “Research has also suggested that even slight alterations to the style of the uniform will change how citizens will perceive the officer.” [7]

“These days wearing a uniform is common with the paramilitary organizations like police etc and the armed forces. These help them, stand out of the crowd so that they can be easily recognizable and also distinguish them for the service they do. (sic) These uniforms not only make them feel proud but also have an imposing effect on others and with the presence of a person in uniform, can change the mood of people around.”[8]

Police and Security

Police officers need to be easily identified for a variety of reasons. “The crisp uniform of the police officer conveys power and authority. When a police officer puts on his or her uniform the officer is perceived in a very different way by the public. He or she is viewed as embodying each person’s stereotypes about all police officers.”[7]

c3e1aaf30bb7c585e88595a6a3aa2bcb “Research has suggested that clothing has a powerful impact on how people are perceived, and this goes for the police officer as well. The uniform of a police officer has been found to have a profound psychological impact on those who view it.” [7]

When uniforms are worn by the police force it makes them appear to be more united and approachable, making the role of the uniform more important. But why the color blue? According to “The Psychological Influence of the Police Uniform“, the colour blue has several functions in relation to a police uniform, one of the main ones being that it is much easier to clean and maintain than a lighter/brighter colour and that it shows stains and marks less easily”. [6]

Another reason listed by the boys in blue today is that the dark shade of navy blue makes an officer harder to see at night, making it easier for them to sneak up on bad guys. “The officers feel safer with the dark shirts on at night. It’s the perception, and the perception is as important as reality.” [6] The dark colors are also worn by security officers for the same reason.

Military

the-armys-new-camouflage-uniform-looks-nearly-identical-to-the-previous-oneMilitary uniforms have gone through significant changes over time. The solid colors of the military in the past have been changed to camouflage for protection and identification. Camouflage is used to blend into the surrounding area to disguise a person from the terrain and hide from the opposing enemy.

Firefighter and EMS

Firefighters wear a uniform not only for identification but also for protection. While “fighting actual fires, firefighters must contend with smoke, water, hot embers, falling objects, and collapsing floors.” [20] Their uniforms are made of two-layer heat resistant material that wicks away moisture that gets trapped inside. The reflective stripes make them easy to identify through a haze of smoke.image006

EMS or Emergency Medical Services is a specialized team of people responding to medical emergency situations. Their uniforms are designed to distinguish them from the surrounding situation and easily identify them at a moment’s notice. While they are primarily associated with ambulances they can also be found in helicopters and other various types of th (1)transport vehicles.

 The Medical Field: Doctors and Nurses

The main reason nurses wear uniforms is to display a unified, professional look to patients so that patients or other interested parties can easily recognize a nurse when they need one.  Most hospitals and other health care facilities require their nurses to wear uniforms of some kind while on duty, as part of an effort to maintain a professional image. Ideally, uniforms always stand for consistency and uniformity.

A nurse is seen as a representative of a very noble profession and therefore the clothes she wears at work are expected to represent the seriousness of her call. When people think of nurses, they envision well-mannered, compassionate people in white respectable in appearance, caring for patients tenderly. This image has survived for centuries and even today, this is the standard image for a nurse. As such, the strong public opinion is that nurses have an ethical obligation to wear proper attire that befits their vocation. If not white uniforms, then they should follow a strict dress code that stands for the utmost professionalism and cleanliness.” [11]

Doctors and pharmacists are well known for the white lab coats they wear. This is not only for identification but for protection of their clothing. It also promotes a respectable appearance that people look to as an authority figure.

Uniforms in Other Fields

While uniforms are certainly understandable in the medical, police and military fields, there are other establishments that take advantage of uniforms as well.

Construction workers can be identified with neon orange or yellow vests with reflective tape and hard hats. This serves to make them easily identifiable and visible on the dangerous highways and construction sites.

Sports Activities

Uniforms for sports activities are for identification as well. However, the colored uniforms in this instance are known to establish unity and team spirit. It would be difficult to tell one team from the other if they were to wear street clothes.1200px-Ben_hands_off_to_Willie

Private Schools

Private schools have also used uniforms for the purpose of unification and recognition for many years. This not only creates an environment where competition is kept to a minimum, but students will clearly stand out from the faculty. A dignified reputation is of utmost importance here. The Citadel, a 175-year-old public military college in South Carolina provided a statement from the college president, Lt. Gen. John Rosa. He explained that “the uniform is central to the leadership training at the college, as cadets give up their individuality to learn teamwork and allegiance to the corps.”

There are also many other industries that use uniforms to designate authority or association with a particular field. Airline pilots, delivery and postal workers, auto mechanics and service technicians, are just to name a few.

Religious Leaders and Their Followers

In reference to religious leaders and the type of clothing or uniforms that they wear, a variety of reasons are to be found. “A simple robe can make a Buddhist monk feel closer to Buddha, while a modest sweater can help a Mormon missionary project a professional image as she proselytizes.” [13]

“Some religious communities may require that religious personages (e.g., priests, monks, nuns, shamans, priestesses, and others) garb themselves with appropriate types of religious dress at all times, whereas other religious communities may only request that religious dress be worn during rituals.”[15]

Buddhist

SONY DSCThe garments or robes, of a Buddhist Monk “create a “uniformity of intention” visible at first glance”.[13] The robes themselves represent the simple life that the monks have vowed to live. The colors of the robes can vary by region. The yellow color of robes is probably obtained through dyes made with saffron and turmeric.

Catholics

According to the Directory for the Ministry and Life of Priests, the “clergy must dress in a way that distinguishes them from the laity. “It is particularly important that the community be able to recognize the priest, man of God and dispenser of his mysteries, by his attire,” the document states.”[13] anglicanarchbishop-catholicpope

In relation to the order of the nuns or sisters, on the other hand, each order displays different habits. Their garments often use different colors with their own symbolic meanings. These serve to highlight the characteristics of each order. “At its core, the habit is a visible sign of the nun’s complete consecration to God and unity with other nuns in a religious community.” [14]

Orthodox Jews

The Orthodox Jews have their own standard of dress for daily living. “Orthodox men typically wear long black garments to indicate a “lack of concern for color and other dictates of fashion and thus helps keep priorities straight,” according to Chabad guidelines. Orthodox Jewish women on the other hand “are encouraged to cover their hair and wear skirts below their knees as a sign of modesty.” [13]56489244baa9ef3f356907a5f2a78500--professional-swimming-les-magiciens

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or Mormons

Those of the faith of the Mormon religion are required to “wear modest clothing and plain hairstyles. Women must wear either blouse with skirts or dresses that cover to the knee. Men must wear business suits. The clothing guidelines are meant to ensure that missionaries look “professional” and “attractive,” according to the website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.” [13]

Muslim

To some people, many forms of the Muslim dress may seem odd or excessive. “The shari’ah, however, assigns it moral, social, and legal dimensions.”[17] ”The dress should not be such that it attracts men’s attention to the woman’s beauty.”[17]

The manner of dress of Muslims has drawn great attention in recent years, with some groups suggesting that restrictions on the dress are demeaning or controlling, especially to women.” [18] “In reality, the way in which Muslims dress is really driven out of simple modesty and a desire to not draw individual attention in any way. Although Islam has no fixed standard as to the style of dress or type of clothing that Muslims must wear, there are some minimum requirements that must be met.” [18] Thickness, looseness, & overall appearance are always considered.YEMEN-CONFLICT-DEMONSTRATION

Quran Laws for Men and Women

For Women: “The Quran has no requirement that women cover their faces with a veil, or cover their bodies with the full-body burqua or chador, as in Iran and Afghanistan. But the Quran does address the matter of veiling in such a way that it has been interpreted historically, if not necessarily correctly, by Muslim clerics as applying to women.” [19] The veiling of women was not an Islamic innovation but a Persian and Byzantine-Christian custom that Islam adopted.

For Men: “The minimum amount to be covered on the body is between the navel and the knee. It should be noted, though, that a bare chest would be frowned upon in situations where it draws attention.” [18] “Neither excessively fancy nor ragged. One should not dress in a manner intended to gain the admiration or sympathy of others.” [18]

Summary

While this blog by no means covers the entirety of the subject of making a good first impression, it has at least scratched the surface. Hopefully, it has piqued your interest and you will investigate further with the references listed below.

Uniforms are a part of our life, whether a business suit or a sacred religious robe. Conformity and unification are a part of the human desire to bond together. Nurturing the social connection is paramount to the survival of our civilization.

Just remember, “Whatever message you’re trying to send to the world, never forget the clothes you put that message in will determine the way it’s received. So, dress it carefully.”(sic) [5]

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REFERENCES

[1] https://www.slidegenius.com/blog/presentation-what-to-wear/

[2] https://myyearwithoutclothesshopping.com/fashion-style-shopping/i-dont-care-what-you-wear/

[3] https://www.reference.com/business-finance/nurses-wear-uniforms-ad9603defb55153d    Why do Nurses Wear Uniforms?

[4] https://myhometableau.com/dress-the-way-you-want-to-feel/    Dress the way you want to feel December 3, 2012 · by Johanna

[5] https://www.riskology.co/dress-well/  The Psychology of Dressing Well (And Why You Must To Get Anywhere In Life) by tyler tervooren | 4 minute read

[6] http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/09/police-wear-blue-2/  Why Do The Police Wear Blue? September 5, 2014 Karl Smallwood

[7] https://www.policeone.com/police-products/apparel/undergear/articles/99417-The-psychological-influence-of-the-police-uniform/  The psychological influence of the police uniform, Article updated on August 11, 2017. By Richard R. Johnson, MS

[8] http://www.impact.ms/5-reasons-why-wearing-a-proper-uniform-is-important/  Impact Marketing and Design By Dione|September 18th, 2015

[9] https://www.quora.com/Why-do-the-military-wear-uniforms Justin Boyle Answered Jun 8, 2018 ·

[10] https://work.chron.com/kind-gear-firefighters-wear-9547.html  What Kind of Gear Do Firefighters Wear? by Clayton Browne; Updated March 30, 2018

[11] http://www.nursinguniforms.net/blog/importance-of-dress-code-for-nurses-in-hospitals  A Nurse’s World – Blog By NursingUniforms.Net

[12] https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/07/where-did-business-suits-come-from/260182/  Where Did Business Suits Come From? EMILY CHERTOFF JUL 23, 2012

[13] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-these-six-religious-groups-wear-what-they-wear_us_55ce7bcae4b055a6dab07ad0  Why These 6 Religious Groups Wear What They Wear By Antonia Blumberg

[14] https://www.reference.com/world-view/nuns-wear-religious-habits-62b3a8c393f3b71f  Why Do Nuns Wear Religious Habits?

[15] https://www.britannica.com/topic/religious-dress  Religious dress written by: E. Michael Pye and James Dickie

[16] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2016/05/10/the-citadel-will-not-allow-an-exception-to-the-uniform-to-let-a-muslim-student-wear-her-hijab/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.2fd911a8e4ba  The Citadel will not allow an exception to the uniform to let a Muslim student wear her hijab By Susan Svrluga May 10, 2016

[17] https://www.islamawareness.net/Dressing/dressing_article0001.html  Muslim Clothing Requirements According to the Qur’an & Sunnah, From a paper compiled by Jamal A. Badawi

[18] https://www.thoughtco.com/islamic-clothing-requirements-2004252  Thoughtco. Islamic Clothing Requirements

[19] https://www.thoughtco.com/quran-require-women-to-wear-veil-2353510   Thoughtco. Does the Quran Require Women to Wear the Veil?

pirate costume sash 1-Sultry Lady Corsets

Why Do We Wear Clothing At All?- Part 2

Why Do We Wear Clothing At All?

Aside from the reasons of modesty, and inclimate weather, why do we wear clothing at all? It has been shown that clothing is not considered necessary in all parts of the world. So why have people been infatuated and even controlled by fashion since the beginning of time?

The Beginning of Fashion

From the first article, we determined that the earliest known evidence of clothing is thought to be around 170,000 years ago, give or take a millennium. This clothing was made from the skins of animals, the wool of animal fur, and later, materials made from plant fibers.

Wool is typically made from sheep fur but can be harvested from goats, muskoxen, rabbits, alpacas, and Llamas. Using all sources of materials at hand was not only enterprising but crucial.

Looking back into time, the first depictions of actual clothing was from Biblical times. This included ancient Hebrews, Assyrian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Israelite nations.

Following basic garments, clothing with religious significance came next.[12] “The Bible has a surprising amount to say about clothing”. [22]

“Our clothing makes a statement about us, and, in the case of many people, that statement is all about dignity, a sense of self-worth, and, yes, respect for all those with whom we come into contact”. [23]

The everyday fashion in Biblical times included many items. Head coverings, shoes, wigs, jewelry, and other accessories were often significant as well as plentiful.

For the purpose of keeping the article to a minimum, however, I will briefly cover the topic of basic clothing. Much more information on the topic can be found and certainly in more detail in the references from which the information was taken at the end of the article.

Israel

The first basic garments, of course, were skins wrapped around the hips as an apron. When held together by a cloth or sash this garment was known as an ‘ezor.[3]

clothing of ancient Hebrews
clothing of ancient Hebrews

This graduated to garments made of fabric covering the body to the knees or ankles. Their heavy materials were crudely sewn together with openings for the arms.[1] [3] This sleeveless type of tunic often left the shoulders uncovered.

In later times, anyone dressed with only this type of garment (kethōneth)[4] was considered naked. Interesting to note, however, they did wear underwear.

Jacob_and_Rebekah
dress of Biblical times

Much of the way they dressed, and the various layers they used, had spiritual or religious significance. Their dress had a purpose. Some of the items used were only allowed to be worn by men of rank or of the priestly order.

There were vestments that were common to all priests and those worn by high priests alone. The Torah provided specific vestments to be worn by the priests when ministering the temple.[2]

The Torah says little about clothing. It does forbid men from wearing women’s clothing, however. And without explanation, it prohibits blending wool and linen in a garment. [9]

The Torah also commanded the Israelites wear tassels or fringe attached to the corners of their garments to remind them to keep the Lord’s commandments. [10] Accessories of head coverings, breastplates, shoes, and undergarments were all specifically outlined for them. This showed that their fashion choices were heavily impacted by their religious beliefs.

The Israelite women wore clothing similar to the men though were longer in length. [1] [3] The women did not wear veils.

Modern Day Islam

In reference to the code of dress as embraced by Islam and those of the Muslim belief, we address appearance from an Islamic perspective.

I cover it only because of the significant difference in the dress worn by Muslim women in comparison to other geographical locations and beliefs.

The custom in the Middle East of the veil to the face originated with Islam. According to ancient law, it reached from the forehead, over the back of the head to the hips or lower.[3]

“Muslims are required to pay attention to their appearance, making sure that their clothing is beautiful and clean, especially when dealing with others and when performing the prayers, as the Qur’an states”. [24]

YEMEN-CONFLICT-DEMONSTRATION
Yemeni women dressed in the niqab

“The general rule in the Sharee‛ah is that all types of clothing and adornment are allowed. “Islam has fixed the standards of modesty for both men and women. For men, the minimum amount to be covered is between the navel and the knee.

For women who are in the presence of men not related to them, they must cover their bodies except for their face and hands.  Muslims are required to cover their private parts with appropriate clothing, as the Qur’an states. Skin-tight and see-through clothes are not allowed in Islam.

muslim dress
muslim dress

Clothing that involves dressing like or imitating the opposite sex: This type of clothing is strictly forbidden in Islam and wearing it is considered one of the major sins.” [24]

Egypt

In ancient Egypt, linen was the textile that was used almost exclusively. To the Egyptians, the wool from animals was considered impure and animal fibers were considered taboo. [2] Wool could only be used for warmth in coats.

ancient egyptian clothing
ancient Egyptian tunics

Egyptian fashion was created to keep cool in the hot desert environment.[5] People of the lower class wore only a loincloth covering their vital reproductive parts.

The-Loincloth-was-the-first-style-of-underwear-worn-by-man-900x720
Egyptian loincloth

Although depicted in most murals as dressed, slaves often worked completely naked. [5]

The tunic and the robe were common amongst both genders. This remained unchanged over several millennia. [6]

Greece

Despite the depictions by the media, of all white tunics, clothing in ancient Greece was quite colorful. These garments were called peplos or chiton. [7]

ancient greece
Greek tunics

Their clothes were made of a linen or wool fabric, secured with a pin or a sash at the waist. Men’s chiton hung to the knees whereas women wore the garment to the ankles.

Rome

The ancient Roman wardrobe was a toga. This was usually a one-piece garment wrapped around the shoulders and down the body. Togas could be wrapped in different ways and became larger as time went on.[8]

The transition of the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire in 44 BC changed fashion for the Romans. Following this time period, only men who were citizens of Rome were allowed to wear the toga.

ancient-roman-man-and-woman
Roman toga

All others were forbidden unless they were conducting official business.  By the second century BC, the toga was worn over a tunic. [8] The tunic was then the basic item of clothing. [2][11]

“In Ancient Rome, both men and women originally wore the toga made of plain white wool.

Over time matrons adopted the stola as the preferred form of dress, while prostitutes retained the toga. The stola was a long loose tunic or robe without sleeves.

Later, under the ancient Roman law, Lex Julia, women convicted of prostitution were forced to wear a toga muliebris, as the prostitute’s badge of shame. [20]

Moving on to other parts of the world, we continue our journey as we travel to China.

China

In ancient times the clothing of China defined status, profession, and wealth. The many rules about what could and could not be worn were strict.

ancient china
Chinese dynasty clothing

The styles were mostly unisex and uncomplicated in design, with box-shaped tunics ties with a sash, over skirts and trousers. The color of clothing and the materials they were made from held great definition.[13] [14]

chinese-costume-clothing-002
Chinese dress

“The higher the rank the better the clothes they wore were. This included the length of a skirt, the wideness of a sleeve and the amount of ornamentation.

As the dynasties changed, gender specifically came into the Shenyi. During the winter months, people wore padded jackets over their tunics.” [13]

 

Japan

“From the Jomon period, from 14000 BC BC at 300 BC, Japan had a hunter-gatherer lifestyle; houses on stilts of wood, dwelling in pit and agriculture. The weaving was still unknown and the old Japanese clothes were fur.” [25]

japanese-costume-clothing
Japanese dress

The fashion statements of ancient Japan were very blended with Chinese culture and its practices. For this reason it very difficult to see an obvious distinction. Their original garments were one piece coverings.

japanese obi sash
Kimono with Obi Sash

Over time, however, the Japanese developed a kimono tied with an Obi or sash. The female version of the Obi would be more elaborate than that of the male version.

“The most interesting piece of clothing is the ju-ni-hitoe or ‘twelve layers’. It is multi-layered, very heavy, and worn on a daily basis for centuries”. [15]

Southeastern Islands-Pacific and Asia:

 

Hawaiian Islands

Prior to this Western contact, clothing in the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific was minimal due in part to the tropical conditions.

5952c7a2f8a0d7ab1b527348ce26e9c1--kim-taylor-reece-island-clothing
native Tahitian-Hawaiian dress

During the early 1800s, the paradise islands of Hawaii were discovered by the missionaries. [16] The native people who populated the islands at that time wore little to no clothing due to the temperate climate. The basic garments worn were a loincloth (malo) for men.

For the women, it was a skirt, and if they wore anything at all to cover their breasts, it was a rectangular cloth (Kihei). “For the missionaries, covering the breasts was required for the sake of Christian notions of modesty.” [18]

kapa-lole.hawaiian bark cloth jpg
barkcloth clothing

The original garments were made from a fabric which was made from the bark fibers of a mulberry tree. This barkcloth or “kappa”” as it is known, was felted into a paper-like material that was used for anything from clothing to bedding material.

The Hawaiians used designs, dyes made from vegetables, and floral fragrance to adorn their fabrics. Sometimes feathers were used for garments of high rank and status. [17]  “Although kapa was the traditional fabric, it could not be cleaned, did not wear well, and even one layer was stiff”. [18]

The missionary women brought the Victorian style of clothing to the islands with their high-necked, empire-waist, long sleeve dresses.

Apparently, some of the Hawaiian queens of the 1820’s favored the European styles and wanted those dresses too.

The missionary women were small and petite while the Polynesian-Hawaiian women were not. They decided that a long loose dress with a high neckline and long sleeves were better suited for the queens.

hawaiian muumu
Hawaiian muu muu

The missionaries then decided that this holoku or mu’umu’u was to be required to show their ethnic difference. This was eagerly embraced by the Islanders among the upper class as a sign of high status.

“As missionaries left Hawaii to convert other islanders, they took the mu’umu’u with them and introduced it to women on other islands.” [18]

Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines

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The traditional textiles and style of dress of Malaysia and Indonesia are somewhat similar. Malaysia is a country whose belief is that of the Muslim faith.

“In Malaysia, traditional clothing includes a lower body covering (sarong) worn by both sexes. Men’s sarong is plaid, women’s are designed with floral patterns.

The upper body covering for men is a shirt referred to as a baju. For women, a sheer blouse referred to as a kebaya is worn in Malaysia.

0064e2634535a3412e25a8f3a1e124e8.jpgPhillipine sarong
Philippine sarong

Indonesian national dress derives from the Muslim inhabitants of Indonesia’s main island, Java. The dress is an indicator of cultural change in Indonesia where history can be divided into three eras categorized by dress terms: sarong (local dress), jubbah (Islamic influences) and trousers (Western influences). [18]

The island nations of Malaysia and Indonesia have developed highly complex textiles. The designs and colors of these fabrics have symbolic meaning as to an individual’s social status. [18]

The people of Indonesia and Malaysia settled in the Philippines prior to the Spanish colonization of the sixteenth century.

The Spanish Catholic priests were scandalized by the relative nudity of the Filipinos. Wearing only minimal lower body coverings the priests were in a hurry to educate the natives about decency. [18]

Spanish colonists brought Western notions of modesty and opulence in the dress that influenced the styles of Filipino national dress thereafter.

For an everyday dress, however, they still retained the light, loose garments made of pineapple fiber due to the tropical environment. The Filipinas soon learned elaborate embroidery from the Spaniards which they then applied to their formal dress. [18]

India

“The culture, religions, and languages that are spoken in India are as diverse as the landscape in this vast country”, and change according to the region they inhabit. [30] In the northern part of India the Muslim beliefs impact the style of dress.

Aside from the loose trousers and divided skirts is the Sari. It is a six to nine-yard piece of cloth which “gives grace and elegance to the woman wearing it”. [30]

Styles_of_Sari
styles of Sari

The style of wearing a Sari reflects the age, region, religion, status, and occupation of the woman to some extent.

 

Native American Indian

76bef0a917312dc6b5e6a7048b3ee3e2--native-american-indians-native-americans
native Plains American Indian dress

“Using animal hides that they had to hunt down, skin, and prepare to the proper softness, Native American Indians took the task of making clothing very seriously. It was a time-intensive chore that required many hours to make one simple garment.” [19]

A woman could wear the same dress for many years so they were designed to be not only pleasing to the eye but they also conveyed specific information about the wearer.

Symbols on a dress could provide information about the tribe they were attached to, her marital status, or even the skill of her husband or father as a hunter or trader.” [19

“Many of the hides were from elk, deer and bighorn sheep. They were warm, tough, and relatively weatherproof.

Inuit-Indians-Eskimo women-dress-Native American-Alaska
Inuit Eskimo dress

The Inuit Indian tribes of Alaska however, used caribou and seal skin hides for their clothing, whereas the Plains Indians wore buffalo skins. Other tribes such as the Apache and Navajo made clothing from woven threads and plant fibers.”[21]

Although they were mostly utilitarian, there were highly desirable embellishments added to adorn the garments. Initially, leaving the tail of the animal at the top of the dress seemed pleasing to the eye. This was later replaced by intricate beadwork.” [19].

native American Indian breechcloth
American Indian breechcloth

Common clothing worn by men was a breechcloth. This was a rectangular piece of cloth or hide tucked over a belt in front and back to cover the genitalia.

Native American leather dress
Native American Indian leather beaded dress

In cold climates, leather leggings, fur trousers or short skirts (kilts) were worn.” [21] Not all tribes wore shirts.

“The women often used porcupine quills, bits of tin, carved bone, animal sinew, coins, animal teeth, fossilized shells, and the brightly colored glass beads that traders brought from the glass factories of Venice or what is now the Czech Republic. Thousands of hours went into the embellishment on many of these garments.” [19]

  Africa

African clothing is the traditional clothing worn by the people of Africa. In all instances except rural areas these traditional garments have been replaced by Western clothing introduced by European colonialists.”[26] The many varied countries in Africa have a distinct regional dress.

Doris Imalenowa in traditional African dress.
Cameroon dress of Africa

It is interesting to note that the sale of used clothing from western societies is quite prevalent in many African nations. “Countries in sub-Saharan Africa are one of the top destinations for the import of used clothing.

Secondhand clothing is found in everyday apparel for many people, regardless of their class difference. This is because there was always a variety of clothing and it was a good price.”[26]

“These foreign clothes often are drastically different than what people are used to in more rural parts of Africa. People may believe that they are being insulted by being given something that they believe to be old, tattered and dirty.

Generally, it seems that most countries have adapted to the use of secondhand clothing and have used it to their advantage.” [26]

africa_end-pc_tanz_namb-060
typical modern African dress

“However, typically in Muslim regions, such as North Africa, do not partake in this trade due to religious reasons. Instead, Islamic African men wear a long flowing robe and women wear hijab along with a dress covering all skin.” [26]

In the region of South Africa, we find that age and social standing has great bearing on what is worn.

south african women
south African tribal dress

The various clothing and accessories can depict the different stages of life and marital status. The parts of the body that are covered, the fabric colors and design, and the embellishments used are all significant to the wearer.

 

South America

The South American continent covers a vast extreme in both climate and dress. From the worlds largest tropical rainforest to the driest areas in the world, we find the clothing styles that are equally as varied. [31]

Having the influence from the early European Spanish conquistadores’ travelers, to the African nations we can see extensive diversity in dress.

Incan civilization
children of the Incas

In the high Andean mountains, the clothing required was heavier incorporating animal furs and heavy handwoven garments.

ancient indian cultures
A portrayal of ancient Indian cultures

On the coastal front, minimal clothing was worn, displaying more body adornment with tattoos and jewelry at the time than anything. The customs of minimal clothing changed with the western influence of Christianity over time.

Russia

During the study of the history of Russian clothing in 1832, it was discovered that actual specimens of early Russian dress have not been preserved.

“The most reliable information that we have concerning Russians dress of the pre-Christian period comes from our knowledge of the materials common to that period: hides and leather, bast (a plant fiber), wool, flax, and hemp.

The style of dress did not differ from that of the other Slavonic nations.” [27]

Russian peasants
Russian peasants

Climate conditions had a distinct effect on the materials used in their clothing. Clothing was worn to the ankles and often bound at the wrists for warmth.

“The short-flap male dress virtually disappeared from the Russian court under the Byzantine influence, although peasants continued to wear it for two more centuries.

There was a prohibition against taking many types of fabrics out of Constantinople, and for this reason, the garments were, for the most part, rougher and less colorful.” [27]

Russian_Skolt_Sami_after_Photo_1871.jpg Skandanavian dress
Russian-Scandinavian dress

“The Tatar-Mongol invasion led to a break in the contacts with Western Europe, and the immediate proximity with Turkic-speaking peoples led to a change in the form of Russian dress.

A good example of this is the caftan, a type of wide-opening garment with a deep wrap-over, worn by both men and women.” [27]

“The need to protect their national sovereignty compelled Russians to preserve their national dress by modifying imported types of dress. ” [27]

russian-embroidery-1-650x709
Russian embroidery

Folk art embroidery was seen on most of the dress garments, with the exception of the work clothing and those found on peasants.

“Starting with the fourteenth century, trade between Muscovite Russia and Europe expanded. Brocade, velvet, and various kinds of silk and wool were brought to Moscow from England, Italy, and France.

royal russian court dress 1800
Royal Russian court dress over a corset

“The formative element of the European female dress that had been brought to Russia in the eighteenth century was the corset, and it contradicted the Russian ideal of beauty.” [27]

Nordic

Knowledge of clothing from the Nordic countries and the Viking era are sparse indeed. Warmth and comfort were the key factors in their fashion styles and design.

Finland Saami family
family from Finland

“Viking clothing was designed to keep the wearer warm and normally made from many materials found locally like wool, linen, and animal skins.

Most commonly, wool and linen were used to create most items like trousers, tunics, and dresses. Wool was used for the winter clothing, which in Scandinavia could last up to six months.

And linen was used for summer clothing, providing a much lighter weight and less dense item of clothing.” [29]

“Dresses (on the women) were common and in winter they would wear a close-fitting, long woolen gown that would hang to the ankles without a belt. In the summer they would wear a much lighter linen dress.” [29]

In Conclusion

So, in conclusion, we see a vast difference in clothing style throughout history. Some of it was due in part to the climate and geographical locale. The other matter was the natural resources at hand.

As time continued on, however, religious beliefs and traditions became the backbone to the change and style of dress, regardless of the nationality.

Status and financial wealth also played a significant role in the style of clothing a person was allowed to wear. The colors worn and the degree of embellishments also played a major part in all cultures.

There has always seemed to be the need to establish rank and class among people to determine the hierarchy of things. Not only was a division created with the financial standing of a person, but the style of dress made that distinction obvious upon first glance.

Where Do We Go From Here?

I realize that I lightly touched on much of the information. I could have easily written a blog about each country or geographical location. For the purpose of keeping it “brief, however, I wrote as little as possible while still trying to keep it interesting and informative.

So now that we have covered the very basics of the type of clothing worn in various cultures, where do we go from here?

What about the clothing that is worn today? How has time and opinions changed our style of dress? Do we still adhere to our time-honored beliefs and traditions?

Next Up: Part 3

In part 3 of my blog, I will cover the type of clothing which is worn for work.

What type of clothing is worn for a job interview? More importantly, how this makes a difference in a person’s career? What about the dress code that is imposed in certain offices?  Do dress uniforms make a difference in how we are perceived by others?

References

[1]  “Costume: In Biblical Times”Jewish EncyclopediaFunk & Wagnalls. 1901 (permanent dead link) Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_clothing

[2]  Biblical Clothing. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_clothing

[3]  “Dress and Ornament, Hebrew”Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious KnowledgeBaker Book House. 1907. Archived from the original on 2014-12-13. Retrieved 2012-11-21

[4] “Coat”Jewish EncyclopediaFunk & Wagnalls. (permanent dead link) Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_clothing

[5]  Ancient Egypt Fashion. Ancient-egypt-online.com. Retrieved on 2012-05-05.[6]

[6] Thompson, James. C. “women’s clothing and Fashions in Ancient Egypt”.

[7]  Art, Author: Department of Greek and Roman. “Ancient Greek Dress – Essay – Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History – The Metropolitan Museum of Art”. The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.

[8] Steele, Philip. “Clothes and Crafts in Roman Times”. Gareth Stevens Publishing, 2000, p. 20

[9] MJL-www.myjewishlearning.com -2018

[10]  Biblestudytools.com Hebrew lexicon: ẓiẓit; The Hebrew lexicon is Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Lexicon[permanent dead link]

[11] https://www.quora.com/How-were-people-dressed-in-ancient-times

[12] http://www.thefinertimes.com/Ancient-History/social-status-and-clothing-in-medieval-times.html

[13] https://ancientchinafashion.weebly.com/

[14] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_clothing

[15] http://ezinearticles.com/?History-and-Clothing-in-Ancient-Japan&id=1459760

[16] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_missionaries_to_Hawaii

[17] http://www.hawaiihistory.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=ig.page&CategoryID=302

[18] https://fashion-history.lovetoknow.com/clothing-around-world/southeastern-islands-pacific-asia-history-dress

[19] http://www.nativeamerican-art.com/native-American-clothing.html

[20]  McGinn, Thomas A. (1998). Prostitution, sexuality, and the law in ancient Rome. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. p. 340. ISBN 0-19-508785-2.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badge_of_shame

[21] http://www.intothewildwest.com/native-american-clothing-what-native-americans-wore/

[22] https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/july-august/biblical-meaning-of-clothing.html The Biblical Meaning of Clothing ROBERT COVOLO AUGUST 28, 2015

[23] http://jhvonline.com/the-spiritual-significance-of-clothing-p14627-220.htm The Spiritual Significance Of Clothing

[24] http://newmuslimguide.com/en/your-dress-code/108 Clothing From An Islamic Perspective

[25]  http://www.cooltecnology.com/2018/05/07/history-and-clothing-in-ancient-japan/

[26] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clothing_in_Africa

[27] https://fashion-history.lovetoknow.com/clothing-around-world/russia-history-dress

[28] http://www.russianfashionblog.com/index.php/2013/07/history-sarafan/#axzz5YeyTyYFM Russian Fashion Blog; Brief History of the Serafan

[29] http://www.legendsandchronicles.com/ancient-civilizations/the-vikings/viking-clothing/

[30] https://www.mapsofindia.com/india-dress.html

[31] https://fashion-history.lovetoknow.com/clothing-around-world/south-america-history-dress

pirate costume sash 1-Sultry Lady Corsets

The Clothing We Wear-Part 1

The Clothing We Wear-Part 1

Are we emotionally affected by the clothing we wear? Does it reflect the inner workings of our mind, or is that taking things a little too far? Why does it matter what we wear? We know that people have been fashion conscious for thousands of years, so what has led us to the all-out obsession we have with fashion today?

I have always loved fashion myself. My motto is “fashion is my passion”. No matter what I work at in life I always seem to go back to fashion as my first love. It’s the inspiration that gets me excited. It is my way to feel and display my moods and emotions on a daily, and sometimes hourly, basis. In my lifetime I have been in awe of the intricacies of clothing, astounded by various styles, and repelled by some trends. Why do people wear what they do? My mind is full of questions! My goal in this 4 part blog is to not only pique your interest but to educate as together we take a journey through time.

Tarkhan Dress- 5,100 to 5,500 years old

Let’s start with the Earliest Known Evidence of actual clothing.

As far back as man can date the presence and existence of our species on this earth we assume that clothing was worn. “There is very little archaeological evidence (however,) to determine the date that clothing (actually) started being worn”. [1] The findings that are based on theories, calculate it to be between 40,000 to 170,000 years ago. That’s a pretty wide-spread of time.

Proof of clothing

Eyed needles and various tools have been found which lead us to believe that clothing may have been fashioned from animal hides to cover and protect the body. Why do they think these tools were used for clothing instead of shelter? Scientists observed lice! “Scientists observed that clothing lice are, well, extremely well-adapted to clothing. They hypothesized that body lice must have evolved to live in clothing, which meant that they weren’t around before humans started wearing clothes. The findings of the study are significant because they show that clothes appeared some 70,000 years before humans started to migrate north from Africa into cooler climates.”[1]. The timing here would put a man in the era of the Ice Age. Ian Gilligan, a lecturer at the Australian National University, said: “Modern humans probably started wearing clothes on a regular basis to keep warm when they were first exposed to Ice Age conditions.”[1]

Clothing as protection

Okay, so we have determined that people have worn clothing for a very long time. Artifacts were found and the type of clothing or coverings, such as they were, were simple and basic in the beginning. They were initially made from the skins of animals and held together in a primitive fashion. These animal skin coverings served as protection against cold heat and rain.

But let’s delve a little further as things are bound to get interesting.

Beauty in the garments

The scientists dug a little more and extended their search. They determined that about 25,000 years ago, give or take a millennium, the clues and artifacts they found pointed to a weaving technology. Dyed fabrics made from various plant fibers and the wool from sheep has been discovered as well. “The earliest dyed flax fibres have been found in a prehistoric cave in the Georgia and date back to 36,000”. [5]

This meant that people were concerned with what they wore and how they looked. For that reason, they wanted variety and beauty in their garments. Their coverings may have been draped over the shoulder and secured with a belt at the waist, while they made a statement with their style. We have always been concerned about the clothing we wear.

Advances in Fashion

Then around the mid-1300’s big advances in fashion were made. Fashion began to get interesting. “For instance, clothing started to be made to form fit the human body, with curved seams, laces, and buttons. Contrasting colours and fabrics also became popular in England. From this time, fashion in the West began to change at an alarming rate, largely based on aesthetics, whereas in other cultures fashion typically changed only with great political upheaval, meaning changes came more slowly in most other cultures.” [1]

Fashion is now coming to the forefront. It’s not just a cover-up anymore. Different parts of the world are beginning to make a statement about who they are. “Look at me. I am different from you”, they say as they present themselves.

So Do the Clothes We Wear Reflect What’s Inside Us?

Kat Rectenwald, an anonymous writer in Germany states her opinion on a writers’ forum named Quora. “No, Your clothes reflect how you want to see yourself and be seen by the world around you. It reflects parts of your self-image, your social identity, your class and often your education, too. But don’t confuse any of this with what may be “inside” of people. Apart from your aesthetics and the above mentioned it doesn’t say a thing about who you are. You can’t draw any conclusion on a person’s intelligence, morals or character from this.” [2]

Good point Kat! But just because we can’t actually determine a persons’ “intelligence or moral character” from the clothes they wear, does that mean that we won’t form an opinion? Absolutely not. Many studies on fashion and clothing style have shown that it is human nature to form an instantaneous opinion of someone based on the way they dress.

 

Does Our Clothing Define Us

In an article by Phil Coomes, Picture Editor September 28, 2016, titled ‘Do the clothes we wear define us?’ we are presented with various people in different clothes which “Explores the way in which our clothes shape us, that outer shell we use to accentuate or sometimes hide who we are. The aim is to see how a viewer responds to the uniform and how it shapes their perception of that person – how we prejudge based on a uniform or a certain look and style.” A few of the photos which were shown at the No Walls Gallery as part of the Brighton Photo Fringe Festival are shown here:

FirefighterSarah, Midwife

Dani - Opera SingerBarrington - Entertainer

Our Observations

We observe a firefighter, nurse, entertainer and an opera singer in uniform and casual dress. All photographs courtesy Strand Collective.

So do you have a different opinion of the people in uniform as opposed to their casual dress? I think it is safe to say we all would draw our own conclusion based on the clothing style.

THE UNIFORM

At the blog site International Branding, the whole world knows your name, we observe the comment; “The uniform, although broadly defined, is not just confined to the military. It signifies what apparel is appropriate, practical, or preferable for different occupations and social groups. For that reason, our clothes define the role we are taking at any particular time. This certainly applies to both business and pleasure.  For instance, always dressing for work, would be regarded as eccentric, to say the least. In fact, our clothes say so much about who we are. Even refusing to follow trends gives a signal indicative of a way of thinking, which wants to be free and not conventional.” [3] We can see a very important consideration here. The mere refusal to follow the current trends can also be a way to define ourselves.

Opinions and Assumptions

In an article in Psychology Today magazine by Ben C. Fletcher D. Phil Posted Apr 20, 2013 entitled: What Your Clothes Might Be Saying About You, he writes; “our clothes say a great deal about who we are and can signal a great deal of socially important things to others, even if the impression is actually unfounded.” “It is important to choose our dress style carefully because people will make all sorts of assumptions and decisions about us without proper evidence. We are unlikely to know what these assessments are too, so it is quite possible that our clothes reveal more than we thought.”

The research found in published studies clearly shows that “What we wear speaks volumes in just a few seconds. Dressing to impress really is worthwhile and could even be the key to success.” [6]

our clothing and our thinking

So we’ve determined that our knowledge of the clothing and coverings that people have been wearing since the beginning has advanced considerably. We’ve gone from the wrap-and-stick-it animal skins to form-fitting clothing produced en masse by the factories of today.

But the questions remain unanswered. Do the clothes we wear emotionally affect us? Does it reflect the inner workings of our mind and why does it matter what we wear? We have proven that a simple animal skin would cover our bodies just as well as an haute couture designer dress. It would be warm and soft although certainly a bit smelly in the rain.

Continuing Our Quest

I ask that you stay with me as I continue the quest of why people wear what they do and how it affects us. In the next blog, we will venture more into the types of clothing worn during different time periods. Finally, we will follow the journey into the varied dress of different cultures from around the world.

When was the corset introduced and why did people seek out such a restrictive garment? And most noteworthy, why has the existence of the corset continued across the span of time.

Life is an amazing journey. The more you know the more interesting it gets.

Elie Saab Designer Dress

References with links:

[1] When People Started Wearing Clothes by Emily Upton September 12, 2013,

[2] Quora Forum

[3] International Branding, the whole world knows your name

[4] Fashion History – Clothing of the Early Middle Ages – Dark Ages 400 – 900 CE by Dolores Monet, Bellatory-Fashion and History

[5] History of clothing and textiles-by Wikipedia

[6] Psychology Today magazine, What Your Clothes Might Be Saying About You, Ben C. Fletcher D.Phil Posted Apr 20, 2013

[7] Letzuploadit displayed on YouTube: Do your clothes make a difference?! (RICH vs POOR) SOCIAL EXPERIMENT 2018