We are in the age of information. No matter what the subject is, know-how can be found on the internet.
A cell phone can be seen in the hand or pocket of every adult, no matter where you go. Children are not to be left out either. While parents are monitoring what their children may view, they are using their cell phones to keep in touch with them as well.
People from all over the world use cell phones for communication, entertainment and to obtain information.
DISCOVERY THROUGH THE INTERNET
We can schedule a dinner reservation, look for an alternate route when stuck in traffic, and see who’s at our front door with the push of a button. Our cell phones are marvelous inventions and every year they are improved upon.
Need a recipe or want to know how to fix your washing machine? You can find a video about it on the internet. Lonely and want a date for the weekend? Look to the internet.
You can learn how to dress, how to act, and how to relate to other people by studying articles on the internet. You can also learn historical facts, teach yourself a new sport and improve your health.
Just look to the internet. Google, Alexa, and Siri know just about everything.
Social media has also become a primary source for communication and entertainment. As the billboard says, “most people spend more time on social media than they do planning their retirement”. Even our president communicates with the general population through Twitter.
Unfortunately, while a massive amount of the information that can be found is accurate there is also a lot that is incorrect.
Information on the repair of your dishwasher can be cross-referenced quite easily. The gossip about a celebrity not so much.
Reputations can be quickly damaged with devastating results. False information that has gone viral on the world wide web cannot be undone easily.
LACK OF KNOWLEDGE
So while everyone is browsing the Internet to find out about anything and everything, why are a lot of people still so clueless?
Many are unable to spell simple words and are at a loss when it comes to following instructions. Haven’t they figured it out by now?
It’s on the Internet!
While many people have no problem scrolling through social media many times per day, they neglect to look up informative material.
Countless hours are spent communicating with people that a person does not really know and will never meet. Many call them “friends” when they are actually acquaintances.
So why the discrepancies?
Are we, as a nation, taking two steps forward and one step back?
I have a website that I use to promote my business. My business is designing, and making custom corsets for women. I also make and sell beautiful thong panties and embellished denim jackets as a wardrobe staple.
My website is complex and extensive but easy to use. I spent a lot of time creating the information that would be helpful to someone when ordering from my website.
To keep current with the fast-paced internet, a website owner must continually and consistently post new information. To neglect this tedious but necessary task is to be relegated to the bottom of the slush pile. Or worse yet, the 10th page back in the listings.
Yet every day I get messages on social media asking questions that can easily be found on my site with just a click of the mouse. I suppose it’s just easier to ask, but wouldn’t you want to see what else there is to see?
LOSING THE CURIOSITY
So that leaves me with questions about how people think. Are the minds of our current society different from past history?
Do we have so much information being thrown at us that we have become desensitized? Or worse yet, have we become lazy and complacent?
Why is anyone uninformed with so much information on the world wide web?
With the click of a computer mouse, an answer can be found.
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”.  People notice what we wear, and they form opinions of us based on that first instantaneous glimpse.
This is the third part of my four-part blog on The Clothing We Wear. Stay with me as we further explore the type 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 burlesquecostume 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.
“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.”
“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.”
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.
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).” 
“ 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.” 
“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.” 
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.”  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.”
“When everyone has a uniform appearance they feel like they belong to a group.” “Research has also suggested that even slight alterations to the style of the uniform will change how citizens will perceive the officer.” 
“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.”
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.”
“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.” 
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”. 
“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.”  The dark colors are also worn by security officers for the same reason.
Military 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.”  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.
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 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.” 
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.
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.
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.” 
“Some religious communitiesmay 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.”
The garments or robes, of a Buddhist Monk “create a “uniformity of intention” visible at first glance”. 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.
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.”
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.” 
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.” 
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.” 
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.” ”The dress should not be such that it attracts men’s attention to the woman’s beauty.”
“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.”  “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.”  Thickness, looseness, & overall appearance are always considered.
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.”  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.”  “Neither excessively fancy nor ragged. One should not dress in a manner intended to gain the admiration or sympathy of others.” 
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) 
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. “The Bible has a surprising amount to say about clothing”. 
“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”. 
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.
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.
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.  This sleeveless type of tunic often left the shoulders uncovered.
In later times, anyone dressed with only this type of garment (kethōneth) was considered naked. Interesting to note, however, they did wear underwear.
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.
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. 
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.  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.   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.
“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”. 
“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.
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.” 
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.  Wool could only be used for warmth in coats.
Egyptian fashion was created to keep cool in the hot desert environment. People of the lower class wore only a loincloth covering their vital reproductive parts.
Although depicted in most murals as dressed, slaves often worked completely naked. 
The tunic and the robe were common amongst both genders. This remained unchanged over several millennia. 
Despite the depictions by the media, of all white tunics, clothing in ancient Greece was quite colorful. These garments were called peplos or chiton. 
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.
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.
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.
All others were forbidden unless they were conducting official business. By the second century BC, the toga was worn over a tunic.  The tunic was then the basic item of clothing. 
“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.”
Moving on to other parts of the world, we continue our journey as we travel to 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.
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. 
“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.” 
“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.” 
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.
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”. 
Southeastern Islands-Pacific and Asia:
Prior to this Western contact, clothing in the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific was minimal due in part to the tropical conditions.
During the early 1800s, the paradise islands of Hawaii were discovered by the missionaries.  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.” 
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.  “Although kapa was the traditional fabric, it could not be cleaned, did not wear well, and even one layer was stiff”. 
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.
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.” 
Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines
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.
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). 
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. 
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. 
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. 
“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.  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”. 
The style of wearing a Sari reflects the age, region, religion, status, and occupation of the woman to some extent.
Native American Indian
“Using animal hidesthat 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.” 
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.
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.”
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.” .
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.
In cold climates, leather leggings, fur trousers or short skirts (kilts) were worn.”  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.” 
“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.” The many varied countries in Africa have a distinct regional dress.
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.”
“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.” 
“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.” 
In the region of South Africa, we find that age and social standing has great bearing on what is worn.
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.
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. 
Having the influence from the early European Spanish conquistadores’ travelers, to the African nations we can see extensive diversity in dress.
In the high Andean mountains, the clothing required was heavier incorporating animal furs and heavy handwoven garments.
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.
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.” 
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.” 
“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.” 
“The need to protect their national sovereignty compelled Russians to preserve their national dress by modifying imported types of dress. ” 
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.
“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.” 
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.
“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.” 
“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.” 
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, and 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?
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.
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”.  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.”. 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.”
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”. 
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.” 
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.” 
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:
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.
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.”  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.” 
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 couturedesigner 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 thecorset introduced and why did people seek out such a restrictive garment? And most noteworthy, why has the existence of the corsetcontinued across the span of time.
Life is an amazing journey. The more you know the more interesting it gets.
Many things were happening during the time of the medieval corset.“Centuries of Roman rule in Western Europe came crashing to an end in 476. The emperor was driven from his throne by barbarian invaders from the north. Soon after, hundreds of tiny kingdoms began to form in once Roman lands. Subsequent invasions by Vikings, Goths, Moors, and infighting between neighboring kingdoms began to change the nature of European life”. From Medieval-Life.net
Clothing Worn During The Medieval Period
The medieval time periodis known as the Middle Ages, and the Dark Ages. This time period lasted from approximately 500 AD to 1500 AD. By all accounts, this was a thousand years of war, famine, rigid class systems and rampant superstition mixed with religion. These were serious times, and accordingly, women of stature wore serious clothes. The fashion attire had many layers which included, a smock, hose, kirtle, petticoats, gown and surcoat, girdle, cape with hood and bonnet.
Mary Queen of Scots lived and died in the 16th century, but her wardrobe style was still medieval. (Did the Renaissance skip Scotland?). Mary was a threat to the throne and a staunch Catholic besides. Mary was beheaded on the order of Queen Elizabeth in 1587. She was reportedly wearing only her undergarments. These were said to have been a velvet petticoat, a pair of sleeves in crimson-brown, and a black satin bodice with black trimmings.
Question: Notice anything missing from these lists? Answer: Underpants! That’s right, medieval women actually went commando.
Considering the sheer number of layers worn at the time, going bare from the waist down beneath the medieval corset and petticoats was a practical idea. There was nothing to get in the way of a quick in and out, with the cuckolded spouse none the wiser. After all, secret trysts by their very nature have to be brief. Just think about how long it would have taken for the eager lover to peel off all those layers!
The Medieval Corset
Medieval women sometimes wore “cotes,”. This was made of two stiffened layers of fabric and worn as an outer garment. Sometime around 1300, women’s styles began to be more revealing; the medieval corset was still in use but changing. Clothing was beginning to fit closer to the body. Fashion changed, necklines were lowered and the desired silhouette now had more curves.
In the desire to show off the waistline, steel, wood, whalebone or cane, were slipped into the seams. This part of the medieval corset was the ‘busk’. A busk is a piece of hardware placed into the center front of the corset that could be made of steel, wood, whalebone.
These busks fulfilled another function, as well: they served as love letters. The wooden or bone busks were often inscribed or carved with messages of heartfelt love. These busks were then given as gifts from the men to their lady loves. The ladies returned the favor by giving the laces from their medieval corset to their lovers. So far, we’ve got no underpants, wood stays inscribed with sexy messages and long laces to work with – hmm. . .
Factoid: a 12th-century illustration shows a demon wearing a medieval corset.
The outerwear medieval corset would end under the breasts, whether the corset was a straight, bust-to-waist design or an outerwear one that had shoulder straps and looked like a tight little vest that laced beneath the bust. Fabric choices for the medieval corset grew so that women of stature could choose ermine, taffeta or brocade and colors such as crimson and purple which denoted aristocratic lineage.
Petticoats in Medieval Times
Petticoats – the more the better – came into popularity sometime in the earlier 1500’s. These petticoats, worn under massive skirts to expand them outward, were often attached to the medieval corset by laces.
Around this time, too, the farthingale became a popular shaper. The farthingale was a hoop skirt made of metal banding. This metal skirt served to expand the outer skirt being worn.
“The French farthingale was introduced in England in the late 1570’s. Modern costumers conjecture that it probably consisted of one or more large hoops with horizontal stiffeners which radiated from around the waist in order to produce a flat platter-like shape when supported underneath by the “bumroll” or “French farthingale”. these rolls were made of: they were stuffed with cotton and rags and stiffened with hoops of whalebone, wire or ropes made of bent reeds. Buckram (stiff canvas) is the most commonly mentioned material. Other references describe the rolls as being starched with a form of stiffener.” (Wikipedia Farthingale, post-2018)
Eventually, this style led right into the increasingly, impossibly tightened waist.
The Dark Ages
“Medieval times often evoke images of knights battling on muddy fields, dank and dreary castles, hunger, plagues-in general, a lot of rather depressing scenes. But these Dark Ages also witnessed the birth of a romantic movement. 13th Century conventions of chivalry directed that men should honor, serve, and do nothing to displease ladies and maidens.
Secret rituals of Romance developed where women-long the loser in a double standard of adultery condoned among men-found champions who would fight in their honor. Courtly love became the subject of some of the most famous medieval poems, and where we get today’s word, “Courtesy.” Through these centuries, Europe was slowly waking from a harsh slumber, and begin to sow the seeds of a Renaissance”.Medieval–Life.net
What are burlesque dance costumes? Is it some kind of Middle Eastern dance costume you ask?
Well let me give you a little insight:
1840 London, England:
Close your eyes for a minute. Imagine yourself in the year 1840 in the city of London. It is late, and the night is dark. You find yourself walking down a small alleyway off a busy street. Finally, you spot a red door, therefore you have arrived at your destination.
You knock and the door is opened.
You are escorted by a host to a dark room inside. There is a small stage against one wall. Scattered around the room are small round tables with 2 or 3 chairs at each. You choose your seat and wait.
Now skip ahead to later on in the evening. The room is full of boisterous people, laughing, smoking and drinking alcohol. Suddenly the lights dim dramatically and conversations stop.
Lively music begins to play from the side of the room. A spotlight comes on and a lady in a brightly colored outfit moves seductively towards the stage.
She slightly drags her foot in time to the music as she begins to sway and then skip onto the stage.
Her outfit has many layers, some heavy and opaque and others transparent and flowing. Her makeup is bold and somewhat gaudy, accentuating her facial movements.
She begins to speak. Her remarks are witty and sexual, her skits entertaining. She pokes fun at Shakespeare and opera and can pull laughter from the biggest sourpuss.
Burlesque dance can be dated back to 17th century London. It began as a way to poke fun at “serious” theater productions. It was promoted to an art form early on and continues in that tradition today.
The working class now had a way to poke fun at the upper class through laughter and lust. Using their social habits and traditions they ‘spoofed’ in a bawdy way. The distinctive look of burlesque costumes and the sly satire of the dancers’ routines are unique.
Famously performed in Paris at the Moulin Rouge theater, the burlesque dance began. There, dancers combined elaborate costumes with detailed stage sets to establish their own unique identities.
Burlesque in the United States:
Burlesque dance evolved and migrated to New York in the late 1900’s. Singers, comics, acrobats and a motley crew of other entertainers shared the stage with the fetching and scantily clad dancers.
In the 1920’s burlesque became known as the modern-day striptease show. Some performances started with an exotic dancer and ended in a boxing match. In New York City the boxing match performance was banned for a time. As a result of the ban, it stopped completely.
Did They Get Naked:
Historically, the style of burlesque costumes and how much a dancer removed depended largely on what she could get away with. Sometimes a little stripping was involved, and sometimes the performer removed all of their clothes.
The obvious fakery was used to suggest nudity. This led to a comic effect. And sometimes the dancer really did remove much of her costume, one piece at a time.
Burlesque dance costumes are ornately designed to titillate and tease. Most of them are based on a corset.
First of all, the dancer may choose a flirty little skirt, opera gloves or mesh stockings. Many dance performances include accessories like top hats and cigarette holders. Furthermore, the dancer can then choose which items to remove in an arousing manner.
Corsetsas the foundation of burlesque costume served a different purpose. They give the burlesque dancer that classic, hourglass shape.
A corset defines the ultimate femininity. They are sexy, glamorous, and cheeky without being tacky or vulgar. They have attracted the eye of the socially elite man from past centuries to modern times.
This opened the door for burlesque dancers to appear on the arms of noblemen, artists, and the aristocrats.
Many talented women have donned their burlesque costumes and taken to the stage. Often actresses got their start in burlesque, including Mae West and Fannie Brice. The 1930’s saw the emergence of such iconic dancers as Gypsy Rose Lee and Josephine Baker.
It often provided a path to respectability for women who were having a rough time of things. For some, it enabled them to earn their way out of harsh circumstances and hobnob with society.
In the resurgence of the early 1900’s, the chorus girls of the Ziegfield Follies skirted the edges of burlesque. They performed in fabulous costumes that showed a lot of legs.
By the late 1920’s we were entering the industrial revolution. The rising popularity of movies had burlesque stage shows shut down and more women arrested for indecencies.
It took WWll in the 1940’s to bring back the burlesque shows. The servicemen needed entertainment! It faded a bit again after the 1940’s. The resulting moral arguments against it began to have a suppressing effect.
At the beginning of the 1970’s, the dance began to regain its popularity. Today it is enjoying a full resurgence. Perhaps the most famous performer of the modern style is Dita Von Teese. Ms. Von Teese knows exactly how to work burlesque dance costumes and props with stunning effect. Corsets, stockings, hats, gloves, and her trademark pale skin and raven hair are instantly recognizable.
Play your Part:
Does the style and sass of burlesque appeals to you? Join the revelry!
You do not need to be a professional performer to join in the fun.
At Sultry Lady Corsets, we can make the perfect custom corset for you. Play out your private fantasies of flirting and teasing in the glare of the footlights.
What has been The Impact of Industrialization on Fashion today? There is no historical record of the name of the first woman to drape herself alluringly in the skin of an ancient beast, but she seems to have started something. Humans have been adorning themselves with clothing, paint, jewelry, and fabric ever since. She wanted to make a statement.
It is self-evident that until modern times all clothing was made from natural products. The skins of animals, their hair and wool were used. Plant elements like linen, cotton, and silk have also been available to humans for millennia.
The prehistoric artists pulled their materials into a corner and went to work with their pots of pigment, dye, and paint, printing early art forms. A few quills, a few feathers, and a few shells later, fashion was born. Early garments were typically made from rectangles that were draped and tied, held together with pins, or roughly sewn with needle and sinew.
The Skills needed for making and embellishing materials were several steps ahead of construction techniques. The early technicians learned to spin fiber, then weave or knit it into a fabric. It wasn’t until the 14th century that the use of curved seams finally gave clothing a more fitted look. Buttons and laces which came later provided more sophisticated closures.
Clothing and fabric cloth continued to be almost exclusively handmade by individuals for their own use until the Industrial Revolution. In the 1700’s, the lower classes made durable fabric clothing out of homespun fibers. They had neither time nor money to waste. Garments were patched, resized, remade and handed down until there was nothing left to use.
The upper classes had access to luxurious imported fabric, intricate adornments and the labor of skilled artisans. Fashions became ostentatious, with hoops, wires and stays for the women and matching three-piece suits for the men.
The fabric corset was part of a woman’s wardrobe during the 1700’s, but it was rather practical. It provided back support and gave the breasts a cheeky lift. It didn’t interfere with breathing or comfort of the fabric at that time.
The Industrial Revolution:
The Industrial Revolution changed everything. It ushered in the factory production of textiles and clothing. Machines could produce knitted and woven cloth that was a finer gauge than most women could produce with home methods. The invention of the sewing machine enabled the rapid, high volume manufacturing of fabric clothing.
Improved transportation meant that this clothing could be shipped cheaply and easily. Improved communication allowed women and men to see what the fashionable set was wearing in their own country and abroad. All of these factors made manufactured fabric clothing desirable and widely available at an attractive price.
A number of interesting developments occurred in the world of fashion in the late 1800s. Corsets took on their familiar tightly laced hourglass shape, and mass-produced versions began to arrive in the stores.
At the same time, though, women began to be sporty. Their newfound interest in sports did not mesh well with tight fabric undergarments. A second style was needed. Those clothes were made of lighter more flexible fabric.
The Arrival of Haute Couture:
Haute couture made the biggest splash in the fashion pool of the 1800’s. Introduced by Charles F. Worth, haute couture was born in Paris. Worth was the first to show a collection on live models, allowing private clients to choose a style and have it custom made to suit their bodies and their tastes.
This sort of handmade, bespoke clothing with unique adornments, custom fabric, and impeccable quality is still the standard of luxury today.
As fashion has continued to evolve into the 21st century, discussions of quality and craftsmanship have come to the fore. There was a time when almost every woman owned a sewing machine and knew how to use it. They often created beautiful, one-of-a-kind, fabric garments that could last for decades. The pendulum has now swung to a time when women embrace manufacturing. The general population now prefers to buy inexpensive, disposable clothing that allows them to follow the latest trend.
Recently, we have also seen a return of a timeless style. Women are again beginning to value quality over quantity. Some search for vintage couture in resale shops, some are learning to sew, and some are seeking out skilled tailors and seamstresses for bespoke apparel.
A few pieces, such as an embellished evening wrap, a tailored wool jacket or a perfectly fitted corset, will always have a place in any woman’s wardrobe. These classic garments are worth the investment in fine fabric and skilled construction that come with custom tailoring.
The sophisticated woman knows that the secret pleasure of wearing beautiful clothing that was made just for her. Inexpensively manufactured clothing has its place. But the firm fabric, soft linings, finished seams and exquisite fit of bespoke garments have undeniable superiority.
So What is the History of Washing Clothing anyway? Since people began wearing clothing, we have needed a way to wash and clean the clothes they wear; for hygienic reasons, if not to keep down the body lice and distasteful smells. The commoners throughout history were accustomed to the mutual bad smells among themselves. The wealthy upper class however at least attempted a modicum of dignity by masking those smells through candles, rosewater, potpourri, and handkerchiefs scented with perfume. But how did we go from river banks with rocks, to an electric washing machine?
Clothing of the Early Time Periods:
From 1400 to 1500 A.D., wool was sheered from sheep to be woven into lengths of cloth. This was the most popular fabric used for clothing people at the time. It provided warmth and protection while not creating a suffocating barrier from the elements. This also meant that the fibers retained smells, and would hang on to stains.
Following this was linen, made from the fibers of flax and hemp plants. Cotton pulled from a cotton plant was also used, but the process for making fabric lengths was much more detailed and time-consuming. These natural fibers have the ability to allow air to pass through, or “breathe”. This does cause them to shrink from their original size easily, however.
Care must be taken with the washing that isn’t just simple surface cleaning. The fibers that we have available today are numerous and varied. The original natural fiber sources still remain the favorite among fashion designers and wearers alike though.
Wash Day From The Past:
Before the time of washing machines, the project of wash day was often done in rivers. At that time it was considered “women’s work”. Because it was associated with women in the home, it often became a group activity complete with children playing. Laundry could be found draped everywhere to dry. Women could be observed heading to the river bed, manned with boards to scrub on and sticks to pound the cloth with. These laborers headed to the stream to beat the offending articles into submission. If they didn’t leave with a better smell they would hopefully have less crawling pests.
Clothing was often rubbed, twisted or hit against rocks. Sometimes a wooden bat called a washing beetle, combined with a washing tub, would be used to get the dirt out.
When the washing board was invented in 1797 it became the “more sophisticated” way to clean for a time. People then began boiling water above a fire and pouring it into a tub that they would then use to wash their clothing (tub washing). This was often accompanied by soap and homemade lye to bleach the clothes white and remove the ever-present grease.
The Making Of Soap:
Before the invention of today’s laundry cleaners,soapwas made from boiled animal fat and lye to clean any clothing. Salt could also be added to form a rough pumice like the texture and to produce bars easier to store and handle. Not surprisingly the laundress suffered the plight of chapped itchy hands and possible blisters because of it.
In areas where wood was plentiful, lye was made from water poured through wood ashes until it became “frothy”. People would often soak their clothing in lye to clean their white or off-white clothing. The process of soaking clothing in lye to dissolve the grease and loosen the dirt was called bucking.
Starch and bluing were also available to use for nicer clothing and linens to remove the stains, bleach them white again, and give them a good stiff gloss.
A sizing solution made from plants was also used on fabrics like cotton that wrinkled perpetually. This added body to the fabric where heavy stiffness was not wanted. This was a luxury however as the process was quite time-consuming.
Washing For Sanitation:
Enter the 1800’s and the discovery of germs brought about greater awareness and concerns about diseases and sanitation. This increased the desire for clean clothes and regular bathing. Quality dressing, and thus cleanliness, was the priority. It became associated with a higher social status as well.
In the western frontier towns of America, the women available to do laundry services were few and far between. And on the eastern shores of the country crowded apartments or confined dwellings prevented easy wash days. This was a drawback in the larger cities of the eastern shores.
At this time many Chinese immigrants were fleeing the Taiping Rebellion that affected their country and coming to America. This money making the trade was available. For the first time in history, cleaning clothes became a business opportunity.
The Invention Of The Washing Machine:
By the mid-1850’s, steam-driven washing machines were being sold in both the United States and England. The person washing the clothes still had to ring out clothing by hand until the ringer machine was created, however. This ringer used two rollers to squeeze as much water as possible out of clothing. They were originally operated by hand but were eventually created as a power attachment above the washer.
Later, after the development of electric motors, came machines called extractors that spun clothing to remove excess water. Eventually, this became one device, known today as a washing machine.
Gas and electric dryers that we use today were invented soon after. No more tedious trips to and from the clothesline.
Dry cleaning is a cleaning process that uses chemical solvents rather than water to clean the garments. This method was used as early as the 1800’s to clean clothing that would shrink dramatically from water washing. Due to the loosely woven fabrics of the time, this was often a major concern.
In past history, those who could afford it hired a washerwoman, servant or laundry service to do the laundry. Today most people use modern washers and dryers to clean their clothes. Some people take their clothing to a dry cleaner for more professional looking results.
Because of industrialization, clothing is more affordable and easily accessible than it was in the past. In this day and age, people are known to replace their clothing more often. The museums of today dedicated to historical clothing that has been preserved for our knowledge leave a legacy of the history of society.
Without the care and preservation of those garments, we would be at a loss for what they looked like, and how they were worn on an everyday basis to shape civilization. This can lead us to the conclusion that a better-made garment, of proper fit and appropriate care, will last for generations.
When you get dressed for a special occasion meant to impress, do you feel an anxiety of dressing for status? Whether applying for a job, going out with the girls or attending a special event, wearing the appropriate “uniform” has always been a signal to gain acceptance in a particular social circle.
The way we dress is more complex than just wearing the latest outfit featured in a trendy magazine. There’s a whole psychology that revolves around our clothing choices.
The First Impression
So how does clothing impact a person’s first visual impact? We only get about seven seconds to make a first impression. What you wear gives you an added boost in making the right first effect.
Clothing is a non-verbal form of communication that gives clues about a person’s background, financial status and personality. It can also be a statement reflecting your mood, culture, interests, age, level of confidence and authority.
The Impact of Status
Status is different than class or caste. It’s based on the cultural position, the prestige of holding certain occupations or the family background and carries with it a particular anxiety of dressing for status. Throughout history, poets and painters could be considered high in status but might be as poor as church mice.
In the industrial revolution era, wealth did not ensure moving up in status. A successful businessman could dress his wife in the latest fashion. He could entertain high society with extravagant parties, but his social status remained the same; he was a tradesman.
In Victorian times, widows could only wear black for one year and one month.
An early example of a dress code is ancient Rome. Only senators could wear garments dyed purple.
In the early Roman and Greek culture body shape and weight were also a sign of status and social standing. As early as 2900 B.C. both men and women were concerned with a slim silhouette. Artifacts suggest young men wore constricting belts that confined their waistline. And there have been periods throughout history when it was perfectly reasonable for a man to wear a corset.
In China, the centuries-old tradition of foot binding included breaking the foot and reshaping it to resemble a lotus bud. This gruesome-shaped appendage raised the likelihood of marriage among the women and increased their social status.
Society and Status
Throughout history, the clothing we wear has been capable of displaying and epitomizing a person’s culture, financial status, and social power. Perceived status gives a person power and along with that, there is an anxiety of dressing for status. Your needs and opinions along with what you say and do hold more weight than others around you and gives you more influence.
This carries through into a person’s career, the ability to earn and achieve wealth. These advantages may be derived simply by our gender, the way we dress, our race, age or religious affiliations. Society teaches us to conform and be part of the crowd.
Notoriety and Status
Celebrities, with their sometimes-inflated conception of self-worth, often flaunt their lofty status by ignoring social constraints and conformity. In an attempt to keep the celebrity wagon rolling, these people continually draw attention to themselves by various means. Whether it’s outlandish fashion, acting bodacious or being diva-like and ungracious. Public figures use every tool available to maintain their status.
It’s sort of an ongoing battle; if you free yourself from social constraints and conformity, you’re more likely to achieve a level of notoriety and status. If you don’t continue to push the envelope, that celebrity status will quickly wilt. A celebrity is constantly making sure their public presentation garners attention and reinforces their status.
It’s all well and good to follow fashion trends, but sometimes bucking the trend goes a lot further. If you radiate the confidence that you’re someone who already has high status, you’re more likely to be perceived as a person with high status.
Fashion can be a form of art. It encourages creativity and expression. The freedom to wear whatever you want is also a liberating experience that’s available to anyone, regardless of class or social status.
What Class Do You Fall In?
Quietly, or yelling at the top of your lungs, everyone has at least a little concern about making an impression and rising in social stature.
Some folks do this by wearing the latest in fashion and spend far above their budget. Other people are into anti-fashion and make their point by wearing outrageous getups. Another group just goes with the flow and hope to fit in.
Maya Angelou wrote, “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”
For the love of custom corsets, women keep wearing them! First Impressions: A woman walks into a room and every head turns. The glances of the crowd may flicker away in an instant or they may linger and admire.
The way a woman presents herself gives her the power to choose whether to deflect attention or to draw it. When she chooses to walk into a room and say, “Here I am,” her clothing is part of the equation.
The well-dressed woman knows that clothing conveys status. Fabric with a sumptuous hand and design with a fashionable cut, speaks volumes. And above all, a garment with an impeccable fit sends a message: high quality.
High Concept Fashion:
High concept fashionis the product of the foremost couture houses throughout the world. The annual collections are brought out each new fashion season by talented designers with bold ideas.
The goal of an haute couture fashion show is to make the theme of the collection stand out. They strive to capture attention and turn the head with a gasp from the lips. It’s usually more of an appeal to “look at me!” rather than actual functionality. Very few designers expect to sell a look “hot off the model.” The love of custom corsets with dramatic flair has kept it on the runway.
The overall control the tailor/seamstress has over the final outcome of the corset garment is extensive. From the fitting to the refined and detailed finish, it speaks volumes to the client and overall audience. It is the highest degree of bespoke tailoring. Experienced seamstresses and tailors can produce exquisite garments that reflect a designer’s concept. They can beautifully execute any design that a woman conceives independently. The translation of the runway looks into wearable high fashion is the result of bespoke tailoring.
How Corsets Fit In:
Over the centuries the flow of fashion is often charted by the look of the dresses, coats, skirts, and slacks. As these pieces have evolved, however, so too have the undergarments. Working alongside the tailor and seamstress was the corsetier. Corsets have been shaping, slimming and flirting from ancient times to the present day.
The function of a corset has changed through history. It has been used to support an upright posture and to hold a woman’s body in the desired shape. Often it is simply used as a fashion statement. The woman of today is neither compelled nor forbidden to wear a corset. She can choose for herself the purpose for which she will wear it.
Many women like the support a corset gives them in situations where they desire a straight posture. They feel it gives them a more elegant line that suggests high status. Some women want a corset that will nip in their waist and give them the classic hourglass figure. Still, others are not interested in the function of a corset but just enjoy the fun of wearing it.
Why Custom Corsets:
So does a custom fit maintain a certain superiority? A woman who decides to explore the option of wearing a corset will find many ready-made options on the market. Unfortunately, they are made to fit the average woman with industry-standard proportions, which the average female body rarely follows.
She may also find that the seams begin to pull apart and the stiffening begins to stab before she has even begun to lace the corset tightly. This will not do. In no time at all her desire will be to remove the corset as soon as possible.
For a garment as close-fitting as a corset, the only way to get a piece that is both functional and comfortable is to have it custom made by a bespoke seamstress.
Every woman’s body is unique. The bust may be higher or lower than average, her rib cage may be longer or shorter, and her back may be wider or narrower. Only by having a custom-fit corset can all of these individual measurements be taken into account.
A bespoke corset is a gorgeous creation that will last for years. It is an item that will never go out of style. The love of custom corsets is acquired when worn to an important engagement.