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Clothing in history, showing (from top) Egyptians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines,
Franks, and 13th- through 15th-century Europeans.

Symbols of different types of materials for clothing:
A) Woolmark
B) Textile (Natural textile materials and Synthetic or non-woven textile materials)
C) Leather
D) Coated Leather
E) Other Materials (All other materials including plastic, rubber, wood, paper etc.)
Clothing is fiber and textile material worn on the body. The wearing of clothing is a feature of
nearly all human societies. The amount and type of clothing worn is dependent on physical
stature, gender, as well as social and geographic considerations.
Physically, clothing serves many purposes: it can serve as protection from weather, and can
enhance safety during hazardous activities such as hiking and cooking. It protects the wearer
from rough surfaces, rash-causing plants, insect bites, splinters, thorns and prickles by providing
a barrier between the skin and the environment. Clothes can insulate against cold or hot
conditions. Further, they can provide a hygienic barrier, keeping infectious and toxic materials
away from the body. Clothing also provides protection from harmful UV radiation.
Clothes can be made out of fiber plants such as cotton, plastics such as polyester, or animal skin
and hair such as wool. Humans began wearing clothes roughly 83,000 to 170,000 years ago.

1 Origin and history
o 1.1 First recorded use
o 1.2 Making clothing
2 Functions
3 Scholarship
4 Cultural aspects
o 4.1 Gender differentiation
o 4.2 Social status
o 4.3 Religion
5 Contemporary clothing
o 5.1 Western dress code
o 5.2 Spread of western styles
o 5.3 Ethnic and cultural heritage
o 5.4 Sport and activity
o 5.5 Fashion
o 5.6 Future trends
6 Political issues
o 6.1 Working conditions
o 6.2 Fur
7 Life cycle
o 7.1 Clothing maintenance
o 7.2 Laundry, ironing, storage
o 7.3 Non-iron
o 7.4 Mending
o 7.5 Recycling
8 Gallery
9 See also
10 References
11 Further reading
12 External links
Origin and history
Main article: History of clothing
First recorded use
Knowledge of the origin of clothing remains inferential, since clothing materials deteriorate
quickly compared to stone, bone, shell and metal artifacts, but some information has been
inferred by studying lice. The body louse specifically lives in human clothing and when it
diverged from head lice it can be inferred that clothing existed at that time. One study estimated
that this happened between 83,000 to 170,000 years ago,
another estimates between 65,000
and 149,000 years ago.

Archeologists have identified very early sewing needles made of bone and ivory which were
found near Kostyonki, Russia in 1988 and are dated to about 30,000 BC.
Dyed flax fibers that
could have been used in clothing have been found in a prehistoric cave in the Republic of
Georgia that date back to 36,000 BP.

Making clothing
See also: Weaving and knitting
Making fabric by hand is a tedious and labor-intensive process. The textile industry was the first
to be mechanized with the powered loom during the Industrial Revolution.
Different cultures have evolved various ways of creating clothes out of cloth. One approach
simply involves draping the cloth. Examples of garments consisting of rectangles of cloth
wrapped to fit include the dhoti for men and the sari for women in the Indian subcontinent, the
Scottish kilt and the Javanese sarong. The clothes may simply be tied up, as is the case of the
first two garments; or pins or belts are used to hold the garments in place, as in the case of the
latter two. The cloth remains uncut, and people of various sizes or the same person at different
sizes can wear the garment.
Another approach involves cutting and sewing the cloth, but using every bit of the cloth
rectangle in constructing the clothing. The tailor may cut triangular pieces from one corner of the
cloth, and then add them elsewhere as gussets. Traditional European patterns for men's shirts and
women's chemises take this approach.
Modern European fashion treats cloth much less conservatively, typically cutting in such a way
as to leave various odd-shaped cloth remnants. Industrial sewing operations sell these as waste;
home sewers may turn them into quilts.
In the thousands of years that humans have spent constructing clothing, they have created an
astonishing array of styles, many of which have been reconstructed from surviving garments,
photos, paintings, mosaics, etc., as well as from written descriptions. Costume history serves as a
source of inspiration to current fashion designers, as well as a topic of professional interest to
costumers constructing for plays, films, television, and historical reenactment.

A baby wearing many items of winter clothing: headband, cap, fur-lined coat, shawl and sweater
A primary function of clothing is to improve the comfort of the wearer by providing protection
against the elements. Clothing provides protection from sunburn in warm weather, and protection
from frostbite in cold weather. Shelter reduces the need for protective clothing. For example,
coats, hats, gloves, and other superficial layers are normally removed when entering a warm
home. Clothes also reduce risk during activities such as work or sport. Some clothing protects
from specific environmental hazards, such as insects, noxious chemicals, weather, weapons, and
contact with abrasive substances. Conversely, clothing may protect the environment from the
clothing wearer, as with doctors wearing medical scrubs.
Humans have shown extreme inventiveness in devising clothing solutions to environmental
hazards. Examples include: space suits, air conditioned clothing, armor, diving suits, swimsuits,
bee-keeper gear, motorcycle leathers, high-visibility clothing, and other pieces of protective
Clothing also performs a range of social and cultural functions. Clothing can be used to indicate
social status and convey individual, occupational, and sexual differentiation.
In many societies,
norms about clothing reflect standards of modesty, religion, gender, and social status. They cover
parts of the body that social norms require to be covered, act as a form of adornment, and
provide an expression of personal taste and style.
Clothing has been made from a very wide variety of materials. Materials have ranged from
leather and furs, to woven materials, to elaborate and exotic natural and synthetic fabrics. Not all
body coverings are regarded as clothing. Articles carried rather than worn (such as purses), worn
on a single part of the body and easily removed (scarves), worn purely for adornment (jewelry),
or those that serve a function other than protection (eyeglasses), are normally considered
accessories rather than clothing, as are footwear and hats. The distinction between clothing and
protective equipment is not always clear-cutsince clothes designed to be fashionable often
have protective value and clothes designed for function often consider fashion in their design.
Although dissertations on clothing and its function appear from the 19th century as colonising
countries dealt with new environments,
concerted scientific research into psycho-social,
physiological and other functions of clothing (e.g. protective, cartage) occurred in the first half of
the 20th century, with publications such as J. C. Flgel's Psychology of Clothes in 1930,
Newburgh's seminal Physiology of Heat Regulation and The Science of Clothing in 1949.
1968, the field of environmental physiology had advanced and expanded significantly, but the
science of clothing in relation to environmental physiology had changed little.
considerable research has since occurred and the knowledge-base has grown significantly, the
main concepts remain unchanged, and indeed Newburgh's book is still cited by contemporary
authors, including those attempting to develop thermoregulatory models of clothing