Sunday, November 14, 2021

Clothes

Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel, and attire) are items worn on the body. Typically, clothing is made of fabrics or textiles, but over time it has included garments made from animal skin and other thin sheets of materials and natural products found in the environment, put together. The wearing of clothing is mostly restricted to human beings and is a feature of all human societies. The amount and type of clothing worn depends on gender, body type, social factors, and geographic considerations. Garments cover the body, footwear covers the feet, gloves cover the hands, while hats and headgear cover the head. Eyewear and jewelry are not generally considered items of clothing, but play an important role in fashion and clothing as costume.

Other wearables are not always considered to be clothing despite belonging to an accepted class, such as orthodontic headgear, which is a medical appliance. The human body is not always complete, and sometimes includes prosthetic devices, such as a limb prosthesis, which might be adorned similarly to an intact body, differently, or not at all. Some styles of prosthetic legs are designed to require ordinary street shoes to function properly.

Clothing serves many purposes: it can serve as protection from the elements, rough surfaces, sharp stones, rash-causing plants, insect bites, splinters, thorns and prickles by providing a barrier between the skin and the environment. Clothing can insulate against cold or hot conditions, and it can provide a hygienic barrier, keeping infectious and toxic materials away from the body. It can protect feet from injury and discomfort or facilitate navigation in varied environments. Clothing also provides protection from ultraviolet radiation. It may used to prevent glare or increase visual acuity in harsh environments, such as brimmed hats. Clothing is used for protection against injury in specific tasks and occupations, sports, and warfare. Fashioned with pockets, belts, or loops, clothing may provide a means to carry things while freeing the hands.

Clothing has significant social factors as well. Wearing clothes is a variable social norm. It may connote modesty. Being deprived of clothing in front of others may be embarrassing. In many parts of the world, not wearing clothes in public so that genitals, breasts, or buttocks are visible could be considered indecent exposure. Pubic area or genital coverage is the most frequently encountered minimum found cross-culturally and regardless of climate, implying social convention as the basis of customs. Clothing also may be used to communicate social status, wealth, group identity, and individualism.

Some forms of personal protective equipment amount to clothing, such as coveralls, chaps or a doctor's white coat, with similar requirements for maintenance and cleaning as other textiles (boxing gloves function both as protective equipment and as a sparring weapon, so the equipment aspect rises above the glove aspect). More specialized forms of protective equipment, such as face shields are classified protective accessories. At the far extreme, self-enclosing diving suits or space suits are form fitting body covers, and amount to a form of dress, without being clothing per se, while containing enough high technology to amount to more of a tool than a garment. This line will continue to blur as wearable technology embeds assistive devices directly into the fabric itself; the enabling innovations are ultra low power consumption and flexible electronic substrates.

Clothing also hybridizes into a personal transportation system (ice skates, roller skates, cargo pants, other outdoor survival gear, one-man band) or concealment system (stage magicians, hidden linings or pockets in tradecraft, integrated holsters for concealed carry, merchandise-laden trench coats on the black market — where the purpose of the clothing often carries over into disguise). A mode of dress fit to purpose, whether stylistic or functional, is known as an outfit or ensemble.


Origin and history

Early use

Scientists have never agreed on when humans began wearing clothes and estimates submitted by various experts have ranged greatly from 3 million to 40,000 years ago. More recently, studies involving the evolution of body lice have pointed to a more recent development, implying the use of clothes around 170,000 years ago with others indicating as little as 40,000. In September 2021, scientists reported evidence of clothes being made 120,000 years ago based on findings in deposits in Morocco. However, despite these indications, there is no single estimate that is widely accepted.

Ralf Kittler, Manfred Kayser, and Mark Stoneking, anthropologists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, conducted a genetic analysis of human body lice that suggests clothing originated around 170,000 years ago. Body lice are an indicator of clothes-wearing, since most humans have sparse body hair, and lice thus require human clothing to maintain presence on their host. Their research suggests that the invention of clothing may have coincided with the northward migration of modern Homo sapiens away from the warm climate of Africa, thought to have begun between 100,000 and 50,000 years ago. A second group of researchers using similar genetic methods estimate that clothing originated between 114,000 and 30,000 years ago.

According to anthropologists and archaeologists, the earliest clothing likely consisted of fur, leather, leaves, or grass that was draped, wrapped, or tied around the body. Knowledge of such clothing remains inferential, since clothing materials deteriorate quickly compared to stone, bone, shell, and metal artifacts. Archeologists have identified very early sewing needles of bone and ivory from about 30,000 BC, found near Kostenki, Russia in 1988. 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 34,000 BC.

Making clothing

Some human cultures, such as the various peoples of the Arctic Circle, traditionally make their clothing entirely of prepared and decorated furs and skins. Other cultures supplemented or replaced leather and skins with cloth: woven, knitted, or twined from various animal and vegetable fibers including wool, linen, cotton, silk, hemp, and ramie.

Although modern consumers may take the production of clothing for granted, making fabric by hand is a tedious and labor-intensive process involving fiber making, spinning, and weaving. 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. Many people wore, and still wear, garments consisting of rectangles of cloth wrapped to fit – for example, 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 (dhoti and sari) or implement pins or belts to hold the garments in place (kilt and sarong). The cloth remains uncut, and people of various sizes can wear the garment.

Another approach involves measuring, cutting, and sewing the cloth by hand or with a sewing machine. Clothing can be cut from a sewing pattern and adjusted by a tailor to the wearer's measurements. An adjustable sewing mannequin or dress form is used to create form-fitting clothing. If the fabric is expensive, the tailor tries to use every bit of the cloth rectangle in constructing the clothing; perhaps cutting triangular pieces from one corner of the cloth, and adding them elsewhere as gussets. Traditional European patterns for shirts and chemises take this approach. These remnants can also be reused to make patchwork pockets, hats, vests, and skirts.

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; domestic sewers may turn them into quilts.

In the thousands of years that humans have been making clothing, they have created an astonishing array of styles, many of which have been reconstructed from surviving garments, photographs, paintings, mosaics, etc., as well as from written descriptions. Costume history can inspire current fashion designers, as well as costumiers for plays, films, television, and historical reenactment.


Clothing as comfort

Comfort is related to various perceptions, physiological, social, and psychological needs, and after food, it is clothing that satisfies these comfort needs. Clothing provides aesthetic, tactile, thermal, moisture, and pressure comfort.


Aesthetic comfort: Visual perception is influenced by color, fabric construction, style, garment fit, fashion compatibility, and finish of clothing material. Aesthetic comfort is necessary for psychological and social comfort.

Thermoregulation in humans and thermophysiological comfort: Thermophysiological comfort is the capacity of the clothing material that makes the balance of moisture and heat between the body and the environment. It is a property of textile materials that creates ease by maintaining moisture and thermal levels in a human's resting and active states. The selection of textile material significantly affects the comfort of the wearer. Different textile fibers have unique properties that make them suitable for use in various environments. Natural fibers are breathable and absorb moisture, and synthetic fibers are hydrophobic; they repel moisture and do not allow air to pass. Different environments demand a diverse selection of clothing materials. Hence, the appropriate choice is important. The major determinants that influence thermophysiological comfort are permeable construction, heat, and moisture transfer rate.

Thermal comfort: One primary criterion for our physiological needs is thermal comfort. The heat dissipation effectiveness of clothing gives the wearer a neither very hot nor very cold feel. The optimum temperature for thermal comfort of the skin surface is between 28 and 30 degrees Celsius, i.e., a neutral temperature. Thermophysiology reacts whenever the temperature falls below or exceeds the neutral point on either side; it is discomforting below 28 and above 30 degrees. Clothing maintains a thermal balance; it keeps the skin dry and cool. It helps to keep the body from overheating while avoiding heat from the environment.

Moisture comfort: Moisture comfort is the prevention of a damp sensation. According to Hollies' research, it feels uncomfortable when more than "50% to 65% of the body is wet."

Tactile comfort: Tactile comfort is a resistance to the discomfort related to the friction created by clothing against the body. It is related to the smoothness, roughness, softness, and stiffness of the fabric used in clothing. The degree of tactile discomfort may vary between individuals, which is possible due to various factors including allergies, tickling, prickling, skin abrasion, coolness, and the fabric's weight, structure, and thickness. There are specific surface finishes (mechanical and chemical) that can enhance tactile comfort. Fleece sweatshirts and velvet clothing, for example. Soft, clingy, stiff, heavy, light, hard, sticky, scratchy, prickly are all terms used to describe tactile sensations.

Pressure comfort: The comfort of the human body's pressure receptors' (present in the skin) sensory response towards clothing. Fabric with lycra feels more comfortable because of this response and superior pressure comfort. The sensation response is influenced by the material's structure: snugging, looseness, heavy, light, soft, or stiff structuring.

Functions

The most obvious function of clothing is to protect the wearer from the elements. It serves to prevent wind damage and provides protection from sunburn. In the cold, it offers thermal insulation. Shelter can reduce the functional need for clothing. For example, coats, hats, gloves, and other outer layers are normally removed when entering a warm place. Similarly, clothing has seasonal and regional aspects so that thinner materials and fewer layers of clothing generally are worn in warmer regions and seasons than in colder ones. Boots, hats, jackets, panchos, and coats designed to protect from rain and snow are specialized clothing items.

Clothing has been made from a very wide variety of materials, ranging from leather and furs to woven fabrics to elaborate and exotic natural and synthetic fabrics. Not all body coverings are regarded as clothing. Articles carried rather than worn normally are considered accessories rather than clothing (such as Handbags), items worn on a single part of the body and easily removed (scarves), worn purely for adornment (jewelry), or items that do not serve a protective function. For instance, corrective eyeglasses, Arctic goggles, and sunglasses would not be considered an accessory because of their protective functions.

Clothing protects against many things that might injure or irritate the uncovered human body, including rain, snow, wind, and other weather, as well as from the sun. Garments that are too sheer, thin, small, or tight offer less protection. Appropriate clothes can also reduce risk during activities such as work or sport. Some clothing protects from specific hazards, such as insects, noxious chemicals, weather, weapons, and contact with abrasive substances.


Humans have devised clothing solutions to environmental or other hazards: such as space suits, air conditioned clothing, armor, diving suits, swimsuits, bee-keeper gear, motorcycle leathers, high-visibility clothing, and other pieces of protective clothing. The distinction between clothing and protective equipment is not always clear-cut, since clothes designed to be fashionable often have protective value and clothes designed for function often incorporate fashion in their design. The choice of clothes also has social implications. They cover parts of the body that social norms require to be covered, act as a form of adornment, and serve other social purposes. Someone who lacks the means to procure reasonable clothing due to poverty or affordability, or simply lack of inclination, sometimes is said to be scruffy, ragged, or shabby.

Clothing performs a range of social and cultural functions, such as individual, occupational and gender differentiation, and social status. In many societies, norms about clothing reflect standards of modesty, religion, gender, and social status. Clothing may also function as adornment and an expression of personal taste or style.

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