Undoubtedly clothes play a huge role in our lives. They help us express who we are. They also enable us to make a preliminary adjustment of our behavior towards people we meet for the first time. The clothes a stranger is wearing tell us something of his/her sex, occupation, age and social standing.
There are three fundamental motives for wearing clothes, namely decoration, modesty and protection. According to J.C. Flugel decoration was the motive that led, in the first place, to the adoption of clothing. The function of decoration is to beautify the wearer, to draw attention. It can be classified under two main heads – the corporal and the external. Corporal decoration consists in actually molding or manipulating the body. External decoration consists in attaching clothes or other ornamental objects to the body.
FORMS OF DECORATION
There are many ways in which the body can be externally beautified. There are accessories that make someone seem taller. There are loose and flowing garments that accentuate the elegancy of the movements. There are also clothes that by their shape add to the size of the wearer, be it on the head, the shoulders, breasts or hips. All this forms of decoration also influence our internal world. For example when wearing a skirt that accentuates female curves, we suddenly feel more feminine and attractive. When wearing high heels that add to our length, we feel more elegant and strong.
FACTORS OF DECORATION
Trophies – A trophy is often used as a sign of power of its wearer. When a hunter killed an animal, he would often carry home with him some parts of the animal that seemed likely to be useful or decorative, or that would serve as a permanent memento of his prowess.
Today snakeskin, fur and feathers are still being used by designers for decorative garments and accessories. Next to this obvious use of trophies, the idea is also indirectly being implemented into fashion: Mostly teenagers, but also many adults wear clothes that are being worn by people whom we admire for their trophies (talents, successes or lifestyle). We see celebrities or people we are fans of in the video clips, on TV, in the magazines and on Internet and when trying to be just as successful or talented as they are, the first easy step is to start dressing like them. Here, the wearing of trophies happens indirectly, by referring to the owner of the trophy through what is being worn. It is even common to wear a garment with the image of the person we admire.
Another way of decorating oneself is by using what we wear as a display of our wealth. Richer people can afford to dress in more elaborate and costly materials than others.
Showing ones wealth can happen by the use of jewels, precious stones, coins and money, but also through garments. Clothing of high-end brands are indeed much more expensive than the clothes that can be found on the street markets because of the higher quality of stitches, materials and delicate designs.
This is crucial when it comes to today’s business model for fashion, which I find outdated and in need for renewal. The downside to this business model is that it forces brands to compete on production costs and quality.
Imagine if the price would not depend on the quality but on the way the clothing is being purchased and for how long. I am writing a book about a new business model and a new system for designing fashion. More information will follow in the upcoming months.
For now, my questions to you are:
- How do you use clothes to beautify yourself?
- What are your associations of beauty based on?
Please leave your comments below.