Cultural and sociological theories have frequently tried to give oversimplified explanations of the motives of human clothing. Dress is not motivated only by modesty, adornment, and protection, or even-a still more one sided theory offered by Freud- by sex alone. All dress appears to be motivated primarily by the environment. Although the purposes of clothing are determined by environmental conditions, its form is determined by man's own characteristics, and especially by his mental traits. Forms of clothing are influenced by (1) physical environment and (2) social conditions, including sex relations, costume, caste, class, and religious, metaphysical, or other supersensory relations. Hence the main requirement of any clothing is its comfort in various situations of atmosphere which describes its physiological behavior. Dress is founded primarily in the world of emotions. It is not only a kind of covering but also a kind of mimicry through which man expresses many of his subjective social sentiments. The development of dress proceeds from two poles- the cultural-psychological and the concrete psychological characteristics of men. Man has always been interested in the relationship between clothing and physical well-being. In this paper, we have summarized the milestones of a development that ranges from the first form of human clothing made from hide and leather through to modern functional textiles. Using the methods of clothing physiology, items of clothing can now be optimally tailored to their respective area of application.
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Tanveer Malik is a Reader at the Department of Textile Technology, Shri Vaishnav Institute of Technology and Science
This article was originally published in the Textile Review magazine, April, 2012, published by Saket Projects Limited, Ahmedabad.