Clothes are important for a number of reasons. Of course, they have their practical uses to keep us warm, but that is only a small part of it. Rather, clothing enables us to express our identity in a number of different ways and to express ourselves without having to use words. In this article, I will discuss the various reasons why clothing is so important.
Clothing can provide an expression of the group to which you belong. This can be done in the most obvious ways using uniforms. Everything from a police officer’s uniform to the uniform in a fast food restaurant state very obviously that you belong to a certain group and offer a particular service based on what you are wearing.
However, this can also be done less formally. For example, you can wear clothes that identify you as, for example, “a businessman.” It can also be used for groups such as a “Goth” or a member of the “grunge scene.” In all of these cases, the clothing serves to identify you immediately as a member of a given social group.
Clothing need not identify you as a group, however, but simply identify something about your particular style. For example, if you are an exuberant person, wearing clothing that has flare can very easily show off that exuberance. In addition, wearing clothing that is more conservative can show that you yourself are more of a conservative person.
In a way, clothing that provides personal expression is like a facial expression. It provides people with immediate feedback on the kind of mood you are in (or at least, the kind of mood you generally have). This in turn can create important first impressions and lets you say something about yourself to others.