What Is Clothing?

clothing Credit: Robert Sheie/CC-BY-2.0

Clothing refers broadly to any number of fibers and materials worn to cover parts of the human body, including pants, shorts, shirts, dresses, coats and underwear. Clothing is worn by virtually every segment of the human population, although the types of clothing worn by people varies widely around the world. Religious, historical and even geographical influences play a large role in determining the type of clothing worn by people, as do age and socioeconomic status.

In some areas of the world, the amount of clothing worn is minimal while in other areas, particularly northern climates, clothing is worn in abundance. In addition to varying in quantity, the material composition of clothing in different climate zones varies widely. In hot and humid tropical regions, people usually dress in sweat- and heat-repelling lightweight fabrics, such as cotton and linen. In northern areas, chosen clothing is generally made using heavier materials that provide insulation and warmth, such as animal skins, fur and synthetic materials. Clothes are often used as a means to express individuality and can also help individuals identify with certain groups. Clothing can provide insight into individual personalities as can the tendency for people to keep old clothing garments or constantly buy new items to add to their wardrobes.