Clothes are necessary for several reasons: they are required by law in many areas of the world, serve as a way to identify certain cultures and traditions, set societal norms and standards and provide protection from the elements, such as wind, cold, rain and strong sunlight. Clothing has been used by humans for thousands of years, and comes in a variety of forms. Clothing has evolved throughout the course of history to include more fabrics, styles and designs and helps to shape the identities of individuals and societies around the world.
Although clothing plays a role in identifying differences among individuals in different socioeconomic levels, it serves many practical uses as well. Clothes vary widely in style, pattern, color and price. They are also made for certain activities, such as formal events, everyday wear, and for sports and outdoor activities such as hiking, running and playing soccer. Clothing made for specific purposes have features that make them suited for their particular uses. Active wear, for instance, protects people from environmental conditions while performing physical activities outdoors. This type of clothing, which includes pants, hats, long-sleeve and short-sleeve shirts, can provide protection against blisters, insect bites, and excessive exposure to the sun. Some clothing can even shield wearers from illness by keeping toxins and pollutants away from the body.