Is the only purpose of clothes to cover us and keep us warm? Far from it ... what we wear is a reflection of more or less conscious choice. It expresses our desire to seduce, to convince, to show our discretion or convey any message related to everyday circumstances. And then there is the clothing we choose for special occasions!
What's more, the way we dress or decide to follow a trend (or perhaps choose not to follow) deeply reflects our lifestyle, our mentality and our social status and/or ethnicity. Brand names and top designers have always understood this, designing bespoke collections or off-the-shelf items designed to demonstrate a lifestyle and a level of income. Whether it's a logo, a type of fabric or a particular design, the garment is worn, the mark is displayed (even quietly) and the statement of the style is made. And no one escapes! Each group of punk fashionistas, for example, has its own fashion codes. Whatever the clothing style – casual T-shirt, heavy metal or evening dress, it makes its own statement.
But what do your clothes say about your personality? Day by day, they express your mood. Bright colours or mourning clothes, out with friends or having a sporting weekend, every moment of life has an appropriate place. Historically, fashion is no exception, as feminists, for example, used trousers as a statement to claim equal rights.
At work, trends or dress are equally complex and revealing. Working in a law firm or as a consultant, for example, does not require the same outfit as that worn by a baker or a check-out assistant. These considerations could fall into a branch of contemporary philosophy that focuses on the issue of uniform. The uniform, broadly defined, is not just confined to the military. It signifies what apparel is appropriate, practical, or preferable for different occupations and social groups. Our clothes define the role we are taking at any particular time for both business and pleasure. Always dressing as if for work, for instance, would be regarded as eccentric, to say the least.
In fact, our clothes say so much about who we are. Even refusing to follow trends gives a signal indicative of a way of thinking, which wants to be free and not conventional. Is wearing sportswear, trainers, baseball caps or a business suit mostly a cliché? Perhaps, but in terms of outfits we all have the same constraints; we respond as our financial resources and our preferences allow.
The good news is that the effect of wearing particular styles can also help to create a new persona for ourselves, whether this is to fit a particular mood, life change or career move.