Dr Rajiv Desai

An Educational Blog





Duchess Kate Middleton, “queen of style” crowned best dressed woman of 2011.



After writing many articles on science, and trying to bring science in religion, crime, entertainment and superstitions, I thought why not write about our clothing. Personally speaking, I have a poor sense of clothing. Before writing this article, I wasn’t aware of all the different fabrics and their qualities. To me it clearly didn’t matter what fabric a garment was made of (so long as it looked good of course) and price was a far more important factor. Singularly criticized by fashionista Sonam kapoor for not appreciating beauty of body and castigated by supermodel Julia Stegner for not knowing what to wear in which profession, I am at a receiving end for not knowing beauty, fashion, style and dress sense. The only way out is to improvise and write on clothing, fashion and garments even though I found the topic rather boring. The numbers are astonishing. Apparel (clothing) is easily the second-biggest consumer sector after food in America. They are spending $282 billion on new clothes annually based on U.S. Census figures in 2007. The phrase “clothes make the man” was no empty cliché, but a profound and perceptive truth about the working of a society. Not only the clothing could transform a person’s appearance but it could influence the actions and attitudes of both the wearer and the viewer. It is Louis XIV’s dress that transforms a “little lean, shriveled, paunchy old man of five feet two” into the magnificent imposing king. Theorists recognize the role of clothing as a communicator of information in social interaction and as an aid in the establishment of self-identity.


Why do people wear clothes and animals don’t?

The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic and is a feature of most human societies. It is not known when humans began wearing clothes. Anthropologists believe that animal skins and vegetation were adapted into coverings as protection from cold, heat and rain, especially as humans migrated to new climates; alternatively, covering may have been invented first for other purposes, such as magic, decoration, cult, or prestige, and later found to be practical as well. Yes, animals have fur coats, and yes, Cave Men wore furs, but there had to be a time before cave men figured it out that they need clothes for survival. To put it in the simplest way possible, our overgrown brains allowed us the ingenuity necessary to survive beyond the sheer capacity of our bodily adaptations, we have become so good at manipulating our environment that we have minimized the impact, from an evolutionary point of view, that the environment would have on us. So, in some aspects natural selection doesn’t entirely apply. Our main survival tool is the brain; it is such an efficient tool of adaptation that our bodies are no longer as subject to natural selection as they used to be, in other words, we, as a population, have virtually no need to evolve, in the sense of physically adapting to the environment. In other words, the difference between brain functions is the reason why humans wear clothes and animals don’t. 


Introduction to clothing:



Definition: clothes, clothing and cloths:     

Clothing is fiber and textile material worn on the body. The wearing of clothing is mostly restricted to human beings and is a feature of nearly all human societies. Clothes mean articles of dress; wearing apparel; garments. Clothes are articles worn to cover the body: apparel, attire, clothing, dress, garment etc (e.g. shirt, pant). The noun clothes means “clothing.” Cloths is the plural of the noun cloth (fabric). For example, put your filthy clothes in the hamper, and then wipe your face with a damp cloth. A cloth means fabric or material formed by weaving, knitting, pressing, or felting natural or synthetic fibers. Cloths are pieces of fabric– for instance, washcloths or tablecloths.  So clothes is synonymous with clothing, and cloths is pleural of cloth meaning fabric. The verb clothe means to dress or to cover with clothing. Garment (noun) means an article of clothing. A dress is a garment consisting of a skirt with an attached bodice or a matching bodice giving the effect of a one-piece garment. In Western culture, dresses are usually considered to be items of women’s and girls’ apparel. The amount and type of clothing worn depends on physical, social and geographic considerations. Clothing can and has in history been made from a very wide variety of materials. Materials have ranged from leather and furs, to woven materials, to elaborate and exotic natural and synthetic fabrics. Not all body coverings are regarded as clothing. Articles carried rather than worn (such as purses), worn on a single part of the body and easily removed (scarves), worn purely for adornment (jewelry), or those that serve a function other than protection (eyeglasses), are normally considered accessories rather than clothing, as are footwear and hats. Clothing protects the human body from extreme weather and other features of the environment. It is worn for safety, comfort, and modesty and to reflect religious, cultural and social meaning.


Dress is an art by itself. We do not have to be dressed in expensive clothes or fashionable clothes but we must wear clean tidy and well ironed clothes. The dress should have buttons in place and should not be worn carelessly by using safety pins in place of buttons. Our dress should be loose enough to allow free movement of the body parts.



Clothing as identity:



Clothing as attention seeking:



Clothing as art:



Other things necessary to be Well-Dressed:

No matter how good the line, nor how beautiful the color, we do not appear well-dressed if our dress is covered with lint and lacking a button or two. It is not truly artistic to be careless or untidy in one’s dress. The girl who is well-dressed is particular to see that her clothes are well taken care of, that her hat, dress and coat are brushed, her shoes polished, spots removed from her clothing, rips sewed up and buttons or fasteners sewed on. No matter how attractive your clothing may be, you cannot be well-dressed unless the body is also well cared for. This means that the hair, skin, teeth, and hands all contribute to a well groomed, attractive appearance.


Wearing new clothes:

Many beliefs focus on new clothes, and there are several times when it was good to wear them for the first time. One was New Year, on the principle that whatever you did on that day would affect the rest of the year, while others swore by Easter. In India, people wear new clothes during Diwali festival.


New Clothes translates the mood of an individual:

A research was conducted to assess whether the new article of clothing/wearing a new dress translates the mood of an individual and which factors contribute more towards the negative or positive mood sense. The findings reveal that having on a new dress effects mood in a positive way because it develops the feeling of happiness/newness/a nice change. With this, the factors of clothing like color, fabric, print, design does have a significant impact on the moods of the individuals particularly when they wear new dress. It is found that the fashion element is a prominent pointer while having on new dresses which portrays a sense of belonging/an impression before another person. Dressing is considered as the factor for representing the social status of the person and many people of our culture believe in this view. Being in the fashion league, adopting the to-date fashion makes one look trendy and stylish. This changing behavior of fashion makes one wearing on new clothes for every now and then, which gives a sense of excitement, confidence. As a result, it is exciting to know that new clothes do matter the mood and mostly they reflect a positive posture/gesture of a person with exceptions of certain situations and external environment influencers.


Clothes and superstitions:

It is believed that to wear new clothes first on a Sunday was very good, as they would last twice as long if you did, but it was unlucky to wear them first on a Friday. When someone you knew was wearing new clothes for the first time you should pinch them, for luck, or else greet them with the formula ‘Health to wear it, Strength to tear it, And money to buy another’. ‘If a woman loses her garter in the street her lover will be unfaithful to her’. It is still said to be unwise to mend clothes while wearing them, an idea which has been reported regularly since 1850, often in rhyme, and how you dress yourself in the morning can be significant: ‘If you put a button or hook into the wrong hole while dressing in the morning, some misfortune will occur during the day’. Another belief, reported from the mid-19th century onwards was that dead people’s clothes, if given away, wore badly and soon deteriorated.


Clothing a basic need:

A traditional list of immediate “basic needs” include food (including water), shelter, and clothing; but many modern lists also include sanitation, education, and healthcare. The poverty line is defined as the amount of income required to satisfy these needs. Anyone who lives below poverty line means his income is too less to cater to his basic needs. World Bank estimates that 1.5 billion people live in extreme poverty. In their 2006 survey, The Wilder Foundation found that 42% of the homeless surveyed reported that they accessed free or almost free clothing that day. Therefore, it is safe to assume that many homeless or those living in poverty could benefit from a clothing supply drive. Homelessness and poverty are significant issues in the world. Collecting and donating clothing are one small way we can help to alleviate some of the day to day stresses of those experiencing poverty and homelessness.


Right to clothing:

The right to clothing is recognized as a human right in various international human rights instruments. The right to clothing, together with the right to food and the right to housing, are parts of the right to an adequate standard of living as recognized under Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The right to clothing is similarly recognized under Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).The right to clothing forms an aspect of the right to an adequate standard of living, and as such, is regarded as something that needs to be ensured so as to prevent people from living below the poverty line. Indeed, being ill-clothed is emblematic of acute poverty.


Dress codes:

Dress codes are written and, more often, unwritten rules with regard to clothing. Clothing like other aspects of human physical appearance has a social significance, with different rules and expectations being valid depending on circumstance and occasion. Even within a single day an individual may need to navigate between two or more dress codes, at a minimum these are those that apply at their place of work and those at home; usually this ability is a result of cultural acclimatization. Different societies and cultures will have different dress norms although Western styles are commonly accepted as valid. The dress code has built in rules or signals indicating the message being given by a person’s clothing and how it is worn. This message may include indications of the person’s gender, income, occupation and social class, political, ethnic and religious affiliation, attitude and attitude towards comfort, fashion, traditions, gender expression, marital status, sexual availability and sexual orientation, etc. Clothes convey other social messages including the stating or claiming personal or cultural identity, the establishing, maintaining, or defying social group norms, and appreciating comfort and functionality. Private organizations may insist on particular dress codes or standards in particular situations. A military institution may require specified uniforms; if it allows the wearing of plain clothes it may place restrictions on their use. Social attitudes to clothing have brought about various rules and social conventions, such as keeping the body covered, and not showing underwear in public. The backlash against these social norms has become a traditional form of rebellion. Inverse dress codes, sometimes referred to as “undress code”, set forth an upper bound, rather than a lower bound, on body covering. An example of an undress code is the one commonly enforced in modern communal bathing facilities. For example, in the public bath SchwabenQuellen, no clothing of any kind is allowed in the sauna part of the resort. Other less strict undress codes are common in public pools, especially indoor pools, in which shoes and shirts are not allowed.


Dress clothes:

Dress clothes are clothing that is less formal than formal wear but more formal than casual wear. For men, this includes items like a necktie, a dress shirt, trousers, dress socks, dress shoes, and underwear. For women, this includes either slacks, a skirt and a blouse, or a dress, knee highs or pantyhose (full cut panties are strongly recommended if one is wearing knee highs), makeup, and high heeled shoes. These are usually worn for night outs or in white collar work environments such as offices. Other appropriate places include graduations, Bar Mitzvahs, Bat Mitzvahs, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, visits with the in-laws, and at funerals.



Undergarments or underwear are clothes worn under other clothes, often next to the skin. They keep outer garments from being soiled by bodily secretions and discharges, shape the body, and provide support for parts of it. There are several other terms for undergarments. Underclothes, underclothing and underwear are formal terms, while undergarments may be more casually called. Undergarments are generally of two types, those that are worn to cover the torso and those that are worn below the waist, though garments which cover both also are available. Different styles of undergarments are generally worn by women and men. Undergarments commonly worn by women today include brassieres and panties (known in the United Kingdom as knickers), while men often wear briefs or boxers. Women’s undergarments collectively are called lingerie. An undershirt (vest in the United Kingdom) is a piece of underwear covering the torso, while underpants (often pants in the United Kingdom), drawers, and shorts cover the genitals and buttocks. Underwear is worn for a variety of reasons. They keep outer garments from being soiled by perspiration, urine, semen, menstrual blood and feces. Women’s brassieres provide support for the breasts, and men’s briefs serve the same function for the male genitalia. A corset may be worn as a foundation garment to alter a woman’s body shape. In cold climates, underwear may constitute an additional layer of clothing helping to keep the wearer warm. Underwear may also be used to preserve the wearer’s modesty. Some people choose not to wear any underwear. People may choose to “go commando,” or not to wear underwear, for several reasons; among those reasons include comfort, to enable their outer garments (particularly those which are form-fitting) to look more flattering, to avoid creating a panty line, because they find it sexually exciting, or because they do not see any need for them.


Origin of clothing:


Clothing as a part of social learning for human adaption:

In its brief evolutionary history, Homo sapiens have come to occupy a larger range than any other terrestrial vertebrate species. Humans (Homo sapiens) are primates of the family Hominidae, and the only living species of the genus Homo. They originated in Africa, where they reached anatomical modernity about 200,000 years ago and began to exhibit full behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago. Earlier hominins, such as Homo heidelbergensis and Neanderthals, were limited to Africa and the temperate regions of southern Eurasia. Behaviorally modern humans were living in Africa by 70,000 years ago. Between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago, people left Africa, crossing into southwest Asia. From there they spread rapidly through southern Eurasia, reaching Australia by 45,000 years ago, a feat that only one other terrestrial mammal (a murid rodent) was able to accomplish. Soon after this, people penetrated far north, reaching the latitude of Moscow by 40,000 years ago and the Arctic Ocean by 30,000 years ago. People had spread almost as far south as the southern tip of South America 13,000 years ago, and by 5,000 years ago humans occupied virtually every terrestrial habitat except Antarctica and some islands in Oceania. Even the most cosmopolitan bird and mammal species have substantially smaller ranges. This global expansion required the rapid development of a vast range of new knowledge, tools, and social arrangements. The people who moved out of Africa were tropical foragers. Northern Eurasia was an immense treeless steppe, relatively poor in plant resources and teeming with unfamiliar prey species. The people that roamed the steppe confronted a hostile climate—temperatures fell to −20 °C for months at a time, and there were often high winds. Surviving in such environments requires a whole new suite of adaptations—tailored clothing, well-engineered shelters, local knowledge about game, and techniques for creating light and heat. In the last 60,000 years humans have expanded across the globe and now occupy a wider range than any other terrestrial species. Our ability to successfully adapt to such a diverse range of habitats is often explained in terms of our cognitive ability. Humans have relatively bigger brains and more computing power than other animals and this allows us to figure out how to live in a wide range of environments.  Humans may be smarter than other creatures, but none of us is nearly smart enough to acquire all of the information necessary to survive in any single habitat. In even the simplest foraging societies, people depend on a vast array of tools, detailed bodies of local knowledge, and complex social arrangements and often do not understand why these tools, beliefs, and behaviors are adaptive. We owe our success to our uniquely developed ability to learn from others. This capacity enables humans to gradually accumulate information across generations and develop well-adapted tools, beliefs, and practices that are too complex for any single individual to invent during their lifetime.


History of clothing:




Research on origin of clothing:

There is no easy way to determine when clothing was first developed, but some information has been inferred by studying lice. The body lice specifically live in clothing, and diverge from head lice between 42000 to 72000 years ago, suggesting that clothing existed at that time. Scientists are still debating when people started wearing clothes. The human head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis) and body louse (P. humanus corporis or P. h. humanus) are strict, obligate human ectoparasites that differ mainly in their habitat on the host: the head louse lives and feeds exclusively on the scalp, whereas the body louse feeds on the body but lives in clothing. This ecological differentiation probably arose when humans adopted frequent use of clothing, an important event in human evolution for which there is no archaeological evidence. Researchers therefore used a molecular clock approach to date the origin of body lice, assuming that this should correspond with the frequent use of clothing. Ralf Kittler, Manfred Kayser and Mark Stoneking, anthropologists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, have conducted a genetic analysis of human body lice that suggests clothing originated quite recently, between 42000 to 72000 years ago. Body lice are an indicator of clothes-wearing, since most humans have sparse body hair, and lice thus require human clothing to survive. So lice have been with us since the world’s first clothes were made. The study, published in Molecular Biology and Evolution journal, explains how DNA sequencing of the parasites was used to calculate when clothing lice first began to genetically diverge from human head lice. Because they are so well adapted to clothing, we know that body lice or clothing lice almost certainly didn’t exist until clothing came about in humans. The results indicate greater diversity in African than non-African lice, suggesting an African origin of human lice. A molecular clock analysis indicates that body lice originated between 42000 to 72000 years ago; the mtDNA sequences also indicate a demographic expansion of body lice that correlates with the spread of modem humans out of Africa. These results suggest that clothing was a surprisingly recent innovation in human evolution. Their research suggests the invention of clothing may have coincided with the northward migration of modern Homo sapiens away from the warm climate of Africa, thought to have begun between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago. However, a second group of researchers using similar genetic methods estimate that clothing originated around 170000 years ago. The data shows modern humans started wearing clothes about 70,000 years before migrating into colder climates and higher latitudes, which began about 100,000 years ago. This date would be virtually impossible to determine using archaeological data because early clothing would not survive in archaeological sites. The study also shows humans started wearing clothes well after they lost body hair, which genetic skin-coloration research pinpoints at about 1 million years ago, meaning humans spent a considerable amount of time without body hair and without clothing. It’s interesting to think humans were able to survive in Africa for hundreds of thousands of years without clothing and without body hair, and that it wasn’t until they had clothing that modern humans were then moving out of Africa into other parts of the world. This study suggests our ancestors first put on clothes after the second-to-last Ice Age, when being nude must have been too cool for comfort. This UF research includes new data and calculation methods better suited for the question than earlier study.  For now, the date of the origin of clothing remains unresolved. Another theory is that modern humans are the only survivors of several species of primates who may have worn clothes and that clothing may have been used as long ago as 650 thousand years ago.


Research on age estimates for the evolutionary divergence of head and body lice suggest that clothing was already in use when humans left Africa. The following graphic synthesizes this theory very well:


Clothing was very expensive in the ancient and medieval world, because without engine-powered machines it was very hard to make. So most people had very few changes of clothing; many people probably owned only the clothes they were wearing. Many children had no clothes at all, and just went naked. In the Stone Age most clothing was made of leather or fur, or woven grasses. By the Bronze Age people had learned to spin yarn on a spindle and to weave cloth out of the yarn on looms. Although many clothes, especially coats, were still made out of leather or fur, most clothes were made out of wool (from sheep) or linen (from the flax plant) or cotton. Some rich people wore silk. In the Middle Ages (the medieval period), people invented the spinning wheel, which made spinning yarn go about four times as fast. Clothes were a little less expensive than they had been before, but still most people had only one or two outfits.


Thermal origin of clothing:

One fundamental assumption of this approach is that prehistoric humans first adopted clothing for thermal reasons — as protection from cold — rather than for social or psychological reasons. In essence, only a thermal model of clothing origins is consistent with all available sources of evidence, which include physiology, palaeo-climatology, palaeoanthropology, prehistoric archaeology, ethnography and genetic studies of modern body lice that infest clothing. Clearly, the use of clothing by modern humans during the historical period has been governed by psychosocial as well as thermal influences, and this elaboration of clothing functions is associated with a crucial development in prehistoric clothing that is relevant to certain archaeological indicators of behavioral modernity.  


The figure below shows simple & complex clothing and associated Paleolithic technologies:



On the basis of the thermal properties of clothing, a distinction can be drawn between ―simple and ―complex clothing. The primary aspect of this distinction is whether garments are draped loosely over the body (―simple‖ clothing) or instead are properly shaped and fitted (or ―tailored) to enclose the limbs as well as the torso (―complex clothing). The latter offers greater thermal protection (especially from wind chill) and, during the Pleistocene when clothing materials comprised mainly (if not exclusively) animal skins rather than woven fabrics — evidence for the latter being extremely limited — the manufacture of complex clothing (which also facilitated the development of multi-layered garment assemblages) generally entailed additional technologies. Furthermore, the regular use of complex (as opposed to simple) clothing favored the acquisition of psychological and social motivations for wearing clothes, promoting the continuing use of clothing more-or-less independently of thermal requirements.


When early people realized they needed more than their own hair and skin to protect them from the weather, they looked around to see what was available. People lived in a cold climate, saw animals with skins that kept them warm. They hunted these animals for food and used the fur to cover their body. Once they started to hunt, they used the skin of animals as clothes. This skin when continuously used becomes harder and made difficult for them to hunt. For this purpose he started to treat the skin to preserve its softness. Later the bones of animals were used as needle and nerves were used as thread to stitch the hides. Ancient people used grasses, reeds, leaves and stems to cover their body. He also learned to spin the fiber, convert it into yarn and these yarns are interlaced to form a cloth. Flax and wool were the first of the fiber to be used because they were easier to twist into yarn than cotton. They also used the hair of animals as bed, in due course, these hair tangled with each other and formed as a fabric. This method is only followed while making felt cloth.  For thousands of years the four natural fibers used by men are flax, wool, silk and cotton. Men made fibers were introduced only at the beginning of the 20th century. From ancient times to the middle of the 18th century, Spinning and weaving were-done by hand.


Clothing and modesty:

It has often been claimed that the feeling of modesty was not the reason for the invention of clothing, but that the clothes begat modesty. This doctrine contains a certain element of truth, but is by no means the whole explanation. For true modesty is displayed by people who have never worn clothes. Before mankind could appreciate the psychological fact that the wearing of clothing might add to an individual’s allurement and enhance her sexual attractiveness, some other circumstances must have been responsible for suggesting the experiments out of which this empirical knowledge emerged. The use of a girdle as a protection against danger to life, and as a means of conferring fecundity on girls provided the circumstances which enabled men to discover that the sexual attractiveness of maidens, which in a state of nature was originally associated with modesty and coyness, was profoundly intensified by the artifices of clothing and adornment. The cowry and its surrogates were supposed to be potent to confer fertility on maidens; and it became the practice for growing girls to wear a girdle on which to suspend the shells as near as possible to the organ their magic was supposed to stimulate. Among many people this girdle was discarded as soon as the girls reached maturity.  


First recorded use of clothing:

According to archaeologists and anthropologists, the earliest clothing likely consisted of fur, leather, leaves, or grass that were draped, wrapped, or tied around the body. Knowledge of such clothing remains inferential, since clothing materials deteriorate quickly compared to stone, bone, shell and metal artifacts. Archeologists have identified very early sewing needles of bone and ivory from about 30,000 BCE, found near Kostenki, Russia in 1988. Dyed flax fibers that could have been used in clothing have been found in a prehistoric cave in the Republic of Georgia that date back to 36,000 BP.


In ancient times, there were no textile industries or clothing stores. Cavemen wore animal leathers and furs. Some human cultures, such as the various people of the Arctic Circle, traditionally make their clothing entirely of prepared and decorated furs and skins. Other cultures supplemented or replaced leather and skins with cloth: woven, knitted, or twined from various animal and vegetable fibers. Although modern consumers may take the production of clothing for granted, making fabric by hand is a tedious and labor intensive process. Looms appeared seven thousand years ago, and knitted fabric began to be produced during the Middle Ages. Natural elements such as silk, wool and cotton were very important until the 19th century. The textile industry was the first to be mechanized — with the powered loom — during the Industrial Revolution. Synthetic fibers appeared in the last decades. With the coming of the great industrial production, clothes, in a high percentage, were no longer hand-made products.  Since the end of the 20th century, there was a massive interest towards clothes made with artificial fibers, and this was mostly due to the fact that women started working outdoors, and no longer had time to home tailoring or to devote time to garments that needed special care.


1. The shirt was created by the Greeks in the 5th century BC. and it was, for a long time, identified with the proletariat, since the bourgeoisie concealed it. Instead, today it is associated with elegance and respectability.


2. The blouse dates from the 15th century, when women started using a type of tight blouse with a belt. For centuries, it was the garment of peasant women, and then it was replaced by a lighter one that matched feminine suits. In 1913, low-cut blouses appeared, and were known as “pneumonia shirts”.


3. The skirt was at first made of fur, 60,000 years ago. Since then, and until now, women never abandoned it. In 1915, skirts began to expose the ankles, and the great revolution took place in 1965 with the miniskirt.


4. Trousers (pantalones in Spanish) owe their name to the martyr medical doctor of the 4th century, San Pantaleón. Four thousand years ago, men from nomad tribes of Central Europe wore a type of loose trousers tied up to the waist. But it was in 1830 when trousers developed as we know them nowadays. In 1860, jeans were created by Levi Strauss, a German that immigrated to San Francisco during the gold fever.


5. Rompers appeared by the mid 20th century, and the Viennese Walter Artzt created them. This garment allowed changing diapers without undressing the baby. It had great acceptance, later becoming a very popular clothing item.


6. Unisex clothing appeared in the forties and enjoyed great popularity among young people.


Contemporary clothing:

Spread of western styles:

How has it come to be that when the president of France meets the prime minister of Japan, they are essentially wearing the same clothes, when their predecessors, say Henri IV and the Shogun Tokugawa Leyasu, would not have been? What process has resulted in people of Hluhluwe wearing clothes that are basically the same as those worn by men and women in Leiden, the Netherlands; in Salta, Argentina; in Bangkok; in Charleston, South Carolina; and indeed in most towns in most countries in the world? Where and why, do large proportions of population not wear variations of the common mode? The answer can be globalization, a consequence of European and North American technical prowess, economic growth and cultural imperialism. By the early years of the 21st century, western clothing styles had, to some extent, become international styles. This process began hundreds of years earlier, during the periods of European colonialism. The process of cultural dissemination has perpetuated over the centuries as Western media corporations have penetrated markets throughout the world, spreading Western culture and styles. Fast fashion clothing has also become a global phenomenon. These garments are less expensive, mass-produced Western clothing. Donated used clothing from Western countries is also delivered to people in poor countries by charity organizations.


Fundamental science of clothing:



Fibers are made up of polymers. Fibers are spun into yarn. Yarn is woven or knitted into fabric. Fabric is cut, sewed and constructed into clothing.


Fibers = tiny strands (the “atom” of clothing)

Thread/Yarn = fibers twisted together

Blend = threads made from two or more different fibers (for example: polyester & cotton to get best qualities of both)

Fabric = cloth made from threads – woven (interlacing), knit (interlocking loops), non-woven (matted together)

Finish = a chemical treatment added to fabric to improve its qualities (for example: water-resistant, flame retardant, stain resistant, and wrinkle resistant) 



A monomer is a simple molecule. Polymers are large molecules formed from many identical smaller molecules (monomers). A polymer is a large molecule (macromolecule) composed of repeating structural units. These sub-units are typically connected by covalent chemical bonds. Because of the extraordinary range of properties of polymeric materials, they play an essential and ubiquitous role in everyday life. This role ranges from familiar synthetic plastics and elastomers to natural biopolymers such as nucleic acids and proteins that are essential for life. Ethene can polymerize to form polyethene, which is also called polythene. A typical use of polythene is for a plastic shopping bag or plastic bottle. In fact polymers have been in nature from the beginning. All living things – plants, animals, and people – are made of polymers.  Plants are made of a polymer called cellulose. The basic polymer for all cellulosic fibers consists of repeating glucose units. Cellulose is also what makes fibers like cotton and hemp that we can twist into threads and weave into clothing. And many plants also make starch. Potatoes, corn, rice, and grains all have a lot of starch. Starch is also a polymer. Even though starch and cellulose are both made from the same sugar (glucose), they act very differently (because the glucose molecules are joined together differently). Starch will dissolve in water, but cellulose won’t. So we make food from starches and we build things and make clothing out of cellulose. Cellulose is also a main constituent of wood and paper. Without polymers, you’d have no clothes at all. The polymers in clothes can come from plant materials, synthetics, or even proteins like silk and wool. The one thing that most of the polymers in clothes have in common is that they are fibers. These blue jeans and t-shirts are made of cotton, which is mostly cellulose. Sweater can be made from wool, which is a protein called keratin. So is your hair and fingernails, by the way. Cellulose (cotton fiber) is made up of glucose sub-units and keratin (wool fiber) is made up of amino acid sub-units; since our body also consists of glucose & amino acid sub-units, these natural fibers are very comfortable for skin. Sweaters can also be made out of acrylics, like polyacrylonitrile or RayonTM. Nylon and polyesters are also polymers. They can be drawn into very fine fibers and woven into cloth for clothing. Often, natural fibers such as cotton are mixed with nylon or polyester fibers to make a soft but hard-wearing cloth. The synthetic polymers are not biodegradable – microbes cannot digest them and they take a long time to break down. Polymers are usually disposed of by burying them in landfill sites or burning them in incinerators. These methods of disposal cause environmental problems, and waste valuable resources.    



Fibers (American English) or Fibres (International English) are hair-like strand of materials that form the building blocks from which yarn and fabric are made. It is a substance that is extremely long in relation to its width, at least 100 times longer than it is wide. Fiber is the starting point of the textile chain. A fiber is the smallest visible unit of any textile product. Fibers usually are grouped and twisted together (spun) into a continuous stand called yarns. Yarn is then woven or knitted into fabric. Fibers naturally occur in both plants and animals. More than half of the fibers produced are natural fibers. Natural fibers include cotton, hair, fur, silk, and wool. Other fibers are manufactured. There are two types of manufactured fibers: regenerated fibers and synthetic fibers. Regenerated fibers are made from natural materials by processing these materials to form a fiber structure. Also called cellulosics, regenerated fibers are derived from the cellulose in cotton and wood pulp. Rayon and acetate are two common regenerated fibers. Synthetic fibers are made entirely from chemicals. In order to determine a fabric’s appearance, how it would wear and its care, it is important to understand the characteristics of the fibers from which the fabric is made.


There are three types of fibers:

1. Natural fibers- Of natural origin. In this again two types are there.

i) Plant fiber – Like Cotton, Jute etc.

ii) Animal fibers – like Wool, Silk etc.

2. Synthetic fibers – Like Polyester, Nylon etc.

3. Regenerated fibers – Modified fibers – i.e. regenerated from natural fibers – like Viscose.


The figure below shows how fibers look under microscope:


The figure below shows classification of fibers:


Natural fibers start as a plant growing in the ground or as animal protein. Cotton, wool, linen, and silk are the most used natural fibers. Synthetic fibers are manufactured from chemical compounds. Nylon, polyester, and acrylic are the most common. Most natural fibers are called staple fibers. They are short enough to be measured in inches or centimeters. Manufactured fibers are called filaments. They are long, continuous strands and are measured in yards or meters. Silk is the only natural fiber that may be called a filament. Turn-of-the-20th-century swimming suits were made of wool, a hydrophilic fiber. That means the wool absorbs water and becomes heavier. Synthetic fibers don’t absorb moisture – they are hydrophobic. They act as a “wick” and carry water to the next layer of clothing to evaporate.




Wrinkle resistance







Dry clean





Machine wash


Very good



Machine wash





Machine wash













Machine wash

Machine wash gentle

Dry clean


Textile fibers properties:

There is certainly a great deal of scholarship surrounding the care of protein-based fibers, silk and wool. Hair (both human and animal) mainly consists of a protein, keratin, the fibers of which give the inner core of hair a great deal of strength. Hydrogen bonds and disulfide bonds link the chained amino acids that make up hair. Hydrogen bonds break and re-form easily on exposure to water, but disulfide bonds (responsible for curl, among other properties), can be broken only via chemical means. Under examination with a microspectrophotometer, scientists have discovered that high heat, UV exposure, and even artificial lighting can be quite damaging to human hair. Wool, too, suffers in the sun—the fleece of sheep allowed to spend too much time in the sun before shearing accepts little dye when sheared from their backs, compared to their underbellies, as a result of disulfide bonds broken by UV light. Heat and a wide variety of insects, too, are deleterious to woolen textiles. Wool has a high resistance, however, to fungi and bacteria, provided it is free from sizing and soaps; further, wool can absorb three times its volume in water and requires a bit of humidity to remain viable. Silk, another protein-rich fiber, is the most problematic of textiles. Often “weighted” with metallic salts to produce a nicer drape in clothing, silks (especially black silks and silks used in trimmings) rarely hold up to washing and repeated handling. Unlike other proteins, silk is not flame retardant. It quickly becomes brittle when kept in hot, dry conditions, and is highly susceptible to rot when in warm, humid climes. Cellulose fibers, like cotton, linen, and hemp behave differently than protein-based fibers. Cotton and linen resist temperature well. Cotton can be stored in temperatures well above 100 degrees and still remain chemically and physically stable. With these varying degrees of chemical and physical degradation, textiles woven from a blend of fibers, or art pieces created using a variety of fibers, deteriorate unevenly.


The table below shows properties of various textile fibers:



Microfiber is a manufactured fiber with strands thinner than one denier. This is finer than the most delicate silk! Microfibers are not really fibers per se, but refer to ultrafine fibers. Microfiber is used to make non-woven, woven and knitted textiles. The shape, size and combinations of synthetic fibers are selected for specific characteristics, including: softness, durability, absorption, wicking abilities, water repellency, electrodynamics, and filtering capabilities. Microfibers available today include polyester microfibers, nylon microfiber, rayon microfiber and acrylic microfiber. Fabrics made with microfiber are extremely soft and drapeable, and insulates well against rain, wind and cold. Microfiber is commonly used for apparel, upholstery, industrial filters and cleaning products.



Yarn consists of several strands of material twisted together. Each strand is, in turn, made of fibers, all shorter than the piece of yarn that they form. These short fibers are spun into longer filaments to make the yarn. Long continuous strands may only require additional twisting to make them into yarns. Sometimes they are put through an additional process called texturing. Yarn is used to make textiles using a variety of processes, including weaving, knitting, and felting. Nearly four billion pounds of weaving yarn, three billion pounds of machine knitting yarn, and one billion pounds of carpet and rug yarn was produced in the United States during in 1995.

Types of yarns:

Yarns can be made either from short staple length fibers or from filament fibers. There are two types of yarns, i.e., spun yarns and filamentous yarns. Yarn numbering systems are therefore used to express a relationship between a unit length and weight of yarns. There are two main numbering systems in use.


Textile yarns are measured in various units, such as: the denier and tex (linear mass density of fibers), super S (fineness of wool fiber), worsted count, woolen count, cotton count (or Number English Ne), Number metric (Nm) and yield (the inverse of denier and tex). Yarn is spun thread used for knitting, weaving, or sewing. Thread is a long, thin strand of cotton, nylon, or other fibers used in sewing or weaving. Both yarn and thread are measured in terms of cotton count and yarn density. Fabric is cloth, typically produced by weaving or knitting textile fibers, and is measured in units such as mommes (momme is a number that equals the weight in pounds of a piece of silk if it were sized 45 inches by 100 yards), thread count (a measure of the coarseness or fineness of fabric), ends per inch (e.p.i), and picks per inch (p.p.i).


Denier or den is a unit of measure for the linear mass density of fibers. It is defined as the mass in grams per 9,000 meters length of material. Lower the denier number, finer the material; and higher the denier number, coarser the material. In most countries other than the US, it has been replaced by the Tex system where one denier equals 1/9th of a tex or 10/9th of decitex. The denier is based on a natural standard: a single strand of silk is approximately one denier. A 9,000-meter strand of silk weighs about one gram. The term microdenier is used to describe filaments that weigh less than one gram per 9,000 meter length.



Textile is any filament, fiber, or yarn that can be made into fabric or cloth, and the resulting material itself. The term is derived from the Latin textilis and the French texere, meaning “to weave,” and it originally referred only to woven fabrics. It has, however, come to include fabrics produced by other methods. Thus, threads, cords, ropes, braids, lace, embroidery, nets, and fabrics made by weaving, knitting, bonding, felting, or tufting are textiles. From ancient times to the present day, methods of textile production have continually evolved, and the choices of textiles available have influenced how people carried their possessions, clothed themselves, and decorated their surroundings.



Wool is possibly the oldest fiber known to humans. It was one of the first fibers to be spun into yarn and woven into fabric. Wool is mostly comes from sheep but also from alpacas, camels, and goats. First our sheep needs to grow it. Then, they need a haircut. The process is called sheering. A sheering specialist can sheer 200 sheep in a day. A ewe, or female sheep, can produce up to 15 pounds of wool. A ram, or male sheep, can 20 pounds of wool. The sheared wool is called raw wool. A fleece is the wool taken from a single animal in a shearing. In the U.S. the term wool is usually restricted to describing the fibrous protein derived from the specialized skin cells called follicles in sheep. Wool fibers are hydrophilic, meaning they readily absorb moisture, but are not hollow. The inner core does absorb moisture – so much so that wool can absorb moisture of almost one third of its own weight and still feel reasonably dry. This absorbency also gives wool its natural resistance to wrinkles. Wool’s surface repels water. Since moisture does not remain on the surface, woolen fabrics tend to feel dry and comfortable even in damp weather. Wool is resistant to static electricity, as the moisture retained within the fabric conducts electricity, so wool garments are much less likely to spark or cling to the body. The use of wool car seat covers or carpets reduces the risk of a shock when a person touches a grounded object. Wool is considered by the medical profession to be hypoallergenic.    


Construction of the Wool Fiber:



The wool fiber is made of protein molecules (keratin). It is rather similar to human hair. The long-chain protein molecules are formed into fibrils. These combine into fibrillar bundles which form the mass of the spindle cells. This construction gives the wool fiber an extraordinary elasticity. The bulk of the fiber is made from two separate components. These have different chemical constitutions, and they wind in a spiral around each other (bilateral structure). Moisture and temperature have different effects upon the two components, which swell to different extents, causing changes in the overall fiber shape. It is the bilateral structure which causes the fibers to be crimped; finer fibers develop more crimp. Heat and moisture can relax bonds between the protein chains. The bonds are re-formed during cooling and drying, and this is the source of the good smoothing and shaping properties of wool. Wool absorbs moisture (is hygroscopic). It can absorb about 1/3 of its mass of water vapor without feeling wet. The moisture is released only slowly. In spite of the strong affinity for water of the fiber interior, its surface is water repellent (hydrophobic) because it is covered by an extremely thin skin, the epicuticle. This skin causes liquid water to roll up into droplets whilst allowing the passage of water vapor. The scales on the fiber surfaces are capable of hooking onto one another to cause felting, under the influence of water, heat, and mechanical action.


Wool is a uniquely natural fiber that has a number of benefits:

• Built-in climate control.

Wool is a natural insulator to keep you warm in winter and naturally breathable to keep you cool in summer. Wool fiber helps to keep your body at the optimal temperature zone for comfort and rest. When used in blankets, synthetic fibers, down and even cotton fibers do not breathe as well as wool, and are more likely to trap heat in your bed. Wool buffers the extreme cold or hot air on the outside, keeping your body in that comfort zone.

 •Naturally absorbent fiber.

 Wool fiber is the original wicking fiber. Its coil-like shape pulls excess heat and moisture from your skin while you sleep. Wool fabrics can absorb up to 30% of their weight without feeling heavy or damp. Cotton fabrics begin to feel damp after 15%. The absorbent fibers “breathe” by wicking away moisture from the body and releasing it into the air. This quality makes wool fabrics comfortable to wear in warm and cold weather.

•Natural mildew and mold resistance.

Wool’s natural resistance to mildews and molds comes from the way it repels moisture, and lets moisture pass through its fibers without holding the moisture. Mildews and molds require moisture to live and grow.

•Perfect insulator.

 Wool is warm in winter and cool in the summer because of its hydrophilic ability to wick away excess moisture. In the winter, wool removes moisture from the skin to keep the wearer feeling warm and dry and wool’s insulating qualities trap dry air and warmth near the skin. This is unlike synthetic fleece, which is warm but does not breathe easily. Wool’s natural insulating quality and its ability to shed water results in a fabric that keeps the body warm even when it’s raining. In the summer, wool’s coil-like shape pulls excess heat and moisture from your skin helping the wearer stay cooler.

•Water repellent.

 Tiny overlapping scales encase the wool fiber like tiles on a roof. This allows wool to repel rain, snow and liquid spills with ease.

•Wool is durable.

Laboratory tests have shown that wool fibers resist tearing and can bend back on themselves more than 20,000 times without breaking. Cotton breaks after 3,200 bends, silk fibers break after 1,800 bends, and rayon fibers break after just 75 bends. Wool clothing will last for years. Wool resists spills, dries very quickly and is mildew resistant.

•Naturally wrinkle resistant.

Wool fabrics resist wrinkles. Wool is the most resilient fiber because it has a natural crimp that helps it keep its shape. Wool fibers can be stretched and still bounce back to their original shape.

•Fire retardant.

 Wool is safer to wear having natural fire-retardant properties. It can resist flame without the chemical treatment involved in fireproofing. Synthetic fleece is oil based, ignites easily, burns fiercely and melts. If your synthetic fleece is fire proofed, then you have the fire proofing chemicals next to your skin.

•Resists static, dirt and dust.

 Wool fabric doesn’t collect much static because of its absorbent fibers. Static attracts lint, dirt, and dust. Wool fabrics also clean easily because dirt sits on the surface of the fiber. The outside surface of the wool fiber consists of a series of overlapping scales, similar to the feathers on a bird, making it easy to brush off and for stains to lift out.

•Wool is colorful.

 There are an amazing variety and number of breeds of sheep that come in a wide array of colors giving us a huge number of natural colors. In additional to natural color-grown fibers, the structure of wool fibers allow wool to easily accept dyes without the need for harsh and sometimes toxic chemicals to prepare the fiber for dyes. When wool fabrics are dyed, the dye reaches to the core of the fiber and bonds permanently. Almost any color and dye can be used.

•Naturally non-allergenic.

 Wool is almost entirely non-allergenic. Although some people do have a rare natural allergy to Lanolin, the oil found in wool, most people’s allergy to wool is a reaction to the many harsh and toxic chemicals that go into the treatment, and finishing of conventional wool garments and bedding. Serious chemical abrasives are routinely used to wash raw wool for processing. Chlorine and mothproofing chemicals are routinely applied to conventional wool before turning it into a finished product.

•Renewable and Sustainable.

Wool is a renewable resource that can be shorn from sheep annually. It is biodegradable and kinder to the environment than oil-based synthetics, which contribute to global pollution. Wool is sustainable. Wool from free-grazing sheep, treated ethically throughout their long lives, represents a traditional small-scale industry. Today, many small organic farmers are returning to this sustainable industry to create clean and healthy wool that is produced without stress to the animals or the environment.


Is Merino Wool the nature’s best high performance fabric?

One of the more distinguishing characteristics of the human species is that we are always seeking for more; always attempting to improve on what we have, especially in clothing which is a quintessential human concept. A fabric gains “high performance” cachet by exhibiting an exceptionally high level of “performance” for some important quality such as wind protection, fire retardant, mildew resistance, water proofing, warmth, moisture transfer, tear resistance, impact transference, UV protection or one of dozens of other fabric performance qualities that are desirable under some circumstances. Merino Wool is Nature’s High Performance Fabric. The composition of wool naturally endows it with high performance qualities such as warmth, water-repellent, odor-resistance, flame-retardant, durability, anti-static, and UV protection. Wool is 90% keratin – a tough, insoluble, fibrous protein also found in hair, finger nails, horns, hooves and the outer layer of skin. A wool fiber can be bent and twisted more than 20,000 times before it will break. Wool fibers also have a natural elasticity that allows them to be stretched up to one-third before snapping back to their original length. The interior (called the cortex) of wool fiber can hold up to 30% of its weight in moisture without the wool fabric feeling damp or clammy, while the exterior (called the cuticle) is water repelling. Tiny microscopic openings in the coating over the scales allow wool to absorb water vapor from body perspiration while blocking out larger drops of water. Moisture from perspiration is then wicked away to the outer surfaces of the wool garment where it can be evaporated and released.  Also, when moisture enters the wool fiber, energy is released in the form of heat which helps keep the outdoor enthusiast warm. This principle of “heat absorption” was first scientifically explained by the great French scientist J.P. Coulier in 1858. When water vapor is absorbed into wool fibers, it binds to the chemical structure of wool fiber and small amounts of energy are released in the form of heat. The crimped structure of wool fibers creates fabrics loaded with tiny air spaces which act as Nature’s most efficient insulator adding to wool’s reputation for warmth and comfort. It is the air trapped between the wool fibers and not the fibers themselves that keep you warm. Because Merino wool fibers are smaller in diameter and they are more numerous that coarser wools, they trap more air pockets and keep you warmer. The high performance characteristics of wool help keep the wearer warm in the winter and cool in the summer by naturally maintaining a comfortable balance in the wearer’s personal microclimate – that is the air between the skin and the layers of clothing. This means that in warm weather fine wool helps keep the wearer cool by transferring heat and body moisture away from the body for a naturally cooling effect. A fine, light wool suit can actually be cooler and more comfortable for summer wear than a cotton suit.



Cotton is the world’s most important natural fiber. In the year 2007, the global yield was 25 million tons from 35 million hectares cultivated in more than 50 countries.

There are six stages:

  • Cultivating and Harvesting
  • Preparatory Processes
  • Spinning
  • Weaving
  • Finishing
  • Marketing


According to the Cotton Council International, the benefits of cotton are numerous, but the main one is the fact that it is hypoallergenic and dust-mite resistant, which means is the best choice of material for people who suffer from asthma or allergies, or those who have sensitive skin prone to irritation.


Nowadays, cotton is considered to be the best textile for clothes making due to a number of advantages. First of all, it’s extremely breathable and lightweight. Because of its porous nature it allows air circulation in the body. Air circulation helps to keep our body cool and dry. But in synthetic cloth there is no chance of air circulation because they are non-porous. Synthetic fabric does not help the body heat to come out and that is why it remains inside and makes our body hot. Cotton is a good insulator and keeps your body comfortable. It helps to maintain the temperature inside the body. In summer when the outer temperature is high, cotton cloth helps to keep the temperature inside the attire cool. In summer we perspire most because of scorching heat and humidity in the weather. Cotton cloth is a good absorber. It absorbs the sweat and perspiration totally. If you wear synthetic cloth it cannot absorb sweat and the whole sweat began to accumulate on your body. That is why we should wear cotton in summer. Secondly, it’s very pleasant for the skin. One of the main benefits of cotton clothing is the softness of the fabric. It is super soft against the skin and therefore very comfortable to wear, making it ideal for babies and children. Thirdly, cotton clothes may be worn by all people of all age categories without any restrictions, as it’s the healthiest fabric ever known. Cotton never causes allergic reactions making it the best choice of material for children who suffer from asthma or allergies, or those who have sensitive skin prone to irritation. The fabric is durable, versatile and easy to care for. It can be washed in the washing machine and either hung to dry or put in the tumble dryer. It is the ideal wash-and-wear-fabric – perfect for you and for your kids. But best of all, cotton is biodegradable and a renewable resource. During processing only 10% or less of the raw weight is lost or deemed unusable. Organic cotton is even better. It uses no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides and therefore leaves an even smaller footprint on the planet than ordinary cotton. Almost any item of clothing can be produced from cotton and be further used in a large number of activities.


Disadvantage of cotton:

Cotton has one huge weakness: water. When wet, it loses all insulating properties and actually leeches heat from your body. It takes forever to dry. It stains easily. Wearing a cotton shirt on rainy day is a miserable experience. Synthetics have no issues with water. They dry quickly and can keep you warm even when wet. Cutting edge fabric treatments allow water to bead right off. They are stain-resistant (some are even stain-proof!) and can be made resistant to UV rays and insects. Unfortunately, the biggest disadvantage of synthetic materials is the feel of fabric. Things have improved but synthetic fabrics still aren’t as comfortable as cotton.


Poly cotton fabrics:

Poly-cotton blend is just what its name suggests: a fabric that is made up of cotton and polyester fibers. The ratio varies, with 65% cotton and 35% polyester being the most common. 50/50 blends are also easily found. The blend is designed to afford the advantages of both the cotton and polyester fibers into one fabric. 100% cotton is a fully breathable fabric, which means that it can be cooler to wear in hot conditions. However, as the thickness increases, the breathability decreases. 100% cotton tends to rip and wear out easily, depending on the weave. Polyester does not breathe and has a tendency to stick to the skin once perspiration begins. In regard to durability, polyester is a more elastic fiber and therefore tends to be tear resistant. A fabric made from a poly cotton blend combines the strengths of the two fibers. Poly cotton garments are breathable, tear-resistant, and can be fashioned into abrasion-resistant fabrics, like canvas.



Denim is a rugged cotton twill textile, in which the weft passes under two (twi- “double”) or more warp threads. This twill weaving produces the familiar diagonal ribbing of the fabric, which distinguishes denim from cotton duck. It is characteristic of any indigo denim that only the warp threads are dyed, whereas the weft threads remain plain white. As a result of the warp-faced twill weaving, one side of the fabric shows the blue warp threads, the other side shows the white weft threads. This is why jeans are white from the inside and what makes their fading characteristics so unique compared to every other fabric.


Bamboo fabric:

Clothing that incorporates bamboo fiber can be made with everything from baby bamboo to organic bamboo. The manufacturing process requires minimal chemical treatments and minimal water for dying purposes. All this is good news for the environment. Add to this the fact that bamboo clothing is completely biodegradable, and you have the making of perhaps the most perfect clothing fabric in the world. In addition, there are a number of reasons why bamboo organic clothing is so much more sustainable than cotton. For example, bamboo is an eco-friendly plant that reduces and in some cases may even reverse the erosion of soil. The bamboo plant is very resilient and can endure even the most extreme weather conditions. Unlike cotton, bamboo requires minimal water, and normally does not need any type of fertilizing or harmful chemical pesticides. Bamboo plants are known to release generous quantities of oxygen into the environment, and grow unbelievably fast. In fact, bamboo grows faster than any other known plant on the globe. Some bamboo plants can grow an amazing several feet a day – so much for watching grass grow!



When it is full grown, the silk worm (called a pupae) climbs a twig and begins spinning a cocoon. This stage of silkworm life is called pupating. The silkworm (caterpillar) produces a fibroin protein compound in two salivary glands called sericteries that is mixed in the mouth of the silkworm with a gooey substance called sericin and forced out through an opening in the silkworm’s under lip. When this stream of sticky fluid comes into contact with air, it solidifies and becomes a continuous strand of silk that becomes the silkworm’s cocoon. The openings in the under lip of the silkworm are called spinnerets and the process is very similar to spinning manmade “natural” fibers such as viscose rayon or lyocell Tencel … except that it is air for silk rather than an acid bath for viscose and lyocell that causes the fibers to solidify. The silkworm will spin a thousand yards of silk fiber in three days to form its completely enclosed cocoon. To fashion its cocoon, the silkworm will continually weave its head in a figure eight pattern an estimated 300,000 times while continually spinning and secreting its silk fiber. The cocoon will be the silkworm’s home for sixteen days as it morphs from a chubby grub to a furry, winged moth. What an incredible marvel of Nature’s intelligence! A hugely developed industry, called sericulture, has developed around the raising of silkworms for the production of silk. Silk worms are raised by large corporate silk worm farmers and hobbyists all over the world. Silkworms eat only mulberry leaves and you supply your own. One silkworm produces very little useable silk. One acre of mulberry trees produces enough foliage to feed silkworms that create 178 pounds of cocoons which can be unraveled into 35 pounds of raw silk. The mulberry leaves are a renewable and sustainable crop as the trees produce year after year. One mature mulberry tree will produce enough foliage for 100 silkworms. Animal rights organizations are concerned about the destruction of several thousand domesticated silkworms to produce one pound of silk.



The use of animal fur in clothing dates to prehistoric times. It is currently associated in developed countries with expensive, designer clothing, although fur is still used by indigenous people in arctic zones and higher elevations for its warmth and protection. Fur is a synonym for hair, used in reference to non-human animals, usually mammals; particularly those with extensive body hair coverage. In clothing, fur is leather with the hair retained for its insulating properties. Fur has long served as a source of clothing for hominoids including the Neanderthal. Animal furs used in garments and trim may be dyed bright colors or to mimic exotic animal patterns, or shorn down to imitate the feel of a soft velvet fabric. The term “a fur” is often used to refer to a fur coat, wrap, or shawl. Usual animal sources for fur clothing and fur trimmed accessories include fox, rabbit, mink, beavers, ermine, otters, sable, seals, cats, dogs, coyotes, chinchilla, and possum. The manufacturing of fur clothing involves obtaining animal pelts where the hair is left on the animal’s processed skin. In contrast, making leather involves removing the hair from the hide or pelt and using only the skin. The use of wool involves shearing the animal’s fleece from the living animal, so that the wool can be regrown but sheepskin shearling is made by retaining the fleece to the leather and shearing it. Shearling is used for boots, jackets and coats and is probably the most common type of skin worn. An animal with commercially valuable fur is known within the fur industry as a furbearer. Once uncontroversial, it has recently been the focus of campaigns on the grounds that campaigners consider it cruel and unnecessary. PETA, along with other animal rights and animal liberation groups have called attention to fur farming and other practices they consider cruel. Most animal rights advocates object to the trapping and killing of wildlife, and to the confinement and killing of animals on fur farms. According to Humane Society International, over 8 million animals are trapped yearly for fur, while more than 30 million were raised in fur farms. According to Statistics from Canada, 2.6 million fur-bearing animals raised on farms were killed in 2010. Another 700,000 were killed for fur by traps.



Leather is a durable and flexible material created by the tanning of animal rawhide and skin, often cattle hide. Today most leather is made of cattle skin but many exceptions exist. Lamb and deerskin are used for soft leather in more expensive apparel. Deer and elkskin are widely used in work gloves and indoor shoes. Pigskin is used in apparel and on seats of saddles. Buffalo, goats, alligators, dogs, snakes, ostriches, kangaroos, oxen, and yaks may also be used for leather. The advantage is that it is light and warm, elegant and poised. Its disadvantage is that expensive, storage care is higher, and it is not universal.

Synthetic fibers:

Synthetic fibers are the result of extensive research by scientists to improve on naturally occurring animal and plant fibers. In general, synthetic fibers are created by forcing, usually through extrusion, fiber forming materials through holes (called spinnerets) into the air, forming a thread. Synthetic fibers are made from synthesized polymers or small molecules. The compounds that are used to make these fibers come from raw materials such as petroleum based chemicals or petrochemicals. These materials are polymerized into a long, linear chemical that bond two adjacent carbon atoms. Synthetic fibers account for about half of all fiber usage, with applications in every field of fiber and textile technology. Common synthetic fibers include: Nylon, Modacrylic, Olefin, Acrylic, Polyester and Carbon fiber. Synthetic fibers can be cut up into staple fibers for blending with natural fibers, or they can be homogeneously spun to create yarns that have a natural fiber appearance and hand.


Properties of Natural Fibers:



• Comfortable to wear

• Natural, cellulosic fiber

• Made from cotton boll

• Absorbs water and “breathes”

• Slow to dry

• Resists static electricity build-up

• Wrinkles easily

• Can withstand heat, detergents, and bleach

• About 20% stronger when wet than dry

• Will shrink unless treated

• Can be damaged by mildew

• Can be damaged by prolonged exposure to sunlight

• Long staple cottons (such a supima, pima, Egyptian, and Sea Island) can be woven into smooth, almost silky fabrics.



• Linen has been used for clothing for at least ten thousand years

• The Holy Shroud of Turin is linen

• Similar to cotton in its properties (both are natural, cellulosic fibers)

• Made from flax plant

• Linen fibers have a silky luster and a cool feel

• Fibers are in stem of plant (therefore called a “bast” fiber)

• Long fibers from 6 to 20 inches make linen even smoother than cotton

• Stronger than cotton

• Conducts heat away from the body better than cotton

• Wrinkles easier than cotton



• A protein fiber

• Flame resistant (wool usually extinguishes itself when source of flame is removed)

• Weaker than cotton or linen, especially when wet

• Fibers range from one to fourteen inches long

• Most valued for its textured appearance and warmth

• Must be washed gently or dry cleaned

• Can be damaged by chlorine bleach

• Moths and carpet beetles eat wool

• Springs back into shape after being crushed

• Excellent insulator as woolens (80% air)

• Absorbs moisture which is held inside the fiber (the wool will still feel dry even on a humid day)

• Accepts dyes easily (“dyed in the wool”)

• Quality of wool varies with the breed of sheep

• Does not attract dirt or static electricity

• Wool products labeling Act permits the word “wool” to be used for fibers from sheep, Angora or Cashmere goats, camel, alpaca, llama, and vicuna.



• A protein fiber

• Very long filament (up to a mile long)

• Spun by a caterpillar called a silkworm (but not actually a worm).

• Cultivated silk is from silkworms fed only mulberry leaves.

• Most valued for its “silky” feel

• Stronger than cotton or linen

• Damaged by chlorine bleach

• Sunlight can turn white silk yellow and weaken fibers

• Absorbs moisture

• Is resilient and elastic

• Does build up static electricity

• Dries quickly

• Perspiration can deteriorate and discolor dyes

• Requires delicate handling in cleaning

• Expensive


Properties of Synthetic Fibers:



• A cellulosic fiber usually made from wood pulp

• First manufactured fiber. Produced in 1911 but first known as “artificial silk”

• Stretches and shrinks more than cotton

• Poor abrasion resistance (easily damaged by scraping)

• Loses strength when wet

• Highly absorbent and dyes easily

• Best to dry clean or wash carefully because of shrinkage

• Fairly expensive

• Synthetic Fibers from Petrochemicals


Polyester, Acrylic and Nylon share these characteristics:

• Resists abrasion (but can “pill”)

• Very resilient (springs back into shape)

• Resist wrinkling

• Very high heat can “melt” the fabric

• The right amount of heat can be used to permanently “heat set” a crease or pleat

• Easy to wash and wear

• Does not absorb water (can be uncomfortable when worn next to the skin in warm weather unless loosely woven)

• Dries quickly

• Attracts static electricity which also attracts dirt and lint

• Although they do not absorb water, they do absorb oil and grease. This means synthetics resist soiling, but once oil based stain soaks in, it can be difficult to clean.


• Very light and strong. Stronger wet than dry, elastic and resilient. All these properties make nylon a popular choice for swimwear and outerwear.


• Strong fiber (but nylon is stronger)

• Often blended with cotton or even wool to add crease resistance

• Polyester does not absorb water, but it can be produced in such a way (as in polypropylene and microfibers) as to “wick” water away from the skin


• Lightweight and fairly strong

• Acrylic can bulk to look like wool

• Drapes well and accepts dye easily


Benefits of cotton:

 •Natural Fiber – offers better breathability and absorbency to help regulate your skin temperature

•Softness – provides a smooth and luxurious feel

•Durability – cotton is a strong fabric that holds up even after repeated washings. It is less likely to shrink or show wrinkles.


Benefits of wool:

 •Natural fiber – unique combination of lightweight and good insulation

•Durability – resists wear and tear

•Resistant to wrinkles, dirt and flame.


Benefits of silk:

  • Natural fiber – strong and lightweight
  • Hand-washable or dry-cleanable
  • Resistant to pilling, little problem with static


Benefits of linen:

  • Strong – twice as strong as cotton
  • Hand-washable or dry-cleanable
  • Resistant – to static and pilling


Benefits of polyester:

  • Strong
  • Machine washable – washes easily and dries quickly. Dry-cleanable
  • Resistant to wrinkles, mildew, stretching, shrinkage, abrasions and most chemicals


Benefits of microfibers:

  • Ultra fine – finer than the most delicate silk
  • Luxurious – very soft, feels like silk or suede
  • Washable, dry cleanable
  • High strength and shrink-resistant
  • Comfortable – offers insulation and breathability


Advantages and disadvantages of various fabrics:



What is it




wool Hair of domestic goats or sheep Less combustible than cotton or synthetics, easily returns to original shape, keeps you warm, is breathable, resistant to tearing. Pills easily, dull fiber, stronger dry than wet, can itch, can mildew/mold, will deteriorate through sunlight exposure.
Cashmere Hair of the Indian cashmere goat Soft, lightweight and silky. Can be expensive.
Mohair Hair of the North African Angora goat Soft and easier to dye, light, absorbent, non-flammable, absorbs moisture, resistant to creases.
Silk Animal textile made from the fibers of the cocoon of the Chinese silkworm Most hypoallergenic of all fabrics, soft and beautiful shine, highly absorbent and lets your skin breathe, durable, light. Expensive, yellows with age, needs special care and dry cleaning, leaves water spots.


Cotton A soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. Hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant, durable, environmentally friendly, soft, breaths well. Creases, easily soiled, burns easily, and weakens with exposure to light.
Modal A cellulose fiber made by spinning reconstituted cellulose, often from beech trees. 50% more water-absorbent than cotton, can be dyed like cotton and is colourfast, resistant to shrinkage and fading, lightweight, appearance of silk, soft and smooth. Prone to stretching and pilling.


Polyester Polyesters include naturally occurring chemicals, such as in the cutin of plant cuticles, as well as synthetics. Used in all types of clothing, either alone or blended with fibers such as cotton. Easily dyed, strong, light weight, and resistant to shrinking, stretching, mildew and creasing. Sun resistant. Main disadvantage is that Polyester does not breathe. Fabric shine can be unattractive. Stains are difficult to remove. Not environmentally friendly.
Acrylic A fiber used to imitate wools, including cashmere. Woolly feel, durable, soft, color fast, easy to clean. Not as warm as wool, can irritate the skin.
Viscose or rayon Viscose is a viscous organic liquid used to make rayon and cellophane. Viscose is becoming synonymous with rayon, a soft material commonly used in shirts, shorts, coats, jackets, and other outer wear. Viscose rayon has a silky appearance and feel, breathable similar to cotton, inexpensive. Not environmentally friendly, creases easily.
Nylon A tough, lightweight, elastic synthetic polymer with a protein-like chemical structure. Used to imitate silk. Very resilient, easy to care, resistant to insects, fungi and mildew. Not absorbent, can have an unpleasant sheen, environmentally unfriendly, prone to static electricity.
Spandex or Lycra A polyurethane product that can be made tight-fitting without impeding movement. It is used to make activewear, bras, and swimsuits. very elastic, good resistance to lotions oils and perspiration, light weight, strong and durable, soft, smooth, easy to care for. Does not breath very well, slippery on surfaces, sensitive to heat, will show every blub on your body!


Velvet A closely woven fabric of silk, cotton, or nylon that has a thick short pile on one side. Depends on the fabric it’s made of.
Satin A smooth, glossy fabric, typically of silk but also nylon or polyester, produced by a weave in which the threads of the warp are caught and looped by the weft only…: “a blue satin dress Luxurious, smooth, silky, drapes nicely. Prone to water spots.
Organza A thin, stiff, transparent fabric made of silk or a synthetic yarn. Lightweight, fine, crisp and sheer.


Man made fibers vis-à-vis natural fibers:

1. Cost

The most obvious benefit to producer and consumer is the comparatively low cost of producing man-made fibers. The basis of polyester is crude oil, which is extracted out of the ground for fuel anyway. It is the byproducts of this process which are used to make man-made fibers and other thermoplastics. The processing to turn them into fibers is relatively inexpensive and making them into clothing is far easier than weaving with cotton.


2. Landspace

Growing natural fibers takes up a lot of space. Hundreds of thousands of acres were cultivated with a single crop which was used primarily to cloth people. This land can be used for other purposes, be it to grow other crops, process raw products, like corn into ethanol, or for housing. This could also be seen as a disadvantage as man-made fibers have had a serious effect on the farming industry as growing cotton is no longer economically viable for many farmers.


3. Coloring

The reason why nylon was such a revolution was the fact it could be dyed easily. Clothing could be multicolored, have slogans printed on them and still be washed in the same way. Previously man-made fibers were dull colors and, if dyed, had to be washed separately as the colors would run. This directly led to the colorful clothing commonly associated with 1960s counterculture.


4. Durability

Materials like nylon and polyester are also a lot stronger than natural fibers. The clothing not only lasts longer, but is also more durable than cotton. Trips and falls no longer mean ripped clothes and stain removal from man-made fibers is considerably easier as the thread do not absorb foreign substances. The clothes also do not become waterlogged in the rain.


5. Biodegradable

A major problem with man-made fibers is the fact that they do not biodegrade. If a pure cotton shirt is left outside, it will eventually decompose to nothing. A polyester shirt will remain in the same state for hundreds of years. As these fibers are petroleum-based, if left outside the chemicals in them can seep into the soil and damage local ecosystems. Some other plastics, such as polyethylene terephthalate which is used in plastic bottles, are recycled to make clothing.


6. Environmental Impact

Man-made fabric has an even longer-lasting environmental impact than just not biodegrading. The extraction of the crude oil to manufacture them is environmentally damaging and the chemicals used also create toxic byproducts which are damaging to the local environment.



The harmful influences on Textile Cloth:

All textile clothes and materials are adversely affected by sunlight, dampness, various organisms and wear & tear, and in ordinary use they will from time to time be exposed to such conditions.


Sunlight in fact causes gradual decomposition of a fiber into substances which are simpler in their molecular structure and in the final stage acquire solubility in water or dilute alkalis. The ultra violet content of sunlight is most destructive to textile clothes. To remove this affect the textile cloth should be stored in a subdued light or in the dark.


It is harmful to textile clothes to keep them damp for prolonged periods for two reasons. Firstly, water itself can gradually assist the decomposition of textile fibers and clothes by swelling the individual fibers and assist any harmful substances present to attack them.

High Temperature:

Exposure to high temperature has a damaging influence on all kinds of textile cloths and materials. This damage may result either from decomposition of the fiber substance if the temperature is sufficiently high, or from the activating effect which a high temperature can have on any harmful substances present in the fabric.


Perspiration can be harmful to most textile cloths and materials because it can be both acid and alkaline. Fresh perspiration is usually acid but on becoming stale it ferments and becomes alkaline owing to the formation of ammonia.

Wear and Tear:

It is easy to understand how everyday wear and tear can weaken a textile clothes and materials. The abrasion, rubbing and flexing to which it is subject have the effect of breaking the fibers or of displacing them in a thread so that this becomes weakened.


Preservation of textiles:

All textiles react negatively to air pollution, light, extremes of temperature, and humidity. Rapid changes in the environment can cause undue stress for these natural fibers, causing them to expand and contract as they take on moisture if kept in humid conditions, to dry out in high heat. Chemical bonds are broken by the machinations of UV light and chemicals in polluted air. Temperature and humidity should be kept within a steady range if at all possible: 70 (+/- 5 degrees) degrees Fahrenheit and 50% (+/- 5%) relative humidity is suggested by most sources. Pre-conditioned silica gel used for the purpose of humidity control should never come into direct contact with textiles. Textiles should be stored in darkness, and exhibited in dim light with UV filtration. To avoid acid-migration, textiles should not come into contact with wood or cardboard. Acid-free tissue or muslin are often used to shield textiles from harmful lignins.


Fabric choice:

Choosing a fabric with the appropriate quality and cost will ensure that a product will suit the target market. When making fabric choices, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Fibre content: should you use natural or synthetic fibres?

2. Fabric construction: should you use woven, knitted or non-woven?

3. Manufacturing processes: should you use dyeing, printing, mechanical finishing or chemical finishing?

4. End use of the fabric: what are you making, e.g. jeans, sportswear or a seatbelt?

5. Maintenance: what are the aftercare requirements of the product?


Properties of fabric:

The fibre content, fabric construction and finishing processes determine the fabric’s aesthetic, functional and comfort properties.


Aesthetic properties Functional properties Comfort properties
Handle Strength Absorbency
Drape durability Breathability
Color Crease resistance Elasticity
Appearance Flame resistance Softness
Water resistance Strength
Stain resistance Warmth



Combination fabrics:

Fabrics can be layered and combined to improve their handle, appearance or performance. For example:

1. An interfacing fabric such as Vilene can be stitched or laminated to other fabrics. This reinforces, stiffens and gives strength to collars and cuffs to prevent the fabric from stretching or sagging.

2. A quilted fabric has two or more layers sewn together to give an attractive appearance and added warmth.


Modern, smart and combination fabrics:

Modern and smart fabrics are designed to maximise characteristics such as lightness, breathability, waterproofing etc, or to react to heat or light. They are usually manufactured using microfibers.

Some key modern fabrics and their properties

Technology Properties End use
Microfiber Woven polyester
  • lightweight
  • soft
  • good drape
  • breathable
  • shower-proof
  • raincoats
  • active sportswear
  • fashion clothing
Polar fleece
  • brushed polyester
  • warp knit
  • lightweight
  • soft
  • breathable
  • warm
  • fleece jumpers and jackets
  • blankets
Gore-Tex Laminated membrane
  • breathable
  • lightweight
  • waterproof
All-weather jackets and shoes
Micro-encapsulated Different micro-capsules embedded in the fiber or fabric
  • gives off an aromatic scent
  • can reduce body odor
  • can provide vitamins or reduce skin irritation
  • underwear
  • anti-bacterial socks
  • medical textiles
Heat sensitive Thermochromic Micro-encapsulated dye can change color in response to heat (lasts for 5-10 washes)
  • children’s clothes
  • sports clothing
  • firefighters’ clothing
  • wound dressings
Light sensitive Photochromic dyes Smart pigments change color in response to sunlight
  • T-shirts
  • military clothing



Milk fiber:

Cyarn milk protein fiber dewaters and skims milk, and manufactures the protein spinning fluid suitable for wet spinning process by means of new bio-engineering technique, and new high-grade textile fiber is made by combining them. In April 2004, it passed Oeko-Tex Standard 100 green certification for the international ecological textiles. Cyarn milk protein fiber is healthy for skin, comfortable, with bright colors due to good dyeability, etc. The milk protein fiber can be spun purely or spun with cashmere, silk, spun silk, cotton, wool, ramie and other fibers to weave fabrics with the features of milk protein fiber. It can also be used to create top-grade underwear, shirts, T shirts, loungewear, etc. to satisfy people’s pursuit of comfortable, healthy, superior and fashionable garments. The milk protein fiber is a fresh product as a superior green, healthy and comfortable fiber. Milk protein fiber will certainly become popular goods in the market as new favorite of the Textile. Those who are allergic to milk protein should avoid clothing from milk fibers.


Banana and pineapple textile fiber:

Banana fiber is a lingo-cellulosic natural fiber, with relatively good mechanical properties. Banana fiber is extracted from bark of banana tree, it belongs to bast fiber. The appearance of banana fiber is similar with natural original bamboo fiber and ramie fiber, but fineness and spinnability of banana fiber is better than natural original bamboo fiber and ramie fiber. The chemical composition of banana fiber is mainly cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. The pineapple leaves go mostly as agriculture waste at present and pineapple fibers can be extracted from the leaves either by retting or mechanical means.


Metallic fiber:

Metallic fibers are manufactured fibers composed of metal, plastic-coated metal, metal-coated plastic, or a core completely covered by metal. Gold and silver have been used since ancient times as yarns for fabric decoration. More recently, aluminum yarns, aluminized plastic yarns, and aluminized nylon yarns have replaced gold and silver. The most common uses for metallic fibers is upholstery fabric and textiles such as lamé and brocade.



How Cloth is made: Woven and Knitted:

One way in which clothing materials (fabrics) differ depends on the fiber from which cloth is made. A second way in which materials differ is according to the manner of construction. Cloth may be made by weaving it on a loom or by knitting it. In the woven cloth there are two sets of threads which cross each other. The knitted cloth is made from one thread by continually catching one loop through another. There are two ways you can always recognize knitted material. First, you can always see the loops and second you can tell by stretching the material. Knitted fabric is elastic and will draw back into shape after being stretched. Since knitted fabric is elastic it will fit the body more closely and smoothly than the woven material. Also there are non-woven fabrics.


Handloom fabrics:

The textiles of India are as diverse as its culture. Nearly four million handlooms are engaged in weaving fabrics of nearly 23 different varieties. The Handloom Census of India, undertaken in 1987-88, places the number of handloom textile workers at 6.53 million persons, making them the single largest group of artisans in India. Providing direct and indirect employment to more than 3 million weavers, the handloom production is the largest economic activity second only to agriculture in India. Handlooms contribute nearly 23% of the total cloth produced in the country. During the year 1996-97, a total production of 7,235 million sq. meters of cloth was achieved. Handloom fabrics can be broadly categorized in two types:

i) Hand spun, hand woven: Khadi is hand spun and hand woven fabric

ii) Machine spun, hand woven: All other handlooms fall under this category 


Non-woven fabrics:

They are not made by weaving or knitting and do not require converting the fibers to yarn. Typically, a certain percentage of recycled fabrics and oil-based materials are used in nonwoven fabrics. Non-woven fabric is made by bonding or felting.


Bonded-fibre fabrics are made from webs of synthetic fibres bonded together with heat or adhesives. They are cheap to produce but not as strong as woven or knitted fabrics. Bonded-fibre fabrics are mainly used for interlining. They are easy to sew, crease resistant, do not fray and are stable when washing and dry cleaning.


Wool felt is a non-woven fabric made from animal hair or wool fibres matted together using moisture, heat and pressure. Felt has no strength, drape or elasticity but it is warm and does not fray. Wool felt is expensive. It is used for hats and slippers and in handcrafts.


Nonwoven fabrics provide specific functions such as absorbency, liquid repellence, resilience, stretch, softness, strength, flame retardancy, washability, cushioning, filtering and use as a bacterial barrier & sterility. These properties are often combined to create fabrics suited for specific jobs, while achieving a good balance between product use-life and cost. They can mimic the appearance, texture and strength of a woven fabric and can be as bulky as the thickest paddings. In combination with other materials they provide a spectrum of products with diverse properties, and are used alone or as components of apparel, home furnishings, health care, engineering, industrial and consumer goods.


Clothing and poor working conditions of workers:

Much of the cotton produced in the United States is exported to China and other countries with low labor costs, where the material is milled, woven into fabrics, cut, and assembled according to the fashion industry’s specifications. China has emerged as the largest exporter of fast fashion, accounting for 30% of world apparel exports, according to the UN Commodity Trade Statistics database. Each year Americans purchase approximately 1 billion garments made in China, the equivalent of four pieces of clothing for every U.S. citizen. According to figures from the U.S. National Labor Committee, some Chinese workers make as little as 12–18 cents per hour working in poor conditions. And with the fierce global competition that demands ever lower production costs, many emerging economies are aiming to get their share of the world’s apparel markets, even if it means lower wages and poor conditions for workers.


Color of clothes:

Another way in which materials differ is according to their color or pattern. Some materials are white, some materials are dyed a solid color, and some materials have a pattern woven into the cloth, while in others the pattern is printed on the cloth. At the present time most bleaching is done by using chemicals to make fabric white. Fabrics are colored by Dyeing. Sometimes cloth is “piece dyed” which means that it is dyed after the cloth is woven. Dyeing is also done before the cloth is woven and in this case it is spoken of as “yarn dyed.” Patterns are not only produced in materials by means of weaving but by a process of printing. Materials may be printed in much the same way as the daily newspaper is printed.


Body shapes:

The dress must follow the body of a woman, not the body following the shape of the dress. The clothes which will flatter you best will depend on your body shape. Today the choice of clothes is so varied that there’s something for everyone no matter what coloring, scale, height, proportion or body shape you are. When it comes to looking good, it’s not your size or shape that matters, it’s the fit of your clothes. Wearing the right clothes shouldn’t be about following the latest fashion trends; it should be about choosing what actually suits you and what makes you feel comfortable and confident.


The figure below shows various body shapes:


The first thing you need to do if you wish to know what clothes you should be buying, and which you shouldn’t, is to discover which body shape you have. It will most likely be one of the types as seen in the figure above.


Clothing sizes:



In clothing, clothing size refers to the label sizes used for garments sold off-the-shelf. There are a large number of standard sizing systems around the world for various garments, such as dresses, tops, skirts, and trousers. Made-to-order garments require measurements to be taken, but these do not need to be converted into national standard form. Diffferent countries have different ways of sizing clothes. The best way to know which size is perfect for you is to measure up a garment you have at home that is a great fit and really comfortable, and find your size within a couple of centimeters of the garment.



The significance of the figures on shirt collars:

Consumers will buy shirts depending on figures found in the shirt collar. In this model of national unity in cm as a unit, such as a male shirt printed on a 45-76 -62 words, its first number (45) that the collar length of 45cm, the middle number (76) that the clothing length 76cm, the last number (62) has indicated Sleeve for 62cm. Blouse models first two digits of the meaning and significance of the shirt the same as men, the last number indicates the size of chest.



Making clothing from cloths (making garment from fabric):  

Different cultures have evolved various ways of creating clothes out of cloth. One approach simply involves draping the cloth. Many people wore, and still wear, garments consisting of rectangles of cloth wrapped to fit — for example, the dhoti for men and the sari for women in the Indian subcontinent, the Scottish kilt or the Javanese sarong. The clothes may simply be tied up, as is the case of the first two garments; or pins or belts hold the garments in place, as in the case of the latter two. The precious cloth remains uncut, and people of various sizes or the same person at different sizes can wear the garment. Another approach involves cutting and sewing the cloth, but using every bit of the cloth rectangle in constructing the clothing. The tailor may cut triangular pieces from one corner of the cloth, and then add them elsewhere as gussets. Traditional European patterns for men’s shirts and women’s chemises take this approach. Modern European fashion treats cloth much less conservatively, typically cutting in such a way as to leave various odd-shaped cloth remnants. Industrial sewing operations sell these as waste; home sewers may turn them into quilts. In the thousands of years that humans have spent constructing clothing, they have created an astonishing array of styles, many of which have been reconstructed from surviving garments, photos, paintings, mosaics, etc., as well as from written descriptions. Costume history serves as a source of inspiration to current fashion designers, as well as a topic of professional interest to costumers constructing for plays, films, television, and historical reenactment.


Designer clothing:

Designer clothing is clothing that bears the logo of a recognizable fashion designer. When talking about designer clothing, the highly creative and expensive creations of top fashion designers are rarely what is meant. Rather, ‘designer clothing’ is typically used to describe clothing that was not designed or made by the top fashion luminary, but bears their name due to a licensing agreement the designer has entered into with a mass market apparel manufacturer. These agreements allow manufacturers of commodity apparel items to sell their wares at a premium price due to the cachet of the designer’s name and providing the designer with another income stream. The ‘designer’ whose name is on the label may be: Christian Dior, Armani, Gucci, Louis Vuitton etc.


Tailored clothes:

“The only man who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew every time he sees me, while all the rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.”- George Bernard Shaw. Tailored clothes, by the narrowest definition, refer to any garment cut and sewn by a tailor. The job of a tailor used to have a specific set of hand sewing, machine sewing and pressing techniques associated with it, but the range of tasks a modern tailor performs has since widened. In the United Kingdom, traditional tailoring is known as bespoke, where a unique garment is cut and made from start to finish for a particular customer. In other parts of the world, including the United States, this process is more commonly called custom tailoring. Since the end of the nineteenth century, made-to-measure clothing has existed as a bridge between the extremes of bespoke and ready-to-wear. Made-to-measure clothes are distinctly different from bespoke tailored clothes because they are constructed from a preexisting pattern. However, as technology advances and made-to-measure garments are increasingly tailored to suit the customer, the line separating the two has become blurred. In recent years, handiwork has become more a part of the made-to-measure process and machine work has found its way into some of the finest bespoke tailoring.


Custom tailor:

 People often buy their shirts and suits from retail showroom, but most of them complain about the unfit design. Pre-designed clothes are available in different type’s sizes that sometimes do not meet the requirement of a customer. For all such people there are custom tailors that can design clothes according to individual fits. Everybody has a unique body shape and so these days majority of people opt for custom tailors for getting the best fit. One can order to design their type of embroidery on suits or shirts like unique linings, button holes, ticket pockets, rolled collars, hand cuts and lots more. There are several benefits of a custom tailor as one can order the fabrication of suits at any time and can pick the order according to their convenience. The best part of a custom tailor is that they are much cheaper than other costly brands available in the market. People can choose from a huge variety of fabrics available with different brands and all the branded fabrics are available at cheaper rates than in a retail showroom. Furthermore, the custom tailors provide a free alteration in case if people wish to alter their clothes.


Readymade garments:

Ready-made garments (RMG) are mass-produced finished textile products of the clothing industry. They are made from many different fabrics and yarns. RMG are also called as ready-to-wear garments. Advantages would include many options, different styles and quick decisions. Disadvantages would include lack of creativity, inability to be unique and someone else deciding your fashion sense for you.


Vintage clothing:

Vintage clothing is a generic term for new or second hand garments originating from a previous era. The phrase is also used in connection with a retail outlet, e.g. “vintage clothing store.” Generally speaking, clothing which was produced before the 1920s is referred to as antique clothing and clothing from the 1920s to 1960s is considered vintage. Retro, short for retrospective, or “vintage style” usually refers to clothing that imitates the style of a previous era. This increase in interest is due in part to increased visibility, as vintage clothing was increasingly worn by top models and celebrities. There has also been an increasing interest in environmental sustainability in terms of reusing, recycling and repairing rather than throwing things away. A resurgence of historically based sub-cultural groups like rockabilly and swing dancing has also played a part in the increased interest in vintage clothes.


Ceremonial clothing:

The life cycle celebrations associated with particular occasions are manifested by certain types of ceremonial clothing. Some events where ceremonial clothing would be worn include baptism, graduation, marriage, and mourning. 



Layered clothing:

Layered clothing is a manner of dressing using multiple garments that are worn on top of each other. Some of the layers have different, largely non-overlapping, functions. Two thin layers can be warmer yet lighter than one thick layer, because the air trapped between layers serves as thermal insulation. Layered clothing is particularly relevant in cold climates, where clothing must at the same time transfer moisture, provide warmth, and protect from wind and rain. In a hot and dry climate, clothes have very different functional requirements: they must block the radiation from the Sun, and allow for sufficient air circulation. So layered clothing is not applicable in hot and dry climate. Layered clothing can be a single garment having three layers (e.g. waterproof breathable jacket) or multiple garments worn over each other in layers (undergarment, shirt and sweater).


Usually at least three layers are identified as follows:

1. Inner layer provides comfort by keeping the skin dry. Also called base layer or first layer. The purpose of the inner layer is to draw the sweat away from the skin to the next layers, which makes the wearer feel warmer and more comfortable. The transfer of moisture happens due to capillary action. This is sometimes called wicking, and thus the used materials are called wicking materials (vide infra). When moisture has moved from the skin into (nonabsorbent) clothing, it has more surface area and will evaporate faster. Synthetic materials such as microfiber polyester fabrics are good choices as they do not absorb moisture but may transfer it well. They can also carry specialist finishes, such as anti-bacterial agents which reduce odors, and insect repellent. Wool has fairly good wicking properties. How comfortable wool feels against skin varies greatly, from very rough and itchy to comfortable. Wool doesn’t start to smell as quickly as synthetic materials. Silk feels comfortable, but is weaker and harder to take care of, and is less commonly used. Cotton is cheap and feels comfortable when dry but absorbs moisture easily and is slow to dry out, especially in cold conditions. Cotton is better suited for the middle layer.


2. Mid layer provides warmth. Also called insulating layer. The mid layer is needed in cold weather to provide additional insulation. The use of multiple thin layers facilitates adjustment of warmth. The mid layer should be more loose-fitting than the inner layer, as this leaves insulating air between the layers. However, if best possible moisture transfer is desired, too great a gap between any adjacent layers of clothing may reduce the moisture transfer by capillary action from one piece of clothing to another. On the other hand, very loose-fitting layers can allow more removal of moisture (and heat) via air circulation. Wool is the traditional mid layer material with several good properties: it has good insulation even when wet, absorbs moisture but does not feel wet even when it holds significant moisture, and transfers moisture. Fleece made from PETE or other synthetics has many of the features of wool, but is lighter. It provides good insulation even when wet, absorbs very little moisture, and dries quickly. Although no longer commonly used in the industrialized world, natural sheepskin fleece could also serve the mid layer function. Down has a very good warmth: weight ratio, and can be packed down (squeezed) to take very little room. On the downside, it is expensive, makes a thick garment, dries slowly, loses its insulating properties when wet or compressed, and stops lofting properly after being washed several times. Synthetic Fiberfill such as polyester fiber is used similarly to down, but does not have as good warmth: weight ratio. However, it is less expensive, provides good insulation even when wet, dries quickly, and absorbs very little moisture. There are brands of very fine fiberfill like Thinsulate, Primaloft or Thermolite, that provides higher warmth for a given thickness. Cotton, as with the inner layer, is a cheap alternative, but a reasonable choice only when low insulation and moisture transfer is needed.


3. Shell layer protects from wind and water. Also called outer layer which works as protection over the other two layers. Ideally the shell layer lets moisture through to the outside (that is, is breathable), while not letting wind and water pass through from the outside to the inside. While this is enabled to some degree by modern materials, even the best and most expensive materials involve a trade-off between breathability and water- and wind resistance. If heavy sweating is expected, one should avoid wearing any shell layer garments unless their protective properties are essential. For example, when one is jogging, no shell layer is likely to be able to transfer enough moisture to keep the wearer feeling dry. Instead, one should consider using sufficiently warm mid layer clothes. Plastic raincoats protect completely from water and wind, but let through no moisture. To compensate for that, such raincoats usually have flap-covered holes and are very loose-fitting at the bottom to allow air circulation. Waterproof breathable (hard shell) materials are waterproof and somewhat breathable. Their essential element is a thin, porous membrane that blocks liquid water, but lets through water vapor (evaporated sweat). The more expensive materials are typically more breathable. The best-known brand is Gore-Tex. Water resistant (soft shell) materials block water only partially. On the other hand they are usually more breathable and comfortable, thinner, and cheaper than completely waterproof materials. Water-repellent coatings are often used. Before waterproof-breathable shells were invented, the “60/40” (60% cotton, 40% nylon) parka was widely used. Soft shells are not water “proof”.


Often clothes combine two adjacent layers, as in the case of warm undergarments that provide both comfort and insulation. _


Clothing life cycle:

Clothing suffers assault both from within and without. The human body sheds skin cells and body oils, and exudes sweat, urine, and feces. From the outside, sun damage, moisture, abrasion and dirt assault garments. Fleas and lice can hide in seams. Worn clothing, if not cleaned and refurbished, itches, looks scruffy, and loses functionality (as when buttons fall off, seams come undone, fabrics thin or tear, and zippers fail). In some cases, people wear an item of clothing until it falls apart.


Cloth moth:

Cloth moths are types of insects whose larvae feed on cloths. It is the caterpillar stage of all clothes moths that damages clothing. Caterpillars of clothes moths feed on wool, fur or feathers. They will not feed on cotton, silk or synthetic fibers. Infested materials can be treated by temperature or by fumigant insecticides, such as paradichlorobenzene (moth crystals) or lavandin oil. Freezing insect-infested wool or fabrics can kill clothes moths. Temperatures that are not lethal nevertheless can greatly slow insect development. Cold storage treatment used to be widely practiced for protection of furs and other valuable clothing articles that are susceptible to carpet beetles and clothes moths. Wool fabrics can be similarly protected by storing them in cool locations within the home or even temporarily storing them in unheated outbuildings or garages. High temperatures can also disinfest woolen materials from insects. Temperatures of 110 degrees F to 120 degrees F are generally lethal to all insects if maintained for 30 minutes or more. Periodically brushing woolen fabrics outdoors and exposing them to sunlight is also effective. Tight-fitting containers can prevent reinfestation of clothes moths.



Lint is the common name of visible accumulations of textile fibers and other materials, usually found on and around clothing. Certain materials used in the manufacture of clothing, such as cotton, wool, and linen, contain numerous very short fibers bundled together. During the course of normal wear, these fibers may either break, or be jostled out of the weave of which they are part. This is the reason why heavily used articles like shirts and towels become thin over time, and why these particles collect in the lint screen of clothes dryer. Lint on clothing is generally considered unattractive and unprofessional. Furthermore, lint may be abrasive, and may damage the clothing itself. For this reason, visible lint is often removed with a lint roller or clothes brush. The accumulation of lint during clothes cleaning can be reduced with the use of a fabric softener, which reduces the amount of static electricity on clothing surfaces, and therefore prevents the lint from sticking to the clothes. Inhalation of excessive amounts of lint, as observed in early textile workers, may lead to diseases of the lungs, such as byssinosis. Lint shed from clothing during the course of wear may also carry bacteria and viruses. For this reason, lint presents a danger during surgery, when it might carry microorganisms into open wounds. It has been demonstrated that due to the abrasive contact between clothing and skin, “a person wearing a standard cotton scrub suit actually sheds more bacteria than without clothing”. Lint contamination also presents perhaps the most serious threat of damage to delicate mechanical devices. The lint on a person’s clothing is therefore likely to contain material transferred from the various environments through which that person has passed, enabling forensic examiners to collect and examine lint to determine the movements and activities of the wearer. 


Hand washing clothes:



In olden days, hand washing was the only way to get the laundry done. Although people had fewer clothes, the task was still time consuming and arduous. Technically, any item that is not labeled “Dry Clean Only” can be washed by hand, but many people only use hand washing for delicate garments, such as silk shirts, nylon stockings, lingerie and wool sweaters. The agitation of the washing machine can distort the fragile fibers of these fabrics; therefore, they are generally washed by hand and laid flat to dry. Hand washing clothes can prolong the life of a garment. While hand washing helps to preserve the color and shape of the garment, hand washed items may not get as clean as their machine washed counterparts. While washing the clothes by hand can save money by reducing the water bill, the electric bill and the number of trips taken to the dry cleaner, it may not always be the best choice for getting the clothes clean. Many times, the machine can use hotter water and stronger detergents than can be tolerated by the hands. Not only does this result in brighter brights and whiter whites, it kills more of the germs and bacteria that are commonly found on soiled laundry items.


Of course, one of the cheapest means of drying clothes uses no appliance what-so-ever. The simple clothes line and clothes pins cost hardly anything. Using the heat of the sun and drying power of breezes, clothes lines are making a comeback in many backyards.



Humans have developed many specialized methods for laundering, ranging from early methods of pounding clothes against rocks in running streams, to the latest in electronic washing machines and dry cleaning (dissolving dirt in solvents other than water). Hot water washing (boiling), chemical cleaning and ironing are all traditional methods of sterilizing fabrics for hygiene purposes.


A clothes dryer, tumble dryer, or drying machine is a household appliance that is used to remove moisture from a load of clothing and other textiles, generally shortly after they are cleaned in a washing machine. The average home clothes dryer has a carbon footprint of approximately 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of CO2 per load of laundry dried.


Dry cleaning:

Dry cleaning is not really “dry” but uses a toxic chemical liquid solution in industrial washing machines to gently agitate and lift stains and dirt from clothing in a manner similar to a home washing machine. The dry cleaning process originated in France in 1825 and was discovered by accident when a worker in a cleaning factory spilled lamp oil, which is a petroleum-based solvent, on a soiled tablecloth. When the table cloth dried, the stains were gone and a new industry emerged. The new cleaning method was called dry because it used turpentine and kerosene and not “wet” water. Within a few years, they started using benzene and gasoline, which were more refined and had fewer industrial petroleum impurities. These great advances in cleaning had the slight drawback of the solvents being highly flammable. More than one early dry cleaning shop burst into flame or was blown out of the neighborhood. Oh, yes … the clothes also stank like a gas tank after being cleaned. Over the years, less explosive petroleum-based solvents were introduced and then in 1928, a new almost odorless, petroleum-based solvent call Stoddard Solvent swept the dry cleaning industry. With a much higher flashpoint making it less explosive and flammable, Stoddard Solvent really cleaned up, but dry cleaning fires were still all too common. In the early 1900s, chemists were discovering how to synthesize chlorinated hydrocarbons. These nonflammable solvents quickly found their way into dry cleaning shops. Carbon tetrachloride was the early contender but it was highly toxic and had the unfortunate side effect of corroding metals and textiles. But, science marches on and on and by the 1950s, carbon tetrachloride was being replaced by tetrachloroethylene which is a chlorinated hydrocarbon more commonly known as perchloroethylene ( PERC).


What are the benefits of dry cleaning clothes instead of washing them?

A lot of material cannot be throw into the washing machine, they are either very delicate or can be harmed easily. The water and all the tumbling in the washing machine will harm the fabric, so if it says dry clean only, it really is a good idea to dry clean it. Dry cleaning will keep your wardrobe in the best condition possible. Dry cleaning is less abrasive thus protect the clothes. It will also remove the stains well as well as any odor. Fabrics will retain their shape and last longer.



A clothing iron, also referred to as simply an iron, is a small appliance: a handheld piece of equipment with a flat, roughly triangular surface that, when heated, is used to press clothes to remove creases. It is named for the metal the device is commonly made of, and the use of it is generally called ironing. Ironing works by loosening the ties between the long chains of molecules that exist in polymer fiber materials. With the heat and the weight of the ironing plate, the fibers are stretched and the fabric maintains its new shape when cool. Some materials such as cotton require the use of water to loosen the intermolecular bonds. Many materials developed in the twentieth century are advertised as needing little or no ironing. Many kinds of clothing are designed to be ironed before they are worn to remove wrinkles. Most modern formal and semi-formal clothing is in this category (for example, dress shirts and suits). Ironed clothes are believed to look clean, fresh, and neat. Much contemporary casual clothing is made of knit materials that do not readily wrinkle, and do not require ironing. Some clothing is permanent press, having been treated with a coating (such as polytetrafluoroethylene) that suppresses wrinkles and creates a smooth appearance without ironing.


The two primary causes of wrinkling in fabrics are water moisture and heat. Heat and moisture also remove wrinkles (think ironing and steaming hanging clothes), but they are also the leading causes of that ferociously wrinkled organic cotton shirt. Never iron or steam clothes while they are being worn. Resist the urge! Even when you are frantically late and you slip on that freshly laundered – but not ironed – organic cotton shirt or bamboo skirt and the wrinkles jump out like the back side of the moon, don’t even think the thought that maybe you could just ever so quickly iron out the more visible areas while just standing there.



A resin used for making non-wrinkle shirts releases formaldehyde, which could cause contact dermatitis for some people; no disclosure requirements exist, and in 2008 the U.S. Government Accountability Office tested formaldehyde in clothing and found that generally the highest levels were in non-wrinkle shirts and pants. In 1999, a study of the effect of washing on the formaldehyde levels found that after 6 months after washing, 7 of 27 shirts had levels in excess of 75 ppm, which is a safety limit for direct skin exposure.


Wrinkle free clothing:

We looked at how formaldehyde derivative are used to finish permanent press fabrics. The “permanent” in permanent press is relative because the formaldehyde used to cross-link the cellulose hydrogen bonds in cotton clothes will wash out after repeated washings. Manufacturers advertise their super duper “No Iron” to withstand 50 no-wrinkle washings but even they will eventually lose their permanent press because their wrinkle-free property is gained on the chemical level. Nanotechnology companies such as Nano-Tex claim that their fabrics are really, truly permanent-press because their wrinkle-free quality is embedded in the molecular level and not at the chemical level.


Science behind wrinkling:

Polymers are the key to understanding wrinkling. Polymers form the basic structure of many fibers which form fabrics. The cellulose found in cotton, bamboo, hemp and linen flax and the proteins that comprise the new eco-fibers Ingeo and soya are natural polymers. Nylon and PET (PolyEthylene Terephtahalate) are examples of synthetic polymers that have been used in clothing. Polymers help hold fibers together and give stability to fabrics. The energy in heat, whether the heat comes from hot water during washing, hot air in a clothes dryer or even body heat, weakens the covalent bonds that bind polymers together but different polymers of different fibers have different transition points at which the bonds weaken. The polymers of natural cellulose fibers such as cotton, hemp and flax, which is used to make linen, have a much lower transition level and therefore require less heat energy to break the stable covalent bonds than nylon, polyester or regenerated polymers of bamboo, rayon, Tencel / lyocell, Modal, or Ingeo which means that they wrinkle more easily. This transition point where a polymer’s covalent bonds become weaker is also known as the “glass transition temperature.” An interesting research paper by J.M. Maxwell at the University of Melbourne, Australia, found that cotton fibers pass through a glass transition at about 72 degrees F (22C) at a relative humidity of 78% which shows the connectedness between heat and water for fabric wrinkles. Different types of fibers have different glass transition temperatures with natural cellulose fibers such as organic cotton, hemp and linen on the lower end of the spectrum making them more susceptible to wrinkling. Research from other sources suggests that moisture and humidity also lower the glass transition temperature, at least for natural cellulose fibers. Heat is only half of the wrinkle equation. Heat’s partner in growing or removing wrinkles in clothes is water moisture. Using a scanning probe microscope, Maxwell found that water moisture caused cotton cellulose fibers to swell and soften making it easier for the fibers to move and change shape which are all part of the wrinkling or wrinkle removing processes. These are the chemical processes involved in wrinkles. Mitsuhiro Fukuda of the Textile Materials Science Laboratory at Hyogo University has researched the “dimensional stability” like wrinkling caused by moisture on hydrophilic and hygroscopic fibers such as cellulose and cellulose derivatives (regenerated cellulose). Fukuda documents that a 1% increase in a fiber’s moisture content causes a decrease of about 10 degrees C in the glass temperature for many polymer fibers. The lower the glass temperature of a fiber, the more likely that the fabric will wrinkle. The structural factors in natural cellulose fibers involve fiber fibrils which are bunches of cellulose chains all lined up together and twisted together into threads that are woven or knit into clothes. The cellulose fibers are held in place through chemical bonds between hydrogen atoms across cellulose fibers. Both heat and water weaken these hydrogen bonds which help keep the fibers in fabrics together and this can happen during washing, drying, while wearing (your skin releases a lot of heat and moisture even if you aren’t sweating), or even while hanging in a closet during a hot, humid day. During laundering or even during wearing on warm, humid days, the heat and moisture help weaken the chemical bonds helping to hold fibers in place and the moisture softens the fibers and allows them to slide around more easily. When the fabric dries and cools, the rough little fibers become intertwined with other fibers in different locations and the chemical bonds reform and give rise to the wrinkles. This is why those natural cellulose fiber fabrics have a greater propensity to wrinkle.


Fabric weaves and wrinkling:

The type of fibers, the temperature and the moisture absorbed by a fiber all contribute to fabric wrinkling, but wrinkling is also influenced by the type of weave and construction of fabrics. Generally, loosely woven fabrics are more susceptible to wrinkling than tightly woven fabric. A high thread count, tightly woven cotton shirt or bed sheet will tend to wrinkle less than a low thread count, loosely woven cotton shirt or bed sheet. The tight weave tends to hold the threads and therefore the fibers in place without as much freedom to move around and give rise to wrinkles. Knit fabrics tend to wrinkle less than woven fabrics because of the inherent elasticity of a knitted fabric compared with a woven fabric.


Blended fabrics and wrinkling:

Stretch woven clothes, which are typically 90% to 96% natural fibers such as cotton blended with 10% to 4% spandex / lycra threads, also tend to be more wrinkle-free due to the elastic quality of the spandex / lycra threads. To reduce nasty wrinkles, clothing manufacturers sometimes blend natural fiber fabrics – cotton, hemp, bamboo, rayon, Tencel / lyocell and even silk –with more wrinkle resistant fibers like polyester.


How to pack clothes while traveling to avoid wrinkling?

Folding clothes is the traditional way of packing and is preferred over rolling for items that easily wrinkle, such as a cotton button-down shirt or slacks. Folding items along the creases they are supposed to have — for example, along the creases of jeans or pants — seems to work well, but unwanted creases also show up where the garment is folded in half. Tightly rolling clothes into compact pieces allows for much tighter packing that fits more items into the suitcase. It also cuts down on creases but makes some items into wrinkly messes. Rolling can be used on small items, especially those made of synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, that are less likely to wrinkle than natural fabrics, such as cotton. Rolling works well for shorts, socks, synthetic T-shirts and tank tops, some pajamas and sweats. Bundle wrapping is a technique that packs the clothes into one solid bundle that fits snugly into your suitcase. It is also a practice that will leave you with the fewest wrinkles and unwanted creases. The trick is to put the smallest and least wrinkle-able clothing on the inside of the bundle, surrounding it by layers of larger and more easily wrinkled garments.



How to Remove Stains:

The General Rules:

1. The longer a stain remains, the tougher it is to remove.

2. Always treat a stain before laundering.

3. Blot gently — never rub; and don’t ever blot with hot water.

4. As for those damned neckties? Do not spill on them. It’s that simple. The bias cut and delicate fabrics make ties, as you have probably learned, impossible to clean.


Some tricks to remove common household stains:

Lipstick: Blot with a baby wipe or a washcloth moistened with rubbing alcohol.

Blood: If it’s fresh, blot repeatedly with cold water, an ice cube, or club soda; if it’s dried, use a 3 percent hydrogen-peroxide solution.

Oil: Cover with talc or baby powder immediately and allow it to sit at least a half hour. Then brush it off, apply a stain remover (such as Spray n’ Wash), and wash in the hottest water the fabric can stand.

Ink: On cotton, apply rubbing alcohol to the spot, then wash. On polyester, spray liberally with hair spray and pat with a clean, dry cloth. Then wash.

Red wine: Douse with salt, dunk in cold water, blot until the stain disappears, and wash as soon as possible. If you’re at dinner and unable to strip down, soak the spot with club soda and get home to your washing machine.


Some household stain removers:

Hairspray: Believe it or not, hairspray is a fantastic way to remove stains from clothing. Moisten the stain with water and then blot away at it with a paper towel that has been sprayed with non-oily hairspray. You should begin to see the color from the marker transfer from the fabric to the paper towe.

Rubbing alcohol: Your household rubbing alcohol is another effective way to remove marker stains. Place the stain face down on top of a piece of paper towel. Dip a cloth in rubbing alcohol and dab at the stain. You should see the ink transfer to the paper towel underneath the stain. Change the paper towel often so that the paper can absorb the color. After the stain is removed, wash the clothing in the washing machin.

 Milk: You have to see it to believe it. Milk is a great way to remove stains from fabric. Fill a bowl with milk and soak the stained area of the garment in the milk. The milk will begin to turn the color of the permanent marker. When the milk has significantly changed color, refresh the bowl with new milk and repeat the process until the stain is removed from the clothing.


Rust removal:

Commercial rust removers found in grocery stores are effective and safe for most fabrics. The important ingredient in these removers is an acid – usually oxalic or hydrofluoric acid. The remover ingredients combine with the iron and loosen it from the fabric, then hold it in suspension in the wash water.


How to remove smells, odors, fumes and chemical irritants – especially formaldehyde and pesticide smells –from clothing?

Here are guidelines for removing or reducing fumes, odors, scents (like perfume, cologne and deodorants), smells and chemical irritants (like shipping fumigants, pesticides and anti-mildew sprays) from your clothing.

1.Air them out: Hang clothing, even nearly purchased clothing, in the open air and allow to air out and off-gas. This will help remove smoke, fumes, and smells trapped in your clothing and will also allow offgassing of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde used in the garment dyeing or finishing process or of pesticides and fumigates such as methyl bromide used during shipping. Hang the clothing in a breezy (you can use a fan), warm and sunlit room to facilitate the airing-out and off-gassing.

2.Soaking: Soak clothing in a sink or washing machine filled with warm water before washing. Add one cup of baking soda, washing soda or Borax. Our experience is that several hours (or overnight) are usually sufficient although some people will suggest up to several days. Rather than soaking for several days, it is probably more effective to repeat the airing – soaking – washing – drying cycle several times if necessary.

3.Washing:  Complete the laundry cycle and wash according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

4.Drying and Airing: Dry on a clothes line or clothes rack in the sunlight. Sunlight will help remove odors and smells but bright sunlight can cause dyes to fade.


Recycling clothes:

Used, unwearable clothing can be used for quilts, rags, rugs, bandages, and many other household uses. It can also be recycled into paper or fibers to produce fabric. In Western societies, used clothing is often thrown out or donated to charity. It is also sold to consignment shops, dress agencies and flea markets and in online auctions. Used clothing is also often collected on an industrial scale to be sorted and shipped for re-use in poorer countries. There are many concerns about the life cycle of synthetics, which come primarily from petrochemicals. Unlike natural fibers, their source is not renewable and they are not biodegradable.


Recycling plastic into clothing:

Clothing can be made from plastics. Seventy percent of plastic-derived fabrics come from polyester, and the type of polyester most used in fabrics is polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET plastic clothing come from reused plastics, often recycled plastic bottles. The Coca Cola Company, for example, created a “Drink2Wear” line of T-shirts made from recycled bottles. Eco-fi , formerly known as EcoSpun, is a high-quality polyester fiber which has been developed by the U.S. company Wellman Inc. Many different fabrics are made using Eco-fi, including fleece fabrics which are warm, durable, weather resistant, lightweight and comfortable. They are very soft to the touch. One of the most impressive features of Eco-fi is the source of the fiber – recycled plastic (PET) soda pop bottles. Generally, PET plastic clothing are made from recycled bottles as follows: plastic bottles are collected, compressed, baled, and shipped into processing facilities where they will be chopped into flakes, and melted into small white pellets. Then, the pellets are processed again, and spun into yarn-like fiber where it can be made into clothing. One main benefit of making clothes from recycled bottles is that it keeps the bottles and other plastics from occupying landfill space. The Eco-fi process has the capacity to keep almost 3 billion plastic PET soda bottles out of the world’s landfills each year, saving over 1/2 million barrels of oil and eliminating 400,000 tons of harmful air emissions which contribute to acid rain, global warming and smog. Another benefit is that it takes 30% less energy to make clothes from recycled plastics than from virgin polyesters. The amount of petroleum saved by using post-consumer bottles instead of virgin materials in the manufacturing process annually is enough to supply power to a city the size of Atlanta for an entire year! 


Donate clothes:

When you donate clothes and shoes to Planet Aid you set in motion a chain of events that benefit people and the planet. Your items will become cherished possessions for someone, somewhere who cannot afford to buy new garments. At the same time, municipalities have less trash to manage, there are more jobs created, and the Earth is spared the burden of additional toxic and greenhouse gas impacts.


Good reasons to buy second-hand clothes:

1. It helps to reduce waste – any used and unwanted clothing that is bought is clothing that will not be disposed of in landfill. Landfill is a huge problem in the world and also contributes to global warming by producing green house gases.
2. They cost less than new items – a piece of clothing in a charity shop or second hand clothing website will almost certainly cost a fraction of its original new price.
3. You will get much better quality and even designer clothes for the same price as low quality new clothes.
4. It is great fun shopping for second hand clothes and the thrill of finding something amazing that costs next to nothing is much better than shopping for new.
5. By shopping for second hand clothes in charity shops, you can help to support the charity and its valuable work.
6. Second hand clothes are bit different to the usual clothes that you can buy on the high street; you are a lot less likely to see someone wearing the same clothes as you if you wear second hand.
7. There is a huge choice of second hand clothes available from a variety of places including car boot sales, charity shops, vintage shops and websites so there is no reason why you won’t be able to find exactly what you want.
8. Shopping for used clothing forces you to think more carefully about what you buy so you usually end up with a very stylish outfit that looks amazing on you.
9. Buying second hand clothes is a great way to experiment with new styles and looks. As the clothes are not expensive as buying new it is less risky and if you make a mistake you can always sell or swap it.
10. Buying second hand clothes instead of new reduces the environmental impacts that are associated with the manufacture of new clothes.
So buying used clothing is not only good for the environment, it is also good for your and for your wallet.


Concerns regarding clothes donations:

Most donated clothes end up being baled and shipped to impoverished countries, and that isn’t necessarily doing anyone a favor. There is evidence that imports of hand-me-downs from the West undermine the ability of African nations, for example, to clothe their own populations independently of foreign charity or apparel brokers.


Swapping clothes:

Whether you’ve always envied your sibling’s wardrobe or just wanted to try out a new style but not had the budget, it can sometimes feel like you have nothing to wear despite having a wardrobe full of outfits. You might be sick of wearing the same clothes over and over again, but others might love your style. Swapping clothes with a family member or friend is the perfect solution and it has endless benefits in the long term. Swapping clothes with a friend, work colleague or family member is the perfect way to increase your wardrobe choices and give you outfits choices you never would have normally had. Without doubt one of the greatest benefits of clothes swapping is the savings you will make by not purchasing clothes for every different occasion. While your sibling might be sick of wearing the same business suits, they might well give you a sophisticated new look without you having to spend a cent. It also means that any clothes you do buy will be worn many times rather than being stowed away after one or two wears. Clothes swapping is the perfect way to experiment with new styles and constantly change up your outfits without having to worry about the expense.



Psychology of clothing:

It’s true that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but people still do. In the case of human beings, that “cover” is in large part your clothing and others are looking at it to help gauge an impression of who you are. Before you choose your outfit for the day, think about how you want other people to see you and interpret your personality … Your clothes say far more than you think. Take a look at some of the common clothing personalities out there, and what they say about the wearer.

1. The Sloppy Dresser: If your clothes are wrinkled, stained, or mismatched, others typically take this to mean that in a figurative sense you are too. Sloppy clothing sends the message that you don’t really care … about your appearance, your job, your future or otherwise.

2. The Designer Dresser: Every item on your body is brand name, and you’re sure to let others know it. People may take this to mean you’re successful, choosy and “put together,” but they may think you’re overly materialistic or a bit insecure (and desperately trying to fit in via your clothing).

3.The Skimpy Dresser: Skimpy dressers always opt for the shortest, tightest, most revealing clothing they can find whether they’re going to work, an office party or the beach with their kids. Wearing overly revealing clothing often exudes insecurity, and an attempt to gather attention based solely on your body (perhaps suggesting that’s all there is to offer). Many say occasionally wearing that skimpy outfit is fun, flirty, and quite acceptable, but wearing them all the time is likely another matter.

4. The Business Casual Dresser: Business casual, when done correctly (i.e. casual loafers, not flip flops), can be a sign of a confident, well-meaning individual.

5. The Flashy Dresser: Perhaps it’s a fun pair of shoes, a snappy tie or a bright blue handbag. It could be just about any fashion piece, but you’ve always got to have something to show your wild side. Flashy dressers often show others that they’re looking to be set apart from the crowd and have a desire to show their personality and get noticed.

6. The Drab Dresser: Do you always dress in neutrals and plain slacks and shirts, and never dare stray from this uniform? A drab dresser can be an indication that you’re trying to blend in with the crowd and don’t want a lot of extra attention.

7. The Athletic Dresser: Athletic dressers wear sweats, running shoes and other workout gear 24/7, whether they’re heading to the gym or not. While this may show others that you’re athletic and care about your body, be careful. Athletic dressers can easily be mistaken for sloppy dressers, particularly when sweats are involved.

8. The Goth Dresser: Lots of black, fishnet stockings and maybe a studded collar are often features of goth dressers. While this look may tell some people that you’re expressing your personality, many may see you as depressed, angry, insecure (needing to “disguise” yourself) and unapproachable.

9. The Casual Dresser: This is the guy or gal who never puts on anything but jeans and a t-shirt. Fine for a weekend at home, but over time this look can make you appear one-sided or lacking a creative flair or dimension.


So what can you do to dress in a way that’s beneficial for you, your outlook and your attitude toward the world? Check out these 10 simple tips.

1. Wear clothing that’s flattering for your figure.

2. Remember that clothing doesn’t need to be expensive to look good.

3. Dress suitably for the occasion (business attire for work is a must).

4. Don’t be afraid to show your personality by using color, unique clothing cuts or accessories.

5. Do step outside of your fashion comfort zone sometimes. For instance, if you always dress in jeans and t-shirts, put on a well-tailored suit and see how it makes you feel.

6. Have fun with your clothing. Don’t take it too seriously.

7. Only wear clothing that makes you feel good.

8. Get rid of clothes that you associate negative things with (such as the sweatshirt you wore for a month after your divorce or the sweater you put on when you have a cold).

9. Do get “dressed” daily. It’s easy to slip into a pattern of throwing on anything, particularly when you’re not planning to go out anywhere special. However, this can set your mood to expect a monotonous, ho-hum day. Try putting on something special even when it’s not a “special” day, and take notice of the change in your attitude.

10. Don’t worry about keeping up with trends, but do update your clothing regularly (and get rid of items from past decades).


Clinical psychologist Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner literally wrote the book on “psychology of dress.” In ‘You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You’, she explains not only how psychology determines our clothing choices, but also how to overcome key psychological issues your wardrobe might be bringing to light in your everyday life, or even at work. Shopping and spending behaviors often come from internal motivations such as emotions, experiences, and culture. Americans rely on clothing as an economic and social indicator because there aren’t official marks of rank such as a caste system or aristocracy. When you don’t have a specific system, people come up with their own. It’s what helps you figure out where you fit in. Especially now, with the economy, with people losing status, maintaining a sense of who we are becomes even more important. Our clothes help place us where we think we want to be. Some of the most common wardrobe and perception problems are narrated in the table below.


If you . . . You might . . . Consider:
Keep every piece of clothing you’ve ever owned Be clinging to the past through the sentimental value of your pieces. Adopting the Golden Wardrobe Ratio: get rid of two out of three items you own, including anything too big or small, ripped or torn, or outdated.
Wear only neutrals, largely devoid of accessories Be stuck in a psychological rut, too comfortable to shake it up, or too afraid to draw attention to yourself. Deviating from your routine in small ways (a different route to work, a few new Spring accessories — like these inexpensive ways to incorporate trendy polka dots — to jog your brain into feeling excited.
Dress in clothing too large for your body See your body differently than others see it, or as a reflection of the way it once was. Bringing an honest friend shopping to find out what looks great on you, ignoring sizes, and getting used to wearing clothes that really fit.
Have been told you’re dressed inappropriately or too sexily Consider the same outfit appropriate for every occasion (i.e., clubbing and family barbecue) or be looking for the wrong kind of attention. Thinking about the image you want to project in given situations (at work, on the town) and choosing outfits based on cues from those around you.
Dress too young (or too old) for your age Be trying to express the age you feel you are, but are getting caught between your actual and internal age. Gearing your outfits toward your goals (like getting a promotion, meeting a significant other, traveling the world), rather than a specific age.
Are always in work clothes Value yourself primarily through your work and work-related accomplishments. Recognizing your talents outside of work (great artist, compassionate, fun to bring to parties, etc.).
Are covered in designer logos Think you need to broadcast wealth in order to be treated well by others. Practicing wearing “blank canvas” pieces and only accenting with logos to emphasize that people value you for more than your labels.
Live in your “mom outfit” of jeans and a hoodie Put the needs of your family before your own. Taking more “me time.” Remember: when mom isn’t happy, nobody is.


Clothing, personality and identity:

Clothing cues are not necessarily indicative of the defining traits of an individual’s personality. Nevertheless, people do form impressions of others based on the way they dress. Impressions are weaker than judgments, but impressions provide material for judgments, and judgments are of great consequence for determining the pattern of interaction between individuals. Piacentini & Mailer (2004) used the symbolic consumption paradigm to investigate teenagers’ consumption behavior in regard to clothes and brands. They found that teenagers’ clothes choices are linked to issues of self-concept and identity. These issues become particularly relevant during adolescence, because people are experiencing role fluidity and transition at that stage. The symbolic property of goods empowers adolescents to consolidate new roles. The study showed that teenagers make judgments about others based on clothing cues, and that they use clothing to express individuality and also to conform.


Clothes for people are like covers for books. Clothes hide your body but, at the same time, reveal your personality. They bring up your imagine to the others. That is why people dress up differently, depending where they go. They express their attitude towards the event or the people over there. As music does, clothes show our personality and character. By wearing a certain type of cloths, we feel comfortable with ourselves. It depends on one’s tastes. For example, a strong woman has the guts to wear daring outfit. We all know that this kind of outfit make people starring at us. Either we want it or not, we become the center of the others’ attention. So, by wearing a certain type of clothes, we assume what we become or what we really are. On the other hand, a shy person does not want to be in the centre of attention by wearing out of ordinary clothes. When you want to go on for a date you try to look as good as you can. This is the moment when you want to make a good impression. You try to put on the clothes that you think they suit you the best, in order to make a good impression. All the times we need to hear from the others around us that we look astonishing. It makes us feel good and strong self confident.


Individuals may choose clothing (e.g., a t-shirt with cultural symbols or icons) that (1) makes statements intended to reinforce their self-views or (2) communicates their attitudes and values to others.  Gosling et al.’s (2002) model explains how an individual’s clothing choices may consciously and unconsciously reflect elements of his or her personality traits.  However, one might argue that daily selection of clothing is not an expression of personality but is instead determined by its function (e.g., cold weather or important meeting). The process of selecting personal attire occurs in stages and includes the decision to purchase a particular clothing item, the anticipation of potential environmental conditions, and the freedoms or restrictions of various social conditions. Personality can influence choice of attire at any stage in this process. An individual has a wide variety of clothing styles to choose from:  professional, casual, stylish, or comfortable attire.  In selecting clothing, an individual might choose an outfit that fits his or her social or environmental needs—a well-pressed suit and power tie for an important board meeting; a t-shirt and jeans to run errands; a flashy blouse and mini skirt for a night on the town; or sweatshirt and jogging pants for a cold day’s morning run. An individual also might adjust other aspects of his or her appearance such as hairstyle, jewelry/ accessories, or whether to reveal tattoos and body piercings. In addition to selection clothing for its function, personality can play a role in determining clothing selection and appearance. Furthermore, others may use an individual’s appearance to form impressions about him or her. 


Your clothing personality:

Conformity is a comfortable realm for most. We naturally long for a sense of fellowship, unity and similarity.  In school, we were trained to look, act and think alike. Apart from the school uniform, black shoes, white ankle socks and black hair ties (no more, no less) were the rules. We would prefer uniformity to individuality. So it was only in the early adult years that we explored and experimented with countless fashion choices. It takes time and practice to develop one’s style confidence and “clothing personality.”  Developing your clothing personality is important for developing self-confidence and a sense of comfort and satisfaction with yourself. It helps in crafting an image of yourself. The way you dress and project yourself is a way of communicating your personality, values and lifestyle to the world around you. Remember that there are no strict rules in dressing up; what is most important is that you feel confident and comfortable, no matter the circumstance.


So how exactly do you discover your clothing personality?

1) Get to know yourself—An important aspect of dressing and style is self-awareness. The way you dress should reflect your tastes, interests, desires, aspirations and history. Understanding yourself is crucial to making style choices consistent with your lifestyle. You may just be misread because of the clothes you wear.

2) Look for some inspiration—Find a celebrity whose personality and lifestyle you can identify with. Observe the clothing choices and combinations she makes and try to incorporate them in your wardrobe.

 3) Give away items that are “not you”—Take an honest look at your closet. If you still haven’t worn that beautifully made avant-garde jacket, you probably never will. No matter how great a piece is, it may simply not suit your personality. You may never feel comfortable wearing it. Pass it on to someone who will enjoy it more.

4) Know your body—Dress in silhouettes and styles that flatter your figure. This way, you can make clothing choices that will enhance and complement your shape. The key is to highlight what you like most about yourself. This will help you know which part to focus on when shopping and putting together an outfit. If you have long slender legs, show them off with short skirts to draw attention away from a not-so-fit tummy area.

5) Shop solo—As much as shopping can be a wonderful girl bonding experience, sometimes it helps to fly solo. This will let you make independent choices toward the goal of dressing in a manner that reflects the image you want for yourself, not by the standards and expectations of others.

6) Find your signature piece or look—One should consider it a compliment when people see a piece and exclaim, “It’s so you!” This just proves that you have a signature style people remember you by. Find something that works with your personality whether it is a strand of pearls, a stack of gold bangles, or a white button-down blouse.

7) Play dress up—If you have time on your hands, spend a day by your closet creating various outfit options, down to accessories and shoes. Challenge yourself by putting together outfits you normally would not wear. Mix and match to see which combinations you feel most comfortable in. You may just surprise yourself and discover looks you never thought you could pull off!


Clothes Color & Personality Type:

Here are some generalizations about colors that will show how color of clothes affects personality:

1. Red is symbolic of dominance, passion and sensuality. It is a color meant for bold and firm men who love to lead the world. If you want to make a distinctive fashion statement, red is the trick.

2. Peach and pink shades are indicative of coolness and calm. With pink, you’ll look as fresh as a flower.

3. Black, an all time favorite represents power. Acting as a symbol of elegance, versatility and grace, this color can smoothly sail in all functions.

4. If your focus is on looking neat and clean, white is just apt for you. It indicates purity and simplicity. It is the perfect summer color.

5. Blue is a color of warmth and trust. It’s a fabulous shade that can be found in almost every man’s cupboard.

6. Yellow is the color of beautiful sunflower. It conveys anxiety and alertness of mind. But do not forget it is also the color of deadly fire.

7. Burgundy is indicative of spirituality. It is a rich color that decides how passionate you are. Burgundy shirt looks stylish.

8. Green comes from greenery. It is a color of nature with beautiful green leaves, fresh green vegetables. It represents freshness, relaxation and calm.

9. Brown is meant for classy informal styling. It conveys reliability and trust.

10. Gray is indicative of the fact that you are a balanced person in life. It looks elegant and is considered to be brainy.


Clothing and self esteem:

The higher is self-esteem the less clothing affects it, but the opposite is also true – the lower is self-esteem the more power cloths and fashion have over a person. People with high self-esteem know that they are still the best no matter what they wear. People with high self-esteem choose the clothes they really like and that emphasize their personality, not those that other people want them to wear. People with high self-esteem create fashion, others follow it. Be confident. If you choose to wear something, wear it because you like it and you feel comfortable in it. You can be a role model everyone will follow, no matter where you live, what you do, and who you are. Don’t be afraid to express yourself and people will follow you because you are one of a kind. What matters most is the way you behave. If you are developing you inner self constantly and persistently, if you try to become a greater, more interesting, kind, balanced, and confident person, people will love you in any clothes.


However, some say that clothing does represent one’s self esteem.

Ignoring clothing – to the extent that you still pay attention about whether or not it’s in good shape and clean, though – is absolutely a sign of low self-esteem. It is absolutely important to acknowledge that what you wear is important in self-identity. In a metaphorical way, clothing is putting your body on each day. You choose each part; none of it is up to chance. You declare yourself to be a particular way and implicitly declare that you are worthy of that identity. Clothing is a better indicator of self-esteem than keeping your kitchen clean or making sure your car is in good condition because it is declaring yourself to have a particular identity by means of your body. It is a placing a high value of your own body as well, because you are portraying an external image of your identity. However, not paying much attention to what you wear may not necessarily mean low self-esteem, but what it can tell you is there is room for self-esteem growth. Also, the occasion matters quite a bit. I don’t think the outfit one wears while grocery shopping is a good indicator of one’s self esteem.


How do we solve the paradox of clothing vis-à-vis self-esteem?

Clothing and appearance are important to the development of self-esteem among adolescents. A study sought to determine the relationship between the importance of clothing and self-esteem in social, school, and leisure situations among adolescents in a metropolitan city to elucidate the development of self through personal appearance. Statistically significant positive relationships were found between the importance of clothing and self-esteem scores in leisure situations. No significant relationships existed between the importance of clothing and self-esteem in social or school situations. Clothing was found to be unimportant for females with low self-esteem; however, for students with high self-esteem, clothing was very important.


Clothing, emotions and mood:

A group of researchers from the University of Queensland are researching how we use clothes to improve or mask emotion. Often people transfer negative emotions onto their clothing. If they go on a date and it doesn’t go well, they want to direct the negative feelings towards an object rather than themselves. A piece of clothing is the ideal scapegoat. In some cases, people throw away or tear up clothes they associate with an ex or an old job, because it is a physical way of severing their connection. A dress that enhances the body can be valued not only because it makes the wearer feel more confident, but also because remembering the confidence and admiration these garments brought is valued long after it has ceased to be worn. Clothing is not only a source of anxiety but also a source of pride and pleasure. The reason emotions become strongly associated with clothes in this way is connected with memory. Clothes almost work like photographs: they bring back memories of a moment in your life. Some people have clothes from their teens and many people keep their wedding dresses, even though they will never wear them again. These clothes have such significance to them they couldn’t throw them away. If you were absolutely rational they are just pieces of fabric, but people feel they love certain clothes because they make them feel a particular way. Clothes and fashion are a form of self-expression that people notice and use to form judgments about you. The way you dress can make a statement about your taste in music, your career, your economic status and your place in society. Therefore, clothes will encourage different emotions and you can dress according to how you feel or how you wish to feel on that particular day. For example, for confidence and respect, a dark suit will give you this edge, and to feel energetic and upbeat, a loose and colorful sundress could be ideal. The colors you choose can affect your mood because of the subtle associations we have with colors. Wearing red can make you feel bold and sexy, while orange clothing can encourage you to feel positive and energetic. For intelligence and inspiration, yellow is the best color to wear. The style of your clothing can affect your mood because you associate certain items of dress with certain situations and emotions. A smart, tailored suit can make you feel professional and serious before an interview or important work event. Wearing light, cotton and linen dresses in the heat of summer is a great way to feel happy and uplifted, adds Sparks, just like a pair of leather pants or lace underwear can help you to get in touch with your passion. Wearing a brand that has high ethical standards can make you feel good about yourself because you are supporting a good cause. Similarly, if you are wearing a label that is extremely expensive and luxurious, it can be a reflection of your social status, which in turn can affect your mood by giving you a sense of grandeur and superiority. Wearing a piece of clothing that is a counterfeit of another brand, on the other hand, could have the adverse effect of making you feel cheap or dishonest.


A study conducted by Professor Karen Pine at the University of Hertfordshire found that what a woman chooses to wear is heavily dependent upon her emotional state. She found that ‘happy’ clothes – ones that made women feel good – were well-cut, figure enhancing, and made from bright and beautiful fabrics. Most importantly, this research suggests that we can dress for happiness. Women surveyed revealed they would be ten times more likely to put on a favorite dress when happy (62%) than when depressed (6%). This finding shows that clothing doesn’t just influence others; it reflects and influences the wearer’s mood too. Many of the women in this study felt they could alter their mood by changing what they wore. This demonstrates the psychological power of clothing and how the right choices could influence a person’s happiness.


Most actors and singers say that, when they get on the stage, the easiest way to get over their nerves is to become someone else or adopt another persona. So does everyone have an alternative persona or does the clothing you wear determine the way you act? The reason is that your appearance and your emotions go hand in hand, and the way you dress becomes an integral part of your identity. It is a fact that if you don’t look good you don’t feel good and vice-versa. Many women state that wearing nice lingerie makes them feel sexy, even though the garments can’t be seen so, if you do only one thing to please yourself today, wake up happy, dress happy and it will be a happy day.


Clothes and memory:

Clothes and memories can be closely linked, especially when the clothes are associated with strong emotions, according to experts. Clothes can trigger memories, hearken back to social and political influences of the time, and, in some cases, even stand out in memory above other details. Looking at a garment worn to a significant event in someone’s life may allow someone to relive those moments. Another reason why clothing may be a powerful memory aid is its familiarity. Revisiting a memory is crucial to preserving memory. When someone opens their closet each day to select what to wear, they often see their other garments at the same time, and that could serve to revisit the memories associated with those clothes. A lot of our memories will start to decay if we don’t revisit them, and they become harder to recall.


Clothing and cognitive processes:

Can you believe that wearing a coat thought to be a doctor’s may improve attention?



It has long been known that “clothing affects how other people perceive us as well as how we think about ourselves. Other experiments have shown that women who dress in a masculine fashion during a job interview are more likely to be hired, and a teaching assistant who wears formal clothes is perceived as more intelligent than one who dresses more casually. But the deeper question, the researchers said, is whether the clothing you wear affects your psychological processes. Does your outfit alter how you approach and interact with the world? So researchers conducted three experiments in which the clothes did not vary but their symbolic meaning was manipulated.


In the first, 58 undergraduates were randomly assigned to wear a white lab coat or street clothes. Then they were given a test for selective attention based on their ability to notice incongruities, as when the word “red” appears in the color green. Those who wore the white lab coats made about half as many errors on incongruent trials as those who wore regular clothes.  In the second experiment, 74 students were randomly assigned to one of three options: wearing a doctor’s coat, wearing a painter’s coat or seeing a doctor’s coat. Then they were given a test for sustained attention. They had to look at two very similar pictures side by side on a screen and spot four minor differences, writing them down as quickly as possible. Those who wore the doctor’s coat, which was identical to the painter’s coat, found more differences. They had acquired heightened attention. Those who wore the painter’s coat or were primed with merely seeing the doctor’s coat found fewer differences between the images. The third experiment explored this priming effect more thoroughly. Does simply seeing a physical item, like the coat, affect behavior? Students either wore a doctor’s coat or a painter’s coat, or were told to notice a doctor’s lab coat displayed on the desk in front of them for a long period of time. All three groups wrote essays about their thoughts on the coats. Then they were tested for sustained attention.  Again, the group that wore the doctor’s coat showed the greatest improvement in attention. You have to wear the coat, see it on your body and feel it on your skin for it to influence your psychological processes. If you wear a white coat that you believe belongs to a doctor, your ability to pay attention increases sharply. But if you wear the same white coat believing it belongs to a painter, you will show no such improvement. This is enclothed cognition: the effects of clothing on cognitive processes. There is a huge body of work on embodied cognition. The experience of washing your hands is associated with moral purity and ethical judgments. People rate others personally warmer if they hold a hot drink in their hand, and colder if they hold an iced drink. If you carry a heavy clipboard, you will feel more important. Our thought processes are based on physical experiences that set off associated abstract concepts. Now it appears that those experiences include the clothes we wear. Clothes invade the body and brain, putting the wearer into a different psychological state. 


Clothing and culture:

Fashion, clothing and dress are signifying practices, they are ways of generating meanings, which produce and reproduce those cultural groups along with their positions of relative power. That means that clothes are used to separate groups in our society, which turns culture into a general signifying system. We communicate a society’s beliefs, values and experiences through practices, artifacts and institutions. Where, in this case, the practices, artifacts and institutions are fashion and clothing.



Ethnic and cultural heritage:

People may wear ethnic or national dress on special occasions or in certain roles or occupations. For example, most Korean men and women have adopted Western-style dress for daily wear, but still wear traditional hanboks on special occasions, like weddings and cultural holidays. Items of Western dress may also appear worn or accessorized in distinctive, non-Western ways. A Tongan man may combine a used T-shirt with a Tongan wrapped skirt, or tupenu.

Gender differentiation:

In most cultures, gender differentiation of clothing is considered appropriate for men and women. The differences are in styles, colors and fabrics. In Western societies, skirts, dresses and high-heeled shoes are usually seen as women’s clothing, while neckties are usually seen as men’s clothing. Trousers were once seen as exclusively male clothing, but are nowadays worn by both genders. Male clothes are often more practical (that is, they can function well under a wide variety of situations), but a wider range of clothing styles are available for females. Males are typically allowed to bare their chests in a greater variety of public places. It is generally acceptable for a woman to wear traditionally male clothing, while the converse is unusual. In some cultures, sumptuary laws regulate what men and women are required to wear. Islam requires women to wear more modest forms of attire, usually hijab. What qualifies as “modest” varies in different Muslim societies; however, women are usually required to cover more of their bodies than men are. Articles of clothing worn by Muslim women for purposes of modesty range from the headscarf to the burqa.


A study on clothing and gender:

This study found that males showed a greater need to dress similarly to their peers than females. However all groups and genders claimed that they almost never wore clothes to conform. The middle adolescents reported the least conforming attitude. The authors attribute this contradictory finding about conformity to a form of egocentrism, typical from mid-adolescence, when kids believe that their experiences are special and unique. Females’ use of clothing was found to fulfill more varied goals than males’ (gain approval, feel good about oneself and feel special). These findings are congruent with our cultural bias that emphasizes female’s appearance and male’s effectiveness. Rural students of both sexes were found to use clothes to conform more often than urban ones. However, rural students used clothes to gain approval less often than the urban ones. Gibbins (1969) used a sample of 15 and 16 year old girls to investigate clothing and fashionability. His results suggested that the major dimension of the meaning of clothes for that group is related to fashionability.


Clothing and Religion:

Muslim men traditionally wear white robes and a cap during prayers. Religious clothing might be considered a special case of occupational clothing. Sometimes it is worn only during the performance of religious ceremonies. However, it may also be worn everyday as a marker for special religious status. For example, Jains and Muslim men wear unstitched cloth pieces when performing religious ceremonies. The unstitched cloth signifies unified and complete devotion to the task at hand, with no digression. Sikhs wear a turban as it is a part of their religion. The cleanliness of religious dresses in religions like Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam and Jainism is of paramount importance, since it indicates purity. Clothing figures prominently in the Bible where it appears in numerous contexts, the more prominent ones being: the story of Adam and Eve, Joseph’s cloak, Judah and Tamar, Mordecai and Esther. Furthermore the priests officiating in the Temple had very specific garments, the lack of which made one liable to death. In Islamic traditions, women are required to wear long, loose, non-transparent outer dress when stepping out of the home. Women of higher status throughout history have worn more modest clothes. This dress code was democratic (for all women regardless of status) & protection from the scorching sun. The Quran says this about husbands & wives: “…They are clothing/covering (Libaas) for you; and you for them.” (Chapter 2:187) Jewish ritual also requires rending of one’s upper garment as a sign of mourning. This practice is found in the Bible when Jacob hears of the apparent death of his son Joseph.

Clothing and Social status:




In some societies, clothing may be used to indicate rank or status. In ancient Rome, for example, only senators were permitted to wear garments dyed with Tyrian purple. In traditional Hawaiian society only high-ranking chiefs could wear feather cloaks and palaoa or carved whale teeth. Under the Travancore Kingdom of Kerala (India), lower caste women had to pay a tax for the right to cover their upper body. In China, before the establishment of the republic, only the emperor could wear yellow. History provides many examples of elaborate sumptuary laws that regulated what people could wear. In societies without such laws, which include most modern societies, social status is instead signaled by the purchase of rare or luxury items that are limited by cost to those with wealth or status. In addition, peer pressure influences clothing choice.




Clothing in social context:

Because humans rely strongly on vision to get information about the environment the prominent visual feature of clothes and ornaments offers a vast array of elements for communication purposes. Furthermore aesthetics is a prevalent dimension of the human experience and clothing is an important vehicle to express such dimension. Costume designers in the performing arts, television and film industries manipulate clothing to evoke different historical periods, social contexts and idiosyncrasies. This shows that clothes can serve other purposes than mere practical ones. Clothes have the ability to express something else, something that belongs to the realm of the symbolic. They can be articulated into a system that represents information, a code that is used to create and communicate meaning in social contexts. Clothing cues reveal, and even induce patterns of social interactions among individuals. Feinberg, Mataro & Burroughs (1992) used social identity descriptors to examine the issue of clothing and social identity. They observed that the consensus between observers and subjects about the social information encoded in clothes (meaning) was obtained only when subjects selected outfits with the purpose of representing themselves. They concluded that clothing cues do have meaning but the perceived meaning of clothes does not necessarily reflex the personality of the individual who is wearing them.


Clothing from cultural identity to personal identity:

What many refer to as “western clothing” meaning modern clothing has replaced the traditional regional wear of almost every corner of the world. The reason that clothing has changed so much is because it has become a personal expression. Today we live in a fast paced world where we have become globalized and many cultures have merged. People all over the world want to dress like the rest of the world. The way in which clothing has changed the most isn’t so much in the individual styles, but in the fact that no matter what is considered high fashion at the moment, everyone in every culture, in all parts of the world is wearing the same styles of clothing. Clothing no longer expresses cultural identity, but individual identity. People can wear whatever they like and whatever expresses who they are almost no matter where they live.


The picture below shows how clothes have changed over time:


Clothing, Sport and activity:

Most sports and physical activities are practiced wearing special clothing, for practical, comfort or safety reasons. Common sportswear garments include shorts, T-shirts, tennis shirts, tracksuits, and trainers. Specialized garments include wet suits (for swimming, diving or surfing), salopettes (for skiing) and leotards (for gymnastics). Also, spandex materials are often used as base layers to soak up sweat. Spandex is also preferable for active sports that require form fitting garments, such as wrestling, track & field, dance, gymnastics and swimming.



Fashion is a term that usually applies to a prevailing mode of expression. It encompasses the idea that the mode will change more quickly than the culture as a whole. In agreement to that definition, Gibbins (1969) argues that fashion is a form of high impact collective behavior. It has the intriguing property of being a continually changing phenomenon, and at the same time inducing extreme conformity. He adds that in the short term, the changes in design of clothes modify only the means of conveying a certain message, rather than modifying the message itself.  Fashion is a general term for a popular style or practice, especially in clothing, footwear, accessories, makeup, or furniture. “Fashion” refers to a distinctive; however, often-habitual trend in a look and dress up of a person, as well as to prevailing styles in behavior. “Fashion” usually is the newest creations made by designers and are bought by only a few number of people; however, often those “fashions” are translated into more established trends. Fashions may vary considerably within a society according to age, social class, generation, occupation, and geography as well as over time. If, for example, an older person dresses according to the fashion of young people, he or she may look ridiculous in the eyes of both young and older people. The four major current fashion capitals are acknowledged to be Paris, Milan, New York City, and London, and a succession of major designers such as Coco Chanel and Yves Saint-Laurent have kept Paris as the centre most watched by the rest of the world, although haute couture is now subsidized by the sale of ready to wear collections and perfume using the same branding. Fashion weeks are held in these cities, where designers exhibit their new clothing collections to audiences, and which are all headquarters to the greatest fashion companies and are renowned for their major influence on global fashion. Modern Westerners have a wide choice available in the selection of their clothes. What a person chooses to wear can reflect that person’s personality or likes. When people who have cultural status start to wear new or different clothes a fashion trend may start. People who like or respect them may start to wear clothes of a similar style. This style is created by many fashion designers around the world. In recent years, Asian fashion has become increasingly significant in local and global markets. Countries such as China, Japan, India, and Pakistan have traditionally had large textiles industries, which have often been drawn upon by Western designers, but now Asian clothing styles are also gaining influence. An important part of fashion is fashion journalism. Editorial critique, guidelines and commentary can be found in magazines, newspapers, on television, fashion websites, social networks and in fashion blogs. In the recent years, fashion blogging and YouTube videos have become a major outlet for spreading trends and fashion tips. Through these media outlets, readers and viewers all over the world can learn about fashion, making it very accessible.


The factors that have great influence on fashion include weather, color scheme, celebrities & media, geographic conditions, demography, economic conditions and cultural factors. In turn to be fashionable all the time you must know about all these factors so that you are aware of what you need to do that year. There exists a diverse range of styles in fashion ranging from expensive haute couture to traditional garb, to thrift store grunge.


Fashion is an important part of our everyday lives. It has developed throughout centuries and is typical of the Western society. The habit of changing styles began in Europe in the middle of the 14th century. Fashion was always led by the rich, but other social classed tried to follow fashion trends too. We can say that fashion is a kind of language, a means of communication. The word fashion does not involve clothes only, but alos hairstyle, make-up and accesosories. Popular fashion comes and goes, nevertheless, sometimes it comes back again. New fashion trends reflect the times and often come from social change and popular culture – it is inspired by music, cinema, magazines, television or sport. What was in yesterday is almost unacceptable today. In the 1950s teenagers all over the world dressed like Elvis Presley. In the 1960s, the Beatles changed hair styles everywhere. Social and political discontent in the 1970 resulted in the hippie movement and young people wore ethnic clothes and flowers in their hair. The consumerism of the 1980s began the culture of individualism – you can be what you want to be – and the material girl Maddona changed her image regularly. Fashion is also one of the biggest global industries and people in the fashion business make millions of pounds a year by changing fashions. Advertisements and the image they create influence our choice of clothes. Some people find it very important to wear expensive brands of clothes. So think about what you are wearing today – are you making a statement about you, about your times, or are you just a fashion victim? (The terms “fashionista” or “fashion victim” refer to someone who slavishly follows the current fashions.) The world of fashion is led by top fashion designers and fashion house. There is great public interest in fashion shows wherethe latest styles are presented on the catwalk by highly paid supermodels, but very few people wear these clothes, in fact.


Do you know the difference between style and fashion?

A style is a term that describes an object or art form that has distinguishing features. It implies something that has come to be approved over a period of time while a fashion is the current mode. It is a style that is popular at a given time, but it is not short lived like a fad. A fad is something that has enormous appeal especially with adolescents and is short lived. “Style” is an expression of individualism mixed with charisma. Fashion is something that comes after style. Fashion is the best representation of what a person feels, and or acts like in the social world we live in today. To have your own unique fashion is the best thing because you can express how you feel and you don’t have to explain anything to anyone, it is simply for yourself. You never try to copy another person’s fashion only because that is who they are or how they act. You must venture into your life, live life on a blank canvas and paint it with the colors of what your heart desires; especially when they have clothing that is the same colors!


Is fashion a reliable mirror of society?

You are what you wear. This message conveys just about everything in a minimal statement. Our clothes tell a lot about us. Our clothes tell us who we are in society and tell others about our personalities, our wants, needs, talents, dispositions and destination. It is said that 70 % of what you say doesn’t come out of your mouth. If so, then clothing is a silent but powerful communicator. It can camouflage or cover up; it can build or destroy an image. Without a doubt, fashion is a prominent facade of our wellbeing in society. At times, clothes are the only visible clues to an individual’s personality. People respond and relate to the way we wear our clothing and clothes have now become a means for one human to evaluate another. A person is assessed the minute he or she enters the room, and most of this assessment is made from the clothes the person is wearing. Fashion is a statement that an individual wishes to make. The authenticity of this statement can be doubted. To consider fashion a reliable mirror requires the assumption that the individual is honestly and reliably dressed in a fashion that coincides with his or her own socio-economic scenario. Celebrities, politicians and royalty have the most influence on fashion and people blindly follow them regardless of their socio economic standing. So to classify an entire society as celebrities or politicians would be ridiculous. Most people adopt celebrity fashion, especially today. So to stereotype society into the rich and powerful would not be reliable or accurate. One cannot consider individuals to be rich and powerful just because they are dressed like those who are. According to magazine polls, most people can’t even afford what they buy today. A woman would buy a Versace outfit and then realize that she can’t pay her cell phone and gasoline invoices for the month. So fashion cannot be a reliable mirror of society.


Is fashion harmful to society?

Fashion is harmful to society, because it promotes a culture that is based solely on appearance. The fashion industry encourages an unrealistic outlook for men and women in regards to their bodies and their looks. Women and men have gone to great extremes to mold their bodies into what the fashion world has decided is “perfect”, often disregarding their health and well-being, just to look like the air-brushed, rail-thin models that the industry has deemed beautiful. Societal problems, such as anorexia and teen violence, are exemplary as to why fashion can actually be harmful. The media pushes the idea of beauty, as it is associated with apparently emaciated super models and punks wearing baggy pants and chains. Another disadvantage of fashion is the way it is portrayed in mass media… Thin models wear clothes that highlight their unrealistic physiques. For many men and women, trying to look like male or female fashion models is very difficult, and this comparison between “ideal” bodies and normal bodies can cause body issues, such as body dysmorphic disorder. Anorexia, bulimia, and abuse of drugs and laxatives may all be practiced by males and females who try to attain the thinner bodies that are so prized by the fashion industry. Our children try to emulate what they are seeing on television. Some restrict their eating to the point that their health suffers, and others steal and even resort to violence to obtain clothes that look like those their television heroes wear. One of the disadvantages of fashion is that it may be uncomfortable to wear hip and stylish designs. Sometimes, the hottest fashion designers create body-conscious styles that are tight and even restrictive. High fashion footwear for women be also be also incredibly uncomfortable; in fact, the models who walk the runways in Paris and New York often stumble and fall (in front of a phalanx of photographers) because they must wear sky-high heels or platform shoes. Fashion may also be out of reach to some people, who may be unable to afford the latest styles and accessories. In high schools, junior highs, and even elementary schools, boys and girls often judge their peers based on what they are wearing or which accessories they own; this is one reason why uniforms are chosen for certain schools.


On the other hand, fashion may not be harmful to society, because it is an art form. It is generally agreed that art benefits society as a whole, though there is some question as to how strong the benefits are. Fashion is a form of self-expression, like art. And as in art, there is no real measure of what is “good”, because “goodness” is determined only by current aesthetic values. And also like in art, often what has previously been considered “bad” will become the next great style. Clearly fashion is an art, and since art benefits society, fashion must as well. Fashion is the style of clothing selected by a social group. This has been found to go back hundreds of thousands of years with beads, bracelets, pendants and head band adornments in ancestral caves. There is even limited evidence that the Neanderthals had jewelry as well. Fashion is the act of dressing in a way to improve or enhance appearance. Fashion is part of human nature. Where “fashion” of modern times has become harmful is the dangerously thin models who are held up as the epitome of beauty. If a girl has to starve herself to an unhealthy level to look “beautiful”, we need to question or standards of beauty. But that does not make the clothing style or hair style she wears harmful. The fashion industry is a multi-million dollar animal. It provides jobs for designers, models, musicians, clothes manufacturers and of course the retail trade to sell the fashion items to the public and well as a host of other spin-off industries. By creating employment, the industry reduces the onus on the state to provide for those workers in the form of benefits, and thus freeing up government funds to be used in other social and welfare projects.


Fashion, Clothing and Communication:

Here the key point is that fashion and clothing are forms of nonverbal communication where no spoken or written words are used, but they send silent messages (vide infra). There are two main schools in the study of communication, both subscribe to a general definition of communication as ‘social interaction through messages’ but they each understand that definition slightly differently. The first school is called the ‘process’ school, where they believe that “communication is conceived of as a process in which someone says something to someone else in one or other medium or channel with some or other effect.”  Where in this case, the garment would be the medium used by one person to send a message to another person, consequently it is the garment who carries the message the wearer wants to communicate. Although this school raises a problem as to who sends the message, if it is the wearer or if it is originally the designer. The second school, called the ‘semiotic’ or ‘structuralist’ school, says that communication as ‘social interactions through messages’ constitute an individual as a member of a group. On the process model, the meaning pre-exists the process of communicating them. On the semiotic model, it is the process of communication that produces or generates messages. The semiotic model is more plausible since it avoids the problem who creates the message since the message is created by the group as a whole. It is the social interacting, by means of the clothing; that produces the individual as a member of the group rather than vice-versa, that one is a member of the group and then interacts socially.


Fashion, Clothing and Ideology:

Here we discuss how fashion and clothing are used to separate and distinguish different cultural groups in society. According to Douglas and Isherwood (1979) fashion and clothing can be used as fences or bridges. This argues that individual garments may be innocent, but how they are used and the functions they fulfill are not. The uses and functions of garments are social and cultural therefore not innocent. To clarify fences and bridges; fences separates groups and keep people apart while bridges are there to join groups. Fences and Bridges also separate groups at the same time as they identify common values within a group. Another way to see Douglas and Isherwood’s theory is to see it as weapons and defenses where you either challenge or try to sustain positions of dominance and supremacy. It is fashion and clothing, used as weapons or fences by different groups, that creates the social order. When fashion and clothes are used as weapons in a group, they express their ideologies against the ideologies of other groups in the social order. Fashion and clothing, as cultural phenomena, may now be understood as practices and institutions in which class relations and class differences are made meaningful. Designers are working with the system of capitalism, advancing consumption and mediating the boundaries and values of clothing communication.



Clothing and thermoregulation:

The human body naturally sweats to cool the skin, reducing the ability of clothing to keep the body dry and comfortable.Clothing acts as a barrier for heat and for vapor transport between the skin and the environment. This barrier is formed both by the clothing materials themselves and by the air they enclose and the still air that is bound to its outer surfaces.


The figure below shows environmental factors and responses of human body vis-à-vis thermoregulation:


Questions that come in mind include

  • What is the optimal type of clothing to wear during periods of extreme heat for non-athletes?
  • What is the role of wicking fabrics in improving evaporative cooling?
  • Does thermal comfort of fabrics differ between normal activity and exercise?
  • Are there differences in synthetics vs. natural fibers? What about natural technical fibers (e.g., technical merino wool or cellulose microfibers)?
  • Are there sex differences in body heat regulation that are affected by clothing type?
  • Do age effects on thermoregulation indicate different clothing requirements for children and older people?


What you expect from your clothing vis-a-vis thermoregulation?

Your clothing must be able to remove heat when you are in hot environment and retain heat when you are in cold environment. Your clothing must be able to remove excess heat when you exercise and retain as much heat as possible when you are still.


The four kinds of heat loss vis-à-vis clothing are:

1. Convective Heat Loss:

This is the most common form of heat loss in clothing and it occurs when air (or water) touches and moves away from the skin carrying heat with it. This type of heat loss accounts for the highest percentage of the body’s heat loss under normal conditions. This explains why a big part of the heat barrier in clothing is convective. This is done by surrounding the body by a layer of air, which is a good insulator. Down, pile, wool and synthetic fibers act as convective barriers. A good convective barrier is flexible. They retain heat when you are still and remove the heat through the porous material when you become more active. Better known as wind-chill, convection occurs when cold air moves through your gear. As cold wind blows through your clothing, gloves, or boots, it robs your body of the warmth in your microclimate. This is why fabrics that are windproof help you feel warm on windy days, even though you may not have a lining in your jacket.  
2.Evaporative Heat Loss:

When the moisture on your skin turns into vapor, evaporative heat loss occurs. It removes heat from your body by drawing it from your body to convert the moisture to vapor. This is the mechanism of sweating. Sweating is a very efficient way of cooling down. This is not always desirable as cooling down too fast after heavy sweating can be uncomfortable. To prevent this, the moisture needs to be removed from the body before it gets the chance to turn into vapor. Wicking fabrics are used for this purpose which takes sweat water away from skin to the surface of fabric to evaporate.
3.Conductive Heat Loss:

In general, this type of heat loss only has a minor effect. In conductive heat loss, heat is passed directly through a stationary medium that it is contact with that is at a lower temperature. Sit on the cold ground in the winter, and you immediately feel the effects of conduction — the process of a cold object transferring heat away from a warmer one. Conduction happens very fast; in fact, water transfers heat up to 23 times faster than air. Cold moisture can be from rain or snow on the outside or sweat on the inside, which explains why it is just as important for a fabric to be breathable as it is to be waterproof.


4. Radiant Heat Loss:

This type of heat loss only occurs to solid objects (like your body). The sun heats up your body through radiation. It doesn’t heat up the air directly. Radiant heat loss from the human body is only minor except when all other channels of heat loss are covered. In hiking situations, radiant heat occurs not from the skin but from the fabric close to the skin. Heat loss through this channel is prevented or reduced by reflective materials that turn the heat back to the body. This is not always ideal in a hiking situation.


For heat loss from skin (body) to environment following formula is used:


The effect clothing has on the heat balance is illustrated in table below. Here, for protective clothing with different properties in terms of heat and vapor resistance, the maximal exposure times for people performing moderate work are presented. It is evident, given these numbers, that clothing can reduce tolerance times dramatically.


Transfer of heat away from the body is affected by a variety of factors including air movement (i.e., wind), relative humidity, sunshine, and clothing. Clothing affects air circulation over the skin as well as evaporative cooling and moisture regulation. If moisture cannot evaporate from the skin, both skin temperature and discomfort increase. Adequate ventilation or air movement can reduce the insulation properties of clothing by 5 to 50%.


Air humidity:

The amount of moisture present in the environment’s air (the moisture concentration) determines whether moisture (sweat) in vapor form flows from the skin to the environment or vice versa. In general the moisture concentration at the skin will be higher than in the environment, making evaporative heat loss from the skin possible. The heat evaporation of sweat is the most important avenue for the body to dissipate its surplus heat. Therefore situations where the gradient is reversed (higher moisture concentration in environment than on skin) are extremely stressful and allow only for short exposures. It should be noted that the moisture concentration, not the relative humidity is the determining factor. Air that has a relative humidity of 100% can contain different amounts of moisture, depending on its temperature. The higher the temperature, the higher the moisture content at equal relative humidities. When the air temperature is lower than the skin temperature, sweat will always be able to evaporate from the skin, even at 100% relative humidity.


Wind speed:

The magnitude of air movement effects both convective and evaporative heat losses. For both avenues, heat exchange increases with increasing wind speed. Thus in a cool environment the body cools faster in the presence of wind, in an extremely hot, humid environment, it will heat up faster.


Garment movement.

The garment can move by the wind, or by movements of the wearer. The wind can compress the garments, thereby decreasing its thickness, it can make the garment flutter and thereby make the enclosed air layers move. Body movement of the wearer can do the same things, and it can pump air between different clothing compartments and force its exchange with the environment. In general, motion has an effect on enclosed and surrounding air layers, whereas wind mainly affects the surrounding air layer and the layer under the outer garment.


Heat transfer through clothing is affected by:

1. Fiber type. Natural fibers absorb more moisture than synthetic fibers and moisture absorption is associated with increased comfort. However, many synthetics have wicking properties which move moisture to the outside where it can more easily evaporate.

2. Yarn type. Natural fibers are shorter and therefore rougher than the long smooth filaments associated with synthetic fibers. Smooth fibers are less apt to trap heat, making them feel cooler.

3. Fabric construction. Tightly woven fabrics with a high thread count are warmer because they are less permeable to air and thus prevent convective heat loss. Flexible fabrics allow more warm air to pass through, away from the body.

4. Fabric thickness. Thin fabric permits more evaporation.

5. Garment type. Fiber type is more important for tighter garments than loose garments. Fabric structure becomes more important for loose garments.

6. Finishes. Waterproofing and water repellent finishes prevent heat loss. Light colors reflect more radiant heat than bare skin, potentially offering some protection.


Wicking performance and wicking fabric:

Wicking vis-à-vis wetting:

Wickability is the ability to sustain capillary flow while, Wettability describes the initial behavior of a fabric, yarn, or fiber when brought into contact with water. Wicking simply means the capillary movement of moisture within fabric structure. Wicking can only occur when a liquid wets the fibers assembled within the capillary spaces between them. Capillary forces are responsible to drive the liquid in capillary spaces. Wicking will not begin when the moisture content of the wet fabric is less than that of 30% moisture regain. In the absence of external forces, the transport of liquids in a porous media is driven by capillary forces that arise from the wetting of the fabric surface. Because capillary forces are caused by wetting, wicking is a result of spontaneous wetting in a capillary system. Hence, they are coupled and one cannot occur in the absence of the other. In general, wicking takes place when a liquid travels along the surface of the fiber but is not absorbed into the fiber. Physically, wicking is the spontaneous flow of a liquid in a porous substrate, driven by capillary forces. The wicked moisture spreads throughout the fabric allowing the moisture to easily evaporate.


The two properties normally used to predict wicking performance in a fabric are capillary pressure and permeability. Wicking performance means ability of fabric to allow permeation of moisture. Capillary pressure is the main force responsible for the movement of moisture along or through a fabric, where the force of the surface tension between the liquid and the walls of a narrow gap or pore overcome the forces between the molecules of the liquid, moving it into empty gaps until the forces even out. Permeability is the measure of a fabric’s ability to transport moisture through itself, and is determined by a combination of sizes of spaces within it and the connections between the spaces. Other properties that certainly do effect the wicking properties of a fabric include yarn twist (how threads in the fabric turn around each other), contact angle (between the fibre and the liquid), knit or weave (the larger scale construction of the fabric), yarn roughness and a whole lot more.


Wicking fabrics are modern technical fabrics which draw moisture away from the body. They are made of high-tech polyester, which, unlike cotton, absorbs very little water. Cotton will absorb 7% of its weight in water, polyester only 0.4%. Cotton will therefore hang onto your sweat, making your garment heavy and unpleasantly clammy. Wicking polyester has a special cross-section and a large surface area, which picks up moisture and carries it away from your body, spreading it out, to evaporate easily on the outside of the fabric. So you stay cool and dry. Some people will refer to wicking fabrics as being breathable – that is, they let air in and sweat out but traditionally breathability is the ability of a fabric to allow moisture vapor to be transmitted through the material. Cotton is breathable.  Waterproof/breathable fabrics resist liquid water passing through, but allow water vapor to pass through as they have tiny pores in the fabric, larger than water vapour molecules (so these can get out) but much smaller than drops of rain (so these can’t get in). Cotton is breathable but non-wicking while high-tech polyester is non-breathable but wicking. So to call wicking fabric as breathable is unsound.


Typically, fabrics do not inherently provide thermo-regulation. Their thermo-regulation is affected by not inhibiting or rather supporting the thermo-regulation efforts of the body itself. The role of the fabric will be to allow air to circulate around the body and at the same time provide a cushion of insulation (either hot or cold) when the body needs it. The fabric must be able to adjust to the needs of the body over a wide range of external temperatures and activities. Clothing functions as a resistance to heat and moisture transfer between skin and environment. In this way it can protect against extreme heat and cold, but at the same time it hampers the loss of superfluous heat during physical effort. E.g. if one has to perform hard work in cold weather clothing, heat will accumulate fast in the body due to the high resistance of the clothing for both heat and vapor transport. Certain combinations of fabric construction, chemical finishes and garment construction can also keep the body warmer or cooler, depending on the environmental conditions. Usually fabrics are geared for one or the other. Cold weather garments must address both radiant and convective heat loss. On the other hand, warm-weather garments must aid evaporative heat loss by increasing moisture movement, and increasing the velocity of heat conduction through the material. Control of airspace in the microclimate between the skin and the garment, or between layers is of prime importance.


There are three main characteristics that have been observed in materials that provide thermo-regulation. First is breathability/moisture management. The absorption and retention of water must be as close to zero as possible and there should be a mechanism to ensure that the moisture is moved away from the skin. A highly efficient breathable fabric material enables the user to control body temperature and experience physical comfort by controlling heat loss from the system while at the same time removing excessive sweat. The overall effect is to create a more comfortable condition on the skins surface. The second characteristic is insulation. The fabric must have a good insulation value to supplement the boundary layer or air gap on the surface of the skin. There can be a mechanism to vary the degree of insulation. Last of all, the fabric must be lightweight with good bulk to achieve maximum comfort.


Clothing effects on heat exchange are described, basically by two properties.

1. Thermal insulation is the resistance to heat transfer by convection, radiation and conduction.

2. Evaporative resistance is the resistance to heat transfer by evaporation.


Thermal insulation:

Thermal insulation of a clothing ensemble is determined by the properties of fibre materials and fabric construction, the layers of trapped air in the fabric and the air layers between fabrics and fabric layers. By far, the most important factor is the thickness of trapped, still air layers. Thermal insulation itself mainly depends on the enclosed air volume in the garment, as air has a very low thermal conductivity and is a good insulator. However, when a garment gets saturate and wet the insulating air is replaced by humidity first as water vapor and then as water, which in contrast is a very good conductor of heat and a much poorer insulator. Accordingly, a rough measure of thermal insulation is the lateral thickness of the total ensemble. In order to keep a garment dry from inside while sweat is evaporated by the wearer due to increased physical activity, a low water vapor resistance is essential.


Evaporative resistance:

Evaporative resistance is a moisture transfer resistance, as the transferred heat is bound to moisture that evaporates at the skin surface and passes to the environment. Accordingly, properties related to moisture transfer become for the evaporative heat exchange. The most important property of a fabric is the size of pores of the fabric and the thickness of air layers for passage. The smaller the pores and the thicker the air layers, the smaller will be amount of transferred water vapor and the lesser the loss.


Various researchers conducted various studies of different clothing and their effect on thermoregulation. Overall, these experiments indicate that people wearing polyester fibers in hot environments tend to have higher body temperatures, sweat more, and experience greater discomfort than those wearing cotton or wool. Higher sweat rates did not result in more efficient cooling of the body. However, the wicking properties are not always stated, and it is not clear whether the polyester fibers used in the studies differ from technical fibers marketed as wicking fabrics. Moreover, all studies, but one, were conducted on women, and all involved young university-aged subjects. None of the studies examined extremely high humidity environments, as compared with many extreme heat events. Thus, questions remain about which type of clothing is most protective during hot weather. A study also found that in selecting loose fitting garments to be worn in hot environments, greater consideration should be given to openness of the fabric structure than to the fiber content. When garments fit the body snugly, fiber content may be of more critical importance in maintaining comfort.


Clothing and Thermoregulation during Exercise:

One of the most common forms of advice during hot weather is to wear light, loose-fitting clothing made of natural fibers. This seems logical; however, most technical clothing designed to increase thermal comfort and performance for athletes is close-fitting and made of synthetic wicking materials. This kind of athletic gear is presumably the result of extensive market and scientific research, yet is in opposition to common advice for dealing with heat.


Exercise increases heat production. During exercise in both warm and cold conditions, the major dilemma is the dissipation of the heat produced from muscular activity. The use of clothing generally represents a layer of insulation and as such imposes a barrier to heat transfer and evaporation from the skin surface. In warm environments, additional clothing increases thermal insulation causing more rapid increases in temperature during exercise and imposes a barrier to sweat evaporation. However, clothing can serve a protective function by reducing radiant heat gain and thermal stress. Recent research suggests that neither the inclusion of modest amounts of clothing nor the clothing fabric alter thermoregulation or thermal comfort during exercise in warm conditions. In the cold, most reports do not support an effect of clothing fabric on thermoregulation; however, there are some reports demonstrating an effect. Clothing construction does alter thermoregulation during and following exercise in the cold, where fishnet construction offers greater heat dissipation.


Fishnet construction:

The picture above shows a type of fishnet construction where size of hole is 3 mm. Creative uses include sexy lingerie, body stockings, sarongs, beachwear and layering over other clothing, fancy dress costumes and hair accessories. This clothing construction is the best way to dissipate heat during exercise according to research. However culturally it may be unsuitable in conservative societies as it does expose the body.


Wool contradictions:

The crimped structure of wool fibers creates fabrics loaded with tiny air spaces which act as efficient insulator to keep you warm in winter. Wool being natural fiber breathes well and also has wicking property and therefore can be recommended even in summer by manufacturers and fabric experts. To me it sounds contradictory for a fabric to be good both in summer and winter. In hot weather, fabric ought to promote heat loss from body and in cold weather, the fabric ought to retain heat in body by preventing heat loss to environment; and wool doing both jobs sounds bizarre. It is said that wool will keep you warm even when it is wet but wet fabric will promote heat loss from body as water transfers heat up to 23 times faster than air. The only way it is possible is by hypothesizing that wool fiber alters its properties under influence of temperature and moisture.


Clothing can help control the temperature of the human body:

Your body works constantly to keep your microclimate balanced. The amount of heat your body produces must match the amount it loses, or else it reacts: get too hot, you sweat; get too cold, you shiver. You can help your body maintain its temperature balance by adjusting your gear (removing or adding layers, opening and closing garments or vents) whenever possible. To offset high ambient temperature, clothing can enable sweat to evaporate (thus permitting cooling by evaporation). The billowing of fabric during movement can create air currents that increase evaporation and cooling. A layer of fabric then insulates slightly and can help keep skin temperatures to a cooler level. To combat low ambient temperatures, a thick insulation is desirable to reduce conductive heat loss. Other things being equal, a thick sleeping bag is warmer than a thin one. At the same time, evacuating skin humidity remains important: several layers of materials with different properties may be used to achieve this goal while lowering heat losses so they match the body’s internal heat production. Clothing heat loss occurs due to wind, radiation of heat into space, and conductive bridging. The latter is most apparent in footwear where insulation against conductive heat loss to the ground is most important.


Which Sport Clothing Material helps you stay cooler?

Today’s technical sportswear is designed to be breathable, lightweight and to allow sweat to quickly evaporate off the skin during exercise. Sports clothing with cooling features can be made of synthetic fibers, such as polypropylene, or natural fibers like wool. The design of sports clothing, including the fit, weave and color, also impact the ability of the clothing material to keep you cool during workouts. Synthetic sports fabrics are typically engineered to be lightweight, breathable and moisture-wicking. Moisture-wicking fabrics allow sweat to quickly evaporate through your clothing, which assists your body’s natural cooling process. Natural fibers such as cotton are less commonly used in today’s sportswear, as cotton absorbs sweat, which makes the clothing heavier and impairs ventilation once the fabric is wet. However, since the mid-1990s, some sportswear manufacturers began producing performance clothing from another natural fiber — wool. New technologies have produced “smart” wool that is lighter and less scratchy than traditional wool. The surface of wool is a naturally hydrophobic that promotes cooling ventilation during your workouts as water vapor from sweat is transmitted through the fabric into the air. This makes wool an ideal fabric for garments such as running socks, which can quickly become drenched in sweat if made of less-breathable materials. The type of fibers used in sportswear are not the only factor that impact whether the material helps keep you cool while working out. For example, the material’s weave also affects its breath-ability and, as a result, its ability to keep you cool. Furthermore, clothing made of dark-colored materials absorbs heat from the sun, which can raise your body temperature during exercise. The fit of the clothing is also important, with looser-fitting clothes providing better ventilation for body heat and sweat than tight clothes. Some sportswear materials are also specially designed to provide extra ventilation at the body’s “heat zones” such as the underarms.

Heat loss through head:

There is a popular myth that on cold days, you’ll lose a reported 40% to 75 % of body heat from your head, so it’s important to keep it covered. The head only represents about 10% of the body’s total surface area. So if the head were to lose 75% of the body’s heat, it would have to lose about 27 times as much heat per square inch as every other part of your body. That’s unlikely — which has been borne out by tests of college students who lost the same amount of heat whatever the exposed area. The real reason we lose heat through our head is because most of the time when we’re outside in the cold, we’re clothed. If you don’t have a hat on, you lose heat through your head, just as you would lose heat through your legs if you were wearing shorts.


About 13-16% of the blood volume is in the head at any given time. Wilderness Medicine reports the cerebral blood flow is constant; blood flow to the brain does not change as the demand for oxygen is constant. As a result, when you look at total heat loss, the head accounts for about 7% of the heat lost. The cerebral blood flow does, however, vary based on cardiac output – the harder your heart beats, the greater the blood flow to the brain. When you begin to exercise you increase the blood flow to the brain and increase the percentage of heat loss through the head to about 50% of total body heat loss. But as the person continues to exercise, the muscles demand more oxygen which increases blood flow to muscles. To ensure thermoregulation and maintain normal core temperature (exercises increases body heat), the skin blood vessels dilates which increases blood flow to the skin to cool the blood. The net result is a decrease in the total blood flow to the brain and a decrease in percentage of total body heat lost through the head to about 10%. Once sweating begins, the percent lost through the scalp returns to 7%. Research at the Army Research in Environmental Medicine labs showed that there was a temporary increase in heat loss through the scalp that returned to the baseline of 7% as the subjects continued to exercise.


Hat and turban:

A hat is a head covering in western world. It can be worn for protection against the elements, for ceremonial or religious reasons, for safety, or as a fashion accessory. In the past, hats were an indicator of social status. In the military, they may denote nationality, branch of service, rank and/or regiment. A turban is a kind of headwear based on a cloth winding; there are many variations. Turbans are usually worn as customary headwear, usually by men, in many communities in India, Afghanistan, Middle East, in some areas of North Africa, in eastern Africa (especially in Kenya), South Asia, and some parts of Jamaica. Turbans worn in Pakistan and India are known as Pagri. For Sikhs, wearing the turban, which they refer to as Dastar, is an important religious observance. Hats and turbans keep head covered and prevent heat loss from head during cold season and thereby help maintain core body temperature during winter.


Why do you wear dark colored clothes in winter and light colored clothes in summer?

Because dark colored clothes absorb heat so they keep you warm in winter whereas light clothes reflect heat, therefore they keep you cooler in the summer.


Newer synthetic fabric to improve thermoregulation of clothing:

One of the first types of fabrics marketed to confer improved insulation was the range of breathable Gore-Tex fabrics. These fabrics are constructed by lamination of a waterproof bi-component membrane to a range of substrates, such as expanded poly-tetrafluoroethylene impregnated with an oleo phobic polymer. The membrane is highly porous, and the width of the pores, around 100 nm, is critical to the effectiveness of the fabric: the fabric can allow perspiration to escape but still confer protection from rain.


Another range of materials providing enhanced insulation includes the Stomatex fabrics. In these fabrics an elevated temperature is maintained to prevent condensation of perspiration. Vapor trapped beneath the fabric is removed by the action of tiny pumps present in the material. Each pump consists essentially of a deformable chamber and an exit pore. During the use of the material, vapor is released from each chamber by virtue of the flexing of the fabric. With higher levels of physical activity on the part of the wearer, the pumping action is correspondingly increased. The performance of the material is thus controlled to match the rate at which the wearer is perspiring. In dry condition, the thousands of tiny chambers and pores formed in the body of the Stomatex garment efficiently evacuate sweat as it evaporates from the skins surface. Used in wet conditions in thermal vests, shorts, under dry suits and wet suits, Stomatex traps air in the chambers, which, acting as an excellent insulator, makes the garment warmer than a similar garment made from ordinary neoprene, which does not allow sweat to evaporate. Because Stomatex material has the ability to remove excess heat and sweat, the suit does not allow the inside temperature to rise in or out of the water.


Phase change materials (PCM):

When a material changes phase with increasing temperature, e.g. from solid to liquid state, a large quantity of latent heat is absorbed. This input of heat is necessary to transform the solid material to the liquid state, and the change will occur at an almost fixed temperature-the melting point of the material. The heat is, in effect, stored in the material in its liquid state and is only released when the liquid is cooled back to its solid state. This behavior forms the basis of phase change materials. In normal circumstances, heat will flow through the garment to the outer environment. With the presence of PCMs within the garment, this flow is interrupted as the PCM absorbs or releases the heat preventing the heat access to the outer environment. In this way an active thermal barrier (insulation) is created that is in addition to the normal passive thermal barrier inherent in the garments design.


Shape memory materials:

These types of materials are those that can revert from the current shape to a previously held shape, usually due to the action of heat. The UK Defence Clothing and Textiles Agency have extensively pioneered this technology. When these shape memory materials are activated in garments, the air gaps between adjacent layers of clothing are increased, in order to give better insulation. The incorporation of shape memory materials into garments thus confers greater versatility in the protection that the garment provides against extremes of heat or cold. For clothing applications, Polyurethane films have been made which can be incorporated between adjacent layers of clothing. When the temperature of the outer layer of clothing has fallen sufficiently, the polyurethane film responds so the air gap between the layers of clothing by becoming broader. This broadening is achieved if, on cooling, the film develops an out-of-plane deformation, which must be strong enough to resist the weight of the clothing and the forces induced by the movements of the wearer. The deformation must be capable of reversal if the outer layer of clothing subsequently becomes warmer.


Gorix is a high conductivity carbonized-fiber material. The material is highly conductive and is able to regulate its own temperature without a thermostat. It does this by sensing how much voltage it is taking from a power source. The material ensures this voltage level is maintained, restricting temperature variation to within 0.2 degrees Celsius of the limit. With Gorix, an entire expanse of cloth is regulated, preventing “hot spots”.


The BMW Heated Vest has been designed to plug into a BMW power socket but it is also possible to connect it to the battery of any motorcycle. Designed without a collar, the black and gray vest can be worn with virtually any style of riding jacket. Its maximum heating performance requires 3.5 amps at 12 volts meaning it needs less power than most headlight bulbs. The carbon fiber fabric, responsible for the heating performance, allows a more uniform and pleasant distribution of heat than most conventional heated garments. The vest is lined and has exceptional thermal insulation properties. This has been achieved by vapor-depositing aluminum onto the waistcoats outer material. 


Clothing and weather:

In America they have 4 seasons called Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. In India, we have 3 seasons called Winter, Summer and Monsoon. There are different clothing for each season to make you comfortable.


The material of the dress is usually determined by weather but the style of the dress is determined by culture of people. We wear clothes to protect ourselves from heat, cold and rain. People living in cooler regions wear heavy woolen clothes. In summer, people wear light cotton clothes which protect them from heat of sun. The pores in cotton allow air to cool our bodies by evaporating sweat. People during rainy season should wear synthetic like nylon or polyester. The synthetic fiber dries easily, does not allow rain water to soak body and does not get crushed after rain. Many people are confused about which type of outfits they should wear during rainy season. Some of them prefer to wear worn-out dresses so that new ones do not get stained. It is better to wear dark colored clothes as the mud stains cannot be easily noticed on it during rainy season.   


Women’s linen clothes are very popular during the hot summer months; this is because linen is known for its excellent absorbency and breathability. It easily absorbs perspiration, while leaving a very cool and dry feeling to the skin. Because of this, linen clothes are the preferred choice for summer months.



Functions of clothing:

Physically, clothing serves many purposes: it can serve as protection from the elements, and can enhance safety during hazardous activities such as hiking and cooking. It protects the wearer from rough surfaces, rash-causing plants, insect bites, splinters, thorns and prickles by providing a barrier between the skin and the environment. Clothes can insulate against cold or hot conditions. The primary function of clothing is to improve the comfort of the wearer. In hot climates, clothing provides protection from sunburn or wind damage, while in cold climates its thermal insulation properties are generally more important. Shelter usually reduces the functional need for clothing. For example, coats, hats, gloves, and other superficial layers are normally removed when entering a warm home, particularly if one is residing or sleeping there. Similarly, clothing has seasonal and regional aspects, so that thinner materials and fewer layers of clothing are generally worn in warmer seasons and regions than in colder ones. Clothing performs a range of social and cultural functions, such as individual, occupational and sexual differentiation, and social status. In many societies, norms about clothing reflect standards of modesty, religion, gender, and social status. Clothing may also function as a form of adornment and an expression of personal taste or style. Further, they can provide a hygienic barrier, keeping infectious and toxic materials away from the body. Clothing also provides protection from harmful UV radiation. Clothes also reduce the level of risk during activity, such as work or sport. Clothing at times is worn as protection from specific environmental hazards, such as insects, noxious chemicals, weapons, and contact with abrasive substances. Conversely, clothing may protect the environment from the clothing wearer, as with doctors wearing medical scrubs. Humans have shown extreme inventiveness in devising clothing solutions to environmental hazards. Some examples include: space suits, air conditioned clothing, armor, diving suits, swimsuits, bee-keeper gear, motorcycle leathers, high-visibility clothing, and other pieces of protective clothing. Meanwhile, the distinction between clothing and protective equipment is not always clear-cut, since clothes designed to be fashionable often have protective value and clothes designed for function often consider fashion in their design.


Clothing is a complex but fascinating part of everyone’s life. The clothes are worn for following purpose: 

1. Protection:

Our skin is uncovered and exposed. We can be easily affected by the elements-rain, snow, wind, cold, and heat. We can be harmed or injured on the job or while participating in sports. In some cases, we need to protect us with our clothing. Clothing aids to your comfort. It absorbs perspiration, prevents sudden chills, and acts as a buffer between your body and accidental burns, scratches, and rough surfaces. The right garments can insulate your body against extremely hot or extremely cold temperatures. People who live in severely cold climates, such as the Eskimos, keep warm by wearing pants and parkas with fur linings. The fur traps the warm air from their bodies and creates a life-saving insulating layer of warmth. Desert nomads keep the harmful hot sun from dehydrating their bodies by covering up with long flowing robes and headdresses. Their clothing actually keeps them cooler. Clothing also provides protection against harmful and poisonous insects and plants.  

2. Safety:

Clothing also serves to protect your skin from harm or injury. Some sports and occupations require protective clothing for safety reasons. Football players wear helmets and protective padding to help prevent injury during rough play. Some people’s work requires them to be in dangerous or hazardous conditions. Clothing can offer protection. Some items are even labeled with the term “safety” to identify them from regular day-to-day clothes and accessories. Fire-fighters wear asbestos clothing in hazardous situations. Police officers wear bulletproof vests. Road workers wear florescent orange vests so that drivers can see them easily and prevent accidents.

3. Sanitation:

Special clothing and accessories are often worn for sanitation reasons. People who work in factories that produce food and medical products wear sanitary clothing, face masks, and hair covering. This precaution prevents contamination of the products by germs. In operating rooms, doctors and nurses wear special disposable sanitary uniforms, gloves, and face masks.

4. Modesty:

Modesty refers to what people feel is the proper way for clothing to cover the body. Different groups of people may have different standards of modesty. For example clothes that a woman might wear to a fancy party would probably be unacceptable at work the next.

5. Identification:

Clothing can also identify people as members of a group. Certain types of clothing, colors, and accessories have become representative of certain groups, activities, and occupations. Or by simply dressing alike, people can show that they belong to the same group. E.g. Air Crews, Air hostess, Doctors, Pilots, etc. The clothing one wears helps others to recognize who she/he is. Who is the individual dressed in white with a cap next to patient? A nurse. Who is the boy in uniform? A student. Every society has certain expectations about the way individuals should dress. Very often the clothing one wears indicates the role one plays in the society. Clothing tells others ‘who you are’ and ‘what you do’. For example, you can easily identify a priest by what he wears. All individuals have a need to belong to a place/country. You can identify one’s country or origin from the clothing one wears.

6. Uniforms:

A uniform is one of the easiest ways to identify group members. Uniforms can provide instant recognition or create a special image for the group. Members of the police force, fire department, and military wear uniforms so that they can be recognized quickly and easily for public safety. Athletic teams wear different colors to identify their team and to tell them apart from their opponents. People who work in service occupations, such as restaurant workers, airline personnel, and hotel staff also wear special uniform. These uniforms help to identify the worker to their customers, as well as create an image for the company.

7. Styles and Colors:

Some occupations require a unique style of dress. Judges wear the traditional black robe. Ministers, priests, and other clergy members may wear special clothing for conducting religious services. The style of the clothing often dates back many centuries to show visually that what they are doing is linked to the past. Many people wear special styles and colors of clothing for special occasions in their lives. Graduates may wear ling robes and mortarboard hats with tassels.

8. Insignias:

Insignias are badges or emblems that show membership in a group. Patches or emblems can be worn on jackets or blazer pockets. A school letter with a sports pin can be worn on a jacket or sweater to indicate participation in athletics.

9. Status:

Kings and queens wear crowns to set them apart from the rest of their subjects. Their crowns indicate their status, or position or rank within a group. Clothes and other accessories are used by people to show their level of importance. They may also be used to give the wearer a sense of feeling important. Status symbols are clothes or other items that offer a sense of status for the ordinary person. Usually these items are more expensive or the latest in design. For some people, status symbols can be fur coats, expensive jewelry, or designer clothes. One maintains social approval and rank based on the clothing one wears. Clothing may not be important to some people; but all well-adjusted individuals recognize the need to be reasonably well-dressed to gain recognition and social acceptance.

10. Decoration:

People decorate themselves to enhance their appearance. They wear clothes, jewelry, and cosmetics in hopes of improving their looks and attracting favorable attention. Adornment, or decoration, also helps people to express their uniqueness and creativity. Clothing and accessories can be used to improve appearance in different ways. Clothing can also be decorated to make it special and unique. 

11. Sense of well being:

A sense of well being is achieved when an individual is comfortably dressed. A charming girl is one who is well-dressed in such a satisfying manner that she is not self-conscious and hence can be interested in others. She has a feeling of inner security and friendly disposition. Hence one should wear clothing that provides comfort and promotes physical well being.

 12. Self Adornment:

Clothing provides a means for enhancing your appearance. Special clothing is worn by bride and groom to adorn themselves on their wedding day.

13. Style & Fashion:

Dressing in accordance with the prevalent style/fashion: Adolescents have a strong desire to look like their peers. Even adults do not wish to be different. To be ‘out of style’ could weigh heavy on an individual. Clothes help you become fashionable or stylish. Comments such as ‘that’s high fashion’, ‘that’s not in style’ and ‘that dressing is a fad’ are being used very often.

 14. Clothing and Family Values:

 The clothes you wear reflect your family values. You may find some individuals in much toned down clothing, certain dresses expensively; some often in traditional grab and some in western outfits. Certain families also tend to overspend on clothes. It is essential to be well-dressed and well-groomed, but this can be accomplished without undue expenses on clothing. The clothing fashion keeps changing with times and hence it is important to make wise decision before spending on clothing. Your clothes should be in conformity to your family values.

15. Self Expression:

One can express one’s self through clothing. Leather jackets and clothing express toughness, need for protection against harsh weather and muscularity. Your appearance is effected by the cloth you wear. You have confidence in the policeman in the uniform. The uniform expresses strength needed to provide security and protection to the common man. Clothes make you feel good. Clothing can tell how one feels. Some adolescents like to dress up in the latest and expensive clothing to gain popularity with their peers.

 16. Creativity:

Artistic abilities can be channelized to create the latest in fashion and design. Individual apply the elements of art, color and designs to create sensational clothing. Have you ever watched the fashion shows for the latest in clothing? Fashion advertising is a big tool for creating market and demand for the latest in clothing.

17. Change and Adventure:

Clothes often provide relief from boredom. Party clothing, fancy clothing and disguise attires add fun, frolic and the much needed adventure. Hence clothing provides ‘variety and spice’ in life.

18. Clothing and Sex Appeal:

This is the one of the various functions of clothing that satisfies all the individuals – be it a man or a woman. Clothes are selected for personal appeal and also for appealing to the opposite sex. Women wear clothing that arouses envy among other women and curiosity among men. Even the men are looking for this appeal from their clothing.


Other purposes of clothing include recreation, communication, individualistic expression, values & attitudes and conformity v/s individuality.


Clothing at work:

Here are ten decisions people will make about other people based solely on first impressions.

  1. Social Position
  2. Economic Level
  3. Educational Level
  4. Trustworthiness
  5. Moral Character
  6. Level of sophistication
  7. Success-previous and current
  8. Social Heritage
  9. Economic Heritage
  10. Educational Heritage

In order to gain better promotions and receive higher income on the climb up the ladder of success, research proves that a person in an upper-middle class garment will get there faster than an equally skilled co-worker in a lower-middle class garment. Surveys proved that when employees were dressed professionally, they conveyed strong feelings of trust. Research has also proven that young employees can overcome comments from older customers such as, “You remind me of my granddaughter/son” or “May I speak to someone in charge, “simply by learning the secrets of dressing professionally. Because clothing covers 90% of our bodies, it becomes very important in communicating non-verbal signals. We can use our appearance to determine how those we meet will react toward us.


Advantages of Clothing for Sun Protection

90% of all skin cancers are caused by exposure to UV radiation from the sun’s rays. Reducing exposure to UV radiation not only helps prevent skin cancer, it also helps prevent wrinkles and dark spots on the skin, known as photoaging. There are many advantages of clothing over sunscreen for sun protection. That’s not to say you should skip the sunscreen — you shouldn’t. However, here are some advantages of clothing as a form of sun protection:

 •Clothing protects against UVA and UVB radiation, whereas most sunscreens don’t provide enough UVA protection.

•Clothing provides uniform protection, while sunscreen is typically not applied uniformly.

•Clothing provides consistent protection from the moment you put it on, while sunscreen has to be applied 30 minutes before going out and reapplied every 2 hours.

•Given that it is reusable, and that you may not have to even go out and buy it for this purpose, clothing is not as expensive as sunscreen. Often, the clothes you have in your closet work well for sun protection.


Sun protective clothing:

Sun protective clothing is clothing specifically designed for sun protection and is produced from a fabric rated for its level of ultraviolet (UV) protection. A novel weave structure and denier (related to thread count per inch) may produce sun protective properties. In addition, some textiles and fabrics employed in the use of sun protective clothing may be pre-treated with UV inhibiting ingredients during manufacture to enhance their UV blocking capacity. Not only limited to UV-inhibiting textile use, sun protective clothing may also adhere to specific design parameters – including styling appropriate to full coverage of the skin most susceptible to UV damage. Long sleeves, full collars, and full-length trousers and skirts are common styles for clothing as a sun protective measure. As sun protective clothing is usually meant to be worn during warm and humid temperatures, some UV-blocking textiles and clothing may be designed with ventilated weaves, moisture wicking and antibacterial properties to assist in cooling and breathability.


 Natural v/s Synthetic: Choosing the right type of Cloth Diaper for your baby:

Why we choose natural cloth diapers over synthetic:

1. Natural fibers are better for your baby’s skin than synthetics. Some babies are sensitive to polyester fabrics, so you may find that polyester causes diaper rash on your baby, regardless of how clean it is.

2. Natural fibers are highly absorbent, and they let your baby know when she’s wet. Natural cloth diapers don’t include any “stay-dry” materials, so when your baby is wet, she’ll stay wet. It is healthier for your baby to know when she’s wet. This helps your baby to become more aware of her elimination, making it easier to potty-train later, and it helps your baby to let you know when she needs to be changed.

3. Natural cloth diapers are easier to keep clean and care for. Keeping your cloth diapers clean is one of the most crucial aspects of successful cloth diapering, and unfortunately, not all types of cloth diapers clean up easily. Polyester is notorious for retaining smells and stains. Natural fibers do not typically acquire the “stink” problem that is typical of synthetic cloth diapers, making the entire cloth diapering experience a more pleasant one.

4. Natural cloth diapers are made from renewable resources, making them better for the environment. Cotton and wool must be organic to be considered friendly to the environment, while bamboo and hemp are generally considered “organic” without the organic certification.

5. Natural cloth diapers are soft, don’t irritate babies’ skin, and are highly absorbent. Nothing beats a good old fashioned, 100% cotton diaper. Hemp is one of the most absorbent materials available. For a diaper cover, wool is unquestionably the best material available- it breathes, it’s comfortable for the baby, it’s naturally antibacterial, it is bulletproof once properly washed and lanolized, and you don’t have to wash it that often!


Are Clothes made with Synthetic Fibers toxic clothing and hazardous to your health? 

Clothing made from synthetic fibers — rayon, acrylic, polyester, spandex and olefin, for example — contain toxic chemicals that pose serious risks to your health. 

Some of the toxins found in clothes with synthetic fibers include:                                        

• Formaldehyde
• Brominated flame retardants
• Perfluorinated chemicals (Teflon)


Clothes allergy & harms:

1. Many people are allergic to biological washing powder so stick to non-biological and you should be fine. Avoid fabric softeners too and things that add fragrance.

2. You might be shocked to hear that new clothes often have formaldehyde coated on them to prevent them getting creased. People rarely become allergic to the low levels of formaldehyde released by textile resins, but for those already sensitized, it is entirely possible to react to the low levels released by textile resins in clothing and that some people were probably genetically predisposed to allergy. Research shows that the small group of people who are allergic can develop a rash with levels as low as 30 parts per million.

3. Clothes from milk fibers: Cheaper than silk it may be, environmentally friendly it may be, using a waste product of milk that would otherwise be thrown away, but these dresses are not for the milk allergic.

4. Latex allergy from elastic in clothes – Imagine if you were allergic even to your knicker elastic? If you have a serious latex allergy many clothes could cause you a problem.

5. Nickel allergy a problem with clothes – Studs in jeans, zips and buckles can cause problems for those with serious nickel allergies.

6. A woolly problem – If you have sensitive skin it’s often a good idea to avoid wearing wool next to your skin too, as it can cause an itchy rash for some people.

7. Black dye in clothes can also cause allergies – Apparently black dye in clothes contains more PPD than any other dye color. If you’re allergic to PPD stick to neutral colors and plain cotton clothing.

8. Phthalates found in plastic logos and shoes – Linked with hormone disruption such as reducing male sperm count, phthalates are found in some clothes with plastic logos and also, many new shoes and clothes have a strong, plasticky smell which can indicate they are full of phthalates.

9. Perfluorinated chemicals used to make some breathable fabrics are also dangerous — they accumulate in the body and are known to be carcinogenic.                                                                                                                

10. Fabric treated with brominated flame retardant – This chemical has been known to be used to treat children’s sleepwear but it’s highly toxic.


Tight clothing and health:

Dressing in clothes adjusted surely is considered as sexy and fashionable by many people, but it has proven that it is bad for the health. There are certain implications for the health of a person wearing clothes so tight. The Canadian Medical Association Journal has published some studies on the effect of tight clothing on the health. The body can develop a nerve condition called paresthesia that is similar to the carpal tunnel syndrome. The most widespread symptom of this condition is a burning sensation experienced right under the hip bone. Another unwanted effect from wearing tight clothing is the possibility of developing a yeast infection. Women wearing clothes too tight, like low cut tight jeans, tend to sweat more in the vaginal area, and this moisture can lead to the appearance of yeast infection. Tight stockings can have the same effect on women wearing them. For men, the effects of tight clothing are not to be neglected. A tight pair of jeans can cause infertility in men and the testicles can suffer damage.Study shows that wearing tight clothes harms healthReviewed by Admin on M


Study shows that wearing tight clothes harms health:

A medical study carried out recently advises that wearing their clothes very beat the body can leave marks on the skin and hinder circulation. The Spanish Cardiology Society advises that the tight clothing can lead to many health problems, in addition to the obvious discomfort trying to move. Have a poor circulation of blood, they can cause heart problems and even pulmonary infarctions caused by thrombosis of the veins (accumulation of blood clot hindering blood walk). Other conditions in the women’s health (whereas it is the sector that uses more clothes tight with the desire to look sexy) is the retention of fluids and toxins in the body, which in addition to damage to the urinary, system can cause the appearance of cellulite in legs and deposits of fat in undesirable areas, since tight clothing brand certain sections of the body and these are converted in ‘piles’ of difficult to remove fat. Other conditions that may be caused by using clothes too adjusted agree to what has been saying with this study, is the have a bad breath and more difficulties with digestion, causing severe constipation.


Clothing and environment:

Cotton covers 2.5% of the world’s cultivated land yet uses 25 % of the world’s insecticides, more than any other single major crop.  It can take almost a 1/3 pound of synthetic fertilizers to grow one pound of raw cotton in the US, and it takes just under one pound of raw cotton to make one t-shirt.  


The major environmental issues associated with clothing are as follows:

1. Resource consumption. The key resources here are fossil fuels and water. The consumption includes use in growing or obtaining the raw materials, in producing the clothing, and in transporting the raw materials and final product.

2. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission. The UK clothing industry is responsible for the release of 3.1 million tons CO2 equivalent per year, or about 0.4% of total UK emissions. Again, the level of emissions depends on the fabric type and processing system involved. Polyester/cotton blend – often used for corporate clothing – is believed to have the highest GHG influence in the steaming process, with almost all the emissions being CO2. On the other hand, wool has a greater GHG impact earlier in the production, due to methane released by sheep before manufacture has even begun!

3. Land Use. Particularly significant for natural fiber production, and especially with intensively grown monocultures, is the land degradation that can come from chemical pollution of soil and groundwater through use of herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers, and loss of biodiversity.

4. Toxic production processes. Some manufacturing practices in the textile industry use hazardous or acidic chemicals, which can sometimes be released in effluent.

5. Landfill. Most textiles in the UK (approximately 1.2m tons) end up in landfill. Not only are textiles pretty bulky compared with other household wastes, and quickly use up the limited space available, but also the (typically 50%) biodegradable fraction then breaks down.


Although 10 million tons of unwanted duds per year put a lot of pressure on U.S. landfills, it’s in the origin of the clothes — fiber production, manufacturing and dyeing — that the most harm is done. Every year in Britain people buy around 2 million tonnes of clothes and throw away around 1.2 million tonnes. The large amounts involved make all of the environmental problems worse. Production of synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester consumes nonrenewable resources — primarily petroleum — while emitting greenhouse gases like nitrous oxide and releasing toxic wastewater containing organic solvents, heavy metals, dyes, and fiber treatments. Polyester, the most commonly used manufactured fiber, is made from petroleum in an energy-intensive process that emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and acid gases into the air. The process also uses a large amount of water for cooling. The manufacturing of nylon emits nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas with a carbon footprint 310 times that of carbon dioxide. Rayon, derived from wood pulp, often relies on clearing old growth forests to make way for water-hungry eucalyptus trees, from which the fiber is derived. Nylon is also very difficult to recycle. Producing fiber from recycled polyester is easier and produces only 15 percent as much air pollution as using raw materials, but the product is of lower quality than virgin polyester. Fibers made from renewable raw materials are typically no more earth-friendly than polyester. For instance, rayon is made from wood pulp coming from mature forests through a process that pumps out large quantities of air and water pollutants. (A newer wood-based fiber called lyocell has a lighter impact on the environment but is nowhere close to displacing rayon.) As they are commonly handled, wool-producing sheep can cause soil erosion, water pollution and biodiversity loss. And wool processing often uses large volumes of chemicals to clean fibers, prevent fabric shrinkage and improve washability. Leather manufacturing, especially the tanning step, is notorious for its use of toxic chemicals, including heavy metals and nasty, organic compounds. Then there’s King Cotton. Currently worldwide estimate suggest that 25 % of total pesticide use is on cotton. Almost 22 billion pounds of weed killer are applied annually to U.S. cotton — more chemical per acre than is sprayed on soybeans and three times as much as an acre of wheat gets. Cotton fiber usually undergoes extensive processing even before it is spun into thread, including treatment with caustic sodium hydroxide to remove waxes. Most cotton thread or fabric is bleached to allow dying to the desired color. Anti-wrinkle technology can involve dangerous or even carcinogenic compounds like formaldehyde.  And all such treatments are big water users. Bleaching the cloth for a single shirt generates as much as 15 gallons of polluted wastewater.


Making clothes can harm the environment in many ways. For example:

 •the energy used contributes to climate change

•the large amounts of water needed (for things like growing cotton) can strain supplies in countries where there is not enough clean drinking water

•25 per cent of all pesticides used worldwide are for growing cotton

• The pesticides that farmers use to protect textiles as they grow can harm wildlife, contaminate other products and get into the food we eat.
• The chemicals that are used to bleach and color textiles can damage the environment and people’s health.
• Old clothes that we throw away take up precious space in landfill sites, which is filling up rapidly.
• Most of the textile machineries cause noise, sound and air pollution.
• Over-usage of natural resources like plants, water, etc depletes or disturbs ecological balance.
• The working conditions in the textile and clothing industry are of sub- standard.
• Exploitation of animals often goes hand in hand with intensive farming practices that damage the environment as a whole.



Organic clothing:

It is produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides. Organic clothing is clothing made from materials raised or grown in compliance with organic agricultural standard. Organic clothing may be composed of cotton, jute, silk, wool or ramie. Retailers charge more for organic clothing because the source of the clothing’s fiber is free from herbicides, pesticides, or genetically modified seeds.


Authentic organic fabrics and clothing can help the environment in a number of ways, such as:

 •Use of pesticides and herbicides are not required

 •Pesticide or herbicide residues are not entered accidentally into the environment

 •Humans and animals are not exposed to pesticides or herbicides

 •When the fabric is discarded, pesticides and herbicides are not returned to the earth in landfill, or enter into recycling process.


However, even if no herbicide or pesticide are used in cultivating organic cotton, various chemicals are used in process of dyeing, bleaching process and hydrolysis alkalization (bamboo fabric) while making fabric in textile plants and these chemicals are hazardous to humans.


Sustainable clothing:

Sustainable clothing refers to fabrics derived from eco-friendly resources, such as sustainably grown fiber crops or recycled materials. It also refers to how these fabrics are made. Historically, being environmentally-conscious towards clothing meant  buying clothes from thrift stores or any shops that sell second-hand clothing, or donating used clothes to shops previously mentioned, for reuse or resale. In modern times, with a prominent trend towards sustainability and being ‘green’, sustainable clothing has expanded towards reducing the amount of clothing discarded to landfills, and decreasing the environmental impact of agro-chemicals in producing conventional fiber crops (e.g. cotton). Under the accordance of sustainability, recycled clothing upholds the principle of the “Three R’s of the Environment”: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, as well as the “Three Legs of Sustainability”: Economics, Ecology, and Social Equity.


Clothes recycled into fibers save environment:

Textiles that have been discarded by consumers, retailers or charitable organizations, which have undergone a discriminating process of sorting, grading and separation into waste-free products suitable for reuse. On average 1 lb. of clothes recycled into fibers save 1.7 lb. of CO2 as energy and resources are saved when recycled fibers are used instead of having to produce new ones. American purchases an average of only 10 pounds of recycled clothing per year.


Energy and water consumption of cotton fabric production vis-à-vis polyester:

Cotton ginning requires 50kWh per bale of electricity. One of the major drawbacks to cotton is the necessity for cleaning, drying and ironing all of which require massive amounts of energy in order to heat the water and air and iron. Cotton requires 72% more energy than synthetic fabrics for this phase. Once the garment is purchased it takes on average 25 washes during its lifetime. All of this account for 60% of the total energy during the lifetime of the cotton garment. If synthetic fabrics were used over cotton there would be a 10% reduction in energy during the use phase and a 20% reduction in the use of detergents. Many people assume that organic cotton is better for the environment than conventionally grown cotton. This is true in other aspects, but for the use phase as well as the manufacturing phase organic cotton and conventionally grown cotton energy consumption is the same.



Energy profile of polyester in each phase of its life cycle: 


Water use for a cotton garment is extremely high. Water requirements for cotton garment compared to a synthetic are 99.9% more. Throughout the life cycle of the cotton garment the most water is used in the growing phase. Cotton irrigation is required in almost all areas (73% of total areas) where cotton is grown, especially the US. Cotton irrigation has been blamed for depleting the Aral Sea. This much irrigation causes pollution to local water sources, salinization, wildlife contamination, rising water tables and habitat destruction and is less than 40% efficient. The effluent from conventionally grown cotton causes eutrophication and nitrate contamination of nearby drinking water as well as a permanent increase in soil salinity. In a study to compare 100% cotton sheets vs. 50% cotton and 50% polyester, the 100% cotton sheets used 300% more water and 72% more energy.


As you can see the overall energy usage throughout the lifetime of a polyester garment is considerably less than cotton. Also cotton consumes lot of water as compared to polyester. In the end sustainability and environmental friendliness of the clothing industry depends on the entire life cycle of the garment. The entire process needs to be taken into account before wide assumptions are made about which fabric is better for the environment. Natural fabrics are more harmful to the immediate environment (meaning the water and soil) while synthetics take a larger toll on the air and non-renewable resources. Synthetic fabrics (those made from petrochemicals) have recently gotten a bad reputation as being extremely harmful to the environment as they are made from non-renewable resources and they take lot of energy (albeit lesser than cotton) to produce. In reality, no single fabric is the best for the environment. It is up to consumers to demand that manufactures take a closer look at the processes to produce clothing and find the best way to make it healthier for everyone involved.



The Carbon Footprint of a product is the total amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that are emitted as part of its manufacture, distribution, use and disposal. Clothing footprint’ is an awkward term, but it’s a useful catch-all for the land, water, chemicals, resources and emissions embodied in our clothing. It includes growing the fibers, manufacturing the garment, washing it, and then finally disposing it. Producing and washing clothes makes up 5% of Britain’s carbon and water footprint. The carbon footprint of a British household’s clothing for the year is equivalent to driving 6,000 miles in a car.


This is a comparative measure of the kilograms of CO2 emissions per kg of fiber for the following materials and this does not include the emissions from the shipment of fabrics from overseas sources:

Fiber Type CO2 Emissions (kg) Per (kg) of fiber






Organic Cotton




PLA (corn)


RPET Polyester




Clothing footprint of 1 pair of trousers:

To produce 1 lb. of clothes -that is 1 pair of trousers – requires on average:

10,000 lb. of water

 0.5 lb. of fertilizers

 0.4 oz. of pesticides

 Emissions of 6 lb. of greenhouse gases

When you donate clothes for reuse and recycling you contribute to reduce CO2 emissions.


On average 1 lb. of clothes that is sold as second hand clothes save 6 lb. of CO2.

The average American consumes 70 pounds of clothing and other textile products a year. Instead of taking up space in your closets, drop off your clothes when it suits you best for example in one of the many drop-off bins. Most of the used clothes are typically sold to third world nations to clothe the world’s poorest. By donating clothes you can therefore help to take care of the environment which needs your protection because the resources of our planet are not endless and modern development puts greater and greater strain on its land, water and air. Americans still throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year. Clothing and other textiles represent about four percent of the municipal solid waste stream.


British consumers have an estimated £30bn worth of clothing that they have not worn for a year in their wardrobes, a new report from the government waste body Wrap reveals today. Wrap said that extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use per item would lead to a 5-10% reduction in their carbon and water footprints. The way we make and use clothes consumes a huge amount of the Earth’s precious resources, and accounts for a major chunk of family spending. But by increasing the active use of clothing by an extra nine months we could reduce the water, carbon, and waste impacts by up to 20-30% each and save £5bn. This report shows that there is a huge potential for both businesses and households to save money and the environment by thinking differently about the way we produce, use and dispose of clothes. Used clothing has a massive commercial value, yet over 430,000 tons is thrown away in the UK every year.


A study found astonishing results:

When 100 T-shirts enter the used clothes business, the environmental burden of the life cycle is decreased by 14% for global warming compared to the case where the items are directly discarded. For acidification and nutrient enrichment the impacts are reduced by about 28% and 25%, respectively. Concerning resource consumption, natural gas and crude oil consumptions are both decreased by about 15%. In addition, a 24% saving for human toxicity in soil and a 30% reduction of the waste generated has been estimated.


Which process is responsible for the largest eco-impact of your clothing?

Up to 75 or 80 percent of our clothing’s lifecycle eco-impact comes from washing and drying, because it takes so much energy to heat the wash water and run the drying cycle. Have you ever thought of reducing your clothes’ washing footprints?  Every washing machine harms the environment in three ways: it uses a lot of water; it consumes much electrical energy for washing & drying and also uses special soaps made out of petroleum-based chemicals.



One of the major differences between the two types of clothing is how long the fabric lasts. Unless the natural clothing is treated with some kind of preservative, it will disintegrate and decompose over several years. Clothing does decompose if it is made of a natural fiber like cotton or wool and this produces CO2 as well as other pollutants; so it is not good to put clothing into landfill at all. Keep them or give them to charity. On the other hand synthetic clothes tend to last longer. As an example, it takes nylon up to 40 years to decompose in a landfill.


Accumulating ‘microplastic’ threat to shores:

Microscopic plastic debris from washing clothes is accumulating in the marine environment and could be entering the food chain, a study has warned. Researchers traced the “microplastic” back to synthetic clothes, which released up to 1,900 tiny fibers per garment every time they were washed. It suggest that a large proportion of the fibers that were found in the environment, in the strongest evidence yet, was derived from the sewerage as a consequence from washing clothes. Earlier research showed plastics smaller than 1mm was being eaten by animals and getting into the food chain. The findings appeared in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. Microplastic contamination is an issue because the smallest of marine organisms are harmed by tiny plastic fibers, and these animals are food for everything else in the ocean. A lack of krill, for example, would further endanger the whale population.


Eco Friendly Clothing:

Characteristics of Eco Friendly Clothing:

For a piece of outfit to be considered eco friendly, the carbon footprint that it leaves on the environment – whether during it cultivation, production, use or disposal – should be minimal. Eco friendly clothing are often made of fibers like organic cotton, hemp, soy, bamboo, wool and silk, as well as recycled fibers. Here are some characteristics that make eco friendly clothing:

• made from non-petroleum-derived fibres, that are already occurring naturally in the environment – often on plants or animals, and as such are biodegradable. These plant and animal sources are usually renewable, and are in turn cultivated under controlled settings, using environmentally friendly and sustainable farming techniques, such as the use of organic fertilizers and pesticides, crop rotation, non-over-farming and non-over-grazing.

•made from recycled materials (e.g. recycled plastic, recycled fabric), and hence this process helps to divert some waste away from the waste management systems, as well as reduce the usage of virgin materials.

•not processed with any harmful or synthetic chemicals (e.g. synthetic dye or chemical-based finishing), which can contribute substantially to the pollution. For example, eco textile are usually left undyed, or they are made from naturally coloured fibres, such as cotton (yes, not all naturally grown cotton at white). At the moment, the ecological impact of natural dyes and low-impact fiber-reactive dyes (considered to have low toxicity, but are petroleum based) are unclear, so if you want to be safe, it is best to avoid them altogether.

•manufactured in processes that require less water and energy, or produce less waste and pollution. In addition, the entire product lifecycle of the eco friendly clothing fabric should also leave less carbon footprint, as compared to conventional clothes.

•manufactured in processes that use renewable energy sources like solar energy or wind energy, instead of non renewable energy like coal.


For the animal lover, you can be assured that the sheep survives after its wool has been sheared. In fact, the sheep grows back its cover of wool by the next year and is ready for shearing again. In instances where the wool is not sheered, it might actually fall off the body of the sheep automatically come late spring, through a process known as rooing. And in case you are worried about how the sheep survives the cold weathers without its wool cover, considerations are actually for the welfare of the sheep when determining the time for shearing.


What is eco-fashion?
Eco-fashion is about making clothes that take into account the environment, the health of consumers and the working conditions of people in the fashion industry.
Eco-fashion clothes:
• are made using organic raw materials, such as cotton grown without pesticides and silk made by worms fed on organic trees
• don’t involve the use of harmful chemicals and bleaches to color fabrics
• are often made from recycled and reused textiles. High-quality garments can be made from second-hand clothes and even recycled plastic bottles
• are made to last, so that people keep them for longer
• come from fair trade – the people who make them are paid a fair price and have decent working conditions.
With the eco-fashion industry still in its infancy, the main responsibility at the moment lies with clothes manufacturers and fashion designers, who need to start using sustainable materials and processes.


Clothing in India:

India’s recorded history of clothing goes back to the 5th millennium BC in the Indus Valley Civilization where cotton was spun, woven and dyed. Bone needles and wooden spindles have been unearthed in excavations at the site. The Indus civilization also knew the process of silk production. Recent analysis of Harappan silk fibers in beads have shown that silk was made by the process of reeling, a process known only to China until the early centuries AD. Clothing in India varies from region to region depending on the ethnicity, geography, climate and cultural traditions of the people of that region. In urban areas, western clothing is common and uniformly worn by people of all strata. India also has a great diversity in terms of weaves, fibers, colors and material of clothing. Color codes are followed in clothing based on the religion and ritual concerned. For instance, Hindus wear white clothes to indicate mourning while Parsis and Christians wear white to weddings. In India, women’s clothing varies widely and is closely associated with the local culture, religion and climate. Traditional women’s clothing include sari, ghagra choli, salwar kamees, churidaar kurta and Pattu Pavadai(Tamil) or Langa davani( Kannada) or Langa Oni (Telugu). For men, traditional clothes are the Sherwani, Lungi, Kurta and Dhoti or Pajama. Traditional Indian headgear include pagri, dastar (Sikhs), pheta (Maharashtrians), Gandhi cap etc. Western clothing made its foray into the Indian society during the times of the British Raj. Women’s clothing nowadays consists of both formal and casual wear such as gowns, pants, shirts and tops. Traditional Indian clothing such as the kurti has been combined with jeans to form part of casual attire. Fashion designers in India have blended several elements of Indian traditional designs into conventional western wear to create a unique style of contemporary Indian fashion. Both skirts and jeans are worn extensively by women in and around urban areas.


A sari:

A sari or saree is a strip of unstitched cloth, worn by females, ranging from four to nine yards in length that is draped over the body in various styles which is native to the Indian Subcontinent. The sari is usually worn over a petticoat, with a blouse forming the upper garment. The blouse has short sleeves and a low neck and is usually cropped at the midriff, and as such is particularly well-suited for wear in the sultry South Asian summers. The sari developed as a garment of its own in both South and North India at around the same time, and is in popular culture an epitome of Indian culture. The sari signified the grace of Indian women adequately displaying the curves at the right places. There are more than 80 recorded ways to wear a sari. In past times, saris were woven of silk or cotton. In modern times, saris are increasingly woven on mechanical looms and made of artificial fibres, such as polyester, nylon, or rayon, which do not require starching or ironing. They are printed by machine, or woven in simple patterns made with floats across the back of the sari. This can create an elaborate appearance on the front, while looking ugly on the back.


A sari worn by woman:  


Disadvantages of a sari:

There is no more impractical dress in the world than the sari.

In summer, the folds stick unpleasantly around the legs.

In winter, it has no protection against cold.

In the rains, it collects mud and filth at the hem.

One hand is tied up to the sari, leaving only hand free to use.

It has no buttons. When the hem is stepped upon while walking, it might fully slip down.

It is not suitable to wear during sports.


Dhoti and Lungi:

Two styles of clothing have been most popular with Indian men and boys from ancient times to the present day: the dhoti and the lungi. Both the dhoti and the lungi are garments made from wrapping unsewn cloth around the waist to cover the loins and most of the legs of their wearers. Although these garments are most often worn by men, women do wear them and other similar garments that resemble skirts.


Indian reaction to western clothing in 19th century:


Fabric of freedom in India: clothing and freedom movement:

Khadi is a symbol of India’s independence. Khadi’s earliest avatar was fashioned some 5,000 years ago in India, the original home of cotton, hand spun and hand woven by craftspersons who in all likelihood followed the precise instructions on weaving, spinning and dyeing laid out in the Vedas. The Mahabharata and Ramayana rhapsodize over the intricacies of gold shot woven cloth. The Industrial Revolution, with its steam engine, spinning jenny and power loom, created a powerhouse of cloth mills that literally desiccated India’s textiles. British colonial policy dictated by law that all the cotton grown in India be exported to the Home Country at very low prices while British mill cloth flooded Indian markets, forcing the locals to buy it.



 Million of Indian spinners and weavers went out of work, prompting Bengal Governor Lord William Bentinck to admit “the bones of cotton weavers are littering the plains of India”. Hand spun, hand woven cloth, the pride of India, was all but killed and along with it, vast reservoirs of precious traditional textile knowledge too disappeared. It was left to Mahatma Gandhi in early 20th Century to reinvent, revive and resuscitate Khadi under a new brand name, a new philosophy and program. By asking millions of his countrymen to spin yarn at the charka, wear Swadeshi Khadi cloth and eschew all foreign goods, Gandhiji was not merely restoring pride in heritage and the value of handwork or making a strike against colonial exploitation but Khadi was a socio-economic statement as well. Apart from giving jobs to millions of rural artisans, his program looked to an equal distribution of wealth, decentralization and non-exploitation or minimal exploitation.  A Khadi wave swept over the country and Khadi became a proud symbol of India’s Independence struggle.



Naturism or nudism is a cultural and political movement practising, advocating and defending social nudity in private and in public. It may also refer to a lifestyle based on personal, family and/or social nudism. According to the international definition adopted by the XIV Congress of the International Naturist Federation (Agde, France, 1974), naturism is: “a lifestyle in harmony with nature, expressed through social nudity, and characterised by self-respect of people with different opinions and of the environment.” The International Naturist Federation explains: “Each country has its own kind of naturism, and even each club has its own special character, for we too, human beings, have each our own character which is reflected in our surroundings.” Though in the United States, naturism and nudism have the same meaning, in Britain there is a clear distinction. Nudism is the act of being naked, while naturism is a lifestyle which at various times embraced nature, environment, respect for others, self-respect, crafts, healthy eating, vegetarianism, teetotalism, non-smoking, yoga, physical exercise and pacifism as well as nudity. Naturism can contain aspects of eroticism for some people, although many modern naturists and naturist organisations argue it need not. The lay public and the media often oversimplify this relationship. Naturism addresses, challenges and explores a myriad of sometimes taboo subjects: stereotypes and mores relating to the nude appearance of the human body, mixed sex nudity, personal space, human sexuality, gymnophobia, modesty, physical attractiveness, vanity, objectification, exploitation and consent. It can thus be controversial. Sunlight has been shown to be beneficial in some skin conditions and enables the body to make vitamin D, but with the increased awareness of skin cancer, wearing of sunscreen is now part of the culture. A list of criticisms of naturism include: it is too cold; normal bodies look ugly—it is only for the physically beautiful; it is too embarrassing; it is against the laws of nature, against the law, or against religion; “nudism makes me think of sex”; it is for primitive people or animals.



Nudity or nakedness is the state of wearing no clothing. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic. The amount of clothing worn depends on functional considerations (such as a need for warmth or protection from the elements) and social considerations. Though the wearing of clothes is the social norm in most cultures, some cultures, groups and individuals are more relaxed about nudity, though attitudes often depend on context. On the other hand, some people feel uncomfortable in the presence of any nudity, and the presence of a nude person in a public place can give rise to controversy, irrespective of the attitude of the person who is nude. Many people have strong views on nudity, which to them can involve issues and standards of modesty, decency and morality. Public facilities generally reflect generally accepted community standards of dress. The same applies to public toilets, changing rooms, etc., where some degree of disrobing must take place. In those situations, gender-specific facilities are usually provided so as to reduce embarrassment of users of these facilities to predictable levels. Nudity (sex-related or not) is also to be found in visual arts (nude art, nude photography, nudity in film), on the Internet and in performing arts. It is a factor in adult entertainment of various types. Nudity in front of a sexual partner is widely accepted, but not in all cases. For example, some partners insist on nudity only at the time and place of sex, or with subdued lighting; during bathing with the partner or afterward; covered by a sheet or blanket, or while sleeping.


Christian naturists are Christians found in most branches and denominations of Christianity who practice naturism or nudism. They find no conflict between the teachings of the Bible and living their lives and worshiping God without any clothing, believing that covering the body leads to its sexualization. Thus, the common notion that nudity and sexuality go hand-in-hand is seen as a worldly point of view. The Christian definition of the human body should be separate, distinct, and non-materialistic. If clothing truly controlled lust and immoral sexual activity, then these would not be occurring to any great extent.


Sleeping naked:

It is a general analysis that sleeping naked is not only good for the body, but is also very good for the health. Researches have shown that when people sleep naked, it improves the quality of life in people as well as the lifespan.

Sleeping Naked – Benefits:

1. Sleeping naked removes pain:

Sleeping without clothes has an excellent effect on pain. Among many things, it especially helps in eliminating tension in the abdominal viscera nerve system. It promotes blood circulation and remedy’s chronic diarrhea and constipation. It relieves headaches and relieves waist pain. Sleeping naked is also beneficial for people suffering of insomnia, and has a comforting effect on them.

2. Improves the Sebaceous Glands:

Bare skin absorbs more nutrients than when it’s covered. This improves and promotes the rate of metabolism in the body. Sleeping naked strengthens sebaceous glands and the sweat gland secretions, which is good for sebum regeneration and discharge.

3. Sleeping naked helps in Protecting Privates:

Female genitals are usually wet, which can be very discomforting and increases the possibility of gynecopathy occurring. When women sleep naked, it adequately helps them in staying ventilated, comfortable and dry. It also relives common problems like physiological dysmenorrheal and gynecologic back pain.

4. Improved fertility in Men:

Researches show evidence of improved fertility in men, as a result of sleeping without or with fewer clothes.

5, Sleeping naked adds to the ease of the body:

The body naturally feels relaxed with no bondage of clothes. This also ensures the unobstructed flow of blood throughout the body, which helps in warming up the hands and feet. This helps people in getting into a deep and comfortable sleep.

6. Better sex:

Besides comfort, there are other reasons to impose sleep without clothes, especially in sexual matters. Sleeping naked with partner improves libido. Sexual contact with the body of another is an important source of inspiration. Sleeping without clothes with your partner, increase your level of intimacy that make sex more often.


There are four things to keep in mind when going to sleep naked:

Taking a bath before going to bed to ensure the body is clean and free of germs.

People should not go to bed naked with children or in a group life set-up.

It should be made sure that the humidity and temperature in the bedroom is adequate, in order to avoid catching a cold.

It should be made sure that the bedding is fluffy and clean for comfort.


The Most Common Reasons for Not Sleeping Naked:

1. What if someone walks in on them?

Whether or not one can sleep without clothes in bed depends on the circumstances they live in (for example, when people live a shared flat). The best way to avoid people walking in would be to let them know. At worst they may giggle, but it will pass eventually.

2. Too cold at night?

It may be necessary to increase the number of blankets in order to stay warm. It should be remembered that being exposed to excessive cold restricts the blood flow in the body. This makes it important to be cautious when sleeping naked in cold weather conditions.

3. A Spouse does not like it?

If a partner is not comfortable, it may be necessary for the couple to talk it out in order to pinpoint the main problem. The couple should ask themselves whether they have a healthy sex life. If not, then sleeping naked should not be the main problem, and talking things out will be a good idea.

4. What if There’s an emergency?

It is best to keep a dressing gown (or something easy to put on quickly) next to the bed, for easy access. It will not be difficult to slip into “easy-to-wear” clothing in case of any emergency. You may also be able to put something on while on the move, if need be.



The word “topless” usually refers to a woman whose breasts are exposed to public view, specifically including her aerolae and nipples. Social conventions about covering the female breasts have differed widely throughout history and across cultures. In contemporary society, the extent to which a woman may expose her breasts depends on social and cultural context.  Displaying cleavage is considered permissible in many settings, and is even a sign of elegance and sophistication on many formal social occasions, but it may be prohibited by dress codes in settings such as workplaces and schools, where sexualized displays of the female breast may be considered inappropriate. Showing the nipples or aerola is almost always considered partial nudity and sexually appealing. Toplessness is less controversial in entertainment, fashion, and the arts than it is in society as a whole. It can also be used to describe a garment that is specifically designed to reveal the breasts, such as the “topless swimsuit”. Toplessness is most commonly encountered at the beach, either as part of a swimming activity or sunbathing. Women’s swimsuits and bikinis commonly reveal the tops and sides of the breasts. 


Can clothing be made optional?

Very, very gradually, society seems to be becoming more tolerant of more of the body being visible in public. One of the more obvious advantages is comfort… that when it’s hot, not having anything against your skin is very comfortable. It’s practical, too, if you tend not to wear anything at home, and want to pop out for something that won’t take long. Naturists are generally more friendly and relaxed together than the general public. Another great plus is that it’s harder to indicate status and push a particular constructed image when not wearing anything. Sometimes people worry that public nudity will lead people astray morally, but social nudity is not sexual, and the way people dress to project particular images is much more likely to lead people astray!  Although, one shouldn’t encourage anyone’s tendency to stray from what is right, it must be remembered that the tendency to stray is in the one who strays. In many parks in Germany, nude sunbathing is publicly acceptable, and this seems healthier to than setting aside some beaches as nudist beaches. Social nudity is not a perversion of mind but living in harmony with nature. Remember, humans invented clothes and not vice versa.


Clothes ban:


All the clothes women have been banned from wearing in India:

Though India may be country that practices several religions, mouths various dialects and boasts of many cultures – it’s kind of ironic how they all speak the same sexist language. Out of the many things the North, South, West and East disagree on, one of the few common grounds between them is the banning of Western clothing for women.


Jeans ban:

Where: Women and Child Department (WCD), Haryana (2012)

Why: Maybe this was their way of pushing for ‘formal wear’ in office but it all got lost in translation when they officially branded jeans and T-shirt as ‘indecent’. The circular sent out to employees asked women to wear a sari or a salwar kameez and stay away indecent western dresses. The men could wear jeans-and-T-shirt’s lesser evil counterpart – the pant-shirt.

Where: Leading colleges of Kanpur (2009)

Why: Besides jeans, the colleges also banned girls from wearing tight-fit clothes, sleeveless blouses and high heels in order to not become an eve teasers’ target.

Where: Government college in Bhopal (2010)

Why: To instill Indian culture in the college. The authorities decided that jeans-pants were out for the teachers and saris were in.

Where: Krishna Menon College, Mumbai (2010)

Why: The reason given is that tight jeans taint the reputation of the college. Banning it apart, the college refused to give admission to girls who dared to wear a pair.

Where: Anna University, Chennai (2005)

Why: If jeans could offend the reputation of a Mumbai college, they can also affront a Chennai college’s dignity.

Where: In Jharkhand, by the Jharkhand Mukti Sangh (2012)

Why: The rebel outfit, self-appointed moral custodians, threatened girls who wore jeans or walked around without a dupatta with acid attacks.

Where: UP’s Shoram village (2011)

Why: A khap panchayat blamed the jeans for provoking eve-teasing and encouraging young couples to elope.




Recently, Bengali actor and Trinamool Congress legislator said that eve-teasing had been in practice for a long time and one of the key reasons for this was – “short dresses and short skirts worn by women instigates young men”.


Where: Manipur, by six student bodies and by Manipuri rebel group KYKL (2012)

Why: For moral and traditional reasons.

Where: In Mizoram schools, by the government (2010)

Why: Short skirts were banned to promote decency and discipline.

Where: In Kashmir by Jamiat-e-Islami (2012)

Why: Aimed mainly at tourist, the party intended that some tourists, mostly foreigners, are seen in mini-skirts and other objectionable dresses that are against their ethos and culture, and unacceptable to civil society. Kashmiris cannot, for the sake of their economy, give up their divine values at any cost.


Sleeveless ban:

Where: Mumbai’s St Xavier’s College (Since forever)

Why: The College does not allow sleeveless or low-necked tops, short skirts or shorts. The reason given is the “conservative code of conduct”.

Where: Chennai Colleges (2005)

Why: Simplicity, decency and morality – the three reasons given. Also, “indecent attire” invites adverse public reactions and incites sexual harassment of students. Colleges have banned: Low-waist jeans with short tops, students must only wear long, loose shirts over jeans. Sleeveless dresses, mini-skirts and shorts have already been banned. Sleeveless churidar kurtas are also a no-no.

Where: Kanpur Colleges (2009)

Why: Sleeveless tops and high heels were banned for teachers, after they banned jeans for women in the colleges. This was done so that students didn’t protest for the jeans ban and also for protection from “eve-teasing”.

Where: Orissa (2006)

Why: For moral purpose, students in almost 500 government colleges cannot wear jeans, skirts or sleeveless tops. Girls are only allowed to wear Indian attire.


In India say, “Jeans” or “Skirt”; the government officials, college authorities, rebel groups, parents and khaps will be unanimous in their ire against the piece of fabric. Ultimately, this issue is about basic human nature. Humans are social beings, we generally like being around other people, and we generally needs friends around us. But we constantly blame “society” for imposing these regulations on us. What we seem to be forgetting is that we make up society, we impose these regulations on ourselves. Right or wrong, is dressing a certain way during daily routine truly a bad thing? Will western clothing destroy Indian culture? If Indian culture is so fragile that by merely wearing western outfit it gets destroyed, then what is the strength of such culture?


Does “indecent” clothing provoke rape?

Obviously there are bigger issues here than just clothes. We’re talking victim blaming, the question of consent, etc. Clothes, often seen as the domain of women, are being used as the scapegoat for what is ultimately a men’s issue. 99% of people who rape are men. Instead of teaching men to control themselves, women are being taught that they should prevent sexual assault by dressing modestly as not to tempt men. Our society teaches ‘Don’t get raped’ instead of ‘Don’t rape’. Slutwalk is a chance for women to gather in protest of the myth that a woman is asking to be sexually assaulted by what she is wearing. The point of Slutwalk is to enforce the truth that those who experience sexual assault are never at fault. Too often are rape victims blamed because of the clothing they were wearing, that they were asking for it because they were wearing a short skirt or a low neck top. Once again, they’re missing the point. The real issue is that rape is never okay in any circumstance, no matter what the victim is wearing. What she is wearing has nothing to do with consent. Her dress is not a ‘yes’. Modesty did not protect many girls from rape. If provocative clothing is responsible for rape, then there should be plenty of rapes among naturists who are naked, and rape must be a rule in nudist beaches but on the contrary, most naturist women feel safe in nudist beaches.


The veil of woman:

Regardless of how individual women subjectively experience the veil, whether as oppressive, restrictive, protective, or liberating, the need for the veil, the social imperative for the veil, comes ultimately from men, particularly from ascetic men who are not well disposed toward women, who hold women in low esteem, and who particularly despise women’s sexuality and see it a threat that must be suppressed and controlled. The question at stake is whose honor is being protected: that of the woman beneath the clothes, her father’s, her husband’s, her family’s, her community’s, or her state’s?  This question displays a realization that the veil is not and cannot be just about the woman’s self expression. Its implications go all the way to the level of state political governance. Nowhere can this be better seen than in Saudi Arabia where the hostility toward women in relation to the exposure of their bodies is blatant and openly expressed on the public streets. Sherifa Zuhur in her article, From Veil to Veil, relates several incidents of vicious harassment by the religious police on public streets for small infractions of the ultra-strict dress code for women – which seems to require considerable organized effort to sustain. It is clearly not about protecting women. Women are the persecuted, and their visible presence is nearly criminal.


Nanotechnology and clothing:

Nanotechnology can improve fabrics, making them harder wearing and more resistant to dirt, water, oils or other chemicals. Many of these developments are based on what happens in nature. For example the lotus leaf is covered in nanoscale waxy “bumps” which causes water to bead and be shed easily. Fruits such as peaches are covered in tiny hairs which achieve the same effect. By incorporating such features in manufactured materials they too can be made water and stain repellent. Nanotechnology is also leading to the incorporation of other features in clothing. This includes electronics for regulating temperature and monitoring health, lighter impact resistant materials and even shape-changing and color-changing abilities. Although initially being developed by the military these could be used by police and rescue workers, offering for example constant monitoring of vital signs and greater body protection. 


Nanotextiles are not itty bitty socks and shirts but fabrics from natural, synthetic and regenerated fibers that have been embedded with nanoparticles for specific properties. Nanotechnology can be used to give fabrics a wide range of properties such as being:

•Resistant to spills and stains,

•Create superior temperature moderation when the wearer moves between hot and cold external temperatures,

•Really permanent press and wrinkle resistance,

•Able to oxide smog,

•Antibacterial and antifungal,

•Color fast without dyes because the color is a function of the nanoparticle,  

•UV Protection,


•Insect repellent, 




•Fire resistant.


How do we purify the air we all breathe by clothing? The catalytic clothing:

This innovation is down to The Catalytic Clothing (CatClo) project, collaboration between the University of Sheffield and the London College of Fashion. Together, they have engineered a new substance that, when added to clothing in the same way you might use fabric conditioner, would clean the air as you go about your daily business. It could dramatically cut pollution and pollution-related illnesses like asthma. Catalytic Clothing is an innovative biomedical and environmental project that spans the art/science domain. The possibility that innovative pollution degrading materials can be incorporated into the fabric of our cities and even our clothes to help provide a solution to urban air pollution is simply fantastic. The trick that makes CatClo able to clean the air around us is that it contains titanium dioxide. This reacts with the nitrogen dioxide in polluted air and in effect traps it in the clothing fibers. When you wash your clothes, the fabric is then cleansed. One person wearing clothes treated with a new additive would be able to remove the same amount of nitrogen oxides that are produced each day by the average family car. This, technically, is not a new technology either. Similar methods utilizing titanium dioxide have been used in concrete and paint.

Fiber optic clothing:



 Fiber optics are long, thin strands of very pure glass about the diameter of a human hair. They are arranged in bundles called optical cables and used to transmit light signals over long distances. The light in a fiber-optic cable travels through the core (hallway) by constantly bouncing from the cladding (mirror-lined walls), a principle called total internal reflection. Because the cladding does not absorb any light from the core, the light wave can travel great distances. However, some of the light signal degrades within the fiber, mostly due to impurities in the glass. The extent that the signal degrades depends on the purity of the glass and the wavelength of the transmitted light. Hundreds of very fine optical fibers are woven into the fabric, creating a shimmering effect as light escapes from the surface of the fibers. Smart Shirt is a computer t-shirt woven with fiber optics and electrically conductive thread that can monitor the health of soldiers, rescuers, the elderly and others who are medically vulnerable. The main advantage of Smart Shirt is that it provides a very systematic way of monitoring the vital signs of humans in an undisturbing manner. To use this new technology; first sensors are attached to the body, then the shirt is pulled on and sensors are attached to the shirt.


Future clothes to improve mood & memory:

Future Clothes could use Engineered Scents to change mood and enhance memory. Wired to emit specially designed aromatherapy fragrances that can alternatively evoke memories, enhance alertness or increase calmness, the concept of a wardrobe dubbed Smart Second Skin apparel could radically transform your daily sensory environment into a tool for fighting Alzheimer’s disease or simply changing moods. Even more reactive, the clothing could connect to biometric sensors that track the wearer′s heart rate or stress levels. The clothing could then relax the user during stressful situations, or record ambient scents for later replication during happier moments. On the more medical side, scented clothes could help elderly minds stay sharp.


Stealth Bomb Fabrics:

It seems that Sensory Perception™ Technology is a micro-encapsulation delivery system for textiles that allows fragrances or active ingredients of almost any kind to be chemically trapped inside and then released from clothing, bedding, towels or other textiles over an extended period of time. Conventional textile and fragrance manufacturers and advertising agencies are ecstatic with the whole new area of textile marketing and sales angles. They are promoting the benefits of Sensory Perception™ Technology to give your clothing fragrance, to provide aromatherapy while you sleep when added to your sheets and blankets, and to deliver health and well-being benefits such as moisturizing, anti-cellulite, and insect repellent while you wear their clothing. These artificial fragrances and active ingredients are not just mixed in with the other easy care finishes when the garment is made. This new garment technology chemically binds these little microscopic capsules of chemicals with the textile fibers. The capsules of chemicals ‘break’ through normal wear or use and release their microscopic payloads. Promoters proclaim that “textiles treated with Sensory Perception™ Technology retain their benefits over a long period of time and through multiple washes.” People with chemical sensitivities might not be delighted with the prospects of little chemical bombs stealthily exploding capsules of chemicals in their clothing or bedding. And people, in general, might not be enthralled with absorbing yet more unknown chemicals through their skin, whether the chemicals might be beneficial or not.


Ayurvastra: Herbal Couture for Improving Health:

Ayurvastra is a branch of Ayurveda, the ancient 5,000 year old Indian system of Vedic healthcare. Loosely translated, “ayur” is Sanskrit for health, “veda” means wisdom, and “vastra” is cloth or clothing. Ayurvastra clothing is made from organic cotton fabric that has been permeated with special herbs and oils that promote health and cure special diseases depending upon the blends of embedded herbs and oils. Ayurvastra cloth is used by Ayurveda health clinics in the treatment of a broad range of diseases such as diabetes, skin infections, eczema, psoriasis, hypertension and high blood pressure, asthma, arthritis, rheumatism, and even some forms of cancer. Ayurvastra clothing is believed to help restore balance within the body’s systems and strengthen the immune system. Ayurvastra cloth is completely free of synthetic chemicals and toxic irritants and is totally organic, sustainable and biodegradable. So, if it works, how does it work? Conventional Western medicine and traditional Eastern medicine recognize the skin as being the body’s largest organ. The skin can act as a barrier but also as a conduit for outside substances to enter the body. The concept of dyes that are natural and improve the wearer’s health is fascinating, but you might want to wait for more research to determine the effectiveness of Ayurvastra before you rush to your local organic clothing store or Google the Web looking for suppliers.


Wearable technology:

A combination of e-textile, nanotextile and new fabric manufacturing technologies has provided the backdrop to a new generation of wearable technologies. Items you wear will be able to charge your phone, display tweets, track the path of an infection or monitor your heart. The variety of applications is growing rapidly.  Below is a list of just some of the current garment-friendly applications available right now:

  • Pressure sensitive control panels connected to mobile phones/radios/Mp3 players
  • Photovoltaic printed panels generating energy from sunlight
  • Impact sensing/mapping garment panels
  • GPS & Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) devices
  • Physiological monitoring devices
  • Chemical/biological material detection sensors
  • Wearable display panels


Electricity from clothing:

Researchers at the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center are working with fiber nano-generators which, when combined with clothing, convert the energy of bending or stretching your arm into electricity. Through the piezoelectric properties (referring to when a strain, force or pressure is converted into an electrical charge) of the nano-generators, it’s possible that enough power can be created to charge devices such as smartphones or MP3 players carried within the clothing. Another group of researchers have invented Power Felt, a fabric based on carbon nano-tubes woven onto flexible plastic fibers to create thermoelectric properties which use both motion and body heat to create electricity.  


Clothing, crime and forensic medicine:

We all know how blood stained clothing at the scene of crime help catch the offender. A piece of clothing can also be used to strangulate or suffocate victim by the offender. Clothing can also be used to commit suicide by hanging. Also, the lint on a person’s clothing is likely to contain material transferred from the various environments through which that person has passed, enabling forensic examiners to collect and examine lint to determine the movements and activities of the wearer.   


Fiber Analysis:

Fiber evidence can be found at crime scenes in a number of different ways. In personal contact between the clothing of a suspect and a victim, cross-transfers may occur. In a break-in, fibers can become fixed to window screens, or broken glass. If a fight occurs, fibers can become fixed to a number of objects. In an auto accident, fibers, threads, or even pieces of clothing may adhere to parts of a vehicle. Laboratory examination of fibers is principally performed using a polarizing light microscope. Using this instrument and oils of known refractive indices, a scientist can examine and compare color, thickness, cross sectional shape, amount of delusterant and composition. Other instrumental techniques, such as FTIR, are commonly used to determine synthetic fiber composition. UV-VIS microspectrophotometry can be used to discriminate color in the ultraviolet and visible regions that cannot be discerned visibly. Analysis of dyes present in fibers can also be performed.


Pets clothing:

In the US and UK the market for clothing for pets is growing. But is it a sensible bit of indulgence or an inappropriate fad? The most common reasons that dog owners choose to clothe their dogs are protection, warmth, and fun. Clothing is appropriate for animals in some circumstances. For old, bald, thin, tiny or ill dogs a layer to provide warmth or waterproofing in cold weather may be beneficial. However, when it comes to communicating with other dogs – it is hard enough for dogs to ‘read’ the body language between different breed types. Therefore, potentially there is a problem here. A ‘dressed up’ dog may not be understood and another dog may be aggressive towards it, or the ‘dressed’ dog may get frustrated in the presence of other dogs and become aggressive itself. Though wearing clothing is not natural to a dog and some want nothing to do with it, many dogs do adjust the idea. Some just tolerate it. Some appear completely indifferent. Others seem to soak up and thrive on all the attention their outfit brings them.   


Clothing and communication:


Clothing- the best way of non-verbal communication:

To the layperson, physical appearance doesn’t seem to be a part of what is normally thought of as “nonverbal communication.” However, in the field of nonverbal communication, researchers consider physical appearance one of the most important parts of nonverbal communication and behavior. How you dress has an especially large effect on how persuasive you appear. This is primarily because of clothing’s ability to convey credibility. Many aspects of your clothing can influence how others perceive your credibility.


Nonverbal communication is the use of gestures, facial expressions, and other non-audible expressions to transmit a message. Nonverbal communication is usually understood as the process of communication through sending and receiving wordless (mostly visual) cues between people. Messages can be communicated through gestures and touch, by body language or posture, by facial expression and eye contact. Most social psychologists will tell you that nonverbal communication makes up about two-thirds of all communication between two people or between one speaker and a group of listeners. Nonverbal communication can complement, repeat, contradict, regulate, replace, or accentuate our verbal and vocal messages. Elements such as physique, height, weight, hair, skin color, gender, odors, and clothing send nonverbal messages during interaction. Research into height has generally found that taller people are perceived as being more impressive. What you wear can tell people a lot about you before you open your mouth to speak. In fact, many psychologists agree that close to 90 percent of what people remember about an encounter is related to nonverbal communication, a large portion of that being your overall appearance and demeanor. Your dress conveys nonverbal clues about your personality, education, background, financial status and credibility. These clues can break down barriers and launch careers, or create barriers and hamper careers.


Clothes not only affect the way others perceive us, but they affect the way we feel about ourselves. People with new, stylish clothes generally feel more comfortable. Clothes that do not fit well make people look uncomfortable, unkempt, and disorganized. Clothes that are dirty, worn, or wrinkled can give others the impression that you don’t care enough about yourself. Some then assume that, if you don’t care enough to look professional, you don’t care enough to do professional work. Clothes can also communicate economic status, occupation, and values.


Although the most basic purpose of wearing clothing is to shelter our bodies from nature’s extremities, clothing can also be used to communicate a number of things about ourselves to other people. For instance, people might wear certain types of clothing to show what their beliefs are. Muslim women may wear hijabs or a burqas; Jewish men may wear yarmulkes; and Christians may wear a cross around their necks to present to others that they follow a particular lifestyle and participate in specific traditions. Likewise, clothing can also communicate what nationality you are. In many traditional ceremonies or festivities, each culture has a certain style of dress that is appropriate. Indian saris, Japanese kimonos, Scottish kilts, Afghani turbans, and Filipino barongs are just a few examples of clothing that are specific to a culture. In the military as well, clothing is used to identify soldiers that are in different ranks through their uniforms and the amount of medals they wear. Besides communicating about a person’s beliefs and nationality, clothing can be used as a non-verbal outlet to attract others. Men and women might adorn themselves with accessories and keep up with the latest fashion trends to attract partners they are interested in. In this case, clothing becomes a means of self-expression, and people can sense power, wealth, sex appeal, personality, or creativity just by looking at what a person is wearing. Most recently at the New York Fashion Week, we saw that clothing can even reflect a society’s state of economy. Since our economy is still on the road to recovery, designers focused on less expensive fabrics and more wearable, practical designs when creating clothing for this season. Clothing can say a lot about you, and it can also tell you a lot about others.


My theory of thermoregulation vis-à-vis clothing:

Various researchers conducted various studies of different clothing and their effect on thermoregulation. Overall, these experiments indicate that people wearing polyester fibers (non-breathable, non-absorbent) in hot environments tend to have higher body temperatures, sweat more, and experience greater discomfort than those wearing cotton or wool. Recent research suggests that neither the inclusion of modest amounts of clothing nor the clothing fabric alter thermoregulation or thermal comfort during exercise in warm conditions. Clothing construction does alter thermoregulation during and following exercise in the cold, where fishnet construction offers greater heat dissipation.


Even though all humans have similar thermoregulatory ability; they differ in body weight, surface area, sweating capacity, subcutaneous fat, metabolic rates, blood circulation and life styles. Hence, different humans have differing thermoregulatory capacity under similar environments and therefore a single formula of thermoregulation vis-à-vis clothes is unlikely to succeed. For example, I sweat a lot even when other people in my environment do no sweat. Even though everybody says cotton clothes are good in summer, I find it uncomfortable as I drench in summer and my cotton shirt becomes very wet soon and prevent air circulation around skin. This is the reason why different researchers are finding different results in determining thermoregulatory capacity of clothing. The fiber type, the fabric construction and the clothing shapes & style (garment construction) must follow thermoregulation of the wearer and since different humans have different thermoregulatory abilities under same environment, one can never make a generalized statement about heat regulation vis-à-vis clothing.


Sweat has two components, sweat water and sweat water vapor. Heat is lost through sweating from body only when sweat water is converted into vapor. There is lot of confusion regarding scientific clothing terminology. In my view, breathable fabric means fabric like cotton which has large pores allowing free air movement across it, increasing air circulation around skin and thereby increases convective and evaporative heal loss in summer. Water vapor from evaporation of sweat on skin will also be lost through breathable fabric. Adequate ventilation or air movement can reduce the insulation properties of clothing by 5 to 50% by increasing convective heat loss. Higher the breathability, lesser the thermal insulation. Highly breathable fabric like cotton will promote convective heat loss in winter where you want to conserve body heat. So cotton is highly undesirable in winter. As far as moisture (water) of sweating is concerned, fabric can absorb the moisture (e.g. cotton), fabric can wick the moisture (e.g. polyester microfiber) or fabric can be moisture neutral (nylon) meaning allowing sweat accumulation on skin. However, when cotton becomes wet by sweating, it also becomes non-porous and thereby prevents air circulation and hence reduces heat loss from skin. So wet cotton is not good to wear in summer and people who sweat a lot should avoid cotton shirt in summer. Yes, for those who sweat less, cotton is good in summer.


 We are often told that air is the best insulator and air layer between skin and clothes insulate body thermally from environment as air has a very low thermal conductivity. I have a different view. I have been wearing clothes since childhood and I always felt that most of the times, my clothes (inner layer if multilayered) touch body surface. Clothes before being worn have the temperature of the environment, the ambient temperature; but after being worn, its temperature starts changing as per the temperature of the skin as clothes constantly touch the skin. Also, even though thermal conductivity of air is low (0.026 W/mK), it is not zero and therefore body temperature will slowly affect the clothes temperature even when they are not touching the skin. The temperature of clothes is determined by ambient temperature on the exterior and skin temperature in the interior. So equilibrium is reached between temperature of clothes exterior and temperature of clothes interior. For example, if skin temperature is 34 deg C and ambient temperature is 26 deg C, the equilibrium temperature of clothes would be 34 + 26 = 60/2 = 30 deg C. So body will lose heat to clothes. But the temperature gradient between skin and environment is 8 deg C while temperature gradient between skin and clothing is 4 deg C and therefore body will lose far more heat from uncovered parts than from covered parts. Hence, no matter what is the type of fiber or type of fabric construction (except fishnet construction), you have to cover as much part of body including head to prevent heat loss in winter; and more the layer of clothing, more heat will be retained as air trapped between layers will be heat insulator. Fishnet fabric construction with large holes of few mm in size will definitely cause convective heat loss in cold climate no matter whether the full body is covered. The highly breathable 100 % cotton fabric which will also cause convective heat loss by ventilating air around skin but thick cotton fabric or multiple layer cotton garments will reduce air ventilation and prevent heat loss in winter. However, if skin temperature is 34 deg C and ambient temperature is 40 deg C, the equilibrium temperature of clothes would be 34 + 40 = 74/2 = 37 deg C which is higher than skin temperature and hence body will gain heat from clothes in hot weather. Since temperature gradient between environment and skin is 6 deg C, and between clothing and skin is 3 deg C, covering the body with clothing will reduce heat gain in summer but at the cost of evaporative heat loss from sweating as clothes covering will reduce air circulation over sweat. So heat gain from clothing (albeit lesser than from environment) and heat loss from sweating need to be balanced during summer. During cold weather there is no sweating except during exercise. But during hot weather, the only way body can lose heat is by evaporating sweat as both ambient temperature and equilibrium clothes temperature would be higher than skin temperature and therefore heat loss by convection, conduction and radiation would be zero or even some heat gain. Now, any clothes that breathe will support sweat evaporation by constantly moving air on sweat surface on skin. So cotton will help heat loss. However, cotton is hygroscopic & soaks sweat, and becomes wet, and wet cotton prevent air movement through it thereby prevent sweat evaporation from skin. When a garment gets wet the insulating air is replaced by humidity first as water vapor and then as water, which in contrast is a very good conductor of heat and a much poorer insulator. Therefore, body heat is lost rapidly under wet conditions but the moisture of the garment need to be evaporated otherwise wearing wet clothing is uncomfortable and dampness will increase relative humidity of trapped air and prevent sweat evaporation. Also, evaporative heat loss is far greater than conductive heat loss. So we need clothes that breathe as well as do not get too much wet by sweat. So clothes made from wicking fabric (wicking fabric is less wet than clothes that absorb sweat) in combination with cotton fibers (breathability) will be best. Breathability will help evaporate sweat from skin and wickingness will carry moisture away from skin to exterior for further evaporation of sweat. Also, wet or wicking clothes do lose heat when moisture evaporates and hence the temperature of wet or wicking clothes will fall which may enhance heat loss from skin by conduction and convection. But wet cotton does not evaporate moisture fast as compared to wicking fabric which does evaporate moisture fast. So equilibrium clothes temperature would also depend on its water absorbing property and water evaporative property. Nylon fabrics will not absorb sweat water and therefore its equilibrium clothes temperature would solely depend on ambient temperature and skin temperature. Cotton would absorb sweat and also evaporate sweat albeit very slowly and therefore its equilibrium clothes temperature would be lower than nylon while wicking fabric would wick sweat water away from skin to its exterior for rapid evaporation and therefore its equilibrium clothes temperature would be lowest as compared to cotton & nylon in hot weather. So fine balance between breathability and wettability of fabric need to be maintained in hot weather. Therefore light colored, poly-cotton fabric (65 % cotton with 35 % microfiber wicking polyester) clothes would be ideal in summer.  The billowing of fabric during movement can create air currents that increase evaporation & cooling, and loose clothes cause more billowing while tight clothes impede billowing. So loose clothes are comfortable in summer. Since full body covering will prevent evaporation of sweat no matter the type of fabric; wear sleeveless clothing in hot summer. Sleeveless clothing will cover torso of body preventing body core getting heated up from hot environment by thermal insulation of clothing and at the same time, arms and legs will help lose heat by sweat evaporation. Remember; wear only single layer clothing in hot weather as multiple layers will retain heat no matter type of fabric or type of garment construction.


The moral of the story:

1. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic and no other non-human animal show any inclination to wear or possess clothing. English words ‘Clothing’ and ‘Clothes’ are synonymous; meaning articles worn to cover the body. A cloth means fabric or material formed by weaving, knitting, pressing, or felting natural or synthetic fibers; and cloths is pleural of cloth. So cloths make garments which we wear as clothes.


2. Evolutionary biologically our ancestors adapted to clothing for thermal protection and not for modesty. As societies, cultures and civilizations evolved; gender differentiation, modesty, social status and identity also became purposes of clothing.


3. A traditional list of immediate “basic needs” include food (including water), shelter, and clothing. Indeed, being ill-clothed is emblematic of acute poverty.


4. No matter how attractive your clothing may be, you cannot be well-dressed unless the body is also well cared for. This means that the hair, skin, teeth, and hands all contribute to a well groomed, attractive appearance.


5. The dress must follow the body of a woman, not the body following the shape of the dress.


6. You are what you wear. Our clothes tell a lot about us. Our clothes tell us who we are in society and tell others about our personalities, our wants, needs, talents, dispositions and destination. The way you dress can make a statement about your taste in music, your career, your economic status and your place in society. Clothing affects how other people perceive us as well as how we think about ourselves.


7. Clothing behaviors often come from internal motivations such as emotions, experiences, and culture. By wearing a certain type of clothes, we assume what we become or what we really are.


8. Psychologists assert that two third of human communication is non-verbal. Clothing is the best way of non-verbal communication.


9. Emotions become strongly associated with clothes because clothes are connected with memory. Clothes almost work like photographs: they bring back memories of a moment in your life.


10. The clothing we wear does affect our psychological processes. Our thought processes are based on physical experiences that set off associated abstract concepts. Now it appears that those experiences include the clothes we wear. Clothes invade the body and brain, putting the wearer into a different psychological state. This is enclothed cognition: the effects of clothing on cognitive processes. 


11. Without polymers, we would have no clothes as polymers make fibers, fibers are spun into yarns, yarns are woven or knitted into fabric, and fabric is constructed into clothing. The polymers in clothes can come from plant materials, animals or synthetics. Cellulose (cotton fiber) is made up of glucose sub-units and keratin (wool fiber) is made up of amino acid sub-units; since our body is also made up of glucose & amino acid sub-units, these natural fibers are comfortable to skin as compared to synthetic fibers polyester & nylon.


12.A fabric gains “high performance” cachet by exhibiting an exceptionally high level of “performance” for some important quality such as wind protection, fire retardant, mildew resistance, water proofing, warmth, moisture transfer, tear resistance, impact transference, UV protection or other fabric performance qualities that are desirable under some circumstances. Merino Wool is the best natural high performance fabric.


13. People will be astonished to know that water & energy footprint of cotton is far more than polyester; and 25 % of total world’s pesticides are consumed by cotton cultivation. No single fabric is best for the environment. Clothing harms environment. Extended use, clothes donation & reuse, and recycling of clothing are the best way to reduce environmental harms of clothing.


14. Clothes act as a barrier for transfer of heat and moisture (water vapor and liquid water) between skin and atmosphere in either direction. The type of fiber, the type of fabric construction and the type of garment construction will determine the thermoregulatory ability of clothing. The science of clothing is based on premise that clothes for hot weather would assist in transferring heat and evaporated sweat out of body into atmosphere; clothes for cold weather would assist in retaining body heat and preventing wind-chill; and clothes for monsoon will prevent entry of moisture from atmosphere into skin. Various researchers conducted various studies of different clothing and their effect on thermoregulation. Overall, these experiments indicate that people wearing polyester fibers (non-breathable, non-absorbent) in hot environments tend to have higher body temperatures, sweat more, and experience greater discomfort than those wearing cotton or wool. Recent research suggests that neither the inclusion of modest amounts of clothing nor the clothing fabric alter thermoregulation or thermal comfort during exercise in warm conditions.


15. My theory of thermoregulation vis-à-vis clothing asserts that one can never make a generalized statement about heat regulation vis-à-vis clothing. The fiber type, the fabric construction and the clothing shapes & style (garment construction) must follow thermoregulation of the wearer. Different humans have differing thermoregulatory abilities under same environment and therefore clothing that can produce warmth or cold in one human may not give similar effect in other human. I also postulate the concept of equilibrium clothes temperature after wearing of clothes, and temperature gradient between skin and equilibrium clothes temperature is different from temperature gradient between skin and environment, and it is this difference that will determine what kind of clothing should be worn in extreme climates. Those who sweat a lot should avoid wearing pure cotton clothing in hot summer. Any clothing that is breathable and also having wicking property will be ideal in hot weather. Loose fitting, light colored, single layer, sleeveless, poly-cotton fabric (65 % cotton with 35 % microfiber wicking polyester) clothes would be ideal in summer. Any clothing that fully covers body including head will provide thermal insulation to prevent heat loss in cold weather (except thin single layer 100 % cotton fabric) and more the layers of clothing, more heat will be retained as air trapped between layers will be heat insulator.


Dr. Rajiv Desai. MD.

November 1, 2012



Once I asked my friend how I look in a new shirt. He told me that my shirt looks good because I wear it. Now you may call it friendly sycophancy but there is some element of truth in it. Occasionally, personality of the wearer may overshadow importance of clothes.

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