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A Brief History of Clothes

Even back in the Stone Age mankind has always had the need to express itself through body language and symbolism. Even when clothing was not the norm, this was done through body painting, scarring, tattooing and body piercings. Clothing historically has been worn for both symbolic and practical uses. It has denoted wealth and class status in society, belonging, culture and has been used for personal lifestyle expression. During the times of Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, new cutting and sewing techniques were developed and enabled clothes to demonstrate social status in society’s hierarchy.

Following the period of the Roman Empire, clothing took on two directions; farmer clothing using durable fabrics and high society expressing wealth and power. The state authorities also controlled the way in which people dressed; the noble a person was, the more elegantly they could dress. However no one could be more gracefully dressed than the King himself!

The modern clothing style that we relate to today was born from the French Revolution.  People starting to dress more simply and similar to each other to bring in a state of equality and started to set the overall fashion trend.

Industrialism went on to see the middle class adopt more of the assets from the noble by way of the introduction of the ‘suit’. The suit was later used by the working class as well becoming the main male outfit for decades. During the ‘revolution’ in the sixties the youth took over leading the fashion witnessing the denim jeans culture being born.

Since the sixties, fashion has changed at a rapid pace due to globalisation and the availability of different sources of media. The uniform has always symbolised authority and a degree of competence. The Swiss Guards, the Papal bodyguards were the first to use uniforms in the beginning of the 19th century, with the modern camouflage uniform being developed around 1850.

At the beginning of the 19th century society saw government offices being established and they were introduced to the public by the staff wearing uniforms, with the first international organisation to use uniforms being the Salvation Army in 1865.

So what does the history of clothes and uniforms tell us about today’s use of corporate wear?

Ever since ancient Greece clothes have denoted who people are and what they stand for. In today’s business environment clothes represent professionalism, success and competence. It also supports equality and solidarity. Due to globalisation and an increase in competition, your brand is becoming more and more important in reaching your target audience. Corporate clothing plays an important part in this.

There are great possibilities for companies to strengthen their profile using the right corporate wear bringing order and equality to any workforce.

Posted by Mathew Smart on 22-Mar-2016

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