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Issue 16; Functionality in Fashion, Long Read

I want to ask a question,  do clothes require a purpose of practicality?

I am of course aware they cover us, they keep us warm etc, but I can have two outfits that do this, so why do I have a whole closet of clothes to choose from.  Vibrant colours to muted shades, the various jackets/blazers I own, the different coloured brogues, the list goes on. Work wear has always been part of fashion, the denim jean, my go to trouser, came from hard working farm workers in America that needed a harder wearing cloth than the cotton they were used to using.  The military jacket that is high up this current spring as its name suggests came from the Military, again we can thank America for that also.

We could discuss the list never ending with the cargo trouser or shorts have lots of pockets and used by workmen mostly.  But do all clothes have this now in our day and age and do they need one or are we a now just a world of peacocks for our own desire.  I know, deep right? But we live in a world where (I am one) we dress up or in a way that pleases ourselves and those around us, I do not mind who likes or dislikes my style really, but part of us does that recognition which in part is why Instagram exists in our world.

In history, even recent history we used to have one suit for work and Sunday best, we have work clothes for some roles but overalls do have function but as we move into wearing work wear outside of their created purpose do they lose reason behind them.  Many lower classes were lucky to own a suit, at least a nice one and may have lived in it, worked in it under overalls, then wore to the pub and home with the wife and kids. As mentioned earlier in America, cowboys were users of jeans as were hardy and could be lived in (I know I live in my various jeans).  The Sunday Best was for going to church, and was mostly just a spruce up of your normal wear. We all lived in shirts and trousers and jackets, from all classes. But as fashion has got cheaper, the functionality of clothes has gone out the window. Do they serve much more of function as to look nice to others and ourselves.

Instagram is a case in point of where we are with fashion, the look at me mentality of our generation, even though I am older than others doing what I do here, I am still in that mind set.  And with older men also getting in on the game in a world where my generation are more relaxed with ourselves and like to wear different things and are now all hitting or close to 40.

We still have work wear, even though recently some of this has now hit the high street as just clothes to wear about town.  Even the boiler suit, worn by many trades is now apparently something to go to some trendy hipster bar wearing and not in an ironic way.  The trainer or sneaker to my friends on the other side of the ocean also has lost its actually function to train in, as in go to the gym or run as many are styled on.  People collect them and don’t even wear them these days, so we have gone past even the peacock. We could just wear a hardy pair of oxfords or boots depending on what terrain you are based on, even I am sat writing this with a pair of white trainers that have never seen a treadmill or exercise, I have another pair for that purpose.  Sure they would actually work in the gym but then they were be more battered and less white. So they have a function but I do not use them for this function, so have they lost the purpose of them being created. And do they still need a purpose.

I think over all these words you have noticed one thing, the answer to my question.  So conclusion, clothes no longer need a purpose, they are here to cover is and make us look a certain way.  Even though in the upper classes and more powerful you have always had this, just look a kings and pharaohs but to the Average Joe we are now the kings of our own looks and we have thrown purpose away and gone straight to consume, via Instagram.