• 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
• Clothing and textiles have been important in human
history and reflects the materials available to a
civilization as well as the technologies that it has
• In medieval Europe
dress codes were
sometimes imposed upon
members of different
levels of society .
• From 1294 to the time
of French Revolution in
1789, the people were
expected to strictly
follow the system of
1.the wOrd ‘suMPtuary’ cOMes frOM the LatiN wOrd which
2.Sumptuary laws (1294 to 1789) were laws which
imposed social codes of food and dress upon
different strata of society in France.
3.These laws were meant to emphasise social
hierarchy and control behaviour of those
considered 'social inferiors', i.e., unprivileged.
4.They prevented social inferiors from wearing
certain clothes and consuming certain foods and
beverages associated with the aristocracy. As per
these laws only royalty could wear expensive
materials like ermine and fur, or silk, velvet and
1.During French Revolution a law was framed to
control through freedom of common people. The
social backwards and inferiors had to suffer in
form of not having rights for wearing clothes,
eating food, drinking beverages and hunting games
as rich people do. This law was framed to broaden
the valley between rich and poor.
2. The French Revolution ended these distinctions.
3.As we all know that the members of Jacobins club
caLLed theMseLves as ‘saNs cuLOttes’ tO distiNguish
themselves from the aristocracy who use to wear
fashiONabLe ‘KNee breeches’.
4. ‘saNs cuLOttes’ actuaLLy MeaNt ‘withOut KNee
• The color of France flag-Blue, White and
Red became popular for their clothing
often in the form of the red and blue pinned
• Other political symbols too became the
part of dress: the red cap of liberty, long
trousers and the revolutionary cockade
pinned on to a hat.
• The French and American Revolution as
well as the influence of figures like Marie
Antoinette inspired a variety of fashions
among different groups.
• Marie Antoinette , Queen of France, was
one of the most influential figures of
fashiONs duriNg the 1770’s aNd 1780’s
especially when it came to hairstyles.
French Revolution had raised some
what equality in the people. But this
did not meant that all kinds of people
had freedom to wear what ever
dress they want.
Because of this reason, different
kinds of people decided their own
kind of dressing style. Therefore the
•In Victorian era style of clothing means emphasising difference between
men and women.
•The men in the Victorian England must be serious, strong, aggressive and
independent; but women were expected to be obedient, passive, should look
•Because of this women were trained to be like this from childhood. There
was no difference between children and adults in the dressing style. From
childhood girls were laced up tightly so that they don’t grow so fat. If they
grow elder they had to were corsets which are again tight fittings so that it
gives proper body shape. Having small waist, laced-up tightly showed that
women are attractive, graceful and beautiful.
•Many women believe these ideals like being attractive, graceful, the education
they received at home or school etc. from the childhood having small-waist,
suffering the pain caused by the corsets became a woman’s duty. But there were
also women who didn’t accept the pain.
•But by the 1830s, women argued for the right to vote. At this time only they
also campaigned for dress reforming. In many women’s magazines, many women
used to describe the torture and pain caused by the corsets. These magazines also
contained the illness caused due to these corsets among the girls.
•This lacing up or wearing corsets stopped the growth in the body. Muscles
didn’t devolve and spines got bend. There were many women suffering from
fever, acute weakness, faintness etc.
Their traditional costumes were frocks containing
long skirts. It was so long that it swept the
ground. This caused illness to the women. These
women were not able to work.
Seeing this situation the men and some women
decided that women will be prevented from
working and earning their savings. This changed
the position in which women are standing in the
It was said that if their cloths were
comfortable in working, they could work, earn
their living and be independent.
Many changes were
made possible in
Britain due to the
introduction of NEW
Other changes came
about because of the
two world wars and
new working condition
In 17th century Britain most of the
ordinary women possessed very
few clothes made up of ‘FLAX’ ,
’LINEN’ or ‘WOOL’ which had
These disadvantages are: Linen clothing can lose its charm if washed
with hard water. Therefore, one need to
be extra careful while washing texture
clothing with chemicals and detergents.
Texture clothing is restricted to a small
range of colours, providing not much
It wrinkles and creases easily which can
make one look untidy.
It is best not to fold linen clothing for
storage, one should hang it.
Care : Protecting fine wool clothing from
damage requires special care and caution
with storage and wear. Moths can quickly
damage wool. Wool is more often damaged
by stains picked up in the course of daily
wear. It stains easily and the damage is
usually permanent. Offensive odors can be
a problem as wool tends to absorb cooking
odors mustiness from long-term storage
that are difficult to remove.
Cleaning : Wool garments shrink when
Trade with India brought cheap , beautiful
and easy-to-maintain Indian chintzes within
the reach of many Europeans who could now
increase the size of their wardrobes .
Comfort : Some varieties of wool are itchy.
More often, skin reactions are caused by
those itchy, low quality wools.
•MOISTURE CONTROL : Cotton fabric is
breathable and transmits moisture away from the body
and is absorbent and removes liquid from the skin.
Cotton allows one to remain comfortable as you
exercise, keeping moisture from building up between
•INSULATION :Cotton clothing protects against
one’s skin and clothing.
from heat in the summer and cold in the winter by
providing thermal insulation as the cotton fabric traps
air between the fabric fibers . The cotton fibers in
clothing hold the fabric away from the skin, further
allowing for more air to be trapped between the skin
and fabric which helps with insulation and comfort.
• COMFORT :Cotton clothing is soft and
easily stretches, making it a comfortable
fabric to wear. Due to its softness and
comfort, it is often used in underwear and
undershirts, according to the International
Forum for Cotton Promotion.
• DURABILITY :The International Forum
for Cotton Promotion states that cotton
has a high tensile strength, making it
strong, durable and less likely to rip or
tear. It is 30 percent stronger when wet,
withstanding many washings in hot water.
HYPOALLERGENIC :Cotton fabric rarely causes
allergic reactions and wearing cotton is often
recommended for those with skin allergies, notes
Cotton Incorporated. Because cotton is hypoallergenic
and does not irritate skin, it is used in medical
products and bandages and gauze, and is the fabric of
choice when it comes to baby clothing.
WEATHERPROOF :Cotton fabrics can easily be
manufactured into weather-resistant garments through
construction and finishing of the fabric. For example,
cotton can be made into a tight, dense fabric with a
weather-repellent finish to make weather resistant
clothing, yet the cotton fabric retains its comfort and
• Till 1914,clothes were ankle length , they
had been since 13th century .
• By 1915 ,the hemline of the clothes rose
• THE TWO WORLD WARS are major
causes for these change . Many
women stopped wearing jeweler and
luxurious clothes .
• Clothes got shorter during 1st World
war due to practical necessity.
There were significant changes in the clothing of males
and females, during the colonial period in India.
There were people who reacted in three different ways
when the western-style of clothing came into India.
Cloth and clothing became very important symbols of
the national movement.
1. One who adapted the western style of clothing totally .
Wealthy Parsis from western India were the first one to adapt
it. Western style was very attractive for the dalits.
2. One who rejected western style totally.
3. One who incorporated the western style with the Indian
tradition. Most of the Bengalis used this way.
The policeman in Poona would take off their trousers in the
street and go home with tunic and undergarments only.
Sir M. Visveswaraya.: He wore a turban
with his three-piece Western style suit.
The caste system clearly defined what subordinate
and dominant caste Hindus should wear, eat, etc. and
these codes had the force of law.
The Shanars (also called Nadars) were considered a
‘subordinate caste’, they were prohibited from :
• Using umbrellas
• Wearing shoes
• Wearing golden ornaments
• Never covering their upper bodies before the upper
Under the influence of Christian missions, Shanar women converts began in the
1820s to wear tailored blouses and cloths to cover themselves like the upper
Soon Nairs, (one of the upper castes) attacked these women in public places
and tore off their upper cloths.
The Government of Travancore issued a proclamation in 1829 ordering Shanar
women ‘to abstain in future from covering the upper parts of the body.’
But this did not prevent Shanar Christian women, and even Shanar Hindus,
from adopting the blouse and upper cloth.
The government issued another proclamation permitting Shanar women, whether
Christian or Hindu, to wear a jacket, or cover their upper bodies ‘in any manner
whatever, But not like the women of high caste’.
Parsis in Bombay, 1863. (who adapted the western style clothing)
How did the
British react to
Indian ways of
How did Indians
react to British
When European traders first began
frequenting India, they were
distiNguished frOM the iNdiaN ‘turbaN
wearers’ as the ‘hat wearers.’
TURBAN FOR INDIANS
The turban in India was not just for
protection from the heat but was a
sign of respectability, and could not
be removed at will.
TURBAN (i.e. HAT) FOR WESTERNERS
TURBAN (Hat) FOR
Another such conflict related to the
wearing of shoes.
In 1824 - 1828, Governor- General
Amherst insisted that Indians take
their shoes off as a sign of respect
when they appeared before him.
In 1862, there was a famous case of defiance of
the ‘Shoe Respect’ rule in a Surat courtroom.
Manockjee Cowasjee Entee, an assessor in the
Surat Fouzdaree Adawlut, refused to take off his
Manockjee Cowasjee Entee
shoes in the court of the sessions judge.
• In India, khadi is not just a cloth, it is a whole
movement started by Mohandas Karamchand
Gandhi. The Khadi movement promoted an ideology,
an idea that Indians could be self reliant on Hemp and
be free from the high priced goods and clothes which
the British were selling to them.
• The British would buy cotton from India at cheap prices
and export them to Britain where they were woven to
make clothes. These clothes were then brought back to
India to be sold at hefty prices. The Khadi movement
aimed at boycotting foreign goods including cotton and
promoting Indian goods, thereby improving India's
Why all could not
wear khadi ?
• Mahatma Gandhi wanted the whole nation to be covered
by khadi. He had a believe that khadi can erase all the
religious and class difference between people.
• Motilal Nehru, Sarojini Naidu, kamala Nehru wore
clothes which were not made of khadi instead of this
they wore colorful designed clothes.
• Nationalists like Babasaheb Ambedkar never gave up the
western suit and preferred to wear a three piece suit.