Attitude of Dress

Writ. 121

15 September 2003

Throughout history there has been a large shift in the styles of clothes people wear. In early America there was no debate over style because there was only one style of clothes. The early 1900’s saw a change from dressing in somewhat similar clothes to dressing more to fit into a group. The different social groups started separating themselves by the style of clothes they wore. They wore the clothes to represent their attitude. Since then, the battle over styles of clothes has only increased. Through the years people, especially teenagers, found that by dressing a certain way they could make a statement about themselves. Thus, two examples of how different groups change styles through the years, but do not change attitudes are the rich teenagers and the rebellious teenagers.

First, though the clothes of the wealthy class have changed over the years, the attitude they want to show has not. The elite class has always been looking for ways to separate themselves from the common people. To do this they bought the most expensive clothes they could find, and wore the best jewelry. By doing this they set the standard for society. If you wanted to be part of the wealthy faction, you had to dress like the wealthy class. Wearing very expensive clothes is not always the most comfortable, but it shows others that you have money. The rich wore flashy suits and dresses in the 1900’s, and they are the only ones that can afford the fur and skins of animals. They wear them as coats, scarves, and hats merely to show their status. Today, though their styles have changed dramatically in 200 years, it is still the same group of elites with the same goals.

Not all wealthy people wear the expensive clothes, or want to be in the elite group. You have to be wealthy to afford the clothes in the wealthy class, but just because you are prosperous does not mean you have to be part of that group. They have the choice of being in that group, but do not have to. Hence, the styles of clothes people wear shows how they want to be perceived, and not necessarily what they really are.

Next, the teenagers that have rebelled against their parents and society over the years have worn totally different clothes and have had completely different styles, but their attitude has not changed at all. For example, in the early 1900’s young men and women were tired of meeting the dress requirements of society. The girls were tired of having to be modest all the time, and wanted to disobey their parents. So they started wearing shorter skirts not because it was comfortable, but because they were told not to. Similarly in the 1960’s teenage boys started wearing their hair long not for comfort or looks, but because society told them to have short hair. The young adults found any way they could to rebel against society. The most recent example of teenagers rebelling is getting lots of tattoos and piercings. The general public tells children not to get tattoos or piercings, so if someone wants to show they are rebelling, they will get tattoos or piercings. Though it can be painful and not be appealing to the eye, they do it to rebel. Therefore, though the styles of the teenagers trying to be rebellious have dramatically changed over the years, the feelings of rebellion they are showing has not.

In conclusion, through the examples of teenagers that dress to rebel and those who dress to look wealthy, it proves that although the styles of groups change, attitude does not. People will always judge others by their appearance. If someone wants to be accepted into a certain group, they have to dress in the style of clothes that group wears. History shows that the different crowd’s styles have changed, but their attitude has not. They dress to make a statement, and not for how comfortable they are. The best way to control what people think of you is to dress the style that best describes it.