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Clothing is an item or fabric which is made to cover part of the human body. Humans are the only animals which wear clothing, and almost all people do wear clothing.
The torso (body) can be covered by a (shirt), arms by sleeves, legs by (pants, jeans, or skirt), the hands by (gloves), feet by (socks and shoes, sandals, boots) and the head by (hats). Clothing is made from many materials, such as cotton, wool, or polyester fabrics and leather. In cold climates, people also wear heavy, thick coats such as trenchcoats.
Clothing protects the human body from the hot sun and high temperatures in warm tropical countries (such as Cuba). Clothing such as thick wool coats and boots keeps the human body warm in very cold temperatures (such as in the Canadian arctic). As well, clothing protects people from insects that might hurt a person if his or her body is not covered up.
Clothing is also worn for decoration, as a fashion (clothing). People from different cultures wear different clothing, and have different beliefs and customs about what type of clothing should be worn. For many people, clothing is a status symbol. It helps people project an image. Often, clothing is a form of self expression. Adults in different social or work situations present different views of themselves by the clothes they wear. Young people have an entirely different form of dress to express their personalities. Often people will simply follow popular fashion styles so that they will fit in. Clothing is far more than just a means to protect our bodies.
Origin of clothing
There is no easy way to be sure when clothing was first developed. Some information comes from studying lice. The body louse lives in clothing, and diverged from head lice about 107,000 years ago. This suggests that clothing existed at that time. 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. Other louse-based estimates put the introduction of clothing at around 42,000–72,000 BC.
Things that are not clothing
People also decorate their bodies with makeup or perfume, and they also cut or change the hair on their heads and faces. They might also go in for body modification: tattoos, scarifications, and body piercings. But makeup and tattoos are not kinds of clothing.
Things that are carried and not worn, like purses, canes, and umbrellas, are called accessories, but they are not kinds of clothing, either. Jewelry and eyeglasses are also accessories that are put on the body. Nail Polish is also put on the finger tips and can be translated as makeup.
What clothing is made of
Clothing is often made of:
Needed to make clothing
- Ralf Kittler, Manfred Kayser & Mark Stoneking (2003). "Molecular evolution of Pediculus humanus and the origin of clothing" (PDF). Current Biology 13 (16): 1414–1417. . . http://www.eva.mpg.de/genetics/pdf/Kittler.CurBiol.2003.pdf.
- Stoneking, Mark. "Erratum: Molecular evolution of Pediculus humanus and the origin of clothing". http://www.current-biology.com/content/article/fulltext?uid=PIIS0960982204009856. Retrieved March 24, 2008.
- "...Lice Indicates Early Clothing Use ...", Mol Biol Evol (2011) 28 (1): 29-32.
- Reed, David (2007). Pair of lice lost or parasites regained: The evolutionary history of Anthropoid primate lice. BMC Biology.
- "Naked ape: Humans lost body hair long before finding clothes". 2003-08-20. http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/13258/naked_ape_humans_lost_body_hair_long_before_finding_clothes/. Retrieved 2012-03-13.