The way we dress and our way of life are closely linked; In addition to its practical function, the garment makes it possible to compare itself with others and to have self-confidence. It is also a means of integration for the individual.
Sociologists note that dress conformism reaches its climax in college. At an age where individuals are still very fragile and with personalities little asserted, following the fashion allows them to “get into the mold”. It is the tyranny of the majority. Young people try to resemble one another and do not dare to claim their differences for fear of being rejected. Indeed, we note that most students excluded by their peers in college dress in a different way, give less importance to their appearance. They are therefore not in the standard of dress.
Even later in the school, for example, where young people can dare to show their differences in a more assertive style, such as the Gothic or rasta style (or hippies, punks …), clothing is a sign of recognition between “tribes”. Often young people group themselves according to the way they dress. Indeed adopt a style does not pass that not the coat and a style of clothing often corresponds a way of thinking. For example, the Gothic are renowned for their fascination with death.
The reactions aroused by individuals in the unusual style are varied; First of all within the family, parents may object to their child being too different from others in their appearance. Then, it can cause mockery and inquisitive looks among peers. Even if this is not the aim, it is no longer possible to go unnoticed when one dresses too personal or by not taking any account of trends.
B) Emancipation and Assertiveness
From early childhood, between 3 and 5 years, clothing is a quest for autonomy for the child. He takes pleasure in dressing by himself and is proud to be able to choose what he is going to wear. However, some parents may not allow the child to be free on this side. Parents seek above all to ensure that their child’s clothes fulfill their practical function (keep warm, for example) and make their child presentable. However, at a time when the child’s tastes are still approximate and under construction, some parents will prefer to delay the age at which they will leave more autonomy to the child to dress.
During his adolescence, the pivotal period of his life, when the individual seeks and gradually forges his personality, clothing is a way for the individual to assert his personality and to emancipate himself from his parents. He tries to get out of the family cocoon, and dressing as his peers has the feeling to stand out from the adults. Indeed after having spent several years to be imposed his holding by his parents, the young person feels a new freedom to be able to dress more or less as he wishes. Of course his family still has limits; These may concern the budget allocated to clothing purchases or the respect of a certain decency.
If a young person can dress provocatively, this is because he is in an age where he seeks to seduce, arouse desire and attract the gaze of individuals of the opposite sex. But he does not necessarily realize that by dressing in such a way, it is also exposed to the eyes of older people, and this can expose to risks of sexual assault! There is a discrepancy between the innocence due to his age and his appearance that is that of an adult.
A dress style can also be a way for the teenager to assert his personality, especially from 15-16 years. Thanks to his clothes he can give a glimpse of his personality. For him, clothing will be a means of expression like any other. In fact, the dress style is an indicator of the preferences, habits or beliefs of the individual; Clothes or accessories may show traits of the individual’s personality (for example, if a young person wears “fluo” colors this may mean that he has a rather outgoing personality). Thus the individual will merge both his personal taste and the tendencies of society. A style can notably reflect the musical tastes of the individual:
C) Clothing varies according to social environment and budget
The way in which young people dress themselves depends mainly on their social environment and their budget. Fashion gradually emerges from the divisions between populations, but one observes all the same a persistence of the differences between the environments.
First, over time, among poor families, being fashionable was often relegated to the background because these households did not have enough budget to renew their wardrobe. Thus, these families favored bad quality signs and at reasonable cost. However, now most low-income families are willing to spend a lot of money to help their children integrate well into their school. Today, we see that popular brands in popular circles are mainly sports brands, for example Nike and Adidas; It is not uncommon to see a young of the popular classes in “total-look” jogging ie a matching pants and sweat jacket,
In more privileged circles, for example private high schools, following fashion as closely as possible is a way for the elite to distinguish themselves from the masses. Wealthy parents encourage their children to show their social status through their appearance, in order to preserve the image of the family and thus expose their wealth to the eyes of all. Generally in these circles the young people will favor the pieces of quality, of “good taste” that is to say not of too provocative holding.
In a society where, contrary to a well-known expression, one might consider that “clothes make the monk”, clothing is a way of differentiating itself according to social circles. By seeing the clothing of an individual, it must be possible to identify his social class, and to guess his financial means.