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Just The Facts
- It's generally agreed that clothing came into play around 100,000 to 500,000 years ago.
- According to Wikipedia, clothing's main function is as protection during "hazardous activities such as hiking and cooking".
- Wikipedia thinks cooking is a hazardous activity.
A brief theory on the origin of clothes.
According to some, clothing was first invented by Adam and Eve when they eventually wised up to the fact that they had been made by an old bearded man who, although he had managed to create everything else, neglected to provide them with anything to cover themselves up.
"Wait, if he's omnipresent then we're omninaked."
God naturally did nothing to dispel his creepy-beard-guy image by getting angry that they suited up and kicking them out of paradise.
"Why are you not naked anymore?!"
An alternate history.
The first known examples of clothing come from our old friends the Neanderthals who utilised animal skins for protection against the dramatic climate.
"Darling, that mammoth loincloth is so you."
A couple of thousand years later Cro-Magnon man, armed with all new brain-power, created more complex clothing by cutting holes into animal hides in order to lace them together using needles made from animal bones. Basically Cro-Magnon man essentially invented sewing so you've pretty much got him to thank for Home Ec.
(N.B. Cro-Magnon man is also credited with the title of Earth's First Superhero. )
Cro-Magnon Man! Saving the world with slightly more developed tools and a witty one-syllabler for every kill!
As we became better adapted to our environment, however, and the climate got over its difficult teenage years and stopped throwing icy tantrums, the functionality of clothing slowly fell by the wayside and fashion sashayed into its place.
Fashion through the ages.
The Ancient World
Hot trend: The toga.
Favourite of costume party goers worldwide, the toga's practicality comes from it's essentially being a bedsheet you've cut a hole in.
Who needs bedsheets when you can look this fabulous.
The Middle Ages
Hot trend for the men: Shining armour (steed optional) or tights. Depending on how badass you were.
Pictured: Badass. Not badass.
Hot trend for the ladies: The henin.
The henin was originally designed to ward off low flying dragons but was also handy for poking servant girls whenever they dropped your train.
Hot trend: Moles.
During the French Renaissance moles were considered the height of fashion to the point where some people resorted to sticking or drawing fake moles on their face. In keeping with the complete realism that defines Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, Coppola cast Jason Schwartzman in the role of King Louis XVI soley for his mole.
Hot trend for the ladies: Layers of shifts, dresses and aprons for preservation of honest, old-fashioned Christian demurity. Also good for kindling if said woman happens to be a witch.
Hot trend for the men: Awesome hat!
Handy for storing gunpowder and souvenirs from all the Injuns you've killed.
18th and 19th century
Hot trend for the ladies: Corsets.
Back in the day nothing short of a flash of the ankles set pulses racing more than a tiny waist. Corsets were often worn with skirts supported by huge crinolines to make the waist appear even smaller.
Hot trend for the men: Awesome top hat!
Handy for storing gunpowder and all the coal you made those children dig up.
The Golden Age
Hot trend for the ladies: From the 20s through to the 50s ladies' fashion was all about elegant Hollywood glamour.
Hot trend for the men: If you can't dance in it, forget about it.
The dance style of choice is up to you however.
Hot trend for the ladies: The new liberal attitude of the swinging 60s saw the popularisation of the miniskirt by revolutionary designer Mary Quant, a style that remains fashionable to this day.
"Mary Quant is my favourite." - Men.
Hot trends for the men:
Hot trend: Hippie chic.
Building on the liberal attitude of the 60s, the 70s was the era of "free love, man." The fashion was for free flowing dresses, flares to allow your calves to roam free, toe-liberating sandals and freeing your hair from the capitalist constraints of scissors and shampoo. (applicable to both men and women.)
Q: Can you tell which of these is male and which is female?
A: Incorrect. They are both hippies which means they are not real people.
Hot trend for the ladies: Big hair, lace, leather and leggings.
Hot trend for the men: Big hair, lace, leather and leggings.
While each of the aforementioned eras had their own defining style, these days designers seem content with rehashing their old trend of choice and calling it a 'revival'.
Arguably the only new fashion statement to come out of the 'noughties' is this:
Seriously. This is the best we can come up with. Thanks Myspace.
Nowadays fashion is the fourth most profitable industry in the world, bringing in a staggering $400 billion per year. Yes that's right, shockingly that's even more than the porn industry which trails behind at $97 billion. it just goes to show: when it comes to money, it's far more lucrative to keep your clothes on.
As long as they're on trend that is.
"That's really last season. You'd better take it off."
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