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The Psychology of Clothes

Ernst Harms
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 44, No. 2 (Sep., 1938), pp. 239-250
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2768730
Page Count: 12
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The Psychology of Clothes
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Abstract

Cultural and sociological theories have frequently tried to give oversimplified explanations of the motives of human clothing. Dress is not motivated only by modesty, adornment, and protection, or even-a still more onesided theory offered by Freud- by sex alone. All dress appears to be motivated primarily by the environment. Although the purposes of clothing are determined by environmental conditions, its form is determined by man's own characteristics, and especially by his mental traits. Forms of clothing are influenced by (1) physical environment and (2) social conditions, including sex relations, costume, caste, class, and religious, metaphysical, or other supersensory relations. Dress is founded primarily in the world of emotions. It is not only a kind of covering but also a kind of mimicry through which man expresses many of his subjective social sentiments. The development of dress proceeds from two poles- the cultural-psychological and the concrete psychological characteristics of men.

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