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Clothing reveals:-both the themes and the formal relationships which serve a culture as orienting ideas, and - the real or imagined basis according to which cultural categories are organized . . . [Consequently,] the principles of a world are found woven into the fabric of its clothing.(George McCracken, 1988, p.60)


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Considered as a whole, the system of American clothing amounts to a very complex scheme of cultural categories and the relations between them, a veritable map -- it does not exaggerate to say -- of the cultural universe.(Marshall Sahlins, 1976, p. 179)


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Definitions amounts to a very complex scheme of cultural categories and the relations between them, a veritable map -- it does not exaggerate to say -- of the cultural universe.

Clothing - any tangible or material object connected to the body (i.e. shoes, jewelry) - a product that you wear or apply

Appearance - total composite image created by human body and any modifications or embellishments or coverings that are visually perceived-includes physical attributes as well as clothing

Appearance Management - encompasses all attention, decisions, and acts related to one’s appearance-that is, the process of thinking about and actually carrying out activities pertaining to the way one looks

Appearance Perception - the process of observing and making evaluations or drawing inferences based upon how people look


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Definitions amounts to a very complex scheme of cultural categories and the relations between them, a veritable map -- it does not exaggerate to say -- of the cultural universe.

Apparel - any body covering actual garments constructed of fabric - this term is mostly used by fashion industry

Personal Adornment - any form of bodily decoration (clothes, paint, makeup) or alteration of the body’s appearance (dieting, muscle)

Dress - often used interchangeably with clothing and adornment, can also refer to the act of covering the body with clothing and accessories. (gender implications - male dress)

Costume - a style of clothing that characterizes a cultural or historical context


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Definitions amounts to a very complex scheme of cultural categories and the relations between them, a veritable map -- it does not exaggerate to say -- of the cultural universe.

Style - a distinctive characteristic or way of expression; style in clothing describes the lines that distinguish one form or shape from another

Fashion - a dynamic social process by which new styles are created, introduced to a consuming public, and popularly accepted by that public.

AS OBJECT - a style accepted by a large group of people at a particular time

Wearable Art - use of clothing as a medium for artistic communication, to reflect the uniqueness and personal creativity of the artist/designer; a strong movement in the United States growing out of the attitude of the 1960’s that rejected anonymous mass production


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The study of the social psychology of appearance may be characterized as follows:

1) interdisciplinary

2) focus on meaning

3) contextual

4) use of critical thinking (dialectical reasoning)


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1) Interdisciplinary characterized as follows:

That is, concepts and methods from more than one discipline or field of knowledge are integrated, compared, and contrasted-- especially social psychology as derived from both sociology and psychology; cultural anthropology; and semiotics (the interdisciplinary study of how meaning is produced). In this way, the social, cognitive, and cultural forces underlying appearance management and perception as forms of human behavior may be considered in relation to one another.


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2) focus on meaning characterized as follows:

This involves the study of the processes influencing how individuals come to make symbolic associations with appearance cues, as well as the consequences of such associations for social interactions.


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3) contextual characterized as follows:

The meanings associated with appearance symbols are studied in and across social contexts. A social context includes the identities of, and relationships among the participants as well as any physical or situational parameters that set the stage for social interaction. Context includes social, psychological, and cultural dimensions; the interconnectedness among these dimensions is of primary concern.


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4) use of critical thinking (dialectical characterized as follows: reasoning)

Critical thinking about the meaning of dress involves three phases: first, an ability to examine different meanings or ideas with the intent of discovering an underlying common meaning, so that conceptual categories may be identified; second, the discovery of distinctions among apparently similar ideas and meanings; and third, seeing appearance symbols in relation to the wholeness of social context (and recognizing that they are only one dimension of social context).


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APPEARANCE CODING IN CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY characterized as follows:

The “culture” of clothing and appearance consists of three primary and distinctive but interrelated components:

Technology--material artifacts used

textile science, anthropology, chemistry, physics, material science, sociocultural aspects of dress

Social Structure--behavior; the ways in which humans organize themselves or behave

social psychology of dress, sociology, social psychology, psychology, anthropology, communications


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APPEARANCE CODING IN CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY characterized as follows:

Ideology--the beliefs, attitudes, and beliefs held

sociocultural aspects of dress, communications, rhetoric, semiotics (the study of the means of production of meaning), cultural studies, political science, sociology, anthropology


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CULTURAL PATTERNS IN CLOTHING characterized as follows:

I. TECHNICAL PATTERNS IN APPAREL

II. AESTHETIC PATTERNS IN DRESS

  • CORPORAL ADORNMENT

    (permanent body modification; usually in traditional cultures)

  • EXTERNAL ADORNMENT

    (temporary adornment; indicates rapidly change in culture)


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CULTURAL PATTERNS IN CLOTHING characterized as follows:

III. MORAL PATTERNS ENFORCING SOCIAL

NORMS

(In increasing order of severity of sanctions)

  • FOLKWAYS

  • CUSTOMS

  • MORES

  • LAWS

    IV. RITUALISTIC PATTERNS

    • RITES OF PASSAGE

    • RITES OF INTENSIFICATION


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CULTURE: characterized as follows:

CHARACTERISTICS:

A. SHARED

B. LEARNED

C. INTEGRATED

D. SYMBOLIC

E. DYNAMIC

F. ADAPTIVE

ETHNOCENTRISM

CULTURAL RELATIVITY


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CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE characterized as follows:

Focus: the symbolic realm of social life, linked to:

-arts & literature

-media

-ideologies (value systems)

Derived from: anthropology, women’s studies, consumer behavior, ethnic studies, sociology, semiotics


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Terms: characterized as follows:

culture: the beliefs, behaviors, attitudes and products of human activity, characteristic of a particular population

ideology: main beliefs and values characterizing a group, often embedded in everyday things or media: not questioned

expressive culture(material culture): artifacts or products of human activity, including pop culture, clothing


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