Dress codes have always signaled group affiliation
Right at the beginning, people's clothing simply offered protection against the cold, damp and heat. At some point, first dress codes developed, which were supposed to convey a certain message to the outside world.
In the Middle Ages, for example, this included the “dress codes” of the guilds - but even in today's professional life it is not always possible to dress according to your own taste. Because the important keyword that forever changed the purely practical function of clothing is group membership.
You are what you carry
True to the motto "You are what you wear", adhering to the dress code was not always based on voluntary action. Of the Sense Behind clothing regulations it becomes clear when you look at the history of the dress code.
A craftsman on a traditional roller still wears the appropriate historical costume, as we know it from the carpenters, for example. In the Middle Ages, the wandering belonged even partially fixed training path to, on the way, the hard-working worker should not be better encountered without his guild clothing. Not only at this point, there was a clothing constraint, which most people but readily accepted, because they saw themselves as a natural part of their group.
Clothing-related privileges for ruling classes
On the other hand, there are clothing-related privileges reserved exclusively for the nobility or the kings: for example, purple was reserved for a long time solely to the ruler; the dye purple was enormously expensive and therefore precious.
Not everyone was allowed to wear a royal coat, which was designed differently in different cultures. Of course, it was also expensive, so that the financial hurdle could hardly be exceeded by “ordinary people” - just as only a certain class of premium Gucci clothing can afford today.
Simple equation: Upscale places = upscale clothes
Of course, the upscale society showed its status not only by what it carried, but also by the places where it stayed. Receptions, exhibitions, restaurants, but also the theater or the opera were places where a certain befitting clothing was required.
Today, these boundaries are blurred more and more, but who looks closely, can still see significant differences in their stand here.
"I am who!": Clothing can even look ennobled
Until the end of the 18. In the twelfth and twentieth centuries the rulers and imperial diets fixed the dress codes of their dominions in Germany. Sometimes there was a heated argument over who had to wear. 1524, the Thuringian peasants should necessarily dress with red screws, just like the members of the upper class.
Schauben were wide-cut men's coats that conveyed an important message: “I am who!” At that time, clothing not only marked social position, but it could also be ennobled, so to speak, by optically turning a farmer into a high-born. Nowadays there is no long argument about whether a farmer can wear the most valuable luxury brands. He just does it when he feels like it and can pay for the fun.
Dress codes in modern professional life: over- or underdressed?
Dress codes are still widely used in modern companies, but it always depends on the attitude of the management. Some like it when their employees live their lives indefinitely individually, while others set strict standards. The requirements are often related to the desired image of the respective company:
If you want to be seen as relaxed and laid-back, let your colleagues do it. But where a high social standard is sought, the fine business suit is simply part of it. Those who then come to work in shorts and a T-shirt in summer are often not only looked at crookedly, but are immediately sent home to change clothes. In the same way, it is of course also possible to appear “overdressed” at work and thus possibly become a mockery among colleagues.
Conclusion: dress codes also common in everyday life
Even in our normal everyday life, there is a subliminal dress code for members of the average society.
Anyone who breaks through the unspoken barriers, the uninvolved instantly put into another group, solely on the basis of optical characteristics: This is a punk, a Gothic, a proletarian, a rocker ... The rule of dress codes, we will not let go.
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German edition: ISBN 9783965960961
English version: ISBN 9783965960978 (Translation notice)
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