Clothes are garments, dresses or articles worn on the body. Clothing is very important for health. It is therefore a basic human need. There are many reasons why we wear clothes. There are also certain points that must be considered when choosing decent personal clothes. Clothes are also very expensive. It is therefore necessary that we take good care of our clothes.
Meaning of clothing
Clothing is any article we place on the body to protect, beautify or adorn it. Clothing includes dresses, shoes, jewelry, hair-do, and makeup.
Reasons why we wear clothes (Uses of clothes)
1) Protection: Clothes are worn to protect the body from different weather conditions e.g. cold, rain, heat of the sun, wind, rough harmattan weather. In this way clothes are helpful in
- Maintaining the normal temperature of the body.
- Protection from harmful things such as insects, plants, worms, etc.
2) Modesty: Clothes are worn to cover our nakedness. They help us to appear decent.
3) Appearance: Clothes are used to beautify the self and improve appearance.
4) Role identity: Clothes show the roles which people perform or their duties in the society e.g. nurses, police, soldiers, etc.
5) Mood: Clothes help to show our mood or feelings. For instance some people wear black clothes for mourning.
6) Status or position: Clothes help to show the status or positions which people occupy in the society. Examples are the special clothes worn by traditional rulers e.g. The “Ezes’ “Obis” “Obas” and “Emirs”, etc.
7) Culture: Clothes help to show the culture of a group of people. So people’s clothes help to show where they come from e.g. “Buba and Iro’ which are commonly worn by the Yoruba women.
Guidelines for choosing and wearing decent personal clothes
These are also guidelines for choosing decent personal clothes:
- Occasion: Choose the right clothes for the right occasion e.g. school, church, party, picnic, work, sleep, etc.
- Weather: Warm clothes such as sweaters should be worn in cold weather and cool clothes, e.g. cotton fabrics in hot weather. Do not wear wet clothes at any time.
- Activity or work: Clothes for work should suit the type of work being done. For instance, clothes worn in the kitchen might be different from those worn for farm work.
- Washability of fabric: Choose clothes that are easily washable.
- Fit of clothes: Choose clothes that fit properly, both for the sake of appearance and health. Avoid tight clothing. Very tight clothes disturb the circulation of the blood. It can also hinder expansion of the lungs and so cause ill-health.
- Money available: Choose and buy the best clothes which your money can buy.
- Personal figure: You must consider your figure before choosing clothes to wear. For instance, a very slim and tall girl should choose designs and fabrics that make her look fat. But a short girl chooses those that make her look tall.
- Personal complexion: Choose colours that fit your complexion.
- Quality of fabric: Choose durable, good quality fabrics that are easy to care for. Do not choose clothes that irritate the skin.
- Peer pressures: The pressures of a peer group can act as an unwritten dress code. Dress code is a set of rules describing required clothing for a group. Wearing a style that is popular with your peers can help meet a need for belonging. You must however, remember decency, your family and personal values. Do not choose and wear indecent clothing in order to conform or please your peers.
- Clothing and relationships: You should not upset people around you such as your parents, elders in the family, teachers, by wearing certain clothes that are in vogue. Do not be driven by fashion.
Your personal clothing and you
Each time you put on an article of clothing, (dresses/ clothes, accessories, hair-do, make-up, etc.), you do more than simply get dressed. You are telling something about:
- Who you are.
- The group you belong to.
- How you feel about yourself/your personality.
- Your personal values and family background.
- Your cultural heritage.
- Where you come from.
- How you feel about the world.
- Your moral standard.
Your clothing and your beholders
Your clothing also makes some impressions on people around you. It can even cause them to react to you in certain ways. For instance,
- Offensive clothing, such as those that expose such parts of the body as breasts, could give poor impression of the wearer.
- Wearing certain styles or colours of clothes that are associated with a cult group, could lead to wrong impression or identity of a wearer.
Clothes for different occasions
- School clothes: These should be simple and comfortable. They should be of washable fabrics such as cotton, cotton-polyester.
- Sports wear: These should allow for freedom of body movement. They should be sewn to cover the body decently. Fabrics should be easy to clean and durable. Sport shoes should be low-heeled and comfortable.
- Work clothes: Some jobs require uniform e.g. nursing. Work clothes should be chosen to suit the kind of work. Avoid putting on clothes that will interfere with the performance of your work. Shoes should be low-heeled and comfortable.
- Night wears: These are for bedroom use. Outside the bedroom, wear a dressing gown over the night dress. Night wears should not be tight but loose. They can be made of washable cotton fabric. Avoid inflammable fabrics that may catch fire.
- Under-wears: These are worn directly against the skin. They must be easily washable fabrics that are also absorbent e.g. cotton. Under-wears include pants and vests for boys, brassieres, petticoats or waist-slips for girls.
- Clothes for social occasions: Formal occasions include interviews, meeting, and work-shops. Such occasions require smart, neat and simple clothes worn with matching accessories. Avoid heavy make-up.
- Clothes for household work or activities: These are casual clothes worn during the day. They should be comfortable and of simple style. They should be made of washable and durable fabrics. An apron or overall can be worn over the-day dress to protect it during a household work like cooking or laundry. Clothes for household work should be decent and presentable. A visitor could call while you are working. Therefore you should be neatly dressed always.
All the items that we wear with our clothes are called accessories. They include jewellery, shoes, umbrellas, handbags, hair make-ups, hats, etc. These items should be chosen to suit the clothes and the occasion.
Reasons for the care of our clothes
It is important to care for your clothes for the following reasons:
- Dirty clothes easily become infested with disease germs or bacteria.
- Bacteria from dirty clothes can easily be transferred to the skin. This can result in skin disease such as rashes, ring-worm, scabies, etc.
- Dirty clothes can give the body very bad odour or smell.
- Caring for clothes makes them last longer.
- Wearing clean clothes improves your appearance and confidence.
Care of clothes
The following are ways of caring for your clothes:
1) Mend your clothes as soon as they are torn.
2) Air clothes before storage. Clothes should be aired after ironing and after wearing, by:
- putting them out in the sun for a little while, to remove any dampness.
- Placing them on a clothes-horse, a line, or back of a chair near a window for some time.
- Airing removes dampness which causes mildew to grow in clothes.
3) Store your clothes properly, either by folding neatly and storing in boxes/ suitcases or hanging with suitable hangers in a wardrobe.
4) Do not store dirty or damp clothes. Only clean clothes should be stored.
5) Wash your clothes as soon as they are dirty. Do not leave them to become very dirty before washing.
6) Study the care label in your clothes if there is one before washing. Follow the instructions on the care labels.
7) Do not wear the same clothes worn during the day at night.
8) Change your under-wears e.g. pants every day. Always wash the used one.
Proper storage of clothes
- Maintain a proper storage space or container for storage of personal clothes, eg. wardrobe/closet, box, or drawer.
- Keep the storage space or container clean.
- Store only clean clothes.
- Iron clothes properly before storage.
- Air your clothes before storage.
- If you are using a box, fold the clothes properly before storage.
- If you are using a wardrobe or closet.
- choose good hangers.
- Hang the clothes properly. Place the shoulders properly on the hanger.
- do not overcrowd the closet.
- keep the closet clean.
Cleaning of shoes
Spread old newspaper or other protective material on the working surface e.g. table or floor, to avoid soiling the surface.
- Remove shoe lace if available.
- Remove any loose dust and dirt. Remove mud from the sole of the shoe using a damp clean cloth.
- Clean the inside of the shoe using a damp clean cloth. Dry with a clean dry cloth and air for some time.
- If the shoe is wet allow it to dry slowly away from heat, in a warm, airy place. Place the shoe on its side so that the sole can dry.
- Apply the correct colour and type of shoe polish. Pay attention to the edges, back heels of all shoes and tongue of lacing shoes. Use a dry piece of cloth. Finish with a suitable brush.
- Leave for some time to dry.
- Replace the shoe lace. Occasionally the shoe laces should be washed and properly dried.
- After cleaning, store the shoe in a shoe rank or other suitable place.
- It there are black and brown shoes in the house, keep and use separate brushes for each colour.
- To keep shoes in shape when not in use, stuff it with clean old newspapers or shoe trees.
Laundry of personal clothing
Laundry is the process of washing and finishing our clothes. Finishing can be done by ironing or pressing. You need to launder and finish your personal clothing, as part of your personal grooming.
Simple laundry equipment and agents
You require simple equipment such as plastic buckets, pegs, lines, iron, ironing pads, boards, etc.
Washing aids or agents
These are the materials we use in the washing of our clothes. They include: soaps, detergents, water, bleaches, stiffening agents such as starch, disinfectants, stain removing agents, etc.
Steps in laundering personal clothes
Each type of fabric, such as, cotton, wool, polyester, nylon, requires special type of treatment. However the general steps for laundering clothes are:
- Sorting the articles to be laundered, according to colour, type of fabric, etc.
- Mending any tears in the articles.
- Removing stains.
- Soaking colour-fast articles.
- Rinsing, that is, removing soap.
- Applying starch if necessary.
- Drying the articles.
- Finishing or ironing.
- Airing the finished article.
- Storing of air articles.