This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Are Humans Fashion Animals?

LONDON, March 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Fashion can be the boldest expression of an individual's style, personality, mood and behaviour, and yet we obey some fashion rules intuitively. For instance, some instinctive fashion rules might see us choosing a bright colour or a sexier outfit for a romantic dinner, wearing sober attire or minimal make-up at a funeral service, or ensure we don't turn up to a wedding in beachwear. Additionally, we have an acute awareness of fads and gender 'norms' in fashion. From early childhood we're instilled with an understanding of which type of clothing signifies which gender, and in later life one can make an audacious statement by transgressing against or subverting these gender rules. For some, choosing the right shoes and nail varnish is as important as choosing the right life-partner, while others won't be seen dead without a designer watch!

Fashion is a uniquely complicated social phenomenon which drives our everyday emotional and social states and intrinsically alters how we react to the world, and how the world reacts to us. In this article, we examine the basic question of why humans are drawn to fashion in evolutionary, behavioural, psychological and neurological contexts.

Is survival of the "fashionably" fittest an essential trait?

The evolution of fashion, from a time when basic clothing was merely used to protect the skin from heat or cold, is incredible. Ten thousand years ago Neanderthals were the first pre-humans to wear clothes, which allowed them to run faster, stay outside longer and hunt more easily, resulting in a better quality of life. Custom-made clothing (designed for their pleasing aesthetic qualities, rather than just practicality) only emerged relatively recently, around the 16 th and 17 th centuries. Two hundred years later, the first 'fashion designer' - Charles Fredrick Worth - officially labelled his clothes. Ever since, the fashion industry has undergone several revolutions, in correspondence to the passing of the decades.

Might, then, the 'evolution' of fashion be linked to the evolution of humans? Does the Darwinian principal of the survival of the fittest ring true for those with style? Our human society is largely monogamous. The choice of mates for procreation is primarily governed by signs of fertility and virility: a healthy body, youth, and myriad other highly desirable traits like intelligence. So in this system, where the most desirable are most likely to reproduce, surely the sharper dressed amongst us are more likely to turn some heads! There is, however, no evidence that fashion has evolved to be an 'essential trait', for selecting a viable mate to propagate the human race! If this were the case, swathes of people deemed 'unfashionable' would fail to reproduce, leaving only a well-dressed populous short of scruffy farmers and geeky scientists.  At the most, unfashionable men and women might be less favoured as mates; nevertheless, this does not brand them any less capable of procreation.

Does your dressing sense dictate your behaviour?

1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,084.49 +33.74 0.20%
S&P 500 2,014.89 +15.91 0.80%
NASDAQ 4,830.47 +19.6820 0.41%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs