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Do “clothes” make the person? How often have you criticized people merely because you felt their clothes were “tacky” or “unstylish”? Write an essay arguing how becoming a fashion statement might be a substitute for or the source of character development and personality. Life begins with a zygote, then slowly fleshes out into the contours of our being. Each individual is born with a personality but human society endows him with an identity as he imbibes the norms and ideologies of the civilized way of the world. The three essential elements of our existence are food, shelter and clothing.

In today’s society, clothes have stepped out of their age-old function of warmth and protection. In this material world, what man wears mirrors what he wishes to showcase to the world. As Mark Twain puts it, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society” (qtd. in Fitzgerald 105). The world around us is a living space of sensuous perceptions – sounds, colors, fragrances, textures, tastes. Our senses open the doors to our impressions, and often what we see translates into conclusive opinions.

The way we dress, our clothes thus becomes a decisive statement of our individuality. Our fashion statement is more a source of the holistic development of our character and personality than a mere substitute of it. Clothes make the man, define the moment. It has come a long way from being just the garment of protection against the weather. Today it is a signature of style, a visible element of our persona, the statement we wish to convey to the beholder. They reveal the mood, the significance of the observer to the wearer, even the emotions of the occasion.

There are shades and forms of attire deemed suitable for certain times – mourning black at funerals, festive colors for celebration, and the purity of white for weddings. It would be incongruous if one did not dress for the occasion accordingly –an insult to the bereaved family, a sour note at joyous events. Sometimes clothes are the norm of a few professions – the long robes and wig of the judge demands respect, the advocate’s black buttoned-up coat with white bands, the security guards uniform, and the police officer’s outfit. The wearer’s style identifies his occupation, affiliation, even status.

From the onset of our birth onto the stage of civilized life, we are taught the basics of dressing as proper to the age and occasion. From the neatness of the school uniform to the style of youth and the mature outfit of middle age – man’s biological self becomes his social self through his guise of garb. his personality is stamped by his choice and taste of wear. His financial feasibility is gauged by the haute couture of his wardrobe. Often shabby garments, “tacky” clothes, ‘unstylish” fashion makes us frown in disapproval at such display.

As Honore de Balzac declared in Treatise on the Elegant Life: “Carelessness in dressing is moral suicide. ” At every juncture of life, whether it is in college or one’s workplace, social gathering or a personal rendezvous, clothes precede the impression one wishes to strike with one’s audience. In fact, there are standards of dressing that needs be fulfilled for admission to certain restaurants, shops, conferences and seminars. It is folly to disregard the significance of the impact of a well-dressed confident entry into any situation.

A huge industry rests on this fulcrum of fashion—from mass-scale manufacturers of clothes to select high-priced designers and boutiques of exclusive wear, from models, photographers, choreographers, even movie stars – everybody is connected in this web of fashion and clothes. The fashion houses of Milan, London, Rome, New York and Tokyo depend on the changing styles of wear at every turn of the season. The choice of exclusive fabrics used, complementary accessories, and hand-textured designs is a statement of individual character.

The red carpet welcome at awards’ functions is a critical scrutiny of each celebrity’s fashion sense and choice of outfit. Brands of clothes, accessories like jewelry, watches, shoes, and handbags spend enormous amounts of money to such celebrities to simply wear their signature styles for greater publicity. Being “in fashion” is concurrent with being in the swing of things. While clothes do serve to create impressions, they need to be sustained by the substance of the man himself, not the mannequin attired for display.

Outside appearances matter but superficially in the long run of human relationships. It is the web of emotions which support the ups and downs of friendship. Often friends share memories of growing up, being bullied by the school goon and rescued by pals, dread of report cards, trophies at the sports meet. Do we remember the clothes we wore at the start of this friendship? Possibly not. Does it matter? Definitely not. In the human stage of feelings, clothes play a minor role. Maybe, the prom night when just the right dress was essential for the once-in-a-lifetime event!

Maybe, the first date when attracting one’s partner meant hours of fiddling with the bow till the perfect appearance was mirrored! Friendship may start with attractive appearances, but stays on for much more tangible reasons of love and loyalty. Stepping outside the perimeters of sentiments into the literally, material world of commerce – clothes decree the suitability of candidates for certain jobs. The poise of a man in his immaculate suit steps up his positive reception, for the obvious reason that his attire reflects his confidence and credibility.

A man in creased pants, floppy footwear and stained shirt may be essentially a man of worth ideally, but in this fast- paced world, the eye should like what it sees before the hand of welcome is proffered. At times, the wearer’s clothes may be excused – for instance, selecting a candidate for the medical practice requires evidence of his cognitive skills rather than his dressing mode; at the same time, an aspiring model needs to impress the interviewer by selecting costumes with good taste and sense. One look should enable the observer to gauge the wearer’s carriage and style.

Ideally while clothes should not make the man/woman, it is a practical fact of our civilized existence that outside appearances create the image we want to portray to the world, and may even decide our destiny in more ways than one. The character and personality of an individual is a conglomeration of various life experiences and influences, but our outer appearance remains a decisive factor in the role we play in our spheres of activity. Works Cited Balzac, H. (1982[1830]). Trattato della vita elegante . Milano: Longanesi. Fitzgerald, John J. (2005). The Amendment: A Novel. New York: iUniverse.

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