Segments in this Video

Clothes Reveal Who We Are (02:53)


What we wear reveals who we are by stating our religious convictions, social standing, ethnicity, and more. Stripping human beings of their clothes strips identity. Clothes are humans' second skin.

Using Clothes to Cover or Seduce (02:27)

Hiding nakedness and protection from the elements are two primary motives for wearing clothes. Cultures view nudity differently. Archeological digs reveal ancient sewing utensils

Ancient Egyptian and Roman Clothes (03:17)

White linens bleached by the sun, the Egyptians’ god, symbolize purity. The Romans value the color red for warmth and power. The way clothes are worn has symbolic significance for the Romans.

Invention of Fashion and Style (02:50)

The Crusaders bring back the refined life of chivalry and courtly love from the Middle East, and women’s clothes become more seductive. The fourteenth century marks the beginning of fashion.

Clothing and the Sumptuary Law (02:32)

Garments evolve quickly due to new techniques. Artisans become specialized. The Sumptuary law regulates clothing and decorations, reserving external signs of wealth for the aristocrats.

Renaissance and French Fashion (04:29)

With the Renaissance, European fashion is designed to emphasize the characteristics of each sex. Louis XIV uses fashion to show superiority. Fashions of Louis XV become extreme in size.

Nineteenth Century Fashion (03:16)

Men’s clothes reflect values of work while women’s emphasize fashion and idleness. Petticoats make skirts fuller. Charles Worth opens the first high fashion store in Paris and sells ready-made gowns.

Early Twentieth Century Fashion (02:15)

Charles Worth replaces the petticoat with the bustle in 1867. Skirts become shorter in the 1920s. Coco Chanel influences fashion in the 1930s. Women wear trousers during WWII.

Fashion: Rebellion and Identity (07:01)

Fashion rebellions include the sexual revolution’s mini-skirt and the 1970s, the decade that taste forgot. Today’s youth rebel with tattoos, body piercings, and oversized pants and jeans.

Fashion: Variety and Choice (03:13)

Fashion codes no longer impose dictates, except to look young. Style-setter sources today include high fashion, the ready-to-wear industry, and small, specialized groups, such as snowboarders.

Ethnic Fashions and Gender Fashions (03:05)

Ethnic dress is worn by a particular community and displays its, such as the sari in India and the Muslim flowing garments. Distinction in gender fashion is a constant in all societies.

Erotic Clothes and Western Influences (02:30)

The sexual revolution and the women’s movement helped erotic clothes become more fashionable. Western-influenced dress has become the norm worldwide and is called cosmopolitan fashion.

World Dress: Suits and Jeans (02:48)

The three-piece suit is associated with business and politics worldwide. The mixing of cultural styles is common. The dominant nation influences fashion. Blue jeans are the universal garment.

Fashion Explosion (02:53)

Women have more freedom in choice of fashion. Men are not allowed to adopt the female wardrobe. Altering the body will become more important than clothes, but what the ideal body is will change.

High Fashion and Multicultural Fashion (04:07)

Designers’ impulses and energy to create keep high fashion alive. Multicultural fashions reflect the global society and economy. Simultaneous styles or “style tribes” is common today.

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Fashion and Clothing

Part of the Series : Behold Humanity! A Sociological Perspective
DVD Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



Somewhere along the line clothing met fashion, and neither has been the same since. In this program, historian Valerie Steele, of the Fashion Institute of Technology, and other experts interpret the history of humankind—from the ancients to the moderns—through the intriguing context of costume. Topics include the origins of clothing; symbolism associated with clothing, such as gender and status; sexist aspects of fashion, from corsets to miniskirts; the impact of wartime rationing on clothing styles; icons of haute couture, including Coco Chanel; and even body piercing and tattoos as a form of contemporary personal expression. (53 minutes)

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: BVL10370

ISBN: 978-1-4213-0623-0

Copyright date: ©1998

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.