Clothing in history, showing (from top) Egyptians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Franks, and 13th through 15th century Europeans.
Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel and attire) is a collective term for items worn on the body. Clothing can be made of textiles, animal skin, or other thin sheets of materials put together. The wearing of clothing is mostly restricted to human beings and is a feature of all human societies. The amount and type of clothing worn depend on body type, social, and geographic considerations. Some clothing can be gender-specific.
Physically, clothing serves many purposes: it can serve as protection from the elements and can enhance safety during hazardous activities such as hiking and cooking. It protects the wearer from rough surfaces, rash-causing plants, insect bites, splinters, thorns and prickles by providing a barrier between the skin and the environment. Clothes can insulate against cold or hot conditions, and they can provide a hygienic barrier, keeping infectious and toxic materials away from the body. Clothing also provides protection from ultraviolet radiation.
There is no easy way to determine when clothing was first developed, but some information has been inferred by studying lice which estimates the introduction of clothing at roughly 42,000–72,000 years ago.