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. (November 2009)
Clothing in history
, showing (from top) Egyptians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Franks, and 13th through 15th century Europeans.
Clothing (also known as clothes and attire) is a collective term for garments, 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. Further, they can provide a hygienic barrier, keeping infectious and toxic materials away from the body. Clothing also provides protection from ultraviolet radiation. Wearing clothes is also a social norm, as being deprived of clothing in front of others may be embarrassing, or not wearing clothes in public to the extent that genitals, breasts or buttocks are visible could be seen as indecent exposure.