Significance of Adornment-Based Fashion

The study of clothing and adornment, as well as various other forms of the art of the body, has seen a boom in interest in recent years, according to a number of academics. Most studies still maintain a single central focus based on the theories and methods of one discipline or another, whether it be fashion history, art history, history, sociology, anthropology, or folklore. There are overviews of various approaches to the study of dress and adornment, but very few studies attempt a complete, fully integrated approach that unifies interdisciplinary research. The integration of fine arts into body art is the next objective of clothing and jewellery.

Adornment of Clothing

While self-protection, social position, wealth, age, and vocation are the main purposes of clothes, people also indulge in self-vanity by enhancing their physical characteristics. In early and tribal communities, humans employed readily accessible native and natural materials, including seeds, wood, valuable stones, sea shells, and animal parts like teeth, bones, fur, and feathers, which were chosen for their colour,texture, and shape. They also learned how to make materials by weaving, dying, and printing fabrics for apparel ornamentation, as well as tanning hides.

There have been times in history when the need for decoration overrode more sensible considerations like comfort and wearability. When ostentation and exaggeration take precedence over other elements, the resulting appearance may become distinctive but unworkable. The mediaeval shoe known as the poulaine serves as an illustration of this. Before laws were passed limiting the length of the toe to 66 inches for commoners, 12 inches for gentlemen, and 24 inches for nobility and royalty, this shoe, which had its origins in France, extended to such disproportionate lengths that it had to be held in the hand while walking or else tied back to the ankle with a ribbon. Tight breeches for men that made it impossible for them to even sit down were an excessive style of dress in 18th-century England. Women’s skirts in the 18th century in Europe grew incredibly wide and had to be supported by layers of petticoats, which made movement quite difficult. Doors and stairways had to be expanded to allow the user to pass through because of the panier, a lighter supporting structure consisting of graduated oblong-shaped boned hoops sewn to an underskirt. Victorian corsets from the 19th century contributed to the popular small waist size. However, even breathing was exceedingly challenging because of the constant ribcage compression.

Adornment of Body

Throughout history, different civilizations and eras have had varied ideas about what beauty is. This is accomplished using 4 various techniques, including body painting, scarification, tattooing, and body modification.

  • In some African tribes, scarification serves as a status symbol and a sign of tribal affiliation. In some areas of the body, intricate incisions are made in a delicate pattern. Without showing any outward discomfort or anguish, one must endure agonising incisions. Natural skin irritants are massaged into the skin, leaving distinctive scars and raised, pattern-like patterns on the body and face that serve as a visual cue that the person is an adult tribe member.

  • In body tattooing, an implant is used to permanently alter the colour of the body. Permanent dye in the skin wound. The Thracians utilised tattooing to denote rank. Men’s tattoos serve the same function as military clothing by making them distinguishable from other unique tribe. The Maoris of New Zealand distinguish themselves with intricate facial tattoos. Additionally, certain Indian cultures have body art. In contemporary society, getting a tattoo can serve as personal decoration or as a symbol of allegiance. In western culture, tattooing is very widespread among biker gangs, sailors, and other groups. Tattooing has become a fairly adornment.

  • Face and body painting have their origins in religious ritual. Girls in some Congolese communities use oil and dust to power camouflage to make themselves look more appealing. The powder of powdered rice and white lead was used to apply exceedingly heavy face make-up by noble women of various ancient Chinese dynasties as well as Japanese “geisha” females. Rose petal rouge was applied to the cheekbones and the centre of the lower lip to create the illusion of a small, pinched mouth, which was thought to be quite attractive. The passion that women have for “painting” their faces has given rise to a thriving and flourishing cosmetic industry today.

  • One instance of body modification is the now-outlawed practise of Chinese foot binding. A Chinese woman used to believe that having a little “lotus” foot by tying the foot tightly in a way that eventually would generate a man-made artificial heel was the pinnacle of feminine beauty and social rank. Another example of bodily modification is the Kichepo women’s custom of wearing big circular lip plates in Sudan. Without their lip plates, the women would consider themselves nudists and would never be seen in public without them.


In order to communicate maturity and accomplishment, individuality and conformity, familiarity and distance, and to position oneself at once artfully and meaningfully in space and time, one must adapt one’s clothing and bodily adornment in response to changes in temporal factors, however culturally defined they may be. We aim for a thorough understanding of the self-conscious messages people send about themselves and their societies when they take control of the most intimate and significant communication tool they have: their bodies. To this end, we will take a multifaceted scholarly approach, examining various factors that influence one’s presentation of the self.

Updated on: 20-Dec-2022


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started