Costume and Society

Emmy award winner - Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie the ever delightful actor Maggie Smith as the Dowager Duchess of Grantham in Downton Abbey,

There are many theories on the origins of costume, which can be viewed as distinct from clothing. One could say clothing has to do with covering the body to protect it for purposes of modesty, extremes of natural elements or a physical reason, such as protective clothing for industry or engaging in warfare. Costume encompasses all that we wear, including objects for personal adornment; jewellery, hats, gloves, shoes, accessories and our previously unmentionable undergarments.  Various aspects of costume share an interesting history and reflect our social growth. They project our beliefs while aesthetically conveying an image for purposes of personal status or to accommodate a desire to be distinguished from others. Fashion is imposed on costume, dictating and reflecting changes and concerns of a society in any one place at any one time. Since economics often determine the development of the societies in question, its study cannot be neglected.

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