Women's clothing choices have been influenced through history for a variety of reasons. In some cases, of course, the factors are obvious, such as for warmth or protection. However, other more subcontractors also come into play. Some of these are discussed below.
As a concept, "modesty" continues to shift with changes in time and culture. However, it continues to play a very important role in women's fashion, as it always has. For example, in some cultures, it is still considered forbidden (or at least frowned upon) for women to show off their legs, shoulders, backs, cleavage, or even faces. The United States no longer enforces such strict codes on women other than very specific modest, such as the fact that it is illegal for a woman to be completely topless in public except for in very specific places that overtly allow it. For women and men alike, complete nudity is frowned upon except for in very specific public places that explicitly allow it as well.
Muslim cultures still expect women to cover most of their bodies while they are in public. These garments are very concealing and the market for them continues to flourish. They are made of denim, rayon, silk, polyester, wool, or cotton. Some of the common items include long lycra gloves, abayas (long cloak-like coverings), Hijab underscarves, and jilbabs, which are outer overgarments that include coats and long robes.
Beauty and Seduction
Of course, beauty and seduction continue to be among the main reasons women dress provocatively or at least attractively. A slinky, backless dress may be suitable for a cocktail party, while a slim pants suit in muted colors may be appropriate for that business dinner. Oftentimes, women do dress to impress others, but just as often, they choose their clothes based on how it makes them feel.
Hanging on the occasion and person wearing it, a black business suit with low heeled shoes and a jaunty scarf is just as attractive as a slim sheath of an evening gown with pearls and stiletto heels. In fact, the evening gown would look very out of place at a business luncheon. Attitude is just as important as the outfit is for any particular occasion.
Women often also choose clothing because of their status or position within a social group. Some pieces in particular call attention to a specific affiliation. For example, elaborate African tribal rooby robes speak of status in a very specific way. A slim skirt and crisp shirt, on the other hand, are more appropriate for a corporate executive or lawyer in the United States.
Oftentimes, women wear specific fashions for specific ceremonies and occasions that are very significant in their lives. Bridal gowns and the bridesmaids' dresses are two examples of this particular kind of attire. Other examples include dresses chosen specifically for prom or homecoming, or the debutante ball. Quincereana evening dresses are very important for 15-year-old Latina girls; They are often elaborate, flashy, or classic, but nonetheless, they are a once-in-a-lifetime fashion and hold special meaning.
Current Fashion Trends
Women in the United States often follow the latest fashion trends. This might be seen in their dress or their hairstyles, such as with the famous "Farrah style" in the 1970s to Jennifer Anniston's "Rachel" cut in the 1990s. It may even be seen in accessories, such as with purses or shoes. In some parts of the country or in certain social circles, "colors of the season" are still important as well.