Clothes in Society Reading Questions and Answers

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IELTS Reading passage – Clothes in Society

Clothes in Society

Clothes have been worn for thousands of years, originating with our animal-skin clad Neanderthal ancestors, through to sophisticated modern-day couture. So why are clothes so important? Here, we examine the impact and importance of clothes in society.

AFirstly we mustn’t underestimate the importance of clothing on human psychology. It’s true that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but people still do. In the case of human beings, that ‘cover’ is, in a large part, your clothing and others are looking at it in order to help gauge an impression of who are. This is because clothing is seen as an extension of our personality. So, before you choose your outfit for the day, think about how you would like to portray yourself and how you want other people to see you and interpret your personality. ‘To others, your clothes speak volumes about your personality, says Bridget Allen, a senior level fashion industry expert.

BIn reality, most people favour a combination of styles, wearing casual clothes one day and business garb the next. The key to using it to your advantage is to dress so you feel ready to take on the world. In fact, experts have found that dressing in this way has a real impact on your mood and your outlook. Consider what you wear to the gym. ‘Putting on a flattering outfit encourages people to actually go to the gym or to exercise outdoors in public, says performance coach Larina Kase, PsyD, MBA, president of performance & Success Coaching LLC, in Philadelphia, USA.

CMany people believe clothing is not a necessity; their clothing represents their cultures and beliefs. Many factors affect the clothing worn by different civilizations. Some factors include region, beliefs, climate, and gender.

DSome pieces of clothing remain almost synonymous with the cultures which crafted them. For instance, a billowing white toga is usually associated with the Roman Empire. A brilliantly coloured, ornate kimono is most often associated with Japan.

EIt is also important to know the fashion and customers of certain regions to get a better grasp of how other cultures function. As Coco once said, ‘Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.’

FClothing also has a very practical use. 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. Furthermore, they can provide a hygienic barrier, keeping infectious and toxic materials away from the body. Clothing also provides protection from harmful UV radiation.

GIn some societies, clothes may be used to indicate rank or status. In ancient Rome, for example, only senators could wear garments dyed with Tyrian purple. In traditional Hawaiian society, only high-ranking chiefs could wear feather cloaks and palaoa, or carved whale teeth. Under the Travancore Kingdom of Kerala, India, lower-caste women had to pay a tax for the right to cover their upper body.

In China, before the establishment of the republic, only the emperor could wear yellow. History provides many examples of elaborate sumptuary laws that regulated what people could wear. In societies without such laws, which includes most modern societies, social status is instead signaled by the purchase of rare or luxury items that are limited by cost to those with wealth or status.

HSo what is the future of clothing? The world of clothing is always changing, as new cultural influences meet technological innovations. Researchers in scientific labs have been developing prototypes for fabrics that can serve functional purposes well beyond their traditional roles; for example, clothes that can automatically adjust their temperature, repel bullets, project images and even generate electricity. Researchers are, in addition, working on creating textiles with

designer bacteria that survive off ‘dead’ skin and sweat, reducing the need to wash clothes.

Such bacteria could also be used to create bio-luminescent fabrics. Some practical advances already available to consumers are bullet-resistant garments, made with Kevlar and stain-resistant fabrics that are coated with chemical mixtures which reduce the absorption of liquids.

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Questions 29-35

The text has eight paragraphs, A-H. Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter, A-H, in boxes 29-35 on your answer sheet.

29Intelligent’ clothing that can adapt or react to the environment. …………
30Cultures cannot be understood in isolation, without reference to contemporary factors and external factors. ………..
31Our assessment of others is not purely objective. …………
32Certain types of clothing are intrinsically linked with some cultures………….
33A direct relationship between status and skin exposure. ……………..
34The motivational impact of clothes on the human psyche ………….
35A relationship between clothes and outside influences. …………………

Questions 36-40

Complete the summary below. Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the text for each answer. Write answers in boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet.

People fail to realize how clothes impact human psychology. Often clothes are used to 36…………………………… an opinion of someone’s personality. In addition, dressing to bolster your mood can also affect 37……………………….. From a practical perspective, clothes are a protection when 38 ………………… undertaken.

Finally, the importance of status and society should not be overlooked as the two are intrinsically linked. In certain societies, for example, more elaborate clothing and accessories could only be worn by more than 39…………………… members. In the future, many factors will undoubtedly influence clothing styles; however, scientists are currently researching more functional uses for clothes, as contemporary culture comes into contact with 40……………………

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Renewable Energy IELTS Reading Question with Answer


29Answer: H
30Answer: E
31Answer: A
32Answer: D
33Answer: G
34Answer: B
35Answer: C
36Answer: help gauge
37Answer: your outlook
38Answer: hazardous activities
39Answer: high-ranking
40Answer: technological innovations


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