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  • Writer's pictureRitu Punjabi

Clothing, an essential Physiological Need!

As per research, the physiological needs are essential to the survival of humans. And did you know clothing forms an essential part of those needs!

At the same time, Self -Esteem is an important developmental level which is catered to by our clothing, is the level 4 of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Basic Needs!

So why am I mentioning this?

At every stage of our life there are 4 basic clothing needs that need to be met:

  • Physical

  • Psychological

  • Social

  • Aesthetic

And at every age, the emphasis is greater on one need than the other.

For example, for an infant the only prime need that needs to be fulfilled is that of the physical, as he/she has not developed abilities to socially interact or aesthetically put together clothing. However, when physical needs are met, psychological needs automatically get addressed.

On the other hand, for a toddler or preschooler, along with physical needs of clothing with growth features such as elastics, stretch fabrics, adjustable straps, easy on/off, a major element of self help features such as front openings, shoelaces with tips or velcro and shoes marked L&R are all helping them with a sense of independence. At this age a great level of social interactions accelerate leading to the social need of acceptance and security which is displayed through attention getting and attractive looking clothing. Toddlers express their preferences more freely than any other age group hence demand for more colourful and well coordinated clothing.

As they move to elementary school, psychological and social needs assume greater importance due to their need for self-respect, worthiness, belonging and security.

Then comes the age of rebel, the Teenage! At this age physical needs are important until the growth spurt. A lot of the psychological and social needs become important, as it influences maturation and this becomes a great time to develop their personal style!

As an adult, the growth spurt stops, hence reducing the physical need of new clothes. However, the psychological need is for personal independence and individuality hence the clothing must be for confidence building and suited to values. The social roles take precedence and clothing must be suited to lifestyle, roles and goals with garments being separates, versatile, attractive and affordable.

And lastly for middle aged and elderly, physical needs again become important due to the softening and sagging of the skin and stiffening of the joints. So clothing must be comfortable and non irritating to the skin . Psychologically the clothing can help maintain self image and esteem by making them look attractive and using self help features.

Socially, it can help maintain an active lifestyle by motivating them and looking attractive. While the aesthetics can help counter the effect of physical changes.

Hence, clothing not only helps us look and feel better it also helps in developmental tasks and reinforces our sense of self!

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