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Consider this example of the functionality of clothing. Take a hiker, for example, dressed in comfortable layers starting next to his skin, and extending to a versatile jacket complete with hood and zippered pockets. Contrast this to an American businessman conventionally dressed in suit and tie, if its cold put him in an overcoat. Compare the two if they are on a street in New York City. Now put both of them on the side of a mountain in a driving rain storm. Which of the two examples survives.
Clothing and fashion are intertwined but definitely separate. There are those who dress for success and those who dress for comfort. It is a most interesting tug of war between these two camps of fashionistas. It appears that some ground is being won by the comfort group. More and more executives, professors and persons of intellect and interest are replacing useless neckties with turtlenecks, sweaters, and open collared shirts. They flaunt this new style to the viewing public in an effort to advance the school of comfort and to leave antiquated conventional fashion to the past. Kudos!
In popular fashion no single item has made a bigger impact than the hoodie. This, usually over sized, comfortable extension of the sweatshirt is seen everywhere and it functions remarkably well, and makes a strong fashion statement for the comfort group. One wearing the hoodie has a sense of insulation, not only from the weather, but from society as well. Hoodie wearers can retreat within its comforting soft cotton folds, shielding the wearer from the intruding eyes of society.
Hoodies worn for comfort by those fashionable folk who prefer comfort to convention make a statement and further the cause of comfortable wardrobe versus the conventional coat and tie, conservative business attitudes on fashion. Sweatshirts and simple clothing can become replacement for elegant, ostentatious dress which has no function other than to impress.
The American society is in the midst of a fashion war between the very conservative elements, the business suit and tie and, even, the burqa wearing parts of the world population against this new, comfort and utility oriented fashion world where jeans, hoodies and sweatshirts prevail.