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Fashion in modern society

Fashion is more prevalent in modern society than in primitive tribes or peasant communities. The modern society is an open society where class distinctions are not so rigid as in primitive society. Its urban and mobile class structure enables people to cultivate individual taste and adopt new course. The modern society is more tolerant of differences and therefore places few shackles on the cycle of fashion. Our standards of judgment have also changed. Today the individual is rated more by observable externalities than by his ancestry, his character or his genuine accomplishments. The clothes a man wears, the language he speaks, the manners he shows have more weight in ascribing a status than his simplicity, patriotism and integrity.

If he can keep himself upto date in the matters of his dress, speech and manners, he will assure himself a high social esteem. Not only the mobile and urban character of modern society but its affluence also speaks for greater prevalence of fashion in it. Men today are richer than their ancestors and have more leisure. They have the necessary means and time to play with luxuries and to think of fashion. Maclver writes: We do not think of fashion in overalls; there is more of fashion in the body of an automobile than in its chassis. There is no fashion in steam shovels. Consequently the higher the standard of living the more material there is for fashion to operate upon.

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