Q.1. Why is most of the knowledge about clothes inferential?
Ans. Most of the knowledge about clothes is inferential because clothes do not reveal anything directly. Clothes indirectly reveal the attitude, personality and socio-economic status of the wearer. Moreover, we can only draw inference about attitudes, styles, personality and socio-economic conditions of the people who wore various kinds of clothes in the past.
Q.2. Give one reason why clothes could have developed.
Ans. One important reason why clothes could have developed are the rules devised by societies about the way in which men, women and children should dress or how different social classes and groups should present themselves. These norms came to define the identity of people, the way they see themselves, the way they want others to see them.
Q.3. In what way do clothes give a message?
Ans. Clothes do give a message, as the clothes of Sans Culottes did. They were men without knee breeches different from the aristocrats who wore kneelength breeches. Their clothing, loose and comfortable along with colour of France — blue, white and red – was a sign of patriotic citizens. Gandhiji made homespun khadi a symbol of national sentiment and his dress code of short dhoti was his way of identifying with the poorest Indian. Khadi became a symbol of purity, simplicity and poverty.
Q.4. What does Sans Culottes mean? What did it signify?
Ans. Sans Culottes literally means those ‘without knee breeches.’ Members of the Jacobin clubs called themselves Sans-Culottes to distinguish themselves from the aristocracy who wore knee-breeches.
Q.5. What did a patriotic French citizen wear in France after the French Revolution? (CBSE 2010)
Ans. French patriotic citizens in France started wearing clothing that was loose and comfortable. The colours of France blue, white and red became popular as they were a sign of the patriotic citizen. Other political symbols too became a part of dress : the red cap of liberty, long trousers and the revolutionary cockade pinned on to a hat. The simplicity of clothing was meant to express the idea of equality.
Q.6. Explain the Sumptuary Laws.
What were the sumptuasy laws in France? Explain. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. Sumptuary Laws were those laws which imposed certain dress codes upon members of different layers of society. These laws tried to control the behaviour of those considered social inferiors preventing them from wearing certain clothes, consuming certain foods and beverages and hunting game in certain areas.
Q.7. Explain how European dress codes were different from Indian dress codes.
Ans. In different cultures, specific items of clothing often convey contrary meanings. This creates misunderstanding and conflicts. Consider the case of the : turban and the hat. These two headgears not only look different but also signify different things. The turban in India is not just for protection from heat but is a sign of respectability and cannot be removed at will. In the western tradition, this has to be removed before social superiors as a sign of respect.
Q.8. Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of clothing all Indians in khadi didn’t fructify. Why?
"Responses to Mahatma Gandhi's call to wear kadi were mixed." Justify the statement. [2011 (T-2)] (CBSE 2010)
Ans. Mahatma Gandhi’s dream was to clothe the whole nation in khadi. He felt khadi would be a means of erasing differences between religions, classes, etc. Nationalists such as Motilal Nehru, a successful barrister from Allahabad, gave up their expensive western-style suits and adopted Indian dhoti-kurta. But these were not made of khadi. Unlike Mahatma Gandhi, other nationalists such as Baba Saheb Ambedkar never gave up the western-style suit. Many Dalits began in the early 1910 to wear three-piece suits and shoes and socks on all public occasions as a political statement of self-respect. A woman wrote to Mahatma Gandhi from Maharashtra, ‘‘I tried to adopt khadi, but khadi is costly and we are poor people.’’ Other women like Sarojini Naidu and Kamla Nehru wore coloured saris with designs, instead of coarse, white homespun khadi.
Q.9. Discuss the witty answer of Mahatma Gandhi about his dress. What did it signify?
Ans. Gandhiji wore a short dhoti without a shirt when he went to England for the Round Table Conference in 1931. He refused to compromise and wore it even before King George V at Buckingham Palace. When he was asked by journalists whether he was wearing enough clothes to go before the King, he joked that ‘‘the King has enough on for both of us.’’ This was the reason for Gandhiji's witty remark about his dress.
Q.10. ‘Mahatma Gandhi’s experiments with clothing sum up the changing attitude to dress in the Indian subcontinent.’ Explain.
Ans. The most familiar image of Mahatma Gandhi is of him seated, bare-chested and in a short dhoti, at the spinning wheel. He made spinning on the Charkha and the daily use of khadi, a coarse cloth made from homespun yarn, very powerful symbols. These were not only symbols of self-reliance but also of resistence to the use of British mill-made cloth. Mahatma Gandhi’s experiments with clothing sum up the changing attitude to dress in the Indian subcontinent. He usually wore a shirt with a dhoti or pyjama and sometimes a coat – as a boy from a Gujarati ‘Bania family’.
When he went to study law in London and also as a lawyer in Johannesburg, South Africa, he wore western clothes. On his return to India in 1915, he decided to dress like a Kathiawadi peasant.
In 1921, he adopted the short dhoti, the form of dress he wore until his death. This he did as he felt it was his duty to the poor.
Q.11. How did styles of clothing during Victorian Age in England emphasise differences between men and women?
Distinguish between man and women on the basis of style of clothing in Victorian England. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. Women during this time were groomed from childhood to be docile, dutiful, submissive and obedient. Men were supposed to be strong, serious, aggressive and independent. These ideals were visible in the way they dressed. Girls were dressed in stays and were tightly laced up. They also wore tight fitting corsets. These clothes restricted their growth and kept their mould small and frail. Slim and small waisted women were admired. This was not so in the case of boys and men.
Q.12. Apart from emphasising social hierarchy, what did the sumptuary laws focus upon?
Ans. Some sumptuary laws were such that compelled all people who were six years and above to wear woollen caps on all holy days and Sundays. Only people in very high posts were exempt. This law was passed to protect the English woollen industry. Such laws protected home production against imports, as during that time velvet caps made of material imported from France were becoming popular. This law remained in force for 26 years and helped in building up the English woollen industry.
Q.13. How did the French Revolution end all distinctions imposed by the Sumptuary laws?
What changes could be seen in clothing after the French Revolution?(CBSE 2010)
Ans. After the French Revolution, it was income and not class which decided a person’s clothing. Men and women began to wear loose and comfortable clothing. The colours of France became popular as they were considered a sign of the patriotic citizen. The red cap of liberty, long trousers and the revolutionary cockade pinned on a hat became fashion — these were political symbols. Simplicity of clothing was meant to express the idea of equality.
Q.14. What changes were visible in women’s clothes after the 17th century?
Ans. Before the 17th century most women in Britain possessed very few clothes made of flax, linen or wool. These were very difficult to maintain. Soon trade with India introduced the Indian chintzes which was easy to maintain. This was also within the reach of many Europeans. Cotton clothes became more accessible to a wider population as mass manufacture was now possible due to the Industrial Revolution. By the early 20th century artificial fibre also revolutionised clothes. Designs also changed; tight and restricted undergarments were discarded. Skirts became shorter and less cumbersome.
Q.15. With the help of an example show how cultural difference in dress can create misunderstanding.
Ans. Let us take the example of headgears — a turban and a hat. Both although headgears signify different things. Turbans are not only for protection from the sun but also worn as a mark of respectability. It cannot be removed at will. The hat is for protection and is removed in front of seniors and superiors. This difference created misunderstanding between the turban wearers, i.e. the Indians and the hat wearers, i.e. the British. When the Indians walked into English company they did not remove their turbans as they wanted to assert their national and regional identity. This at times offended the British.
Q.16. Describe how introduction of new material and technology changed the clothing patterns in Britain. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. Before the 17th century, most ordinary women in Britain possessed very few clothes made of flax, linen or wool. After 1600, trade with India brought in cheap, beautiful and easy-tomaintain Indian chintzes within the reach of many Europeans. They could now put on various kinds of dresses.
Moreover, due to Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, Britain began the mass manufacture of cotton textiles. Cotton clothes became more accessible to a wider section of people in Europe. By the early 20th century, artificial fibres made clothes cheaper and easier to wash andmaintain. In the late 1870s, heavy, restrictive underclothes were discarded in favour of dresses which were lighter, shorter and simpler.
Q.17. What changes came in women clothing as a result of the two world wars? [2011 (T-2)]
(i) Many European women stopped wearing jewellery and luxurious clothes. As upper-class women mixed with other classes, social barriers were ecoded and dresses of women became similar.
(ii) Clothes got shorter during the First World War out of practical necessity. About 7 lakh women who were employed in ammunition factoreies wore a working uniform of blouse and trousers with scarves, which was gradually replaced by khaki overalls and caps. Bright colours faded from sight. Clothes became plainer and simpler. Skirts became shorter and trousers became a vital part of women's dress. Women also took to cutting their hair short.
(iii) A plain and austere style came to reflect seriousness and professionalism. When Gymnastics and games entered school curriculum, women had to wear clothes which did not hamper movement.
Q.18. Why did women in the 19th century continue to wear Indian dress even when men switched over to the more convenient western clothing? [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. Women mostly remained within the four walls of their homes. So they were comfortable wearing Indian dresses. On the other hand, men went out to work and were influenced by western clothing. Moreover, India was then a traditional and orthodox society. Western clothes were a sign of modernity and progress.
Q.19. Describe Mahatma Gandhi's experiment with clothing during his lifetime. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. As a boy he usually wore a shirt with a dhoti or pyjama, and sometimes a coat. When he went to London to study law as a boy of 19 in 1888, he cut off the tuft on his head and dressed in a western suit. On his return, he continued to wear western suits with a turban. As a lawyer in South Africa in the 1890s, he still wore western clothes. In Durban in 1913, Gandhi first appeared in a lungi and kurta with a shaved head as a sign of mourning to protest against the shooting of Indian coal miners. On his return to India in 1915, he decided to dress like a kathiawadi peasant. In 1921, during the non-cooperation movement, he adopted the short dhoti or loin cloth with a chaddar. This dress he continued to wear until his death.
Q.20. During 19th century in England and America, what changes in women clothing took place? [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. In the nineteenth century, Britain began the mass manufacture of cotton textiles which was exported to many parts of the world. Cotton clothes became more accessible to a wider section of people in Europe. In the late 1870s, heavy, restrictive underclothes were gradually given up. Clothes got lighter, shorter and simpler.
Q.21. Mention the movements started by women for the dress reform in America. Why were the traditional feminine clothes criticised? Give reasons. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. In America, a movement developed for dress reform amongst the white settlers on the east coast. In the 1870s, the national Women Suffrage Association and the American Women Suffrage Association both campaigned for dress reform. The argument was – simplify dress, shorten skirts, and abandon corsets.
Traditional feminine clothes were criticised on a variety of grounds. Long skirts swept the grounds and collected filth and dirt. This caused illness. The skirts were voluminous and difficult to handle. They hampered movement and prevented women from working and earning. The argument was, if clothes were comfortable and convenient, then women could work, earn their living, and become independent.
Q.22. What are corsets? What types of problems were associated with it by the French women? [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. Girls had to wear tight fitting corsets. Tightly laced, small-waisted women were admired as attractive, elegant and graceful. Corset was meant to confine and shape her waist so that she appeared narrow waisted. But corsets caused deformities and illnes among young girls. Such clothing restricted body growth and hampered blood circulation. Muscles remained underdeveloped and the spines got bent. Doctors reported that women complained of acute weakness, felt languid, and fainted frequently.
Q.23. How clothes were used by Mahatma Gandhi as a powerful weapon to protest against the British rule? Mention any three points. [2011 (T-2)]
(i) Initially he adopted the famous loin cloth and a chaddar as an experiment during the Non15 Cooperation movement. But soon he realised this as his duty to the poor, and he never wore any other dress.
(ii) He consciously rejected the well-known clothes of the Indian ascetic and adopted the dress of the poorest Indian.
(iii) Khadi was to him a sign of purity, of simplicity, and of poverty. Wearing it became also a symbol of nationalism, a rejection of western mill-made cloth.
(iv) By putting on the dress that he did, Gandhiji could easily get identified by the millions of poor Indians as one of them.