The way we dress (Fashion) is subjective because we are constantly under the scrutiny of people and society due to what we wear.
We wear what we wear to feel comfortable, attend an event, or pass a message. Yet, nowadays dressing up is more than just wearing clothes, we wear certain outfits either to pass a political message, educational message, cultural message or whatever message one wants to pass across.
Dress is symbolic, iconic and symptomatic, and it is open to diverse interpretations and meanings. The dress code in corporate institutions just like any symbolic language, speaks volumes.
It is essential to understand dress culture in Nigeria in all its ramification ranging from ethnic/national ceremonial dress, etc., the interpretation of colours, and the role of dress culture in promoting national identity. It is also suggested that Nigerian dress culture must be sensitive to people’s taste, convenience, style, sex, and religious beliefs, and must consider climatic or weather conditions and modernity if it is to serve as a veritable communication tool.
Dress is a kind of garment worn by people of all cultures since pre-historic times. Different people of the world have their unique dress cultures. The materials used for making dresses range from cotton, wool, silk fabric and rubber.
Dresses that people put on in all cultures in Nigeria are determined by a number of factors. The main factor that has determined, and is still determining, the variety of clothes at different times and locations, is the climate (Braun Schneider, 2005).
In Nigeria for instance, we have the rainy season and the dry season, with their characteristic coldness and hotness. Dress culture, therefore, has to bow to the prevailing weather conditions.
In sociology and anthropology, culture is the belief, behaviours, language and entire way of life of a particular people. Culture includes customs, ceremonies; works of art, dress, inventions, technology and traditions of a people.
In any society, there also exist subcultures, that is, groups of people with beliefs, attitudes, customs, and other forms of behaviours differing from those of the dominant society, while at the same time being related to it.
The concept refers to minority groups such as ethnic minorities, and religious and social groups. Sub-cultures created by such groups serve to provide recompense for the fact that their members are viewed as outsiders by mainstream society.
Some of the characteristics of these sub-cultures such as forms of dressing, language, and traditions are emphasized to create and maintain a distinction from the dominant culture. The distinction may represent pride in identity.
Nigeria is a typical example of being identified by housing various cultures and subcultures and being identified by the ways of life of the particular culture ranging from the manner of dressing, food, norms and traditions etc.
Nigeria’s dress culture differs from one place to another based on ethnicity, religious affiliation, occupation, profession, socio-political associations and economic groupings.
The law court, the church, the mosque, the military and the professional guilds have their different dress culture. Financial houses like banks and insurance houses have their dress code.
Students in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions also have their dress code. We also have traditional and royal dress codes. The Emirs, the Obongs, the Owelles, the Obas, etc., have their regalia comprising of their robes, caps and staff of office.