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Essay/Term paper: Symbolism of clothing

Essay, term paper, research paper:  English Papers

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Symbolic Message through Clothing

In Susanne K. Langer"s essay Language and Thought she expresses the meaning of signs and symbols. Langer explains that a symbol does not have a meaning it "merely brings things to mind." A symbol is a tool that is used to express power, wealth, or someone"s feelings. Symbols mean something different by each that it is observed. Many individuals express symbols through their clothing.

An individual can express their feelings through many different ways. Clothing is an easy and beneficial way to show someone your occupation or your choice of music. When one sees a person wearing a military uniform it makes them look as if they have power and discipline. How one perceives a symbol is different for every one. The same symbol might not mean the same thing to me as it does to someone else.

When I wear a suit I feel a strong confidence and a feeling as though I am powerful. I feel this way because when I see a person in a suit they represent wealth, power, and confidence. Without me even meeting this person in the suit I assume that they have a well paying job in the business field. I know this is wrong to assume this but this is what I was taught to be professional looking.

I sometimes like to wear a shirt that has a dragon on the front and back. I do this because a dragon is a large and dangerous beast and it brings me a sense of power confidence and the feel of invincibility. I also wear it because it makes me feel comfortable. Rather than wear a suit and be restricted by the collar at the neck, I can wear a long sleeve T-shirt and have the ability be comfortable. When I see this symbol on my shirt I feel a freedom that not many other symbols can give me. The dragon on my shirt is flying which sometimes let me imagine if I wear able to fly and get away from the pressures of my everyday life.

Certain symbols can trigger ones senses to feel a certain way about a specific design or style. This is the purpose of a symbol, to bring things to mind. According to Langer a symbol never has a specific meaning and I would agree. A symbol does not a specific meaning because each individual uses symbols as a tool to express their own personal meaning that it portrays to them.


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