Some garments of clothing are worn because of culture and tradition, others because of religious orthodoxy dictates it.
Arguably, some articles of clothing have no purpose whatsoever; they can be decorative or they can be a form of repression. Those who wear these are saying “yes, I submit, I will do as you tell me and my hat, tie; etc is proof that I will)
Clearly, the need for clothing and head coverings actually has a utilitarian purpose: to protect us from the elements. A lot of heat is lost through the head in the cold climates; while in the tropics the sun relentlessly punishes human beings; thus hats are necessary in both cases. However, it is my opinion that a tie has absolutely no utilitarian purpose…it is worn just as a form of conforming to the disciplined upper class work force while “blue collar” indicates that you are down one notch in the pecking order.
Then there is the ornamental purpose of hats and clothing; it tells others of your station in life, your affluence, your rank in an organization or simply an indication of regionalism…where you hail from will determine what you wear in order to fit in and be accepted. This conventional conformism exists across the globe in all cultures and all religions. No one place or civilization has been immune from it and we continue to display this type of conformism with fastidious insistence.
There are other reasons of course; like animals that “puff up” to show how formidable they are as opponents, so do humans…some who are short in stature would benefit from head gear that stands above the others; while colors and designs may also tell their perceived superiority as would be the case of bishops and cardinals in churches.
The headdress that is thought to have belonged to Aztec Emperor Montezuma II (or Montezuma). It is believed that the artifact has been in Europe since the 16th century. (http://www.deliberate.com/aztec/)
Hasidic Jews in fancy fur
Clothing, hats and ornaments can act as religious symbols and these can evoke strong emotional responses, particularly those that are visual. This article considers a set of cases in which members of ethnic minority groups challenge policies denying them the right to wear symbols important for the maintenance of their social identities. Among the controversies considered are those concerning religious headgear and hair as well as the kirpan, the Sikh ceremonial dagger. The number of disputes involving religious garb and hairstyles demonstrates how visual religious symbols are often perceived as threatening. By analyzing selected cases in which religious minorities experience discrimination, studies have revealed the precarious nature of religious liberty in democratic systems. Careful consideration of the religious symbols of minority groups may help avoid ethnocentric assessments and cross-cultural misunderstandings.
yarmulke, kippah or kappel
The Stoner Chasid
It wasn’t too long ago when women were not allowed in churches without having their heads covered. The Spanish women wore the traditional mantilla held in place by a peineta. Brides often wore a white veil and even more common was a white mantilla.
That being said; I still have the opinion that wearing something in order to appease the mobs or to show servitude or obedience to me is not acceptable and will challenge anyone who tells me otherwise. I understand not practicing nudity for example and I will not do that although I think that there should be places dedicated to such activity…like nudist camps or recreation areas only for that purpose. But I refuse to wear a tie although in the past I had to when I was in the job market and working.
When it comes to religion, of course I criticize those who wear something just because their religious leaders and their religion tell them to do so. It is one form of submission that I will not tolerate, particularly if it is forced upon a secular government to enact legislation to do so.
There are sub-cultures within the mainstream that will wear a certain attire to identify their membership or allegiance to a group. A good example is the gay leather drag worn by those enthusiasts of a particular sexual preference and practice.
In the Middle East and Asia you are bound to find a greater variety of clothing requirements…after all, they have had the influence of civilization a lot longer than the rest of the world.
Sheila & Abaya
Certain colors and styles are more common to some regions over the others, and many of the looks are worn for cultural tradition rather than religious reasons; without going into more significant details and with university students Yara Darwish and Dina Mutassem of Qatar, "Know Your Veils" is a brief guide to preventing Westerners from shaming our entire race of people by calling every head covering a burqa.
The Cuban “Guayabera” is cool and elegant
You don’t have to ask these two what religion they adhere to
In the South and rural America this seems to be one of the most common head gear accessories