Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs explains human behavior by positing there is a hierarchy of needs and that we deal with more basic needs before moving on to the next set of needs. Clothes serve a multitude of needs and this article will analyze how clothes satisfy these needs.
Humans have the basic need of not being too cold or too hot. Clothing protects us from the elements. This is clothing’s original purpose. Clothes augment our basic need for shelter. This need is met pretty easily and in an industrialized culture with ubiquitous air conditioning and heating, other needs that are higher up the hierarchy are more important. However, when the zombies take over then gear that fulfills this basic will become more important and modern technology allows for clothes that can protect us in ways our ancestors could never have imagined. Outdoor clothes that are outrageously expensive protect us from the elements but also allow us to get more respect and handle our esteem needs. The hunter buying clothes at Walmart is probably looking for value. The person shopping for outdoor gear at the North Face may actually be more motivated by esteem needs than physiological needs. I deal with this subject at BEST Zombie Gear by Category.
Human have the need to feel safe. Clothes can protect us from the elements but other humans are generally far more dangerous. The first thing early humans figure out is that if someone tries to bash your head in then a helmet is probably a good idea. The arms race to create more effective body armor continues to this day. Wearing militaristic clothing in a safe developed country may actually be a way to meet belongingness needs. Wearing expensive border line body armor type clothing in a safe country is probably a way to meet esteem needs.
Humans have the need to be loved and to belong to a social group. Clothing can be an expression of love and the most obvious expression of love of this sort is jewelry. Uniforms are top down expressions of belonging. Fashion tribes are overtly down top expressions of belongingness. Gang wear may be forced on members and be top down or be more like a fashion tribe depending on the gang.
Humans want respect and status. Clothes can become totally removed from their original physiological function and become means of garnering respect. Clothes can become a form of conspicuous consumption that confers respect and status to the wearer. High fashion serves esteem needs and the more expensive and impractical the better!
The person is focused on realizing their potential and therefore comes up with a system to spend less time worrying about fashion. Many productive people wear the same set of clothing every day in order to be more productive. The foremost example was Steve Jobs who wore his signature black turtleneck with jeans and sneakers every single day. The outfit formula is one way to spend less time on clothes and more time on more important endeavors.