Today stories about clothes that are worn by several generations may sound mythical, but they are actually true. One example could be boro (ぼろ), the garments of several time layers made in Japan from the 17th to the early 19th century. Boro or patched and many times mended garments came about out of sheer necessity, as scarce supply and high cost of fabrics forced people to reuse them several times before they wore out.
The primary function of clothing is rather straightforward, i.e. to protect the body from the elements. For the purpose of fulfilling this function, the quality of fabric and construction (cutting) are important. Clothes are worn on the body, therefore they are hardly separable from the wearer and it is the wearer who decides what other functions, apart from the primary, clothing is to perform. In most cases clothing has to reflect the real or imagined personality of the wearer, and they are used as amplifiers or attenuators of certain personal or bodily features of the wearer. Garments may convey information about gender, season, period, time of the day, wearer’s wealth, views, education, political preferences and other messages.