A. Choose the main topics discussed in the video.

1   self-expression

2   royalty

3   very large hats

4   youth culture

5   large necklaces

6   very high shoes

7   Egyptian eye makeup

8   bikinis

9   shopping

10   sweatshirts

11   retro looks

12   quirky combinations

B. Write T (true) or F (false). Then correct the false statements with a partner.

1   Clothing has only recently become important to people.

2   People dress for self-expression and are often inspired to dress like famous people.

3   When we think of over-the-top seventeenth-century fashions, we tend to think of Queen Elizabeth.

4   One of the biggest influences on fashion since the 1960s has been comfort.

5   High shoes were invented to make people feel taller.

6   The heavy eye makeup Egyptians wore served a functional purpose.

7   In the future, we probably won’t be permitted to choose what to wear.

C. Choose the correct answers according to the information in the video.

 Our clothing tends to tell the world _____________.

      a   how we think

      b   what our job is like

      c   who we think we are

 Fashion has been about self-expression _____________.

      a   for about 3,000 years

      b   since King Louis XIV

      c   since the 1960s

 Men were encouraged to wear powdered wigs _____________.

      a   because the king did

      b   because they wanted to be king

      c   to cover their bald spots

 An aspect of 1960s youth culture is that people decided to _____________.

      a   dress more like celebrities

      b   be comfortable

      c   create their own styles

 Usually the latest trend is a look that rebels against _____________.

      a   revealing the body

      b   the established look

      c   sloppy looks

 After a frumpy style has been around a while, the next look will probably be _____________.

      a   quirky

      b   futuristic

      c   dignified



1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 11, 12


 F; Fashion has been a big part of the human experience for thousands of years.



 F; One of the biggest influences on fashion since the 1960s has been youth culture.

 F; High shoes were invented to prevent people from stepping in mud and animal waste in the streets.


 F; In the future, as long as we are permitted to choose what to wear, we will express ourselves through clothing.


1 c   2 a   3 a   4 c   5 b   6 c


Narrator:   Since the earliest human beings first covered their bodies with woven cloth, fashion has been a big part of the human experience. Clothing has many uses, of course. It’s functional: It can protect us or keep us warm. Sometimes our jobs require us to dress a certain way. But what most often determines the way people dress today is self-expression. Our clothing tends to tell the world exactly who we think we are. And our self-expression has seemed to take some pretty interesting turns over the last 3,000 years.

What’s fashionable is often determined by the people we look up to: royalty, the wealthy, celebrities, and musicians. For instance, men were encouraged to wear large, powdered wigs after France’s King Louis XIV began wearing wigs to cover his bald spot. And the crazy, over-the-top looks of the early seventeenth century were inspired by the extravagant fashions of Queen Elizabeth herself. But in the 1960s, people decided they could create their own styles. And ever since, what’s been one of the biggest influences on fashion is youth culture.

So, how are fashions created? Who decides what is classic and what is out of style? Sometimes, what’s behind a new fashion trend is comfort. But sometimes it’s just the opposite. There are a lot of people who don’t mind being uncomfortable – as long as they look good.

Sometimes a fashion starts as a necessity. In the fourteenth century, people started wearing very tall shoes to try to avoid stepping in the mud and animal waste that covered the streets. Some shoes were as high as 30 inches! You know what these shoes eventually turned into? High heels! That heavy eye makeup the Egyptians wore? It helped block the sun’s glare and allowed people to see more clearly.

Sometimes fashions have been about making things bigger. Or smaller. Yikes! Sometimes fashion discourages people from showing skin. Other times, it’s all about revealing the body.

Often, what’s trendy is something that seems to rebel against the established look. Sloppy looks will follow an elegant trend. Flashy might follow conservative. And when frumpy has been chic for a while, keep an eye out for something more formal or dignified to come along. It’s no wonder that styles that were cool 30 years ago often come back into fashion as retro looks.

So, what will be stylish tomorrow? Will it be a funky, futuristic look like in the movies? Or more old fashions that have been recycled? Or a quirky combination of the two? What’s for sure is that as long as we’re permitted to choose what we wear, we will continue to express ourselves through clothing.

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