Why do we dress as we do? Is it just to attract attention or there is something more to it than that meets the eye? Is attracting the opposite sex the sole motive? If that is so nature would not have made men and women different. So dress must have a meaning other than mere sexual attraction. My own theory is it has to do with hierarchy and expression of power. Well dressed person [well dressed has different connotation in different societies] attracts attention. One can go to any extent to get attention. One can deck himself with brightly colored clothing however ill fitting it may be; deck himself or herself with heavy jewelry. May even have attachments like bright feathers, caps, hats toupees and the like. Medieval rajas had a decorated umbrella over their heads and sat on ornate thrones. The desire to dress elaborately and thus be identified as different and important is not confined to the rich and the powerful. It applies even to the clergy. One has only to look at the way the clergy of different communities dress to see my point.
Are they comfortable in their preferred dresses? Surprisingly comfort is something that is often practiced. I asked a consultant friend of mine who was in a full suit on summer morning, the rationale behind his attire. His reply was that without his suit he feels naked! I would, given a choice, rather be naked than wear a suit on a hot Sunday morning. Our beurocrats too like to be suited; that they stick out like sore thumbs in most of the gatherings is another matter which does not seem to bother them.
Doctors and white coats are synonymous. Add a stethoscope strung around the neck you have the complete uniform. This is ostensibly to ward off dirt and germs? Or is it for the patients to identify the class? For many the white coated figure of the approaching doctor causes extreme anxiety bordering on fear.
Now those of you who are my patients know why don’t wear a white coat.