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The Physics of Picking Out Clothes


ClarkK

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For many, shopping for clothes and deciding what to wear each day are both enjoyable activities. Buying and planning out outfits takes a decent amount of thought, and it depends on various factors. For example, if it's hot out you would be smart to dress in light clothes, and if it's colder out, you would be smart to dress in warmer clothes. However, surprisingly enough, physics can also play a huge role in effecting what you wear every day.

To start off, the electromagnetic spectrum has a lot to do with what you wear. If you go shopping through the different seasons, you will notice that there are many differences between the types of clothing for each. For example, if you go shopping in the fall or winter, you will see clothes that are darker colored, but if you go shopping in the spring or summer, you will see clothes that are lighter colored. To explain this, you must understand one simple fact: dark colors, such as black, absorb all of the colors in the visible light spectrum. Therefore, the color black absorbs a lot more energy, which keeps your body warmer. However, light colors, such as white, emit all of the colors in the visible light spectrum, which means that there is less energy to keep you warm. That is why if you wear all black on an 80 degree day, you will probably feel way more hot than a person who is wearing all white.

Not only do the colors of clothing change throughout the seasons, the style of the clothing do also. For example, in fall and winter, stores will sell a lot of pants and sweaters, and also shoes with lining in them. This is because materials such as those are able to keep in more heat and thermal energy, so our bodies can stay warm in the cold temperatures. But in the spring and summer, stores will sell capris, shorts, t-shirts, tank-tops, and sandals. This is because our bodies do not need as much heat and thermal energy to stay warm because the temperature is already so hot.

It never ceases to amaze me how much physics can come into play with even the simplest of daily activities, like picking out clothes.

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