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University female students’ perceptions on factors influencing their dress code

Author: 
Mantyi-Ncube, B. and Langwenya, W.
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

There have been several investigations using social science approaches into the impacts of fashion on how other people perceive us, as a result of the clothes we wear. Clothing is the most important feature in people’s lives. When we buy any article of clothing we consciously or unconsciously think about its relationship with our personality type. Dress, a visible symbol for fundamental beliefs, can be influenced by several factors. Swaziland, through print media has published concerns on female students’ dress code, especially during graduation ceremonies, asserting that students dressed inappropriately. This descriptive study therefore, was conducted to ascertain factors that influenced University of Swaziland (UNISWA) female students’ dress-code; and, also to determine types of clothes students perceived as modest. Furthermore, the study sought to determine how respondents prioritised purposes of clothing. A closed-ended questionnaire was validated, pilot-tested with UNISWA students, at Mbabane Campus; a reliability coefficient of 0.881 obtained. Questionnaires were distributed to ninety six 3rd and 4th year Luyengo Campus female students’ residents. SPSS version 17.0 was used for data analysis. Study results indicated that students’ dress code was influenced by competition among friends (32.3%), celebrities’ lifestyles (32.7%), while self-confidence (35.0%) was the most influential factor. With reference to purposes of clothing, protection (46.8%) was the most important, and modesty (23.0%) being the least important to respondents. Thus, it can be concluded that respondents considered protecting themselves from the harsh weather conditions and the environment whenever making clothing selections, with little consideration on modest clothing in their clothing selections.

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