It was traditionally said that 'clothes maketh the man'. But what codes and meanings are associated with dress in a society that consists of divisions between class, race, gender, family status and religion? Is social and cultural life still fundamentally themed by the clothes that we wear? If so, how should we read these codes and themes in order to decipher their relation to power and meaning? This exhaustive book demonstrates how dress shapes and is shaped by social processes and phenomena such as beauty, time, the body, the gift exchange, class, gender and religion. It does this through an analysis of topics like the Islamic clothing controversy in state schools, the multitude of identities associated with dress, the Dress Reform movement, the construction of the body in fashion magazines and the role of the internet in fashion. What emerges is a trenchant, sharply observed account of the place of dress in contemporary society. The book will be of interest to students and researchers in Sociology, Cultural Studies, Women's Studies, Gender Studies, Anthropology and Fashion Studies.