Though we tend not to think on it much in this increasingly technologized world, an essential element of the Attire language is the need to define and communicate ritually. That need makes itself known in endless variations, from the robes of the religious, to the comparisoning of a punk. The elaborate and wildly diverse styles of the Tokyo streets are as full of ritual and meaning as the traditional garb of a samurai.
In the office we are more grudgingly connected. Knowing that there are strict, largely pointless rules about appropriate attire for the office environment, we adhere as much as we can, but very often with an ill grace. The ritual is one imposed from outside, and not fully freely chosen, beyond having accepted a job where such rules are in place. The ritual exists, but, given our true choice, we might choose not to take part in it.
Evening attire is the most ritualized of all our apparel choices, especially for men. There is a very narrowly defined set of rules and expectations about what creates a full dress evening look for a man. And when I get dressed in my full Douglass tartan ensemble, I am taking part in a venerable ritual of dressing. Women have more latitude, but their set of rules is strongly defined as well. And though the aspect of belonging to a group is less clearly stated, the implications are those of status, education and intellect, though not any of those are necessarily true. So the ritual persists, even when its a falsehood to which we only aspire.