I will begin this with the understanding that for any of you who may harbor a true fear of clowns, the imagery here might be a bit rough. Do try to stick with me, as I attempt to parse of the whys and wherefores of Coulrophobia, the irrational fear of clowns, through the lens of the Attire language.
The creation of these masks made a layer of separation between the real us, and the viewer, which was often deliberately intended to inspire fear, or awe, certainly to add mystery and wonder. It should not surprise us then that many folks feel deep seated discomfort around traditional clowns. It seems too that, the more exaggerated the clown make up and costume becomes, the greater the level of fear and distrust.
When you add all the various visual elements together, the body distortions, facial exaggerations, and tortured color combinations, it becomes quite obvious why so many people are afraid of clowns. In fact, it becomes more interesting that the fear is not universal. But I suppose that is explained, by the fact that some of us choose to pay little attention to the subtle cues we have around us all the time. Observational skills are not uniformly distributed among us. So, for some, clowns can be what they are innocently meant to be, humor and satire. While for others they are an unknowable menace, made manifest.
To my mind it reveals something about those of us who have this issue that is ultimately quite positive. We perceive more than others. We are able to allow ourselves to feel the effect of all these things on us, where others might not.