In many cultures in the Near East, the clothes people wore were important indicators of their place in society: their rank, wealth, religion, marital status, occupation, and so on. Clothes functioned as a form of stored and transferable wealth, especially as outer garments were often made with costly materials that could be worn by either men or women. The great variety of styles, as well as the materials and methods of decorating the cloth for the clothes, provide a rich field for collecting and study.