Uniforms are worn by professionals in many fields. They are recognized as a symbol of belonging to a particular organization, company, or team. Over the years uniforms have evolved from clothing worn by the military to a standard clothing expectation in modern society. Uniforms are expected dress in industries including hospitality, postal service, retail, health care, airline, public transit, security, construction, and many more. The uniforms are meant to establish a basic code of conduct and team mentality among the workers.
Military uniforms are perhaps the most recognizable around the world. Different branches have their own colors and styles, with servicemen wearing unique uniforms for specific occasions. The use of formal military uniforms can be traced to 40 AD. The Roman Army dressed its soldiers in matching styles, which appeared unified and intimidating to challengers. This trend continued to present day, with alterations made to suit battle styles and specific needs. Beginning in the mid 17th century the French introduced the concept of regimental dress. This style included colors that indicated the specific units of the wearers. Beginning in the 20th century armies increasingly edged away from wearing bright colors in the field. This was replaced by more camouflaged colors including dark green, beige, and the camouflage pattern itself. This allowed armies to hide more effectively. Presently militaries maintain a variety of uniforms for active duty and off duty activities.
Similar to the evolution of the military uniform, security clothing has progressed through the years. The types of uniforms used for security vary by need. Some companies utilize full dress that mimics the uniforms of police officers. Others prefer lower key suits. While some companies opt for plain-clothes officers these are not technically uniforms.
Health care workers wear uniforms different from other industries. This freedom has progressed from strict styles prior to World War II, to the individual scrubs of today. During WWI and WWII nurses wore full, matching uniforms consisting of skirts, aprons, and hair coverings. The uniforms were required in order to work in the hospitals and participate in medical training. Following the wars the standards of dress relaxed. Scrubs became the standard and nurses were required to purchased their own outfits, rather than having them provided. This allowed freedom of choice to be incorporated into pattern selection. The uniforms consist of standard pieces that may be individually styled.
Another industry that has increasingly required uniforms is the hospitality industry. This includes a variety of service positions including food, domestic workers, and various service positions. The use of uniforms in the hospitality industry evolved from the requirement of domestic workers to dress in matching styles per their employer’s demands. Butlers, housemaids, and other servants were dressed in styles that often exceeded the dress of those they served. As modern industry developed domestic positions have been replaced by the service and hospitality industry. Uniforms are often used in these businesses to maintain a sense of unity and teamwork. Casual uniforms are most common, and many companies provide a simple shirt and pants outfit for employees.
Uniforms have remained a source of formality in businesses. While the push for individualization has largely been oppressed, it has seeped into the health care uniforms and is beginning to breach the hospitality industry as well. Primarily it appears that uniforms are a standard that has survived centuries and will continue to do so in the future.