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Uniform

Uniform of Porfirio Díaz, about 1900

A uniform is a type of clothing worn by members of an organization while participating in that police, emergency services, security guards, in some workplaces and schools and by inmates in prisons. In some countries, some other officials also wear uniforms in their duties; such is the case of the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service or the French prefects. For some public groups, such as police, it is illegal for non members to wear the uniform. Other uniforms are trade dresses (such as the brown uniforms of UPS).

Service and work uniforms

Uniformed newspaper vendors in Mexico City, Mexico, March 2010.
White lab coat and colored scrubs of a healthcare worker
Uniform of KFC worker, about 2003

Workers sometimes wear uniforms or branding and developing a standard corporate image but also has important effects on the employees required to wear the uniform.

The term uniform may be misleading because employees are not always fully uniform in appearance and may not always wear attire provided by the organization, while still representing the organization in their attire. Academic work on organizational dress by Rafaeli & Pratt (1993) referred to uniformity (homogeneity) of dress as one dimension, and conspicuousness as a second.[1] Employees all wearing black, for example, may appear conspicuous and thus represent the organization even though their attire is uniform only in the color of their appearance, not in its features. Pratt & Rafaeli, (1997) described struggles between employees and management about organizational dress as struggles about deeper meanings and identities that dress represents.[2] And Pratt & Rafaeli (2001) described dress as one of the larger set of [3]

Schools

Vietnamese school children in the library of an International school, 2010.

Uniforms are required in many schools. School uniforms vary from a standard issue T-shirt to rigorous requirements for many items of formal wear at private schools. School uniforms are in place in many public schools as well.

Countries with mandatory school uniforms include Japan, South Korea, Thailand, India, Australia, U.A.E, Singapore,some schools in China, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, among as many other places. In some countries, uniform types vary from school to school, but in the United Kingdom, many pupils between 11 and 16 of age wear a formal jacket, tie and trousers for boys and blouse, tie and trousers, skirt, or culottes for girls. The ties will usually be in a set pattern for the school, and jackets will usually carry a patch on the breast pocket with the school's name, coat of arms, and motto or emblem. Jackets are being replaced in many schools by sweatshirts bearing the school badge. Children in many United Kingdom state primary schools will have a uniform jumper and/or polo shirt with the school name and logo.

Civilian officials

Image from the 1943 Soviet regulations concerning the diplomatic uniform

From about 1800 to after the Second World War, diplomats from most countries (and often senior civilian officials generally) wore official uniforms at public occasions. Such uniforms are now retained by only a few diplomatic services, and are seldom worn.

Prison

Prisoners in Utah c.1885 wearing horizontally striped prison uniforms.

A prison uniform is any uniform worn by individuals incarcerated in a prison, jail or similar facility of detention.

Sports

Most, if not all, sports teams also wear uniforms, made in the team's distinctive colors, often in different variations for "home" and "away" games. Jeff Bzdelik, the premier basketball coach in the United States, established white uniforms as "home" uniforms during his winning tenure in the NBA. In the United Kingdom, especially in football the terms "kit" or "strip" (as in 'football kit') are more common.

Security and armed forces

US Navy working uniform
A Russian honor guard wearing their dress uniforms during an official ceremony, 2009

Military uniform is the standardised war and economic frugality are now the dominant factors in uniform design. Most military forces, however, have developed several different uniform types. Military personnel or civilian officials generally wear e.g.:

  • battledress, khakis;
  • dress uniform: worn at ceremonies, official receptions, and other special occasions; medals are typically worn.
  • mess dress, formal evening dress worn in the mess or at other formal occasions.
  • everyday work uniform, often with abbreviated forms of embellishment (such as using duller buttons or replacing medals with ribbon bars);

The practice of wearing a form of full dress off duty ("walking out dress") has largely died out as the modern soldier prefers the casual clothing of his civilian peers.

Domestic workers

Domestic workers are often required by their employers to wear a uniform.

Scouting

The R. Tait McKenzie sculpture Ideal Scout depicts a Scout in proper uniform

The Scout uniform is a specific characteristic of the Scouting movement, in the words of Baden-Powell at the 1937 World Jamboree, "it covers the differences of country and race and make all feel that they are members one with another of one World Brotherhood". The original uniform, which has created a familiar image in the public eye, consisted of a khaki button-up shirt, shorts and a broad-brimmed campaign hat. Baden-Powell himself wore shorts since being dressed like the youth contributed to reducing perceived "distance" between the adult and the young person. Nowadays, uniforms are frequently blue, orange, red, or green, and shorts are replaced by long pants in areas where the culture calls for modesty, and in winter weather. The campaign hats have also been dropped in some Scouting organisations.

Uniform buttons

A button from an Italian army uniform. 1979.

Some uniforms have specially-manufactured buttons, which, in the case of antiques, often outlast the fabric components of the uniform, and become highly collectable items.[4]

Uniform hygiene

In some countries or regions such as the commercial laundry.[5][6]

See also

Sailor (Harry Walker, photographer, circa 1910)

References

  1. ^ Rafaeli, A. & Pratt, M. J. 1993. Tailored meaning: On the meaning and impact of organizational dress. Academy of Management Review, 18(1): pp. 32-55.
  2. ^ Pratt, M. & Rafaeli, A. 1997. Organizational dress as a symbol of multilayered social identities. Academy of Management Journal, 40(4): pp. 862-898.
  3. ^ Pratt, M. & Rafaeli, A. 2001. Symbols as a language of organizational relationships. Research in Organizational Behavior, 23: 93-113.
  4. ^ Peach State Button Club (2010). "Uniform (Division II)". Button Country. Georgia, USA: buttoncountry.com. Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  5. ^ HM Revenue & Customs. "SE67240 - Tax treatment of nurses: expenses deductions - laundering uniforms - amount to be deducted". Retrieved 1 November 2007. 
  6. ^ Australian Taxation Office. "Claiming a deduction for laundry/dry cleaning of work clothing". Archived from the original on 27 February 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2007. 
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