The uniform signifies that we perform a certain type of job or belong to a certain company or industry. Did you know that the history of the uniform actually goes back to the 1800’s? It has influenced both corporate industry and even the military and education establishments. This is still the case today, with uniforms being worn by the military, government officials, police, and a variety of other industries.
The uniform has become very common in a number of service industries. Consider for example, construction industry uniforms. Anyone who has ever done such a job knows that they are required to wear some type of work overalls and safety equipment (glasses and other protective clothing including heavy, steel-toed boots).
Hospitals have also used uniforms throughout their modern development. Those scrubs that everyone from orderlies to nurses and doctors use also have a long history. They developed along the same lines as our understanding of bacteria, germs, and the need for sanitary procedures during operations.
The Civil War & Uniforms:
The Civil War was key to the modern development and history of the uniform. Back then, they were called ready-made apparel. As the conflict began, most uniforms were custom-made in the homes of government contract workers. However, as the war dragged on, many of the manufacturers decided to build their own factories, leading to a mass production of these uniforms in order to meet the vastly increased demand of both armies.
It was this mass production that also led to the development of standard sizes for clothing and uniforms. After taking so many thousands upon thousands of measurements of the various soldiers, it was able to be determined that certain sets of measurements occurred with predictable regularity and led to the first set of commercial sizing scales for men.
Women & The Uniform:
The development of uniforms for women came about much more slowly. They were custom-made well into the 1920’s. At that point industrial production techniques, the rise of advertising, the growth of the urban professional class, and the development of national markets changed all this. More and more female clothing began to be mass produced and the way people began to view these products also became more and more favorable.
Rise of Corporate Identities:
Nothing is able to cement or solidify a corporate brand or identity better than a uniform. This was the breakthrough that more and more businesses began having in the middle part of the 20th century. Just think of all the fast food places that started during this time. Now it is nearly impossible to walk into any type of food establishment that does not use unique industrial uniforms for all their employees.
This is not only true for fast food establishments, but almost any type of business. This has, of course, developed over time. As business began in America, uniforms were not very common. Just as with the development of ready-made clothes, more and more businesses in the 20th century began seeing the value of establishing an identity not only for their customers, but also for their employees. This also led to the school uniform. Both businesses and educators found that students and employees performed better while wearing school or work uniforms. They felt more like a team, and others were able to identify exactly which groups they are members of.
Author: Jerry Martin is interested in being eco-friendly in the workplace.