For other uses, see Uniform (disambiguation).
Uniform of Porfirio Díaz

A uniform is a type of clothing worn by members of an organization while participating in that organization's activity. Modern uniforms are most often worn by armed forces and paramilitary organizations such as 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
White lab coat and colored scrubs of a healthcare worker
Uniform of KFC worker

Workers sometimes wear uniforms or corporate clothing of one nature or another. Workers required to wear a uniform include retail workers, bank and post office workers, public security and health care workers, blue collar employees, personal trainers in health clubs, instructors in summer camps, lifeguards, janitors, public transit employees, towing and truck drivers, airline employees and holiday operators, and bar, restaurant and hotel employees. The use of uniforms by these organizations is often an effort in 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 symbols and artifacts in organizations which coalesce into a communication grammar.[3]


Main article: School uniform
Schoolgirls in Delhi, India. As seen in this photo, Indian schoolgirls can have uniform of both shirt and skirt, as well as shalwar kameez.
Chilean schoolchildren during class photograph

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, South Africa 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.

Image from the 1943 Soviet regulations concerning the diplomatic uniform


Main article: Diplomatic uniform

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


Main article: Prison uniform
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.


Most, if not all, sports teams also wear uniforms, made in the team's distinctive colors. In individual sports like tennis and golf, players may choose any clothing design allowed by the competition rules.

To prevent the confusion (for officials, players, and fans) that might result from two opposing teams wearing uniforms (kits) with similar colors, teams have different variations for "home" and "away" games, where typically one is dark and the other is light. In the four major North American sports leagues, one of the two uniforms is almost always predominantly white, and each league has a rule to determine which team should normally wear its white uniform. Customarily, National Football League (NFL) and National Hockey League (NHL) teams wear their color uniforms for home games. By contrast, Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Basketball Association (NBA) teams wear their white uniforms for home games. These rules are not strictly enforced, however, for any of the four major professional sports leagues in North America. Some NFL teams, most notably the Dallas Cowboys, prefer to wear their white jerseys for home games. When Joe Gibbs was the head coach of the Washington Redskins first from 1981-1992, and again from 2004-2007 the Redskins exclusively wore white jerseys at home games.[4] In the United Kingdom, especially in football, the terms "kit" or "strip" (as in 'football kit') are more common (instead of uniform).

Security and armed forces

Main article: Military uniform
US Navy working uniform
A Russian honor guard wearing their full dress uniforms during an official ceremony

Military uniform is the standardised dress worn by members of the armed forces and paramilitaries of various nations. Military dress and military styles have gone through great changes over the centuries from colourful and elaborate to extremely utilitarian. Military uniforms in the form of standardised and distinctive dress, intended for identification and display, are typically a sign of organised military forces equipped by a central authority. The utilitarian necessities of war and economic frugality are now the dominant factors in uniform design. Most military forces, however, have developed several different uniform types.

Military personnel in most armies and some civilian officials may wear some or all of the following:

The practice of wearing a form of dress uniform off duty ("walking out dress") has now largely died out as modern soldiers often prefer the casual clothing of their civilian peers.


Indonesian National Police officers in uniform on foot patrol

Members of the police in every country have a uniform for identification as law-enforcement personnel or agents. They are distinguished from the public by the uniform the police wear during overt policing activity. Usually each country has its own different police uniform.

The Police uniforms of the United States offer examples of police uniforms.

Contrast plainclothes law enforcement and undercover operations.

Medical workers

Uniforms can distinguish various categories of staff in medical institutions: doctors, surgeons, nurses, ancillary staff and volunteers.

Note that traditional female nurses' uniforms resemble uniforms (habits) worn by religious orders.[5]

Equipment - notably stethoscopes - worn like a badge of office, may accompany or replace medical uniforms.

Domestic workers

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


The beauticians use uniforms to protect their skin from oil and acid. These chemical resistant and water proof uniforms are completely safe to be used during work.


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.


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.[6]


In some countries or regions such as the UK, Australia or Hong Kong, the cost of cleaning one's uniform or work clothing can be partially deducted or rebated from the personal income tax, if the organization for which the person works does not have a laundry department or an outsourced commercial laundry.[7][8]

See also

Sailor (Harry Walker, photographer, circa 1910)


  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. "White at Home in the NFL". www.uni-watch.com. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
  5. Compare: Finkelman, Anita Ward; Kenner, Carole (2010). Professional Nursing Concepts: Competencies for Quality Leadership. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. ISBN 9781449617677. Retrieved 2016-11-08. Prior to the all-white uniform, the nurse's uniform was gray or blue, similar to a nun's habit and to the uniforms worn during Florence Nightingale's time [...].
  6. Peach State Button Club (2010). "Uniform (Division II)". Button Country. Georgia, USA: buttoncountry.com. Retrieved 11 March 2010.
  7. HM Revenue & Customs. "SE67240 - Tax treatment of nurses: expenses deductions - laundering uniforms - amount to be deducted". Retrieved 1 November 2007.
  8. 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.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/25/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.