Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fashion + Uniforms = who are you kidding?

I know that there is a purpose to required uniforms. To ensure safety. To increase brand awareness. But really, I think uniforms are a disservice to the people who wear them.

Think about it. School uniforms are not smart. Some claim that uniforms eliminate competition and distractions from the classroom. But the last time I checked, there is still competition and distractions in jail - and all of those inmates are wearing the EXACT same thing, unlike those students who just HAVE TO HAVE the newest shoes, mobile phone, backpacks, cars, and everything else non-clothing-related. And, when those students graduate and leave their respected institutions, it's not like they'll be entering a world where everyone else is dressed alike.

Some argue that school uniforms save money. But I think it's quite the opposite. Do those students play football in their school uniforms? Do they practice ballet, swim in the pool, row their crew boats, and march with their french horns in a parade, all while wearing their uniforms? Do these students spend their nights and weekends in the same uniforms too? I don't think so.

And uniforms for work? Wow. I can see the value of having your coworkers looking to a particular standard, for easy brand identification. Especially at restaurants, on public transportation, and in factories. These uniforms also serve as protection from the elements and danger.

You can always tell the students and employees who are forced to wear uniforms, especially when they have to wear "non-uniform" clothing. They seem to get stuck in a fashion rut, with some miss-matched, random trend they saw on television or in a magazine a few weeks ago. It's almost like they don't seem comfortable in real clothes. Don't get me wrong - I'm sure there are a few of you out there that this does not apply too. I'm just speaking in generalizations.

And while I'm on the subject of general disclaimers (hahaha), let me say one thing as well. Not all uniforms are terrible. During designer Richard Tyler's fall 2005 fashion show, he included on the runway the new uniforms he masterfully designed for Delta Airlines! "Richard Tyler's extraordinary fashion vision and attention to quality has resulted in a uniform design that complements Delta's product, brand and image transformation strategy," said Paul Matsen, Delta's chief marketing officer. And I must say, the uniforms are amazing. (And just one of the many reasons why I fly Delta!)

Regardless of whether you wear a uniform, one thing is very important. Whatever you wear, wear with confidence. Consider the alternatives: we could all be naked!

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