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What Is The Fascination For Work Uniforms

Aug 1, 2008
What is it about a uniform that gets us all in one way or another? Beginning in infancy, we automatically recognise uniform as having a sense of authority, to be respected and feared. A uniform can also represent safety and young children quickly learn that if they feel threatened they can go to someone in uniform for help. Our early perception of work uniforms also shapes our future.

When I was at school so many girls wanted to be nurses. Some said it was to help sick people but some girls just liked the work uniform that came with the job. To be so easily identified as someone who has the skills, ability and inclination to help others is an admirable thing and everybody likes to feel wanted and needed.

The other career that many girls thought came with a great work uniform was an air hostess. The typical idea of travelling the world, seeing the sights and frequently travelling on board a massive plane came second place to that smart uniform with the neck tie and little hat that we used to like to play dress up in. Even the Barbie dolls of the time came with work uniforms that all girls typically aspired to - whether that be nurses, air hostesses or beauticians.

Of course, it wasn't just little girls that aspired to a career with a smart, easily recognisable work uniform. It was boys too. Many of them, even from the age of 4 or 5, would include dressing up as firemen or policemen in their make believe games. My own son loved his collection of dress up uniforms and would never be seen without his policeman's or fireman's hat, which was always a little embarrassing when it came to events like weddings but removal of the said hat was like torture to him and was always accompanied by high pitched screaming fits.

The work uniform obsession carries on into adulthood where many of us get to realise our dreams through the use of them. The only drawback to growing up is that while we get to have a real life work uniform we also get the accompanying work and the bills and responsibilities that take all our hard earned cash too! That said, you can see the pride oozing from a man that has turned out in his best army, police or fireman's uniform.

It doesn't just have to be the conventional type of uniform either. A work uniform can cover things as simple as a 'best' suit and tie. For a person that spends a lot of time in his jeans, to don a suit and tie on a Monday morning feels completely different. It puts the mind into work mode and shows clients the serious nature that you approach your work with, thus instilling their confidence in the company.

There is also a whole industry of soft porn that has built up around the work uniform ethic and light hearted versions of nurse, police and maids uniforms, among others, can be found in certain high street shops for the titillation and entertainment of any who wish to indulge. Although I'm quite sure your general nurse doesn't appreciate the letching in the same way that a couple dressing up for bedroom antics would!
About the Author
Behavioural expert Catherine Harvey looks at what makes a work uniform so appealing.
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