How does wearing a uniform benefit an individual?
Wearing a uniform can be viewed from at least a couple of different perspectives. It can be viewed as a way of enforcing a 'uniform' way of dressing - asking people to wear the same clothing and not giving them a choice. This can create a sense of resentment amongst those who are made to wear the uniform. A uniform might not represent what they would wear in their daily lives, so why would they want to wear it for the longest part of their day when they are in the workplace or at a school? Some uniforms are not designed to be particularly flattering, but rather serve an inexpensive and functional purpose which makes it easy for an organisation to get across their message.
On the other hand, it can be seen as a way of uniting a group of people with a common sense of purpose and pride. A football team, police officers, or shop workers - all generally wear a uniform, but what are the benefits of wearing one?
Perhaps two of the most fundamental reasons for wearing a uniform are suitability and safety. In the workplace, a uniform might be designed for protection, comfort, or purely marketing purposes, to name but a few. In sports and the performing arts, uniforms are designed to minimise fuss, accentuate lines and form in a movement, or make it safe for the wearer to perform their role without fear of becoming entangled in an otherwise unsuitable outfit.
One of the reasons may be identification. Wearers can be easily identified in a crowd of people. In the case of a football team, spectators need to be able to identify their team from the opposition so they can cheer them on. Police officers need a physical presence on our streets so we can call upon their help if needed, or when they are needed when trouble arises, we can differentiate them from members of the public. Shopworkers provide us with assistance whilst we shop, and in large or busy stores, we can more easily tell them apart from other shoppers if they are wearing a uniform. Identification is instant and if implemented correctly, a uniform always creates a good first impression.
But the benefits are not only for us as 'observers'. Those wearing the uniform reap some benefits too. Closely related to identification is identity. By wearing a uniform, people gain a sense of identity amongst the people with whom they share a uniform, and this manifests itself as a sense of pride amongst peers and others who they come into contact with whilst wearing that uniform. The uniform becomes a ‘badge of honour’, something to show off and earn bragging rights. “I am a proud member of my team”. This identity encourages social relationships and strengthens bonds within a team, all vital skills children need to learn at an early age.
Whilst a common uniform has these effects, a ‘branded’ uniform which goes beyond just style or colour, and introduces an element of exclusivity. This further enhances the feeling of belonging as the team badge is always on display for everyone to see. Over time, like all brands, a good team brand starts to become recognisable, and this starts a self-perpetuating process of increasing brand awareness and thus feeding the positivity associated with belonging to that brand.
And let’s not forget how an image of a group of people dressed in the same uniform appears to onlookers. It portrays an image of professionalism which goes beyond just the clothes. It tells a story of how the team carries itself and how individuals within the team deal with their own responsibilities and their responsibilities to their teammates. This can only lead to a higher level of performance which elevates the status of the team still further. A uniform helps to instil within a group of members a united team spirit, and that in itself generates many rewards – strength, support, and a purpose of working towards a common goal. It suggests that constructive discipline is important to the team which in turns creates a positive sense of expectation from the public.
Another valid reason to wear a uniform is how effortless the decision-making process is when it comes to what to wear. No more thinking about which top matches which bottoms. And this is a great leveller too. Everyone within the team, regardless of their status, background, or skillset, is treated with equality.
Here at Starbrite, we don’t enforce a uniform, but we do encourage wearing one for the above reasons. Some of the activities we take part in, such as examinations, have uniform requirements as these are stipulated by our governing body, the IDTA. Wearing a uniform in class helps prepare students for that feeling of inclusion, something that we are very proud of at Starbrite. Parents who wish to purchase a uniform do not have to purchase all uniform items at the same time. We can advise which items provide the most benefit in class leaving other items to be purchased over time. If you require any help understanding which uniform is required for the classes your child attends, please refer to the individual class pages on our web site or speak with a member of staff. If you wish to purchase uniform items, please visit our online shop.