Why Do We Wear Uniforms?
Years ago, I owned a company that manufactured uniforms for nursing schools. Later, I spent a year working on my kids’ school’s dress code. In both cases, I needed to understand why we wear the clothes we do, and what a uniform represents.
With our regular clothing, we do more than just cover up and stay warm: we express who we are. In a society where people are always looking for ways to communicate their basic DNA to others, our clothing tells others that we are girlie, or practical, or creative, or unhappy, or fashion-obsessed, or confident (or not). For females in particular, there are so many choices and so many ways to tell the world who we are by what we wear. Color, selection, fit, condition -- all say something about the wearer.
(Which reminds me of a funny story about my husband and his mother. One day, we went to visit her, and she looked at my husband and asked “Was there a fire in your house when you got dressed this morning?” His clothing generally doesn’t match, and has been worn a few days in a row, and is old, and he wears socks with flip flops, which often aren’t even a matched pair. He is a thrifty guy who cares more about comfort than style. But I digress.)
So why wear uniforms?
In the medical world, uniforms identify a person’s role. When things are hectic or emergent, it’s important to distinguish the nursing students from the nursing staff. They can also signify status and professional pride. In schools, they foster unity (even if the kids don’t like the uniform) and stifle inappropriate or hostile clothing expression, and they level the playing field for students of different economic backgrounds.
In sports, uniforms UNIFY. They help players feel like part of a group with a shared goal. When they fit well and look good, players feel better about themselves and develop a sense of “family” with their teammates. Studies indicate teams play better when they feel united with others to whom they feel loyalty, and who show loyalty back, in seeking achievement together.
From the first time I made matching hair ribbons for my daughter’s teams, it seemed like the kids played better. They seemed closer, happier, and more in sync. They brought their best selves to the court by looking and feeling their best, and those positive feelings worked their way into the game as well.
May your players play/run/dance/flipflop/jump their best!
Owner and President