For most of us, our earliest recollection of uniforms will have been having to wear one at school. Some may shudder at the thought, others may have more happy, nostalgic memories. Or maybe your favoured memories in wearing a uniform or ‘kit’ may be if you were a member of a social or sports club, Scouts, Brownies, football, or netball team? Did the emotions associated wearing this uniform differ from school uniform?
The difference may well lay in the sense of pride, the sense of being part of something you were proud to be part of, proud to represent – rather than just being asked to conform (when you probably actually wanted to rebel!)
The psychology of wearing uniform can very much depend on the emotional association of what the uniform represents. Take a look below at our list of how uniforms may affect us in psychological ways:
- NEGATIVE ASSOCIATIONS
Prisoners ‘uniform’ for example is set as an identifier of the inmates against the smartly dressed prison officers, it also acts to keep the inmates on a certain level with no hierarchy – the ultimate of conformity. It’s safe to assume therefore, that any emotional association is a negative one with most probably a zero sense of pride.
- A SENSE OF PRIDE
Authority figures, such as Prison Officers, Police, Fire Brigade, Doctors, Nurses, Ambulance Drivers and Paramedics find that putting on their uniform puts them ‘in the zone and switched on to do their job. The public instantly know that they are the go-to person depending on the situation. This particular identifier instils a great sense of pride and positive emotional association. In addition, taking off the uniform can equally help them switch off from the job adding to the emotional association.
Then there’s the practical element to uniforms, those that do more than represent a job role or a brand but are actually worn to help to keep them out of danger. Hi Visibility clothing is a perfect example. It may seem like a commodity or just part of the job but it actually plays a very important part in the safety of the wearer.
The public also has expectations and psychological associations with our uniform-clad workforce. Far from the expectation to be able to recognise Prison Officers, Police, Fire Brigade, Doctors, Nurses, Ambulance Drivers and Paramedics we also expect to be able to know who to easily identify to ask for help in a retail environment! Most importantly, uniform gives a sense of professionalism. Jobs that mean the worker has to go to someone’s home to carry out their duties, particularly tradesmen, their uniform assures the homeowner that they are from a reputable company who invests in their workforce and their workforce are happy to represent them.
A recent comment about this on our social media was:
‘… if I was needing the services of a tradesman or professional, I’d expect a uniform. Even if just a company T-shirt, gilet, whatever. A smart logo’d uniform gives an impression of professionalism IMO.’
No matter what your profession, or the type of uniform you wear (or buy) is so much more than just having ‘something to wear’, It serves to bring a sense of unity, being part of a team or representing something you’re proud of whether it be the job or the company you work for – preferably both!
Going forward, if we can build positive associations with our uniforms and workwear the wearer will more positively showcase their position or the company or brand that they’re representing to the public and likewise will be better received.
To speak to us about any of your PPE or workwear requirements, please contact us today. We will be delighted to hear from you!