The recent disaster in Dhaka got me thinking about clothes and fashion and the true costs of these, and that got me thinking about uniforms. Uniforms for civil occupations went out of fashion in the last century because of their association with militarism and fascism, but prior to that, in Europe, lots of people wore uniforms. It's the case that most Americans hate uniforms and find them oppressive, but maybe we should rethink. I always thought uniforms were one of the neat things about the army. You got up and one thing you did not have to think about was what to wear. Also, and just as important, who you were, where you'd been, and what you'd accomplished were displayed right out front on what you wore. Imagine wearing your résumé every day! Here's a young fellow walking through the Microsoft campus. He's got a tailored black uniform on, maybe by Hugo Boss, who did the designs for the SS back in the day. He's got the red fourragier from Harvard, and the blue color tabs that show he has a Ph.D in computer science from Cal Tech. On his shoulders are the oak leaves of a senior project manager. On his left breast are ribbons denoting the projects he's worked on, above which rides a badge that shows his salary level, with leaves, stars and diamonds recording his annual bonuses. On his cuffs are bars that shows how long he's worked at the firm. Now imagine a woman in the same rig. She would not get much sexual harassment, it seems to me.
Also, think of how much less bullshitting there would be. Everyone would instantly know who everyone else was. So much time saved in bars! This would produce a reduction in status anxiety, one of the great plagues of American life, the other being rich assholes pretending to be regular people just to be cool. Imagine the uniform of a billionaire financier! Here's a guy who's wearing a $10,000 bespoke suit and there are only fourteen people in the world who can tell, even if he leaves the real buttons on his suit cuff unbuttoned to show it's custom. Let them flaunt it! Maybe it would make them less greedy.