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A Seriously Fashionable History of Uniforms

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Cobalt blue TWA uniform; jacket, skirt & belt in wool; shirt style jacket with tie belt; A-line skirt with stitched & released pleats at front TWA uniform; jacket, belt, pants in wool; orange shirt style jacket with tie belt; beige wide leg pants with woven stripe in red, blue & yellow
TWA uniforms. (Courtesy of the Museum at FIT)

The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) bills itself as “the most fashionable museum in New York City.” Some of their most intriguing exhibits are created when they explore how fashion shapes everyday life and vice-versa. Enter “Uniformity,” which “explores the dynamic history behind a variety of uniforms, considering their social role and their influence on high fashion.”

 

. (Courtesy of Museum at F.I.T.)
(Courtesy of the Museum at FIT)

Divided into four categories (military, work, school, and sports), the uniforms are “juxtaposed with the high fashion looks they have inspired.” It’s an examination of how military uniforms can shape the look of sports uniforms, and in turn, high fashion, and even lead to an unexpectedly stylish redesign of a work uniform. (Yes, vintage flight attendants outfits are featured.)

 

. (Courtesy of Museum at F.I.T.)
(Courtesy of the Museum at FIT)

The exhibition runs through Nov. 19. For more details, click here. At the bottom, the celebrated designer Stan Herman (who’s been called the “Father of Fashion Week“) discusses how he was unexpectedly hired to redesign uniforms for companies from Avis to FedEx, and how he went about approaching the task.

. (Courtesy of Museum at F.I.T.)
(Courtesy of the Museum at FIT)
. (Courtesy of Museum at F.I.T.)
(Courtesy of the Museum at FIT)