In Defense Of Uniformity

— Wed, 3rd February 2010 —

Uniformity — If perhaps by another name, it’s the driving force behind men’s wear. As The Times‘ Bill Cunningham said recently: “Men … are really stubborn … They have their imagery, and that’s it!” And that’s the way we like it! From time to time, though, I do wonder why that’s so, and whether such conformity is worth defending. Practically speaking, the answer’s obvious. Having all agreed on what constitutes a ‘shirt,’ and its appropriate use, we can all get on with our lives.

Savile Row tailor Ozwald Boateng sheds some additional light on the subject in the above profile — the full version of which you can find over at United Style. On its surface, the film is about individual style. Looking back on his childhood, however, the ceaselessly-suited Boateng credits the similitude of his school uniform with helping him to “connect,” despite being one of the only black students. In one scene, Boateng asks his young son: “You know why it’s good to have a uniform? Because it kinda makes you feel like you’re part of something.” Of course, every kid finds ways to personalize his or her uniform, which, for Boateng, is where the real magic lies. “Even within the uniform structure, you’ll see the characters of the children in the uniform,” says Boateng. “And that’s why I like it, because it creates a harmony of style.”

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