Uniform History

A Virtual Museum of Uniforms in the United States

Uniform Histories

Hero image, cropped from cover of Industrial Uniform Co. Catalogue, circa 1960.

Mission Statement

Uniform Histories is a virtual museum focusing on the history of uniforms in the United States. This includes uniforms for work, military service, athletics, and school as well as niches such as prisons, scouting, secret societies, and marching bands. Examples of fashions inspired by uniforms are also welcome; however, uniforms and the uniform industry have some unique features that make them different from fashion. All ages and genders are represented.

This website is intended as a visual and text-based resource for people with professional interests in uniforms such as scholars, costume and fashion designers, and manufacturers, as well as enthusiasts such as collectors, cosplayers, and re-enactors. All content is moderated, but submissions (no matter how large or small) are welcome from both individuals and institutions. I am especially interested in personal stories and regional examples that are not widely known.

I believe in Open Access scholarship. Many items on this website are in the public domain or free to use under the terms of “Creative Commons, Non-Commercial” licensing. Depending on the use(s) that you have in mind, this may or may not satisfy your needs.

Please note that some items on this website are still under copyright and are being displayed as “fair use” to encourage scholarship and inspire creative activity. You are welcome to use them for personal, educational, and scholarly purposes, but you are responsible for determining if there are any barriers to commercial use. If you have any complaints, corrections, or questions about any item on this website, please contact the site owner (hakou@iu.edu).

Founder and site owner, Heather Akou

This project is an outgrowth of my research including my book, On the Job: A History of American Work Uniforms (forthcoming with Bloomsbury Academic in February 2024). You can read more about my background on my author platform and access many of my publications through ResearchGate. My current research is about entanglements between military uniforms and non-military dress/fashion, including how military uniforms have inspired subcultures such as militant secret societies, military-style marching bands, military schools, rap artists, and political extremists.

On the Job Cover Image

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Through a variety of archival documents, artefacts, illustrations, and references to primary and secondary literature, On the Job explores the changing styles, business practices, and lived experiences of the people who make, sell, and wear service-industry uniforms in the United States. It highlights how the uniform business is distinct from the fashion business, including how manufacturing developed outside of the typical fashion hubs such as New York City; and gives attention to the ways that various types of employers (small business, corporate, government and others) differ in their ambitions and regulations surrounding uniforms.

2023 - 2024. Community-Archive Jekyll Theme by Kalani Craig is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Framework: Foundation 6.