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A Brief History of Work Uniforms

A Brief History of Work Uniforms

Why are uniforms the way they are? Look back into the history of work uniforms!

There is nothing new under the sun, but occupational uniforms have changed quite a bit in the last recorded centuries, from medieval times to the modern day. Today, you can still see remnants of centuries-old traditional garb, but more than ever present is the workwear that represents brands. Below, we shall take a brief look at the history of work uniforms. Should your company need any, Lord Baltimore Uniform Rental in Baltimore, MD, is happy to supply!

The Middle Ages through Renaissance

In the Middle Ages, professionals might distinguish their trade with badges. A badge was enough at the time.

The second manifestation of occupational uniforms in the Western Hemisphere was the livery. A livery is a non-military uniform worn by royal servants. Each garment’s colors and embroideries represented in which house the servant worked. The embroidery would be the house’s coat of arms. 

These uniforms developed roughly around the same time as military uniforms and were the same color as the liveries of the same house. For instance, one house might have red liveries and military coats. They might differ according to rank, but their uniform color represented a unified company. In earlier days, royal servants only wore liveries on festive days.

The 1700s through 1800s

Up through the 1600s, royal servants did not wear work uniforms every day; if they did, it was merely outerwear with a coat of arms. The next royal subjects to wear professional uniforms were postmen and miners. In Britain, the postmen wore red coats similar to the military red coats. Their predecessors were the Prussians and Saxons, however, whose postmen and miners wore uniforms to a royal Saxon-Polish wedding to show off their prosperity. 

In 1785, the Prussian King Frederick II tried to implement occupational uniforms for state employees’ everyday workwear, arguing that it would help them cut costs on clothing and prevent them from wasting money on expensive clothes.

With the Industrial Revolution well taken off and the aftermath of the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars, the 1800s brought about everyday work uniforms for state employees. These employees included the police, firefighters, metalworkers, doctors, transportation, justice, finance, and more.

Work Uniforms in the U.S.

The United States developed its own set of uniforms as the need arose. Although not state employees necessarily, cowboys, miners, mechanics, and more had to develop outfits suitable for their rugged professions. 

Modern Work Uniforms

The above-mentioned professionals still use uniforms to distinguish their trade and rank, but now, businesses also use uniforms to indicate their brand via their colors and logo, the new coat of arms. Company uniforms help employees with customer relations, morale, and productivity.

Trust Your Employee Uniforms to the Professionals at Lord Baltimore

For over forty years, Lord Baltimore has provided cost-effective uniform rental services throughout the East Coast, including Maryland, Washington DC, Northern Virginia, Southern Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

To learn more about how employee uniforms can help your business, please contact Joe Bateman at Lord Baltimore by calling 800-292-1224 or visit We also handle uniform and mat rentals and purchases for restaurants. Additionally, we also sell and rent uniforms, shop towels, fender covers, and mats for the manufacturing and automotive industries.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 1st, 2023 at 10:44 am . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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