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The Evolution of Uniform in Fashion

Looking at how uniform has evolved and revolutionised fashion in recent years. 


Remember the article of “A scholar and A Gentleman”, where I spoke highly of the importance of school uniform? Although traditional school uniform is not regarded as fashionable, here in Mzansi school uniform has its day to shine. On June 16th, we pay tribute to the fallen scholars of 1976 and it has become a trend for (former scholars) people to wear school uniform as a throwback of their schooling days. 


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We also celebrate our heritage as South Africans and Africans at larger on Africa Day and heritage Day, with our traditional ensembles. Traditional garments have also evolved through the years as they got incorporated with modern day designs and tailoring. However, with modern fashion and style fused with traditional patterns, such garments tend to be trendy for a particular moment. As pretty as you may look in your outfit on the day, the garment ends up in the closet gathering up dust since it is occasional. 


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Workplace uniform differs from job titles, such corporate office work and industrial work. Remember Samkelo Boyde Xaba’s winning collection at South African Fashion week? He also incorporated workwear pieces into practically wearable fashionable ensembles. The corporate office look has been one of the most popular one and arguably by far the most fashionable. The evolution of this genre has been remarkable from the classic single breasted notch lapel to the business 6×2 double breasted. The versatility is limitless and gives the wearer countless opportunities to wear a single suit in multiple ways. We also witnessed the rise of trendy accessories to brighten up the “dull old man” look. From the colourful socks; pocket squares; lapel pins, all these to add colour and detail in one’s look. 



Of all the uniforms mentioned above, which most of them I’ve had the opportunity adorn, my personal favourite has been the military uniform. Although office uniform is the most practical, military uniform is probably the most classic yet timeless of them all. Military uniform has quite a variety, from the combat camouflages, also known as “fatigues” to the ornamented formal attire. In some nations like the UK, it is still illegal for civilians to wear military uniform without authorization. However, military uniform is now replicated and can be worn as a fashion statement. 

Today, designers and tailors are adding camouflage patterns into their designs. One of the most outstanding occasions is when men who served in the military wear their uniform on their wedding day and even other fellow soldiers’ weddings. Such a uniform stays the same for years and hardly looks old nor out of fashion. Special events such as State of The Nation Address; Inaugurations and state funerals gives a full presentation of military uniforms. It’s quite interesting that in the article “Timeless Jackets Suitable for The Winter”, I highlighted jackets such a Military; Bomber; Sherling jacket and even a Pea coat, which all have history in the military as part of the uniform. 

Things always have ways of changing and transforming, but things such as uniform have been in existence for centuries and should remain untamed for the sake of our identity, heritage and something to learn for the future generations. 

Until next time… 

Suitably Yours 

Brian Lehang 




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6 thoughts on “The Evolution of Uniform in Fashion

  1. Interesting read.there’s more to the “uniform” than meets the eye.

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