On the way I stopped into Biffi, a great old pasticceria, for a very cold sparkling water. While I was there I was struck by just how professional the gentleman behind the bar looked in his perfectly tailored uniform. Actually, the afternoon that I shot this image was the same day that I posted the young lady in Florence wearing a cleaning uniform. Maybe I had uniforms-on-the-brain that day.
If you compare the two images, I think both are great expressions of self.
I think that the young lady is expressing her self-image at the expense of her uniform: an “I’m more than this job” kind of expression. This gentleman, by contrast, seems to take great pride and respect in the profession he has chosen and expresses that pride in the exactitude of his uniform.
To me, this is also a great example of the difference between fashion and style.
This guy has STYLE. He has mastered the “refinement of detail.”
He stood out dramatically from all the other bartenders, even though they were all dressed exactly the same, simply because he understood the implied dignity of the uniform. I mean, wouldn’t you be surprised if this guy did a sloppy job on your cocktail? His style tells you “Trust me, I take my performance personally.”
I would love to see a return of pride in wearing a uniform, not only from the people wearing the uniforms, but also from the companies providing the uniforms.
Many years ago my Mom use to work for American Airlines. They flew her from Chicago to New York just to have her uniform fitted. Who does that these days? Hardly anyone and our culture is poorer for that.