In other words, when individual pieces of clothing are combined to create a uniform, the overall look can have greater visual impact than any individual piece alone.
“A red shirt in and of itself is just that—a red shirt,” says Adam Soreff, a spokesman for UniFirst, a leading supplier of uniforms and work apparel throughout the U.S. and Canada. “But if it’s personalized and coordinated with pants—as in the case of Staples or Coca Cola employees, for example—it helps project a more professional appearance.”
Midas Muffler provides another good example of such uniform synergy at work. By selecting black and gray combinations of shirts and pants, the muffler company’s workers project the look of a highly skilled NASCAR pit crew. In turn, that “helps instill confidence in customers,” Soreff says.
Projecting positive perceptions was even popular in 350 BC when Aristotle wrote Metaphysics and togas were all the rage. At that time, political candidates wore bright white togas presumably to project a sense of enlightenment, while emperors wore togas covered in ornate embroidery to reflect their nobility. Meanwhile, judges and magistrates opted for togas with purple borders—a color that has historically been associated with wisdom.
As for toga-wearing John “Bluto” Blutarsky in “Animal House”…well, anyone who has seen the film knows all about the sense of professionalism and political fortitude he conveyed. After all, he went on to become a U.S. State Senator in the end, and it doesn’t get more professional than that, does it?