Her DressingHer Fashion

Cultural Expression Through Uniforms: Incorporating Traditional Elements into Modern Attire

Uniforms have long served as a symbol of unity and belonging. It provides a group identity amongst an individual. Think military uniforms, sports teams, school uniforms, and much more. The idea is to provide a professional and polished look. 

However, aside from symbolism and unity, uniforms can also be a great cultural representation. By incorporating traditional elements and concepts, uniforms show their respect while also remaining contemporary. 

Elements of Design

In order to understand how to incorporate traditional elements into modern attire we have to understand the different elements of design. When we think about different ways to change something up, it often refers to the color patterns symbols in a few other key points.

Sports teams have often adopted these themes for jerseys that represent something cultural. A perfect example is the Boston Red Sox, who wore yellow and blue to symbolize Boston Strong after the Boston Marathon bombing. Their traditional colors are red, white, and blue.

Wearing Your Colors

There are a couple of different ways to consider colors and a traditional element. The above example is a great way to support cultural messaging. Let’s talk about all the different ways we can use color traditionally.

  • The colors of your country and flag are often represented during events that bring your country together.
  • Similar concepts can be said for your school’s colors. If you often wear a school uniform, it will already incorporate school colors. If not, this is a great way to add or accessorize while also fitting the memo.
  • In some cultures, colors have meanings. Red may mean power to some while white can symbolize solidarity wearing colors along with the uniform can uniquely signal feelings and expression.

Colors are one of the more thoughtful and common ways to incorporate traditional elements into modern attire. It allows for expression while not getting too far off the beaten path. Wearing your favorite colors can often help soothe you.

Patterns to Think About

Patterns are among the less common design elements when it comes to incorporating traditional memos. This is because patterns are not often associated with one particular culture.

But if we think hard enough, there’s room for concepts rather than specific patterns as a whole. 

Let’s consider different patterns from different cultures and decades. In the 1980s, patterns were often busy and loud, calling attention to any outfit, let alone a uniform. If we think about Asian cultures, patterns are elegant yet simple and often have their own symbolism. 

In some Japanese cultures, uniforms may display beautiful flowers and vines. Regardless of whether it’s a kid’s school clothes or an adult’s, patterns are fun to play with. 


Symbolism is a difficult concept because colors and patterns can represent it. But in this section, we are talking strictly about different symbols. These can be a logo designed on a pin or artwork on the back of a shirt.

Schools will have their own logos or symbols, which can often be on school uniforms as well as athletic gear sports teams, from professional to minor league, also have symbols that become recognizable to fans and players alike 

Unity Verses Uniquely

When it comes to uniforms, it is important to remember two concepts. A uniform should provide common ground in the ability to relate to one another. This is even more true when you incorporate traditional elements, such as symbolism, across the board.

What’s amazing about incorporating different ideas to express traditional thought is that you can still be unique. How you express what your school means to you might not be the exact same way that your friend does. This sense of originality can be incredibly important when considering uniforms. 

Something also to consider is that uniforms are not worn 24/7. They are worn in a professional environment, which means you still get to wear your clothes and hair exactly the way you want outside of these hours. 

In Good Taste

Uniforms in the past could get a bad rap for not allowing individuals to express themselves. But when uniforms are done right, this is quite the opposite. The best of both worlds allows individuals to feel a sense of belonging while also adding contemporary looks that resonate with them to the outfit.

Uniforms are traditional for a reason and have often yielded positive results in the workforce and education. Finding different elements that are compliant with uniform standards is the best way to accessorize and be yourself without standing out too much

When you’re feeling doubt about how to accessorize it, Pinterest is a good place to start. Accessorizing uniforms have been around for as long as the clothing itself.