firstly, an apology to jane austen for my shameless plagiarism :)
certainly far less controversial than the accompanying burka piece, still a subject i feel is worthy of discussion.
why are these suits and not uniforms?
well, to answer my own question, it seems a suit can have some latitude with respect to style, colour and cut.
a uniform may not.
[ i refer to uniform above in the sense of the uniform of a certain regiment or organisation, rather than uniforms in general]
though i still feel the suit is essentially a uniform.
it behaves in much the same way.
a suit is a communication device.
a suit is worn to communicate the wearers opinion of him or herself to others.
it is a social status communicator.
when worn, it stridently states 'i am not a manual worker'.
fundamentally, i feel the suit [especially early iterations] is worn to serve just that very purpose; the differentiation of those who work in certain occupations demanding no physical labour from those who work in jobs that involve manual labour.
otherwise, why suits?
in seeking to communicate this differentiation, a suit suggests the wearers position in a social hierarchy.
the clothes of a manual worker are more often than not almost entirely utilitarian.
they offer physical freedom of movement and have no reason whatsoever to communicate the wearers social or financial status.
a business suit has no need to be a utilitarian garment.
in this sense, 'form follows function' does not apply to the business suit.
it is predominantly an identifier and communicator.
and as such, notions such as 'style' and 'fashion' can be [and are] taken into consideration.
so why suit and not uniform?
well, saying 'i'm wearing my business uniform' doesn't sound quite right does it.
but conceptually, it is excactly that.
nb - i am aware that almost every garment is the wearers communicable 'advertisement' of themselves.
and anti-fashion is still a fashion.
such is the psychological complexity of 'fashion' [which is predicated upon death].
personally, i still think there is an exceptionally bland uniformity with regard to business suits.
now, where's my wife beater?