Forest Uniform: The Early History of Military Uniforms

The idea of a soldier without a uniform seems alien to most Americans today, and indeed, the military uniform has been in existence far longer than our country. While some isolated examples of military uniforms existed in antiquity, the practice did not become common until the standing armies of the modern period were established. Prior to the advent of large national armies, the majority of troops were either retainers of a noble family or mercenaries, and standardized uniforms were not in use, although identifying standards or colorful accessories were often used to help soldiers distinguish between their comrades and enemies.

The modern idea of the uniform arose in the late 17th century, when Sweden’s Karl XI instituted a uniform code for his army. Early uniforms were typically designed to present an impressive display of force, but the fashions of the period frequently caused problems. King George IV of England, for example, clothed his life guard in such tight uniforms that they were unable to practice with swords. Here in the United States, the Continental Congress gave George Washington’s army the power to create a standardized uniform, but the money to clothe the entire military did not exist until after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War. America’s armies have been uniformed ever since.

About Forest Uniforms:
Forest Uniforms has provided clothing for employees throughout New York City since 1986. In addition to uniforms for hospitals, airlines, hotels, and schools, Forest Uniforms has been proud to manufacture uniforms for military schools.


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