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Bb Costumes Vs Uniforms
By: Harvard Foxman
Reprinted by permission of:

Uniform versus Costume

A costume is something you put on and pretend that you are what you are wearing. A uniform, on the other hand, reminds you that you are, in fact, what you wear.
-- Eunice McGarrahan in Our Daily Bread

I have been wondering lately what should we call the clothes that super heroes and heroines wear? Should they be uniforms or costumes? I have read the comics and seen the movies and the writings have used both interchangeably. Being the purists we are when it comes to the sacred writings of comics, I was not satisfied with that. I decided to take this issue a little deeper.

My first stop on my costume/uniform mystery tour was Halloween, that magical event every year when kids and others can drop their normal attire and don the clothing of their heroes or fantasies. Watching the parade of humanity walk down the street during Halloween night is a study in ghosts, witches and many super heroes. I would say to be consistent, that these people were wearing costumes. There is no way, unless they were delusional, that they would consider themselves wearing their uniforms for their professions or for saving the world.

On the other hand, what about people that dress as cops, nurses, or other professionals? That may be a gray area. By strict definition, those are still costumes unless the person wearing them is actually in that profession. What about my friend who borrowed a set of doctors scrubs and got a stethoscope? Then he went to a bar near a hospital so girls would think he was a doctor. To him it was a costume, but to the vulnerable girls it was a uniform.

Finally, what about our beloved superheroes themselves? They wear their uniforms to fight crime and dastardly villains, but they dress as ordinary people the rest of the time. Is Peter Parker wearing a business costume or uniform? Clark Kent? Bruce Wayne? Perhaps these people get a pass since they seem to have two roles: ordinary people and super hero. Would that we could do that in the real world.

So I hope we have settled the debate on costumes versus uniforms. I would welcome all feedback on the issue. Also, which costume or uniform do you like the most? Some stand out and others are just silly.

I look forward to your replies.

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