Uniforms as Fashion Inspiration at the FIT Museum

New York City is known for fashion, and there are a number of museums that host fashion exhibitions. (In fact, I’ve previously written about a few of those exhibitions here, here, and here.) What many people don’t know is that there is a museum entirely dedicated to fashion in New York City, and it’s free. The Fashion Institute of Technology has its own small museum, a little gem with rotating exhibitions.


The current exhibition, titled Uniformity, explores the connections between uniforms and high fashion. As visitors tour the museum, they discover 4 categories of uniforms: school, sports, work, and military. Curators have juxtaposed those uniforms with fashion designs that take inspiration from uniform details and silhouettes.

Here are just a few examples of the uniforms and fashion exhibits in Uniformity. I’ve included identifications and designers in each photo’s caption.

Left: Designer Claire McCardell, 1947-1950; Right: Man’s WWII U.S. Air Corps uniform, 1945
Left: designer John Bartlett, Spring 2011; Middle: designer Michael Kors, Fall 2013; Right: designer Richard James, 2002
Left: U.S. Air Force uniform flight suit, 1940-1945; Right: U.S. Coast Guard uniform flight suit, 1970s
Designer Elio Fiorucci, circa 1976
Designer Stan Herman, TWA flight attendant uniforms, 1975
Left: school uniform from Eton College, 1390; Right: designer Thom Browne, 2006
Left: man’s track uniform, c. 1925, USA; Right: Muratado Company, girl’s summer school uniform, 2010, Japan
Left: McCarthy & Simon, school uniform for Marymount College, c. 1927; Right: designer Rudi Gernreich, Fall 1967

There are still a couple of months to catch the Uniformity exhibition in person – it continues until November 19, 2016. The FIT Museum is located at the corner of 27th Street and 7th Avenue in Manhattan. The closest subway station is the 1 train’s 28th Street station, only a short block away from the museum’s entrance. It’s a slightly longer walk to take the R or N train to 28th Street, or the F or M train to 23rd Street.

19 thoughts on “Uniforms as Fashion Inspiration at the FIT Museum

    1. Meg, I discover things a variety of different ways. I am on a couple of mailing lists that send out a daily or weekly schedule of things that are free or inexpensive to do in New York City. I look through guidebooks, architecture books, and art books that are NYC specific. I also use google maps a lot. If I am going to be in a particular area of the city, I zoom in on Google maps to see what else may pop up nearby. I also strike up conversations with people at places I am visiting, and they often tell me about other places they have visited and enjoyed. The ongoing search is part of the fun! It’s like a treasure hunt.

      1. I love being your blogging friend! You are very generous with information and response. Thanks for this. I’ll meditate on ways of applying it in Warsaw – and back home, which is looking closer by the minute.

  1. thanks for this cool post – we might just be able to make it – as we have a trip to NYC planned – not sure if we can make it tho
    anyhow, I like your NYC posts – and the variety – like this one – really show the city so well. peace

  2. Fantastic! I think this inspires creativity so much as people can see that they can grab fashion ideas from absolutely anything. I am a part time model and love fashion, feel free to read my blog and perhaps we could follow each other?

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