A uniform is a type of standardized clothing used by a specific group of people, such as students in certain schools, specialized workers, police, sports teams, or military personnel. A primary purpose of uniforms is to make members of an organization immediately identifiable to themselves and others as members. Distinguishing members of the organization from other people can be useful to the general population, making it possible to quickly identify emergency responders like police officers during an emergency. This helps cultivate a group identity, as well as having practical value for those who use it, such as wearing helmets, gloves and steel-toed boots on a construction site, or a soldier wearing body armor.
Uniforms can range from a set of insignia to a full set of clothing. Several types of uniform exist, including utilitarian work uniforms and more formal "dress" uniforms. Standardized military uniforms first emerged in Europe during the Roman Empire and became common in Europe again around the 16th century with the rise of the standing army.
Uniforms in Science Fiction
Various uniforms are common in science fiction. In shows in which modern military forces are involved (such as Stargate) modern military uniforms are naturally worn. Some science fiction uniforms are notable for bad design in the name of making them look futuristic, including lacking pockets, being uncomfortably designed or simply being butt ugly. Among the worst offenders in the area of bad sci-fi uniform design are in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and the first two seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. In both cases the cast hated those uniforms and pushed for something more comfortable.
In visual fiction in general, uniforms are often used as a visual means convey to the audience some tidbits of information. The uniforms of the good guys often resemble modern first-world uniforms; "proud warrior race" types tend to wear metallic armor with spikes, rough textiles, and leather inspired by vikings, samurai, and other premodern warriors; and totalitarian villains tend to wear uniforms comparable to those of the Third Reich or the Soviet Union. In anime, elaborate 18th and 19th century European style uniforms are popular.