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Decoding the dress code
Two style experts offer a crash course in corporate fashion.


NEW YORK (FORTUNE) - Company uniforms speak volumes about rank, culture and (let's be honest) style. So are you what you wear?

We enlisted uniform gurus Stan Herman and Peter Dervis for a crash course in corporate fashion. Herman has designed uniforms for the likes of FedEx and JetBlue. Dervis consults for film, TV and the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Here's what they had to say about uniforms from Quad/Graphics, Bronson Heathcare, Marriott and Starbucks.

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A brief history of uniforms

1748: First recorded use of the word "uniform" to refer to clothing.

1829: London Police Department adopts blue uniforms. In 1840, New York follows suit.

1848: The dawn of dress khakis: A British army general outfits his Indian troops in "khak" (dust)-colored cloth.

1870s-80s: U.S. postal workers suit up for their routes.

1874: Bellevue Hospital is first in the U.S. to issue nurses' garb.

1916: The dress code goes corporate: UPS debuts iconic brown uniforms.

1933: United hires the first female stewardesses, kicking off 40 years of high style in the skies.

1970s: Vietnam war sparks transition from military-inspired looks to softer "career apparel."

2002: After a decade of "business casual," Lehman Brothers and other investment banks decree the return of the suit.

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