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Uniforms conceal, and uniforms reveal … They envelop us in costumes akin to flags, in the bold designs and memorable colours of official, corporate and communal hierarchies … And like any language, they reveal origins, status, aspirations and insecurities.
So writes Craig Wilcox in the introduction of his latest book, Badge, Boot, Button: The Story of Australian Uniforms, a fascinating look at all kinds of uniform worn in Australia since 1788.
Uniforms clothe the bodies of millions of Australians every day in something more than ordinary costume, and have done so since British settlement. Whatever the uniform- colourful, traditional or intimidating-each is a corporate signature, a sartorial soundbite, advertising a school or airline, regiment or hospital, and its wearer’s place within the hierarchy.
Badge, Boot, Button looks at all aspects of uniforms-what they look like, the materials they are made from, how they have changed and what they reveal about Australians and our history.
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