A Brief History of Police Uniforms

Police uniforms play a significant role in society, both practically and socially. Police uniforms need to communicate the significance of the police officer as someone who is there to protect the community, bring justice to offenders and the offended, and restore order. Chesapeake Uniform has been providing uniforms throughout Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., northern Virginia, and southern Pennsylvania for over 30 years, and is happy to serve the men and women who serve this country in the police force.


Although the United States of America formed colonies throughout the 1600s and gained independence in 1776, an official police force did not exist in the country yet. At most, various regions had watchmen, sheriffs, or constables who were either volunteers or were paid a fee. At this time, there was hardly a difference between these workers' clothing and the civilians'.

Navy Blue

1854 marks the year when the first official police team was established in the United States. For decades, the police did not want official uniforms because they feared that they would look ridiculous and laughable. However, New York City became the first to adopt an official outfit, followed by Boston, Chicago, and other cities. Smart navy blue was the color of choice, mainly because the law enforcers were using repurposed Union army clothing from the Civil War.

The 1930s

In the 1930s, police uniforms eventually evolved into the look we are familiar with today. The outfit consisted of a button-up shirt, a tie, slacks, a militaristic jacket, and a peaked cap. Formerly, officers would conceal their weaponry beneath their jacket, but starting in this decade, more would wear their arms on an over-the-shoulder belt for ease of access.

Classes A, B, and C

Today, police uniforms can be classified into classes A, B, and C. Class A formalwear is for the highest positions in the force and for formal events. Class B outfits, also known as tactical wear, are for officers that could see more action on the field and are well-fitting and professional. Class C wear typically includes miscellaneous items like jumpsuits.

The Importance of Police Uniforms

Determining the best cut and color for police uniforms has always been about the balance between social image and practical purpose. Because police officers risk their lives on the field to enforce law and order, outfits need to be comfortable and easy to move in. Meanwhile, they should also communicate a smart style that communicates the dignity due them.

Uniforms From Chesapeake Uniform

Chesapeake Uniform has been providing uniform rental services for over 30 years to Maryland, Delaware, D.C., southern Pennsylvania and northern Virginia. We pride ourselves on being able to offer our customers the most competitive prices thanks to our national affiliation with ApparelMasters. Want to get started with our services? Do you have questions about our services? Contact us today by calling 410-558-3360.

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