Asked on his blog ‘Have you ever wanted to wear a uniform?’ William Gibson answered:
When was I last out of one? The extent to which we are are all of us usually in uniform brings to mind Eno’s definition of culture: everything we do that we don’t really need to. Pajama bottoms beneath a raincoat? Out of uniform. Jeans with one leg cut off? Out of uniform. Contracultural apparel disturbs us. Countercultures are intensely cultural. Bohemias have dress codes as rigid as those of merchant banks. We all read uniforms, constantly, whether we’re aware of it or not.
My favorite science fiction film wardrobe is worn by David Bowie’s alien, in The Man Who Fell To Earth. He turns up for his first terrestrial business meeting wearing a brand new $1.99 Chinese flannel workshirt, buttoned at the neck, its printed plaid fabric about half an inch thick, under a shiny, sleazy, striped business suit. The sense of the character’s inability to read or articulate our cultural codes is perfect, and heartbreaking.