The Courier and Haute Couture

by Norman Dulwich - Date: 2010-10-29 - Word Count: 696 Share This!

Some jobs just ooze opportunity to flaunt yourself and show off your latest togs but sadly that's rarely the case for the courier.


OK, not everybody's made the same, either physically or psychologically. Even so, some jobs give the opportunity to 'strut your stuff' and look good in clothes that also proudly proclaim your profession. Let's take a couple of obvious examples. Think about, say, Tom Cruise in Top Gun or Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman. People in the military often wear the uniforms as a mark of pride in their occupation but also as a bit of a fashion statement. The old joke about all the girls love a uniform may not be entirely untrue, and quite a few men admit to liking women in uniform too.

Then there are other outfits that proclaim both utility and sexiness coupled with style. Think about the surgeons shown on TV strolling around in their theatre kit or the doctors in their long white coats. Then there are all the other badges of office - the chef's white overalls, the judge's robes, the pilot's uniform and so on. All these occupations have the chance to wear clothes that communicate a purpose but also are maybe a mixture of style in some cases plus perhaps prestige or 'street-cred' in others. But what about the courier? Is there a courier street style?

Workaday clothing

You may say that this is a tiny percentage of the workforce. In reality, most people don't wear uniforms as such when they're on the shop floor or in an office etc. Well, maybe or maybe not.

If you see a mechanic or engineer dressed in their overalls, perhaps covered in oil as evidence of their trade, sometimes it's hard not to see it as a recognisable badge of profession and one that's pretty street-cred. In many offices, the latest suits, shirts, blouses and skirts are on display and there's an opportunity to 'dress-up' to show a combination of your personal style and maybe even level of success.

The humble courier

For us, it's all so different of course. Take the motorcycle courier for example. Waddling into an office submerged under 27 layers of protective clothing and leathers designed to keep the cold out rather than style, while sporting a full-face helmet, just isn't going to have the same effect on members of the opposite sex that Richard Gere's entry to the shop floor had in the above mentioned film. Sorry, but that's a fact! When the courier first made the transition to pedal power, initially it looked like there may be some hope as spandex, lycra and sunglasses started to seem like they may become marks of profession. But not so much now. Even when you do still see it, people struggling to 'pull themselves some slack' around the saddle area after they've dismounted, is just never going to look either glamorous or much of a statement of status (other than, maybe, "I'm sore"). Nowadays comfortable and practical clothing is more the norm and the helmet just isn't going to cut it as a fashion statement.

Finally there's the four-wheeled courier. Some of the bigger carriers may have uniforms but few would argue that they're even close to being symbols of prestige or fashion. Why, oh why, do so many of them look like they had their design origin in Thunderbirds programmes of the 1960s? Once again, the norm remains a tatty pair of jeans and a practical heavy-duty jacket just in case that breakdown maroons us somewhere inhospitable in the depths of miserable weather. Exciting it isn't.

What's the solution?

Stating the problem is easy - finding an answer is often more of a challenge. Perhaps some of the courier industry associations should all chip in a few pounds to hire some PR consultants and a fashion designer. Maybe they could come up with some sort of recognisable garb that would instantly proclaim to everyone that you're a courier and proud of it. If that could also be fairly stylish and practical at the same time - then so much the better. Mmmm. Not looking likely just yet, but we'll be sure to keep you posted and report any courier fashion developments we discover.

Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for the same day courier and express freight exchange industry. Over 2,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading courier jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.n
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