Why do Salvationist wear uniforms?
Early-day Salvationists started wearing uniform as a natural consequence of the Movement adopting a military character. Wearing uniform while on Salvation Army service still has distinct advantages today.
It tells the onlooker that the person wearing uniform is a professing Christian and that he or she is available to give practical or spiritual help through the Movement, if not personally. Uniform also opens the way for the wearer to be recognised and accepted as the representative of The Salvation Army in all kinds of situations.
There are also personal advantages in uniform-wearing. It helps the wearer to remember to live up to the Christian profession he or she has made. In difficult or dangerous situations the uniform can give the wearer a measure of protection. Wearing uniform also gives Salvationists a feeling of fellowship when they meet.
The intention of Salvation Army uniform is not to isolate its wearer from other people but to give a visible sign that he or she is available to serve others.
You do not have to wear uniform to be a Salvationist, although certain responsibilities like playing in the band or taking a major role in running the local corps usually entail uniform-wearing. However, Salvationists who do wear uniform feel it is a privilege to do so.
Salvationists buy their own uniforms but officers, who as ministers wear uniform for the greater part of each day, receive help toward the cost of their uniform.
People with a sharp eye will notice that Army uniforms, while having a basic style, carry a variety of trimmings such as epaulettes and badges. These denote to fellow Salvationists whether that person is an officer or soldier, the corps they belong to and whether they carry a position of responsibility within that corps.
In overseas countries the uniform is adapted so that it is in the style of the dress worn in those lands.