Why do some religious wear a distinctive uniform dress?
The primary reason for wearing a "habit" is to be a sign of Christ's presence in the world. The religious habit identifies the community of which the person is a member and indicates that this individual belongs to God and His Church in a particular and special way. It allows people to know that one is not available for marriage, because he/she is already espoused to Christ. The wearing of a religious habit can tell people that there is something (actually SOMEONE) worth living for beyond the world that we see. It often speaks to people of the life to come in eternity. A religious may not always feel like he/she is very Christ-like, but the habit is a reminder to self and others that this individual belongs to Christ and is called to serve Him out of love. The wearing of the habit is an outward expression of the vow of poverty and an act of penitence. It can allow for fewer distractions, so that the Lord can be loved and served more fully.