The clothes maketh the [wo]man…why your uniform matters

When we hear the word ‘uniform’ we generally imagine a blue or white business shirt, pleated business pants or a polyester polo with a logo. But as times have changed, as too have uniforms. Pamela Jabbour CEO of Total Image Group explains what businesses need to look out for if they’re considering a uniform for their brand.

Successful businesses these days understand the importance of projecting the right look and message for their brand and their uniform is a key area of focus in their marketing strategies. The power of visual messages through branding is obvious when we think of the McDonald’s Golden Arches, Apple’s icon, or Ralph Lauren’s Polo Pony.  Each visually sends such a strong message about the brand. As a business, its inherently important to have an on trend, fit for purpose and easily recognised uniform that your employees want to wear and that customers can easily identify.

A uniform is so much more than just a branded shirt or polo, it’s a real opportunity to create excitement with your team and clients around your company purpose and culture.

Uniforms reinforce the message your business projects to the market and ensure your team reflects the quality of the product, level of service and experience that can be expected when interacting with your brand. For well-established businesses, it is important that uniform ranges are regularly evaluated to determine whether this high level of quality message is being conveyed visually through staff and what they are wearing.

The world of uniforms has evolved and whilst there certainly has to be a practical consideration to the design, today’s uniforms are more about fashion, style, colour and providing choices for the employees who wear them.

An on-trend uniform ensures your brand and staff are professional and approachable, show differentiation from the competition and projects the perception that you are keeping up with the times. You must be successful if you look successful right? Considering many companies spend little time thinking about their uniform and its impact on branding, having an on-trend uniform can provide an immediate point of difference. Simply put, it’s a cost-effective marketing strategy to ensure your brand and team stand out.

If you are looking to revamp and refresh your team uniform it is important to consider the following:

Design Trends

  1. Approachable & Relatable

Gone are the days of corporate structure where most companies looked like a sea of suits and formal wear was what you wore to work.  Companies are about embracing the cool and comfortable and a lot of major brands have implemented a Smart Casual uniform in their workplace. It is more about understanding your customers and culture and ensuring the uniform communicates this tone. If your customers don’t wear ties, then is it necessary for your team to?

2. Fashion Forward

In a fast pace and ever-changing market, companies no longer expect their uniform range to last 5+years and are more focused on implementing stylish and fashion forward uniforms.

We suggest a uniform refresh every 12 month’s where pieces or designs that are not moving or are seasonal are phased out and new pieces phased in. This ensures the team continue to be interested in what they are wearing, and their uniform remains fresh. We also generally work through complete uniform overhaul every 3 years with major clients to ensure their team and brand stay on trend.

3. Statement Piece (Don’t be afraid to make a statement.)

When shouting out to the world who your company is and what you stand for there is no better way than to have a statement piece in your uniform. Major clients that are rebranding will often introduce a statement tee, polo or accessory that strongly represents the new look in a fun and flamboyant way. This statement piece is often used for the month of launch, or as a fun casual Friday piece for the first 12 months of the uniform launch. It sends a statement to both the market and your team about the change you have made and sets the tone around brand expectations.

Product Trends

  1. Tops & Teamwear

Uniforms today are all about mix and match and companies are no longer sticking to the one shirt fits all approach. Adding a variety of complimentary pieces ensure team members have an option for each day of the week creating a teamwear concept as opposed to a one-piece wardrobe. Tops are the new black and most new corporate wear ranges include a wash and wear blouse option for the ladies. Tops are comfortable, easy care and work for a range of body sizes.

2. Checks and Chinos

Fun, approachable, comfortable and on trend. Uniforms today have seen a total revamp from suit and tie to checks and chino’s. Casual button up shirts that tab up, can be worn tucked in or out and don’t require a tie is a trend we are seeing a lot of with our clients.

Opting out of the more formal black or navy pant and opting in with a chino is also something more and more companies are implementing in their range.

3. Denim on Denim

Who would have thought we would ever see the denim on denim look make a comeback?! Hotels, Clubs, Café’s, Restaurants and Food Chains are all about creating the funky cool vibe. Denim shirts paired with denim aprons are all the rage and really transitioning the traditional formal hospitality vibe back to trendy Urban.

Businesses are ever changing and evolving, striving to consistently be ahead of the times. With the need to stay current and on trend, uniforms can be a simple and cost-effective way to project company brand evolution. A simple refresh can help businesses by providing a point of difference, projecting key brand messaging and supporting workplace culture. With first impressions being key, an on-trend, staff considered uniform range can really boost your brand perception and morale. What is your team wearing and what is that saying about your brand?

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