What Makes A Good Uniform?

A corporate uniform needs to tick a lot of boxes to effectively meet a company’s needs. Is the outfit comfortable and fit for purpose? Does it comply with all necessary rules and regs? What about the style, does it represent the brand well? While looks aren’t everything, smart uniforms positively affect the way a company is perceived.

With so many uniform options available, it’s common for people who are purchasing corporate workwear to feel paralysed by choice. “Understanding the three basic uniform options: custom, bespoke and stock, is the first step to deciding what is the best type of uniform for your company’s needs”, says Will MacDonald of uniform and workwear supplier, Clothing for Events. “After that, the quality of the design, manufacturing and materials will determine how attractive, long-lasting and ultimately fit-for-purpose your uniform truly is.”

THE THREE UNIFORM STYLES

1. Stock Clothing

Stock garments are workwear pieces anyone can purchase and use. Their easy availability means they can be bought quickly and more cheaply than bespoke uniforms, but not always. “Our long-standing partnership with quality-driven UK factories means we can get bespoke items made in as little as two weeks,” says Will. Stock items can then be customised to offer the brand distinction many companies want or their customers have come to expect.

2. Custom Clothing

Custom garments are stock items that have been given brand differentiation, often through colours, logos and text. It could also involve personalising the corporate clothing with different colour trims, buttons or stitching, or adapting a collar to give the workwear more sartorial appeal. If you need branded wear quickly, Clothing for Events onsite brand print & embroidery services and UK factory base can quickly tailor or customise stock to the look you’re after. Branding techniques include screen printing, embroidery, transfer vinyl print, DTG (direct to garment printing), laser engraving and woven badges.

Organic cotton custom embroidered clothing and eco-friendly water-based textile printing can also help enhance your sustainability.

3. Bespoke Uniforms

A bespoke garment is specifically made for the customer. It could be a stock item remade in a brand colour or an entirely new style. Either way, a bespoke uniform is an effective way to give your brand a distinct identity. This is especially important if the wearer deals with customers or the public where first impressions count.

Any item of clothing can be made bespoke, including aprons, men’s and women’s waistcoats, suiting, ties/scarves, polos and t-shirts, outerwear and high-visibility workwear. Bespoke clothing items such as aprons, waistcoats and shirts can be made in our UK factories for quicker turnaround times.

While designing and manufacturing bespoke uniforms requires specialist expertise, custom outfits can have a big impact on your brand. Our close partnerships with UK and overseas factories enable us to source quality manufacturing services and fabric types at the best price. As Sedex members we can also monitor ethical and responsible business practices across our supply chain. This reassures customers they are making the right sustainable choices when buying Clothing for Events clothing and apparel.

You can read more about our sustainability commitments on our blog. 

CREATING A BESPOKE UNIFORM

There’s no denying the impact a good uniform has on a brand. Along with boosting brand awareness and enhancing customer perception are the staff benefits. Uniforms staff love and feel comfortable and attractive in will help them feel happier, more confident and productive in their work. For this reason, many companies find a bespoke uniform is the best way to convey not just the essence of their brand but to boost staff morale.

The process of creating a bespoke uniform involves a hundred considerations, starting with a good brief. Our design and production process has helped some of the world’s biggest organisations, including Royal Henley Regatta, London Stadium, 02, Google and Facebook, meet their uniform needs. The industries we supply uniforms to range from construction and logistics to hospitality, healthcare and events.

THE CLOTHING FOR EVENTS BESPOKE UNIFORM PROCESS

Brief: Every bespoke uniform starts with a good brief. 

Initial concepts: Mood boards are a great way to communicate how your hotel
uniform, chef wear or item of corporate wear could look. Concepts need to balance good design and style with commercial practicality. After all, uniforms need to look good, day after day, wash after wash.

Product samples: A sample uniform helps you see first-hand how your workwear design will look. It also enables us to fine-tune the design before it is made up.
Logo samples are made using the most suitable technique for your workwear or staff uniform, whether that’s embroidery, screen printing, transfer vinyl print or DTG.

Production: Bespoke items can be created in as little as two weeks, but large-scale projects will naturally take longer. Either way, we work hard to deliver your stylish uniforms quickly, even if that involves dispatching to a hundred different locations. Read our Nando’s Case Study.

BIG FACTORS IMPACTING A UNIFORM

Good design is vital, and a lot of thought goes into our design process to make sure we get it right. What do you want your uniform to say about you? What purpose does it need to serve? Aside from the big questions there are the little workwear design touches, such as a saddlestich hem or Nehru style collar, that can bring added elegance to staff uniforms.

Craftsmanship – quality sourcing, design and manufacturing is also vital to ensuring a uniform is fit for purpose, looks good and lasts. Chef aprons and chef jackets, for instance, need to be durable enough to survive hot, bustling kitchens. Construction and telecoms workers need hi-vis PPE clothing tough enough for outdoor work. Whatever the industry, workwear that’s well made will look good for longer. Frayed and faded fabric and logos never represent a brand well.

Sustainability is another area that is growing in relevance. Increasingly, companies of every size and sector, from big utility companies to boutique hotels want their uniforms and promotional clothing to have sustainability credentials that reflect their brand values and aspirations.

Clothing for Events works with a wide range of ethical clothing brands that supply ready-to-brand organic and sustainable clothing and merchandise. If sustainable uniforms, corporate clothing or workwear form part of your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) charter we can help you meet your sustainability initiatives.

GETTING YOUR UNIFORM RIGHT: THINGS TO CONSIDER

With half a century of combined experience advising and supplying businesses with staff uniforms and workwear, it’s fair to say we’ve learnt a thing or two. Absolutely nothing beats good planning, so when developing your uniform brief, here are a few things you might want to consider in advance.

Uniform practicality: How practical are existing uniforms? How do you or your staff feel they could improve? Uniforms often have to serve several functions depending on the job role. PPE workwear needs to protect from health and safety risks, while chefswear needs to be comfortable and durable enough for long kitchen shifts. Workers in the industrial electrical sector may need workwear that keeps them dry and warm and that protects from arc flashes. Front of house staff need uniforms that look and feel good, wash after wash.  

Product quantities/sizes: How many of each size garment will you need? How much spare stock do you plan to hold, or intend to ask your uniform provider to hold and distribute? Top quality workwear and corporate clothing looks good for longer, meaning you may need less stock than inferior garments.

Uniform style/colours: Uniforms need to positively reflect your brand. Many companies have identity guidelines for uniforms detailing their style and colour, as well the size and position of logos. We can help you maintain visual consistency by working with your Pantone, RGB and CMYK brand colours.

Logo: How prominent do you need your logo to be? Where would you like it placed? The best position for logos will depend on the garment. On a tailored t-shirt or shirt, the most common place for a logo to go is on the chest to the left. However, printed and embroidered logos can be placed on the sleeve and back.  

Branding: Do you want embroidery, screen printing or digital printing? Are you concerned about sustainable print? Eco-friendly water-based inks avoid the use of Plastisol, which can be damaging to the environment and humans.

Fabric: Do you have fabric preferences? Perhaps there are specific guidelines or regulations you need to follow? Clothing for Events stock everything from arc flash wear made using 100% inherent VXS+ fabrics and ThermSAFETM to bespoke uniforms made from the softest eco-friendly organic fabrics.

Budget: Be realistic about your budget – how much can you afford? Don’t forget to factor in repeat orders for corporate uniforms, especially if you plan to take on extra staff.

FINDING A UNIFORM SUPPLIER

Finding the perfect uniform supplier is a bit like finding a shoe that fits. At Clothing for Events we never take a ‘one shoe fits all’ approach. Our corporate uniform and workwear solutions are tailored to the needs of your staff and company, whether it’s a boutique B&B, high-street burger chain, a leading construction firm or sports stadium where only the best will do.

Contact us today to discuss your uniform options. 

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