Career Woman

Fashion and function – when a uniform isn’t just a uniform

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Every day people all around the world wake up and get ready for work. Regardless of what industry they work in, or what their job role is, putting on a company uniform is part of their routine. And that routine really sets the tone for the start of the day and our mindset, how we feel putting our uniform on, what attitude or feeling this process subtly embeds as we get dressed. Does the uniform leave you feeling empowered, stylish, comfortable and excited to start your day? The importance of fashion and function in uniform and its direct impact on performance, attitude and perception is largely underrated.

As someone who is obsessively passionate about the importance of what you wear to work I feel compelled to shout out as often as possible – uniforms are not just uniforms they are so much more. Our purpose is to get companies and employees excited and passionate about their uniform. We consider ourselves uniform experts who can tell our clients brand stories through what their staff wear to work. Not only is an on trend, fashion forward uniform vital for reasons such as workplace culture, attitude and branding by then partnering this with function ensures the uniform is also comfortable, durable and fit for purpose. This combination is the formula for the perfect uniform range.

We like to follow the below basics to ensure our clients uniforms are the perfect combination of fashion and function.

Function comes from fabric and fit

The biggest difference between fashion wear and uniform wear is in the fabrics and fit. Fashion fabrics are made for occasional wear and uniform fabrics are made for everyday wear. Ensuring your uniform is made with fit for purpose fabrics that are durable, comfortable as well as tried and tested ensures uniforms look good for the long run and staff feel comfortable in what they are wearing.

Unlike most fashion fits and styles that may just be worn to dinner or the movies uniforms are worn for the entire day and in some roles like hospitality involve constant movement and activity. Adding a feature such as a small piece of elastic in the waist of a trouser or a box pleat to the back of a blouse will make the world of difference and ensure your staff are happy and comfortable when at work.

TIP: Talk to the experts and ask for suggestions on the latest fabrics and fits that have been tried and tested in your industry. Don’t try and reinvent the wheel; if it works for others it will work for your team.

Fashion comes from colour and coordination

We put a lot of emphasis on colour. When designing a uniform, we want to ensure the colours chosen are flattering to all skin tones and body shapes, consistent with branding and stand out in the environment in which they are being worn. The colour scheme with uniform, like interiors, can make or break the design and take it from great to terrible very quickly.

Whilst brand colours are important, companies can get really caught up in trying too hard to match the uniform colours to the primary brand colour – even if it is purple or orange.

Tip: Understanding what colours are classic and working with these as the core basics and then layering or highlighting with your corporate colour will ensure a uniform that is on trend, fashion forward and won’t date.

To ensure the entire look is complete companies really need to tell the whole story from top to toe. If you spend time creating a look, it needs to consider all factors. Will staff need a winter option? What trousers are they expected to wear? Is there a requirement for a scarf or belt? There is no point creating a fabulous shirt or polo only to have it covered up by an employee’s personal jumper which is off brand and does not communicate your brand story.

Fashion forward uniforms are all about choice and giving staff the ability to mix and match and add their own style. Creating a complete look with lots of different fit and style options ensures you can offer your classic core uniform pieces with a fashion piece that can change each year. Staff will love the option to work with fits that better suit their shape or style and the element of new each year will keep the uniform exciting and on trend.

About Pamela Jabbour

Pamela Jabbour is the founder and CEO of Total Image Group, which designs, sources and manufactures leading edge, quality uniforms for companies across Australia. With offices in Sydney, Melbourne and China, they dress over 250 000 workers a day, with clients including 13CABS and the Australian Olympic Team and officials. For more information visit Total Image Group

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