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Did you ever keep your high school clothing uniform and get all your classmates to sign it on your very last day of school? I know I did. And I still have it. I think I threw the skirt because it did not have that timeless feel to it the shirt and tie did. Well my mother does, stashed away with some of my other memorabilia in her garage somewhere. Now when I see other teens from that same school almost 20 years later, although it’s a different design. It’s still a recognisable clothing without seeing the logo. The branding colours and of course that historical tie.
While most of the story behind a school uniform are based on the memories of those school years spent in the garments, uniform design can have this impact on other types of businesses too, helping their branding and design become a very memorable one that in 10, 20, 30 years time will also seem historical. Uniform clothing also tells a story in other ways. Usually a story about the company wearing it. Here are five ways how:
Colours are the most noticeable. The first thing you think of when you see a uniform are what those colours represent and how they stand out. As explained earlier, on a clothing uniform the colour is all about brand recognition. Not always are they the colours of the brand. They can be contrasting to simply make the logo stand out. Venues will a lot of the time use the colours of the interior and their natural surroundings to cleverly channel into their uniform design. So the colours can identify with the brand or even the experience at a restaurant or hotel for example. Colours set the mood you want to evoke in someone when they see the wearer in them. Happy, calm, energetic or nostalgic perhaps. It could also simply be the business owner’s favourite colour which is a story about the founder.
Fabric most of the time is about what suits the job of the person wearing it. Indoors or out, the climate, and the labour intensity. What tells the story the most of the time is the quality of the fabric in making it comfortable for the wearer. Uniform clothing of good quality fabric says the company care about their staff enough to have them optimally comfortable. Natural fibre fabrics are always best. Of course fabric blends can be just as good and if it means a blend makes it easier to care for (i.e. ironing). Then that’s also ideal for the staff and presents better after wearing the clothing uniform for long periods of time.
The fit is crucial in making the wearer look their best. A flattering well fitted clothing uniform is usually associated with being highly professional and the staff need to be somewhat in good shape to get away with it, so customers pay attention to all these elements. Reception staff in most businesses is usually best in s well fitted design. A very relaxed fitting uniform doesn’t necessarily mean unprofessional. It may suit the vibe of the company. Relaxed and chilled. Like a massage or beauty therapy venue. Some deigns suit this relaxed look.
By style we’re referring to the overall design from the pattern on the fabric to the cut, length and feel of the style. Is it classic or modern? Is it casual or conservative. Some uniform clothing designs make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time with front of house staff donning suspenders and leather trim full aprons. These kind of clothing uniforms represent a particular era that the business venue is meant to feel like when you walk in. Some bars and restaurants do this really well. Others are strictly white collared shirts, bright coloured accessories and tailored suits giving off a strictly modern and clean and trustworthy image. Medical clinics, car retailers or banks are best using this style. Patterns in a uniform fabric is a great way to give detail that tells a story about the company. It helps people visualise exactly what the business represent giving the uniform clothing a vibe. For example a pattern on the uniform could tell a story about the history of the company and when it or why it started.
Is the spice of life. A variable range of uniform elements are key to keeping staff united in uniform clothing while wearing it in a way that suits them best. This variable design can highlight a uniform if it’s the most flattering version of uniform clothing on each staff member. It also tells a story about the individual’s own style preference.