Uniforms and Accessories: When is a Uniform Not a Uniform?

Accessories Image source: The-diaries-of-a-shopping-addict.blogspot.com

When is a uniform not a uniform? No, I'm not trying to get all philosophical with semi-pointless questions about how noisy falling trees are. I just want to take a look at the complicated relationship between uniforms and accessories.  

Individualization vs Uniformity

The whole point of a uniform is to make everybody, well, uniform. Uniting all of your employees under a single cohesive look will make your business appear more professional and well-organized. That being said, you might want to consider allowing accessories or deviations from the standard uniform design if your company promotes a relaxed atmosphere or individual expression.Jennfier Anniston from Office Space as a Waitress with Flair Image source: Linkrandom.blogspot.com  

Strict uniforms could come off as stifling, especially to younger crowds. Giving your employees a bit of leeway to allow for jewelry, hats, buttons, or other accessories will make your employees come off as a bit more trendy and fashionable. Restaurants are a pretty good example of this. Many diners promote a laid-back, family-friendly atmosphere that's all about good food and having fun. Employees in these establishments can often get away with wearing playful knick-knacks to promote the exciting atmosphere.  

Variations on a Theme

Uniforms don't have to be perfectly identical to one another in order to be considered uniforms. You could select a central unifying theme and then provide uniforms within that theme.  

Bartender in Trendy Uniform Image source: Drinks.seriouseats.com

For example, I went to a restaurant a while ago that used red and sharp fashion as its unifying themes. The waiters wore dress paints and red dress shirts. The manager wore a white dress shirt with a red tie, a blazer, and a red handkerchief in his blazer pocket. The bartenders wore red dress shirts with a black vest. Each of these uniforms included a custom embroidered logo of the restaurant. Despite the fact that there were three separate uniforms, it all felt very coherent because of the consistency in color and style.  

Accessories in the Dress Code

If you don't tell your employees that accessories are banned, then you shouldn't be surprised if your employees start showing up to work with bracelets, flashy hair pins, or huge belt buckles. It's critical that you create a very clear policy on accessories in your dress code.   Keep in mind that accessories aren't necessarily bad for your business as long as you use them correctly. If you do allow accessories, encourage accessories that fit well with the overall image of your business. If you own a fine dining restaurant, keep accessories to a minimum and make sure that any accessories are simple and elegant, like gold necklaces.

Man with Accessories for Work Image source: Modemodern.blogspot.com

If you're running a sports bar, it might be perfectly acceptable to let employees show up to work wearing gear from the local sports team. Sports fans will appreciate it and it will promote an exciting sports bar atmosphere.

Back to blog
1 of 5