Balancing Your Custom Uniforms in Form vs. Function
It's good to be stylish, but the biggest problem with style is that isn't even remotely convenient. There's nothing convenient about those big hoop earrings -- in fact, they could seriously hurt somebody if they got snagged on something. Rings can slip off fingers, neckties can get caught in machinery, and jackets can be uncomfortably hot. In a perfect world, style wouldn't matter because we'd always wear whatever is the most functional like a bunch of fashion-impaired Vulcans. Unfortunately, we live in the real world where fashion says a lot about social status and how people perceive you. It's pretty much impossible to overlook fashion, even if you're designing a fairly simple custom uniform.
How Important Is Fashion?
Here's the general rule of thumb: the more often your employees will interact with members of the public, the more important fashion becomes. Think of waiters at a restaurant -- they interact with customers all day, so maintaining a sharp appearance with an eye-catching uniform is critical. But you don't want to go too far -- there comes a point where fashion is so bizarre that it actively hinders your employees.
Image source: Hhmsisabellaallabouteverything.blogspot.com
Now think of construction workers -- they never interact with customers, so they can pretty much wear whatever they want. The only thing that really matters is making sure that they wear steel-toed boots, construction hats, orange reflector vests, and other useful (but ugly) articles of clothing. In fact, there are some jobs where fashion could be actively bad for your employees. Forcing employees to wear ties when they work with heavy machinery all day is an accident just waiting to happen. Banning loop earrings, flowing shirt sleeves, and dangling necklaces can cut down on the likelihood of a workplace accident.
Adding Function to Fashion
"Could this article of clothing create any problems?" That's the guiding question that will determine how functional an article of clothing is. Could it get snagged? Could it fall into something (like a customer's meal)? Would it violate legally mandated safety regulations? Would employees wearing this would be uncomfortably hot or cold? Does it cover enough skin to be appropriate for your business? Image source: Ehow.com
Think up every possible scenario that could adversely affect your employees or upset your customers. Letting fashion take control over your custom uniform could be much more trouble than it's worth!
Adding Fashion to Function
It's much easier to spice up functional clothing by adding a few flairs. For example, let's suppose that you own a business down in Texas where jeans and long sleeve plaid shirts are perfectly normal working attire. You can easily spice up these outfits by adding an embroidered patch to the shirt, having employees wear distinctive belt buckles, or by giving them spiffy cowboy hats with your company logo.
You can add your company logo to just about anything, including relatively mundane articles of clothing like jeans, winter coats, or thermal vests. Don't get trapped into thinking that your employees have to wear ugly clothes just because you work in a business where function trumps fashion. Add a bit of excitement by including embroidered logos on your company uniforms.