Well cut, good quality uniforms look smart in any occupation and the accommodation industry is no exception. A friendly greeting by smartly turned-out staff could hardly fail to impress guests at any time, whereas leaving it to the staff member’s own dress sense and clothing budget could have quite the reverse effect.
It is not only the guests who will be impressed. Staff also like to look good and will feel more satisfied with their job if they believe they look the part and perhaps even draw the occasional admiring gaze.
But like anything, else, uniforms and trends are constantly evolving. Fashions move quickly when it comes to clothing and even an expensively cut uniform in a quality fabric will not be much use if it looks out of date.
Uniforms are not only about the latest look – they also need to be unique, functional and cost effective. Deciding when to change them is not a decision you can just let go because the present ones are still in good condition.
But changing to something new can be a little scary to a manager to whom fashion is not his or her flair. It can be an expensive investment you want to get right. Very wise then to obtain some expert advice.
For instance, bright colours seem to be making a comeback in at least some parts of the world. Having an unattractive clash of colours will make even the best fabrics and tailoring largely useless. Bright colours especially need the eye of an expert.
Neutral tones are still the most common uniforms, but the choices are becoming more complex. A seemingly endless selection of greys are now being offered, and it is a similar situation for shades of blue. Navy is a primary color for suiting and basics, but now there are different versions. A dash of bright colour can bring these shades to life, but it is not as easy as it might seem.
And while it might not fit well in a traditional 5-star establishment, more adventurous businesses might be tempted to join the colour blocking trend. Here, one part of the garment is a different shade than the rest, e.g. the body of the shirt is light blue while the sleeves are grass-green. While colour blocking is likely to be the choice of more casual establishments, it is still a selection that you would want to get right.
Imaginative logo placements can also help make uniforms stand out, as can interesting accessories. These can add personality to a uniform at minimal expense.
As hotels change the way they interact with guests, it is important to remember that some staff members with more than one skill could be working in less clearly defined roles. They might range across several areas during a normal day, for instance checking in guests at reception before moving to serving drinks in the bar.
A core group of uniforms might be the best choice, augmented with signature items that can be added to give each uniform its own distinct personality. Working with local artists or artisans to create something closely associated with the particular area can also add a little touch of uniform magic here.
One of those companies that can offer good advice is Fashion Uniforms.
“We understand that your brand is bigger than your logo and signage,” said the general manager of Fashion Uniforms, Chloe Sharplin.
“It lives through the experiences of your customers, before and during their stay at your establishment. That’s why an attractive, brand-compliant uniform is much more than a convenient, easy way to get dressed each day. It’s a chance to build brand recognition, allowing customers to identify staff easily and differentiate the various types of staff within your site.”
Victoria Davis, national sales manager of Fashion Uniforms said, “Your domestic team can have one style of uniform, hospitality staff can have another and senior roles can be differentiated as well. Colour and fabric can remain consistent, ensuring customers can quickly identify who’s an employee and who’s not. It’s great for security, as well as image.”
Mrs Davis says those who wear Fashion Uniforms’ work wardrobes appreciate the effort that goes into the design and manufacture of their garments.
“We regularly receive positive feedback from people who wear our uniforms. They find the cuts flattering and comfortable. They also like the easy wash-and- wear fabrics that can easily last over two years. Many customers also appreciate being able to support New Zealand made and to have garments especially made for them.”
Fashion Uniforms works closely with hotel and hospitality clients to develop work wardrobes that perform on every level. Clients are welcome to put forward their ideas or they can explore an existing library of designs that can be modified to fit requirements. A recent innovation is the inclusion of device-friendly pockets to accommodate digital devices.
“A pocket big enough to accommodate a smart phone or tablet is essential for employees who are always on the move,” said Mrs Davis. “They need their devices for communication, as well as daily task lists.”
Another point of difference for Fashion Uniforms work-wear is the ability to have garments made from BioGarde fabric, which has antimicrobial qualities,” she said.
“Silver is embedded into the fabric so that bacteria can’t multiply. Employees with manual jobs can be confident that body odour won’t be a problem, even on the busiest day.”