Corporate Apparel Trends: A Guide to Uniforms in 2019

A great work uniform can unite your team and help everyone look professional during the work day, but you don’t have to ask your team to wear just polos anymore. Trends in corporate team or office shirts are leaning towards a sense of humour, an illusion or even surprises within the design.

Not sure where to start with your team’s uniform? The key is to listen to your team and emulate them in a fun and wearable design.

Create Your Uniform Policy

A lot of employees will balk at the thought of an office-wide uniform policy. This is because they feel the prescribed clothing will limit them or compromise their individuality in some way. So, you need to start off on the right foot before you order a large number of apparel items.

Start by talking to your employees about what they might want in a company uniform. Ask them about what clothes work best for them while they go through their day. If you work in a warm place, you need to avoid dark clothes or long sleeves. A colder, darker environment may lend itself to a company hoodie or sweatshirt. These conversations will help you get a clear idea of what your workers need, while also letting them know how you respect them.

Let your workers know you plan to have a company uniform. Remember, people take their wardrobes seriously. Show them you take the issue seriously as well by answering all of their questions and by listening to their concerns.

Other considerations to look into are if you have some team members that never interact with customers versus a group that is face-to-face with clients or buyers. If you have a sales team or a group that represents you outside the office, they might need a different style of uniform than someone who is always in the back. Workers who do hard labor need durability over style, while desk workers can wear something lighter with a nicer design.

Look to Startups for Inspiration

Startups are known for their creative workspaces, along with new employee policies that include both dry cleaning and yoga in the office. Despite their tendency to kick tradition aside, they stick to a uniform. However, they aren’t afraid to make their uniforms a little more fun.

At Splunk, a company that focuses on data collection and analysis for businesses, they needed a shirt that was all about information. So, they stuck to simple phrases written in white on a dark gray shirt. Instead of a fun visual, customers see a simple, witty phrase printed on each employee’s chest. This basic look lets buyers know that Splunk isn’t messing around they want to get to work and focus on what’s important.

If you want to stick to visuals, take a cue from digital note-taker Evernote. The company helps writers and students save articles, pictures and ideas to a notebook, so their shirt design reflects both remembering and collecting.

Do you have an endearing mascot for your place of work? Use that character to sell your company and help everyone get excited about their new uniform. MailChimp, the service that helps websites send and manage massive marketing email campaigns, took a famous monkey and put him to work as part of their design.

Inspiration for Great Design

One of the best parts of implementing a company uniform is the chance to create or choose the design. Do you have some artists on staff? Ask if they would be interested in being on the design team to help you create a cool look. If you have a large customer base, put out a call for submissions and offer relevant prizes, like a free subscription to your service or a gift certificate to your store.

By opening yourself up to design submissions, you have a much better chance of finding an amazing design that will turns plain t shirts into a creative, wearable branding piece that will stand out and help customers remember your business.

Here are some great designs found from the depths of the internet:

1. This two-toned painter look would be perfect for a design company, a paint store or a silk screen company. It’s clean, simple and easy to wear, which your employees will appreciate. Add your logo to the man on the scaffolding to make it official.

2. Anyone who works with seafood, with marine life or oceanography will look sharp and appropriate in this great octopus design. If you’re in a hot, sunny place, you may want to swap out the black for blue or another light-toned colour to keep your employee’s shoulders from sizzling. Your workers will love the sophisticated-yet-fun take on their profession.

3. Any sound design specialists or studio workers will love one of these two design options. The microphone and the headphones look incredibly real and clarify exactly what your business does every day. They don’t have to mime sing; they can just wear the shirts and look like real pros.

4. If your specialty is office supplies, stationery or art supplies, go for a line drawing on your company shirts to show customers what amazing things they can create. This is one example of how much inspiration awaits in each marker, and it will also help your employees stand out in the crowd and still feel united.

5. Daycare workers, teachers and babysitters will have tons of fun with a chalkboard t shirt. Each employee can personalise their own shirt and show their charges a fun drawing, the alphabet or some numbers.

6. If you want your cooking school teachers to look sharp or if you want to sell amazing cooking supplies, try a fun whisk design like this one. This great look is complete with a 3D dollop of cream at the top, looking clean and professional without losing its sense of whimsy.

7. Take a note from FedEx and add a fun illusion to your company shirt. This easy design is appropriate and funny all at once. From a distance, each of the employees appears to be carrying an envelope, giving the illusion that FedEx employees are never off the clock. The eye-catching reveal that the envelope is part of the design makes it even more memorable.

8. You can also use an illusion to promote a product. This hair company wanted to help customers see what they would look like with longer hair, so they added it to their design. The quick example of longer, thicker hair makes customers more likely to order a round of a product. If you sell something that customers might need to see before they buy, try featuring it in your uniform.

Brenda Kimble

Brenda Kimble is an entrepreneur and mother of 2 daughters and a son, plus their beagle named Duke! She loves blogging, crafting, and spending time with her family.