The Droitwich Sign & Print Co Limited
Company Work Uniforms
01 July 2022

The history of work uniforms

The origins of work uniforms can be traced back to the middle ages when workers would wear badges on their clothes to denote their role in the army or the service of lords.

In the 17th-18th century, the then-called occupational work clothes were worn by servants in European courts. The non-military civilian uniforms were worn on special occasions and were provided by their employers, they were often given in different colours and badges depending on their rank or role.

Court liveries were the first uniforms in Europe. Liveries come from the French word livrer, which meant “to deliver.” They were worn by servants in a household and had the coat of arms of the family on them.

The rise of modern workwear in the 20th century is synonymous with many companies’ transition to global corporations that required their branding to be distinctive to be easily recognised by customers in countries around the world.  During this time work uniforms changed significantly and became more fashionable although they were more muted and less elaborate.

The baby boomers dressed to express their importance and rewards by wearing designer labels and personal styles.  The Generation X searched for individuality in the dull office and Generation Y was more creative and introduced a more smart/casual appearance in the office.

Today, things have changed significantly. We are seeing less formal attire and more jeans, smart tops and trainers being acceptable in the workplace, especially with the introduction of hybrid working.  We are seeing a real mix of individuality, some prefer to ‘dress up’ for work, and others prefer to be comfortable and ready for the transition from office to home in quick succession.

To keep things simple and for employees to stand out from customers, companies are opting to introduce a strong company uniform that is easily recognised. As workwear for the trades has now become fashionable for all, people are not too put off by wearing it – in fact, they no doubt feel quite fashionable in their trade’s workwear!

Modern Work Uniforms

When we want to see a good example of a modern company uniform that has adapted for each generation and fashion, think Mcdonald’s.  Each employee is provided with a uniform and instantly becomes part of the company family. It doesn’t matter which branch you are in, in which part of the world – you will easily recognise a Mcdonald’s employee by what they are wearing. When a food chain has a dress code of its own, and all the employees strictly follow the dress code, it creates a perfect example of professionalism. McDonalds has successfully changed its uniform depending on the fashion at the time and the company brand image it is looking to achieve.

Keeping up with fashion trends is important for a company uniform to ensure that you are remaining relevant and not out-of-date. It also helps employees to feel proud and confident thus giving off a good impression whilst wearing it.

Designing a uniform that employees will feel comfortable and confident in when travelling to and from work is critical so they are happy to wear it on the way to and from work where they are easily seen. This is free marketing for the company and a great way to boost brand awareness where you might not be advertising.

Creating a dress code policy

If you are not likely to introduce a formal company uniform, then a dress code is useful to communicate what the business feels is acceptable workplace attire.  It helps to set out expectations that reflect the brand values and image of the company through what you wear. It can also create an atmosphere of professionalism and team spirit.

Indeed highlights several benefits to having a dress code policy, it includes:

  • Lessening any concern over employee attire – a clear policy helps employees to understand what they can wear and how to choose what is appropriate.
  • Impressing Clients – customers can easily spot whom to go to if they need anything and when customers meet an employee, they are accurately reflecting the nature of the company whilst making a good visual impression.
  • Promoting inclusiveness and equality – a clearly defined policy can also promote inclusiveness and equality by eliminating the competitiveness of looking the most stylish.

Creating customised company uniforms can be easily achieved. If you have an idea in mind and would like to discuss printing your logo and brand message onto work uniforms, give us a call at 01905 795644.

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