Professional with a touch of simplicity and hint of sophistication!
Like it or not, first impressions do matter. Forget blind dates, where assuming you don’t bolt at first look, you’re still given a couple of hours to change your opinion. In the corporate world, however, it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Most business encounters simply don’t last that long nor do they ever get to a personal level as that of dates. First impressions matter more here, and that’s where composure, confidence and poise come into play.
Having effective work uniforms plays a huge role in making that good long-lasting first impression that’s one step through the door in what you’re trying to achieve in your business meeting! What you wear says a lot more about you than you’d like to think. Ideally, you want to strike the perfect balance between professional and personable. Here are ten tips to help you achieve that:
- Comfort and fit are of utmost importance
Before you even get to choosing colours or style, comfort and fit must first come to mind. Imagine a salesman in a pair of trousers that’s too tight! How can you possibly project confidence and look knowledgeable if you’re constantly fidgeting to get some breathing room for your poor suffocating legs while trying to make a sale? Likewise, if you’re a personal trainer, it’s just common sense to have a breathable sports vest. If you’re not comfortable in what you’re wearing, you can forget about looking confident or being assertive.
- Keep it simple and versatile
Do not underestimate the power of simplicity here. It speaks louder than having a Shakespeare-inspired company motto printed on the uniform. You don’t want anything too loud nor complicated, which can give clients the impression of flamboyance. Nothing with too many colours unless it’s a circus uniform. In the case of Norway’s 2014 Winter Olympics curling team’s uniform, it may be contrary to simple but it sure is versatile in the sense that it’s always suitable for the back of all wardrobes.
How about a career as a barbershop quartet instead?
- Quality is the best business plan
Do not sacrifice quality for price. Employees wearing cheap-looking uniforms will give a negative impression of your company. It could also end up costing you more in the long run if you’re constantly having to replace worn-out uniforms after just a handful of uses. It obviously doesn’t have to be tailor-made by Gucci or Ralph Lauren but it’s advisable to invest in quality pieces to ensure durability.
- Feel free to look for inspiration elsewhere
What kind of image are you trying to project? What’s the story behind your business? Your work uniform should reflect the attitude of your company. Parade your uniform and get your friends and family to give you feedback as to what they think your business is about. If that’s in line with what you expect then voila, you have your uniform!
- Professional look
Your work uniform should add value to your professional look as a whole. It should give you an image that commands respect. Looking good and feeling good add to confidence – lest you want to look as lost as David Seaman here at Euro 1996. Doesn’t look too confident now, does he?
Not sure what Umbro was thinking here.
Perhaps an avalanche of colours to throw off strikers?
- Be ultra-careful with spelling!
Any text on your uniform has to be properly checked before printed. This can’t be stressed enough! You want to tie up all loose ends when it comes to text. Don’t forget to check grammar and most importantly, spelling. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to end up being likened to Justin Bieber and his marketing team! A silly misspelling and/or typo is careless and tardy and would simply defeat the purose – I mean purpose – of having a professionally designed uniform!
- Be even more careful with font!
Now that you’ve got the spelling right, you’re gonna want to check if it fits with the font. Make sure you get a font that’s neutral enough. Choosing an appropriate font is just like choosing the right icing for a cake. It has to complement and add aesthetic value. While cursive can look classy and sophisticated on paper, it could mess things up royally on garments. It could even go as far as being offensive and embarrassing especially if you’ve got a name like Clint.
Nothing sophisticated about this, unfortunately!
- Be consistent: Match well
Looking professional isn’t just about the workwear – it’s really the whole package. There’s no one piece of garment that can help you achieve that. You could have the classiest-looking uniform, but if you’re not paired with the right kind of shoes, that’s just effort down the drain. You also want to make sure you’re kempt! It’s pointless to be wearing a suit while you’ve got dishevelled hair and mismatched socks. Comb that bird nest, straighten that tie, iron that shirt and trim those nails. If you’re old enough to be in the working world, you should jolly well know the drill!
- Consult your employees before committing to the T-shirt printer
Everyone knows what looks good on them and what doesn’t. V-necks may be flattering for Tom but not for Jerry. Make sure your employees are on board with the design of the uniform. This is where having a versatile design could help. You could first get a couple of designs printed and then have a handful of your employees try them for a week or so. Get feedback from them and make any necessary alterations. Getting them redesigned and reprinted would be reputably cheaper than having an ugly or uncomfortable work uniform!
- Don’t forget your company logo/name!
Leaving out your company logo/name on your uniform is like buying ice-cream and forgetting to put the ice-cream on the cone – you’re getting the base but missing out on the flavourful elements. People need to be able to know what company your employees are representing. Work uniforms are just another way to advertise your work and should always, always, always include your company name or logo. Without it, you may as well have just gone to Primark to get basic tees.
A well-designed work uniform should be one that successfully advertises your brand in a sufficiently effective manner. It should be one your employees are comfortable in and not one where they are in a rush to take off at the end of a work day. While it should be a well thought-out process, don’t stress too much over it! Take the opportunity to engage your employees by getting their input. Have fun with creating the design and simply let the inspiration flow!