Work Style

What’s Your Work Style?

Elson Yeung is the director of Private Label Design and Merchandising at alphabroder, North America’s largest distributor of trade, private label and retail apparel brands and merchandise to the imprinting, embroidery and promotional product industries. alphabroder offers more than 40 brands including a broad selection of trade brands from Gildan, Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, Jerzees and Bella + Canvas, to an extensive assortment of retail brands including adidas Golf, Champion, Russell Athletic, alternative and Dickies. With the addition of Ash City, alphabroder also offers industry-leading private label brands including North End Sport Red, North End Sport Blue, North End, Extreme, Core365, Authentic Pigment, Devon & Jones, and Harriton.

Depending on the industry or place of business, your customer’s work style probably depends on his or her job duties. From basic outfitting to function-driven attire, the selected style should reflect the individual’s job responsibilities, and as more organizations strive to enhance their corporate appearance and style, incorporating complementary garments remains a major trend in the promotional apparel industry.

Employees from one company may have different job duties, and ordering garments from a supplier that offers complementary pieces appeals to those companies. Whether the uniform is a polo, T-shirt, or jacket, suppliers have design options that complement colors and styling with enough unique characteristics to stand out from the crowd. This is also a great tactic for companies with regular personnel events for easy coordination that results in a polished, professional look.

The Sophisticated Uniform

For employees who interact with customers, such as those at a local print house or retail store, their uniform designs are usually geared toward a sophisticated look with a budget-sensitive price tag. Look for basic apparel with easy-care properties and a wide range of color and size assortments. Short- and long-sleeve polos in solid and tipped styles are trending at the moment, especially those with wrinkle-resistant features to keep a professional and crisp look all day. Polos that match well with jackets are also an option for a sophisticated look.

Restaurant apparel should stand up to tough stains or spills. Think styles with soil- and wrinkle-resistant features and moisture-wicking properties to keep staff fresh and at ease during their shift. Stain-release functionality also keeps spills from saturating the fibers of the garment. Styles that best suit this industry include polos with UV protection, especially for those who serve customers outdoors, and twill shirts in long- or short-sleeve styles. Pockets are another convenient feature for storing pens and paper in a safe location.

While it’s all work and no play for resort staff, island-inspired styles evoke the vacation mood for tourists. Easy-fit styles and draping textured camp shirts are ideal options for wait staff, tour guides, bellhops, bartenders, and retail employees. Look for short-sleeve shirts to complement the warm weather as well as beach-inspired shades, such as cloud blue, khaki, pineapple, parrot red, sand, or palm green.

For The Tough Work Environment

One of the major advantages in selecting a supplier with strong partnerships among many brands is that you may come across one with a solid heritage and brand recognition for a specific industry use. Similar to shopping for a specific item at a mall with your favorite stores, navigation is easy, and you have the confidence that the mall has what you need. A brand known for durable, sturdy, and functional apparel may be best suited for auto shop personnel, construction workers, or landscapers, given that their line of work primarily focuses on physical activity.

When it comes to workwear, you can never be too prepared for messy situations. Fabrics such as heavy-cotton twill, sturdy polyester, or duck are standard to tackle tough work duties, but this season, look for styles that also include performance and comfort features. Moisture-wicking properties come in handy when the worker is primarily outdoors or sweating frequently while a stain-resistant option sheds stains after washing to keep the individual looking refined and ready for work the next day.

Also, pay close attention to duck blanket-lined jacket styles to suit your workwear needs as the fall and winter seasons quickly approach. Constructed for the long haul, these designs may come with neck-protecting corduroy collars and nylon-quilted sleeve lining to keep the warmth in and the cold out. The small details also count—from pen slots to heavy zippers to strategically placed pockets that hold heavier items—no feature goes unnoticed in workwear because they positively enhance the on-the-job experience.

When Visibility Matters

First and foremost, distributors should align themselves with suppliers that are well-versed in safety standards before purchasing high-visibility uniforms. These standards vary from country to country, state to state, and even job to job, and safety products require extensive knowledge and experience because of potential liabilities and regulation requirements. Look for products labeled as American National Standards Institute or Canadian Safety Association compliant to ensure your client has important industry features, such as appropriate colors and reflective trim widths.

Functionality is the top priority when selecting these high-visibility styles. Choose vests or jackets that are breathable, light, and nonrestrictive. In the winter, comfort and warmth should be top of mind. Keep an eye out for features such as fleece lining, sealed seams, thermal insulation, and water resistance to keep the wearer warm and dry throughout the work day. Snaps at the bottom of the jacket are a bonus for convenience and movability.

No matter the intended use for your next workwear or uniform purchase, it’s imperative to know the styles that are most in demand and how their functionalities suit the client’s requirements. Selecting complementary garments benefit a uniform program in the long run, especially if the client has multiple employees in indoor and outdoor locations. Workwear style has evolved over the last few years, but the most important goal remains the same for high-quality workwear suppliers: creating pieces that are guaranteed to make your client’s logo pop.