Dress code in retail is paramount to driving sales and achieving business growth. The reason? It’s human nature to judge people based on how they’re dressed.
Take a retail store, for example. If a customer walks into a store and sees the owner or sales staff dressed in baggy colorful pants, white lipstick, wild red hair, a red nose and colored shoes, they’ll quickly decide the person is a clown.
That’s because customers judge within seconds of spotting you. Your product knowledge, good looks and welcoming personality will not matter if they can’t trust you.
And that happens because of your choice of clothing. You can improve customers’ perception of your brand by deciding on the appropriate uniform for your retail staff. But how do you design staff uniforms that reflect your brand?
How do you create a welcoming dress code for your retail employees?
Retail fashion has evolved significantly over the years, from simple and comfortable uniforms to modern, fashion-forward designs that reflect the company’s branding. In this guide, we’ll discuss the latest trends in work clothing for retail staff.
Comfortable and Functional Designs
Comfort is a top priority when it comes to retail attire. Retail employees need to wear clothing that’s comfortable and functional, allowing them to move around comfortably and perform their duties with ease.
According to Abby Young, fashion stylist and CEO of Abby Young, nothing speaks comfort better than loose fittings. She advocates for retail uniforms designed with comfortable fit and fabric that allows for easy stretch.
Retail store team members can wear khaki or denim as long as it allows flexibility to perform diverse tasks. Some companies allow jeans but sneakers are rarely allowed.
Professional and Smart
Professional clothing is increasingly becoming popular in the retail industry.
Clean and professional uniforms help create a positive brand image and instill confidence in customers. Professional attire is usually the most formal type of business attire for retail and white-collar employees.
Suits are the norm, although some retailers substitute suits with business casual attire like chinos for men and conservatively cut skirts for women.
The latest trend in retail uniforms for men is the use of fabric shirts with a flattering modern cut and button-down collar that’s stylish, smart and functional for any crew. For women, a modern work blouse designed with a relaxed fit looks professional, whether tucked or untucked.
Sustainable and Ethical
Sustainability has become a priority in the fashion world, so it should come as no surprise that many retail store owners are opting for sustainable retail uniforms.
The latest trend in retail clothing is the use of sustainable materials such as linen, textile and organic cotton. Conventional fabrics used in fashion, such as leather and viscose fabric, have historically been developed with profit in mind, not saving the planet.
Organizations are taking a huge step toward saving the planet by choosing eco-friendly fabric. For fashion stylist Naina Singla, that translates to a black cotton turtleneck with a distressed denim jacket — a favorite one in her wardrobe that adds versatility and functionality.
Forward-thinking retailers are choosing sustainable materials for their staff uniforms, such as linen, hemp, recycled cotton and ECONYL. These materials are not only environmentally friendly but also create a comfortable and breathable uniform for their employees.
Personalized and Customizable
Personalization is increasingly becoming a popular trend in retail clothing. Embroidering a logo or employees’ names on uniforms helps to create a sense of pride and ownership among the staff.
Retailers are increasingly opting for personalized and customizable staff uniforms for two reasons: branding and professionalism.
Company-branded uniforms are an effective marketing tool. They create brand awareness, representing a brand to hundreds of consumers employees interact with. While on the street, employees become walking advertisements, creating brand awareness whenever they go.
And when customers see a company’s logo and name printed on employee clothes, they see professionalism. Most companies opt for branded T-shirts, while others go the extra mile to print logos on company-provided jackets and long-sleeve shirts.
Retail staff uniforms need to be functional and versatile.
Versatility means that it should be adaptable to different activities and functions. In other words, it can work for several different kinds of functions, activities or events.
The apron, for instance, is a remarkably versatile uniform for retail employees. These outfits work best in manufacturing setups or big retail stores where staff must complete several activities. If you prefer a classy yet versatile uniform, a blazer is an excellent option.
Blazers are one of those versatile items of clothing that can go from the boardroom to the storefront and look fabulous either way. This versatility and classic look make them excellent options for retail employees’ uniforms.
Bold Colors and Patterns
Another retail fashion trend that’s here to stay is the use of bold colors and patterned uniforms. Having a functional uniform isn’t enough; you want an outfit that’s memorable — the kind that will reflect your brand in a positive way and leave a memorable impression on your customers. And nothing can achieve that better than bold colors and beautiful patterns.
Fashion-forward retailers are using contrasty colors to allow their workers to stand out and leave a visual impact. Yellow and red, for example, draw the eye to the center of the logo. Companies that want to create brand awareness with their staff’s uniform can use this color combination.
These vibrant colors work best on company-branded T-shirts, which have become a uniform staple for many retailers. For those that want a more sophisticated look, classic fit patterned shirts can make a strong fashion statement while conveying a brand message.
Choosing the right retail employee attire can benefit your team, business and bottom line. Pleasant business attire makes a positive impression, improves customer service, creates brand awareness and does much more.
In other words, your team’s uniform can make or break your brand. While you don’t have to splurge on uniforms that will make a statement, you can opt for classic uniforms that will represent your brand in a positive sense and impact employee morale.
The best retail clothing attire features comfortable and functional designs. Whether you opt for a professional or casual uniform, ensure the clothing is versatile and fashionable to make your employees look chic and on-trend.
Nick Warrick is the Sales Manager at All Seasons Uniforms. With over 15 years of experience in the work uniform business, he has worked with over 100 clients across 20 different industries. Holding bachelor’s degrees in both Business Administration and Information Technology, Warrick revamped the company’s online presence, offering its customers a new uniform shopping experience.