June '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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42 || P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 6 a merchandiser will start with the company's color palette and then blend that right into a uniform program. As a possible example, she says that the uniform for one restaurant program could include a roll-up sleeve poplin shirt and cotton blend pants, with a waist apron for contrast. Incorporating the restaurant's main color scheme is one of the foremost ways to update uniforms to less traditional styles. Likewise, Lloyd believes that microbreweries and restaurants can benefit the most from using alternative hospitality uniforms. This could be especially true for more casual dining experiences. She adds that the urban chic look is hot right now—in turn, many whole- sale suppliers have begun to sell plaid shirts and other retail-inspired looks. In some cases, even styles such as polos or T-shirts might be a good alternative in certain settings. Because of their versatility, Ts can be used in just about any informal setting, and polos can be used to establish a slightly more upscale flair in some cases. Jeanene Edwards, Fruit of the Loom/JERZEES, explains that T- shirts and polos can be a good alternative to more typical hospitality uniforms because of some of their most common features, including their durability and versatility. Edwards adds that many shirt styles are moisture-wicking or stain- resistant, which would make them a perfect choice for employees working long shifts around food or drinks, particularly if the shirts are colorful enough to conceal stains or spills. Wicking styles, which mainly include polyester, can also be ideal for working in hotter or tropical climates, since they can help keep employees cool and com- fortable throughout their shifts in even the warmest, most humid conditions. Outdoor settings, such as camp retreats or patio restau- rants, can benefit from wicking styles for the same reason. "We tend to think of wicking for performance apparel, but wick- ing is also important just for on-the-job comfort," Edwards explains. In addition, while Lloyd believes that the fabric features could be one of the key factors, the style, color, and decoration that will be applied on the garment are the most important things to consider. The uniforms—as well as the decorations being printed, pressed, or embroidered onto them—need to be able to stand up to frequent washing. The longer they can retain their colors and other special features as well, the better. On the other end of the spectrum, more formal restaurants need uniforms to match the upscale brand they try to portray. As Lloyd explains, the variations between uniforms among the different levels of formality in restaurants can be incredibly vast. It could range between anything from plaid flannel shirts and jeans in pubs to the slightly more formal oxford shirt with dress pants, neckwear, and an apron. Then there are the most formal HOSPITALITY UNIFORMS Left: Versatile and slightly more upscale than plaid or T-shirts, many polo styles today are made with stain-resistant and moisture-wicking properties, making them ideal for long shifts around food and drinks. (Image courtesy Fruit of the Loom/JERZEES) Center: Retail-inspired cuts and patterns can be popular choices, especially in restaurants. (Image courtesy Sierra Pacific Apparel) Right: In order to stand out from competitors and shape their brands, some businesses might choose novelty styles like bowling or racing shirts. (Image courtesy Sierra Pacific Apparel)

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