How to create an inclusive work uniform

If you provide work clothing for your staff, you will want your staff to feel comfortable and confident in their uniforms.  Focusing on making uniforms more inclusive can significantly help with this. Here, Andrew Dark, Director and Co-Owner of printwear and branding specialists Custom Planet, shares his top tips for creating a more inclusive work uniform.

Designing the perfect work uniform is notoriously difficult, with colours, fittings, and clothing types to think about. But, as uniforms can look smart, improve productivity, and help every employee to feel equal, it’s well worth putting lots of thought and effort into getting it right. 

While you might have originally planned to have separate uniforms for your male and female staff, it’s worth considering that global efforts are being made to support and recognise various gender identities that challenge societal norms. Here, I’ll be sharing my top tips for creating a more inclusive work uniform. 

Choose unisex pieces

Providing your male and female staff with separate uniforms may not suit everyone’s preferences. Plus, it can cause internal discomfort for those who don’t identify as their birth gender or consider themselves to be genderless. 

To combat this, your staff uniforms should include unisex pieces of clothing that won’t force employees to choose whether they should be wearing female or male clothing. For example, providing gender-neutral trousers as a staple will ensure you don’t limit women to wearing skirts. Similarly, you may want to ensure any jackets or outer layers are made in a unisex fit, rather than being tailored to stereotypically male or female body shapes. 

These unisex pieces will ensure the men, women, and non-binary people who work for you have the freedom to choose how they look, so every single one of your workers should feel happy and valued.

Focus on non-gendered colours

Choosing a colour scheme that best represents your company and is in-line with your branding is key to designing a great uniform. But, to make it more inclusive, you should be sure to avoid any typically gendered colours. So, instead of choosing hues like pink or blue, focus on choosing more neutral colours that suit your business. For example, black, navy, and white are typically used to signify professionalism, while orange and yellow can be a nod to your happy and approachable team.

If you prefer something a bit less statement, why not go with neutral earthy colours? Hues like mocha and beige are great non-gendered colours that all of your employees will feel comfortable wearing.

Offer a wide range of sizes

As an employer, you will need to ensure you offer a wide range of sizes to ensure that everybody can find the right fit for them and feel comfortable in their workwear. There is currently a problem around plus sized and petite people not being catered for when it comes to clothing, so making sure you provide sizes that suit everybody well is a must. 

It’ll also be a good idea to consider having numerous fittings to ensure that everybody feels comfortable while on the job. This could include offering less figure-hugging options and, instead, giving your employees the chance to wear looser items that don’t enhance their natural shape as much. You could even provide your workers with adjustable uniforms so that they can decide on the exact fit of their garments. For example, adjustable uniforms could include those with drawstrings on the bottoms of jumpers and in the waistband of trousers.

Add pronouns to name badges

Name badges make your employees seem more personable and approachable to customers, and they also mean your workers can be praised by name for the great service they’re offering. However, if you’re looking to make your uniforms more inclusive, giving your workers the option of having their pronouns added to these will show them they are accepted, and ensure they are comfortable during customer interactions.

If you plan to get your staff’s names embroidered onto their uniforms, make sure you ask them if they’d also like their pronouns embroidered on, too. 

Your work uniform can make or break customers’ first impressions of your business, so it’s important that your employees are able to wear it with a smile on their face. Following these tips for designing an inclusive uniform will help your investment in workplace clothing pay dividends for your staff and your business.