Professional uniform: a set of standard clothing worn by members of an organization while participating in that organization’s activity (Wikipedia).
There are many reasons why wearing work uniforms is important for both the individual and the company / organization he or she is working for. It is about working culture, a sense of belonging to an organizational background, and sometimes about the honor to have reached a certain level of professional growth to receive a special type of uniform. It also has to do with industry demand (in most cases) and it can also be used as a personal branding strategy – some professionals order custom-made uniforms that distinguish them among others and make them easy to be recognized everywhere they go.
We are used to people in uniforms, as they seem to be pretty much everywhere: we show our respect to Police uniforms, military uniforms and medical scrubs, we envy the sexy airline stewardesses work uniforms, we can’t wait to smile to the McDonald’s employee who brings us our order and we will certainly want to shake the restaurant chef’s hand after having a delicious meal, while admiring his or her stylish custom-made apron. As you might have understood by now, professional uniforms are not always cheap dirty overalls. They can also be fashionable outfits that make that person stand out in the crowd and look stylish and elegant. So let’s take a look over ten cool work uniforms that are not only statements of belonging to a company or a profession, but also of good taste.
1. Hot flying attendants work uniforms
Here on TenMania we’ve already talked about the safest airline companies in the world, among which some also distinguish themselves as being luxurious. And you can’t talk about airlines without talking about the uniforms, as many companies truly invest in their personnel’s image. When it comes to these particular uniforms, you can find almost everything on the market, from two-piece suits, dresses, traditional country / culture outfits, trendy accessories and new fashion visions for the future.
For instance, earlier this year, Australian model Miranda Kerr paraded for Qantas’s new uniforms, while Melbourne-raised designer Martin Grant is considered one of the best tailors in the country and also the artist behind new Qantas personnel look.
Airline uniforms are serious business and also a serious fashion niche. In September this year, author Keith Lovegrove published the book Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet, which, according to Huffington Post, makes an in-depth analysis on the changing environment of the airlines and the evolution of the flight attendant, food service and interiors, with a focus on fashion, food, interiors and identity. If you are curious enough to search for the history and development of airline uniforms from past to present, you will see there have been major changes and this particular fashion niche has evolved tremendously over the past years.
2. Chic Chefs and unique signature styles
How do you recognize a chef when you see one? He or she is wearing cool working uniforms that include Chef Works embroidered jackets, custom made chef jackets for men, designer chef aprons and fashionable outfits with modern lines and unique models. Just as with airline fashion, chef fashion is a successful niche, which not only employs a handful of professional designers, but also a great bunch of chefs who are as pretentious with their work uniforms as they are with their favorite recipes.
This year’s New York fashion week celebrated designers, labels, trends and models, but some online journals, such as Village Voice, took their time to spot and write about the best dressed chefs in New York, both at their workplace and after-hours, while the famous Vanity Fair Magazine listed the ten best dressed chefs while being off duty.
3. Police work uniforms to serve, protect and be in style
Each country and local police department, together with law enforcement agencies have their own representative work uniforms. At a first glance, you might think that Police uniforms should have a major functional role, in order to rise to self-protection standards and meet standards set by recent technological developments. They do indeed, but according to PoliceMag, with the option of a more advanced uniform comes a question of style, as many agencies battle between embracing a more tactical BDU and preserving tradition.
Don’t think for a second that Police officers or departments don’t have their own “fashion shows” and awards. In 2006, the Tulsa Police Department was named the national “Best Dressed Law Enforcement Agency” in the category “Municipal Agencies Over 200”, while in April this year, the Florida Highway Patrol received the best dressed award for a department with under 2000 officers. The Hillsborough County Sheriff received the best dressed award for departments with over 200 officers.
4. McDonald’s work uniforms with a dash of class
McDonald’s is not only one of the biggest, most famous brands in the world, but also a company that cares a lot about its employee image. Not so many years ago, in 2008 to be more exact, the British branch of the company used designer Bruce Oldfield (a famous name among celebrities, who is considered actress Catherine Zeta Jones’ favorite designer) to create new uniforms for the Great Britain managing and serving personnel in the fast food restaurant chain.
It may have been a strategy to increase consumer trust in the company, as it fought the ill repute of serving bad food and paying small wages, but as far as fashion is concerned, worldwide McDonald’s uniforms are a statement of taste, good sense of fashion and a mark of respect towards its employees, according to BBC News.
But this is not just something that happened to UK’s McDonald’s employees in terms of work uniforms. According to the Guardian two years ago, the company decided to hand eco designer Wayne Hemingway ‘carte blanche’ to design a brand new, 100% recycled uniform for its 85,000 restaurant staff.
5. Medical trendy scrubs
According to the news and views of medical personnel, healthcare uniforms come in all sizes, cuts, designs, and a multitude of other options making for a unique ensemble, perfect for the sterile environment. Healthcare uniforms can simply consist of surgical scrubs or involve a whole ensemble based on a common theme within the office. There are exciting print designs, brilliant colored solids, and even seasonal or holiday healthcare uniforms.
These observations are true: the classic white scrubs have been replaced with a dozen of new models, trends and styles, displaying multicolored uniforms, for a joyful and comforting look, to all sort of tops for nurses and technical personnel, two-piece uniforms for medical assistants and surgeons, accompanied by specialized footwear and accessories. The new trends in medical fashion revolve around bright colors, funny printings and trendy lines for the ladies involved in the health care system.
6. Military uniforms – a fashionable debate
There is no news that the Marine dress uniform is the best looking uniform in the US military. If you are connected to the recent news, however, you probably know already that there is a burning debate on the recent President Obama’s intention of investing into changing the looks of the U.S. Marine caps. The idea is to make the new caps have a more “unisex” feature to them. According to the journals covering this piece of information, the new hats are so trendy, they have their own special name: the “Dan Daly” hat, in honor of Sergeant Major Dan Daly who won the Medal of Honor for services in Belleau Wood during World War I. Whether this is or not a good investment idea, it is not for us to decide. However, since we are talking about cool working uniforms, we must agree that the U.S. military has very good taste in fashion.
But, as there is always a “but” somewhere, let’s not forget about the Russian military, whose uniforms were designed by famous designer Valentin Yudashkin. They are thin and left many soldiers catch severe colds, as the news reported, but they are made in the best fabrics, golden threads and a definitive haute couture feature to them.
7. Red is for Fire!
Red shirt? It has got to be about a firefighter’s uniform! Just like the other organizational specific uniforms, such as the Police and the Military, the fireman’s uniform knew some changes and some developments over the years. Back in the day, the red shirt was a symbol of firefighting, of courage and self-sacrifice towards saving goods and people’s lives. According to specialists, the new hot trend during the 1800’s for firemen’s uniforms was the red shirt. Usually worn with dark trousers and a leather firemen’s helmet, this outfit was worn in social situations, making the wearer instantly recognizable as a fireman. Although different fire companies made the uniform their own by adding a chest shield or other decoration, the red shirt trend spread across the fire companies of America.
However, times change and uniforms do too. In 2009, journalists in UK reported a new vision and development over the British firefighters: the new work uniforms include hijab and turban versions, as well as maternity uniforms for pregnant female staff. Did you ever wished to become a firefighter when you were a young boy? Now you also have the fashionable uniform to add up to your courage!
8. The doorman is the image of the city
Believe it or not, if you live in an apartment building in New York City, you should pay attention to your doorman’s uniform, as nine out of ten cases, he may very well be better dressed than most residents. In an article from Real Estate Weekly earlier this summer, Jennifer Busch, CEO of I. Buss & Allan Uniform Company stated that in a city where first impressions count, the cut, style and color of staff uniforms are at the top of the shopping list at tony buildings.
You will find exquisitely uniformed doormen in luxurious apartment buildings, office towers, hotels and casinos and some of their outfits are designer-labeled. We are talking about the best fabrics, golden threads, complicated and luxurious embroideries, tuxedos, hats, gloves and elegant shoes to go with the general appearance. Depending on the country or culture you are visiting, you will find traditional outfits and statements of fashion that push some eccentricity limits too.
9. Spa uniforms and haute couture
If you ever went for an all exclusive holiday in a luxurious international resort or took advantage of a fun family vacation, you surely noticed that there are a lot of spas and wellness centers that pride themselves not only with the services they provide to their customers and the unique products they use, but also in their personnel appearance, as spa working uniforms come in a variety of models, lines, fabrics and accessories, depending on the professional who wears them. You can have silk beauty therapy uniforms, massage uniforms and welcoming uniforms.
And don’t think that some clothing factory is responsible for these uniforms. No, this fashion niche has its own designers, trends and visions. For instance, Noel Asmar is considered the re-inventor of the spa uniform, following the concept of “made for the way you move” and emphasizing that spa personnel has to look dashing and also to be able to feel and move comfortable. Spa uniform design include precious fabrics like silk and satin, long robes or two-piece suits, fashionable tops for women or trendy tunics for men.
10. Corporate uniforms and the sense of belonging
We are not going to talk about the office dress codes many corporations insist on being followed by their employees, but we are going to talk about the auxiliary personnel working in large corporations: the cleaning maids, the cafeteria waiters and cooks, the mail deliverers and so on. Corporate outfits for these auxiliary workers are being considered ones of the most fashionable uniforms in the working environment.
For instance, you can have the black and white house maid combos for the corporate cleaning personnel, fashionable overalls with professional boots and accessories, Asian inspired apparel for the food and beverage department, or joyful suits in bright colors for those attending the cafeteria, modern denim apparel for the auxiliaries in mail delivery, technical maintenance or the security personnel.
What are your favorite working uniforms? Did you ever wear one? Do you think that some professions need their own specific uniforms?