Work uniforms...yes or no?

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merryone

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Jun 24, 2008
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Another good old moan about work related stuff I'm afraid and this time it's about uniform, but it's more about the current uniform we have to wear. I understand fully why we need to wear it, especially in a large work place dealing with the public, so that we can be identified as members of staff, but our current uniform (it changes every few years or so, and this one's in dire need of a change) is really "high maintenance". When I first started working there we had an acrylic patterned shirt and for females a choice between skirt or trousers, skirt lengths were available in short medium or longer. I'd always opt for short (just above the knee) as it was more flattering and took less ironing, the top whilst acrylic and patterned sounds horrendous, believe me it wasn't that bad - it was loose fitting, comfortable, not at all sweaty and didn't even need ironing. What we have now, especially on the open food, is awful and only looks good if it's brand new or cared for extremely well! before we just had a white jacket that did up with press studs and a stripey pinny, and a boater style hat. Now we have a crisp white shirt with sleeves that can be turned up using a special piece of fabric that dangles down and attaches with a button, and boy does it get in the way when you're trying to iron it. We have it done up to the neck and have to wear a men's style tie and a long apron over the top, and a silly pill box hat that doesn't sit right and feels most uncomfortable especially if your hair is long and has to be worn "up", skirts are only available now in below the knee, they're cut stupidly small and feel like a "hobble skirt". Trousers are not quite so bad...but still bad as they're an unflattering cut!

Dunno why, but I always feel dirty and scruffy when I'm wearing it , despite washing and ironing it to within an inch of its life! The top button on the shirt is so stiff it's a nightmare to do up....And being white....well very hard to keep looking pristine, unless you've got time to faff around with glow white! For an older person as well, the pale colour and masculine cut of the outfit makes us look and feel awful, the youngsters don't look too bad in it!

Yes it's great to not have the worry of finding something different to wear every day, but I'd so much prefer a simple overall to slip over my everyday clothes and a hat that doesn't either feel as though it's going to fall off from being too loose or just too small that it's perched precariously on my head (I've tried all sizes, none sit right).Many of us have complained about this impractical and ugly "get up" and a change is long overdue, but in the nature of retail at the moment, ie most high street businesses feeling the pinch and having to tighten their belts, I'm sure it's way way down on any list of priorities. Have just got to get this off my chest.

Thoughts on uniforms folks!
 
Problem with uniforms is that the lucky few will look ok and everyone else will look awful whereas with your own clothes you can at least try to wear clothes which suit your size and shape. Obviously own clothes are not possible in a retail situation but one wonders what numphty designer was paid a fortune to come up with some of them.

It's a bit like getting top chefs to come up with hospital/airline food - great for 6 sample plates for the management team but once done in bulk and costs cut it ends up a runny tasteless mush.

Hey, maybe Q "designers" could be called in to advise - M Hope will give you a uniform which could start a BBQ just by moving your arms up and down.
 
My sister has always worked in retail and she's had some hideous uniforms over the years. In the main, work uniforms are just so incredibly old fashioned and utilitarian that you can't believe that they were designed within the last 30 years. Unflattering baggy trousers and polyester tops, and - although none of them wear them - her current uniform comes with a neckerchief, I mean really?! The neckline of her tabard doesn't lend itself to said neckerchief, either. When she worked for an independent optician's she got to wear her own clothes, and felt so much smarter and more professional in her suits and dresses. I honestly think it can affect your posture, the way you carry yourself, and - ultimately - your performance. As LATI said, it really makes you wonder who signs off on the designs and decides that that's the image they want their company to project to the public.
 
I've seen catering staff in the same uniforms as beauty salon staff. Most of it isn't specially designed, just out of a catalogue with limited customisation for specific brands. For most retail I think a plain white blouse or shirt and a black or dark navy suit looks best. Greying bobbled polyester is never a good look.... And why do the people who will never wear said uniforms get to make the decisions? Their punishment should be to put in a hearty day's work in stifling heat in the polyester concoctions and enjoy the sweaty-clammy feeling.

The only virtues are that they take the brainwork out of what to wear to work... And that your employer often foots the bill.
 
Thought it was time to update this thread as I'm contemplating getting my dreadful uniform on to do my least favourite shift of the week. mid day to 8.30pm with a 30 minute break, to call it a drag would be an understatement. I've actually asked whether I can drop this shift ( I only do it once a fortnight, but it soon comes around) or at least cut it down to a 4 hour shift. 4.30pm-8.30pm totally work intensive, should go quickly and I still get the pick of the bargains at the end of the shift. I've had to apply to do this and hopefully my wish will be granted, fingers crossed everybody!
Since the first post in this, the uniform has changed again and it's just as bad, still got a silly little hat that doesn't sit right, the shirt's a pale blue now that picks up the dirt and the fabric is stiff and uncomfortable, the tie has gone for which I'm grateful, but the apron is worse, green and poor quality fabric so takes a lot of ironing and of course the trousers are still a bad fit. I still feel like a tramp and because the hat doesn't sit right when I pin my hair up I have to wear it in a pony tail at the back and it feels like a filthy old horses tail. I just wish they'd allow us to wear comfy and practical clothes and provide a simple acrylic overall to wear over the top - The joys of working in retail eh?
 
I've had a fair few jobs in my time and there's only been two that have required me to wear a uniform and this includes my current job. My Saturday job in BHS many many moons ago which was a simple blue and white checked overall that you popped over your regular clothes. I don't remember any of the ladies wearing trousers so quite possibly they weren't allowed but I don't know for sure. I was never much of a trouser wearer back then, jeans maybe, and leggings weren't a thing so I was quite happy to wear a dress or skirt and top underneath. They insisted that the ladies wear tan tights, we weren't allowed to wear black ones for some reason and shoes needed to be flat or flat-ish, however the uniform was totally do-able for me and if you wanted to pop out in your break you'd just whip off the overall and hang it up - simple! Blooming nightmare going into other shops in breaktimes now 'cause you don't wear a coat then you're guaranteed to be stopped by all and sundry asking where things are!
I guess that it can't change because in a large store, customers need to be readily able to recognise members of staff, but I do wish they'd consider that something simple and easy for the wearer to care for, is a lot better than loads of twiddly little bits, impractical colours and fabrics and styles that are uncomfortable to wear. An 8 hour shift is bad enough as it is without feeling scruffy and uncomfortable! Rant over (for now lol!)
 
The only jobs I've had where I had to wear uniform were in social care where I had an electric blue overall to wear over my clothes, and McDonalds, where I had a tunic and trousers. Cleaning and maintenance of the uniform for the overall was my responsibility, but my McDonalds uniform they dealt with.
In some ways uniform does take one stress out of the daily grind: no deciding what to wear... but your uniform sounds quite grim, Merryone.
 
The only jobs I've had where I had to wear uniform were in social care where I had an electric blue overall to wear over my clothes, and McDonalds, where I had a tunic and trousers. Cleaning and maintenance of the uniform for the overall was my responsibility, but my McDonalds uniform they dealt with.
In some ways uniform does take one stress out of the daily grind: no deciding what to wear... but your uniform sounds quite grim, Merryone.
It really is grim believe me!!! I know that it takes away the daily grind of knowing what to wear but seriously I'd just grab a pair of black leggings and a black t shirt and bung the overall over that 'cause if you've gotta be covered up by an overall it doesn't matter too much what's underneath. Working in an office is different of course, you need to look smart and of course if you wear the same every day people will talk lol!
 
Our local hospital medical and catering staff are not supposed to wear their uniforms on their way to work but they do. You see staff in scrubs sat outside on walls smoking, how is this hygienic. Catering staff are the same still with their hair nets on.
 
Our local hospital medical and catering staff are not supposed to wear their uniforms on their way to work but they do. You see staff in scrubs sat outside on walls smoking, how is this hygienic. Catering staff are the same still with their hair nets on.
I thought this for a while. Very unhygienic.
 
I have to say that I do go to work wearing my uniform and I do work on open food . It’s a short walk for me and my uniform is protected by my overcoat. I do not put my hat/apron on until I get there though. Reading the above comments does make a complete overall a much better, much more hygienic option. Apart from a removable hat/apron the rest of our uniform accompanies us when we visit the toilet! Best not to think about it , but if you do I’m sure that seeing a member of staff looking unkempt adds to the worry. A practical/comfortable/easy care overall is definitely what firms should be providing AND they should only be worn within the workplace. This would be very easy to achieve with an overall especially one with poppers instead of buttons, bring it on!
 
Our local hospital medical and catering staff are not supposed to wear their uniforms on their way to work but they do. You see staff in scrubs sat outside on walls smoking, how is this hygienic. Catering staff are the same still with their hair nets on.
Years ago when I started nurse training, we were given a list of required items. Along with the American tan tights and white shoes was a navy blue raincoat, of suitable length to completely cover your uniform. Because the training hospital had several sites (now all sold off to housing developers) we had to walk between them, and our u inform had to be covered with the raincoat. No matter how hot it was…. A friend of mine was disciplined for nipping out to the shop without her coat….
We didn’t need to go outside to smoke in those days…. Patients had ashtrays on their lockers…..

I do have to say that I absolutely loved wearing a uniform, especially once the modern styles came in and we had the option of trousers. Non iron wash and wear material and sensible colours.
 

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