How To Create A Work Uniform

Creating a stylish and functional work uniform for your staff is crucial for projecting a polished brand image. The right uniform leaves a lasting impression, boosts morale, and makes employees feel proud to represent your establishment.

When designing employee uniforms, you’ll want to consider fabrics, functionality, personalization options, and more. Follow these tips to create uniforms that make your staff look sharp while allowing them to perform at their best.

Work Uniforms 101: Key Parts of a Uniform

High-performing work uniforms bring together various elements seamlessly. Typical components include:


The shirt or blouse forms the foundation of any work uniform. Details like button-downs, polos, tunics, and tailored shirts allow for both functionality and professionalism. Proper tops manage temperature, allow movement, and withstand wear.

Button-Down Shirts

Button-down shirts are versatile in how they are worn, allowing for adjustments based on personal comfort and atmosphere. These shirts are often made of durable, comfortable fabrics like cotton blends, which are easy to maintain. The fit is usually tailored to look professional yet allows for movement, which is crucial in hospitality roles.

Button-down shirts in hospitality can be accessorized with ties or scarves, especially in formal settings like luxury hotels or upscale restaurants. Aprons are also common, particularly for staff interacting with food and beverages.

Depending on the role and setting, these shirts may be layered with vests, sweaters, or jackets for a more formal appearance. For a touch of customization, the button-down shirt can be embroidered with logos or name tags to maintain consistency and professionalism. 

Polo Shirts

Polos have a preppy yet more relaxed feel compared to button-downs. Enhanced pattern construction and adjusted collars contribute to a comfortable and ergonomic fit, maintaining an elegant silhouette​​ — distinguishing it from a casual wardrobe item. 

Classic colors like white, black, or navy are preferred for a timeless, professional appearance, while bold colors may be used to reflect the brand's personality.

Embroidery and printed logos and graphics establish a cohesive brand image and make staff easily identifiable to customers. The choice of fabric is crucial for ensuring the quality and durability of the customization, with finer-knit piqué fabrics offering a better and longer-lasting option. 

More details:

  • Button-down shirts allow for versatility with uniforms as they offer different collar and sleeve style options that can be altered and personalized depending on your branding. For example, for a more relaxed look, you could take this long sleeve shirt and swap it out with our short sleeve version.
  • Wrinkle-resistant fabrics are a great choice for these shirts as they add a professional, finished look to your uniform. Compared to other materials such as pure cotton or linen, a wrinkle-free option will reduce the need for ironing making it a good solution for staff with long hours and back-to-back shifts. Here is an example of one of our wrinkle-resistant shirts available on our website. 
  • Polo shirts with reinforced collars and plackets help complete the overall look. They give a polished appearance, which is great for a more professional setting. Breast pockets are also a great addition to functionality. Whether for nametags, pens, or other small essentials your staff needs nearby, they add versatility while improving functionality. You can opt for a smart or casual polo, depending on the tone of your work environment.
  • If you feel like your uniform isn’t reaching its maximum potential, you can always opt for a tailored uniform. We offer fully custom uniforms that allow for improved mobility and can be altered as required. We recently completed fully custom suits for Vornado Realty. These suits are breathable, durable, and of course, they fit each security guard perfectly.


Bottoms such as pants, skirts, and shorts shouldn't restrict mobility. Pleating, gussets, and flexible fabrics prevent restriction. Sturdy materials withstand activity while maintaining a neat appearance.

More details:

  • For a slick, high-quality look, you can opt for a hidden elastic waistband to ensure a more polished and professional appearance. Often when designing new uniforms, partial linings are advised as they offer a neater finish with less restriction than full linings, perfect for warmer weather conditions. Both of these improve the look and feel of your finished look. To make sure your garments have full durability, double and triple stitching are your answers. These will greatly reduce the wear and tear of your garments and increase their longevity. For a smart trouser look, black chinos are a great choice for men and women.
  • If you’ve decided to add a skirt to your uniform, mobility and comfort are vital. Adding back vents and side pockets will help ease movement and prevent any restrictions throughout shifts, and for an improved stylish touch, why not add some knee pleats.
  • Coverage and length must be considered when designing shorts to ensure a comfortable yet modest and professional appearance. Particularly for active work environments, you can add built-in moisture-wicking undergarments as a layer of comfort and reassurance. Adding to the overall functionality, it’s one less thing for your staff to worry about during busy shifts. For example, twill and linen are popular fabric options when designing work shorts.


Layers boost the versatility of uniforms for changing conditions. Pieces like blazers, vests, sweaters, and thermals add warmth while upholding the staff image. These accessories provide customization options.

More details:

  • To allow for unrestricted movement, stretch fabrics are highly recommended for blazers. They provide comfort without having to compromise on appearance. For more dimension in your blazer, you can consider adding extras such as notched collars and front well pockets. Both can add to the style and aesthetic of the finished look, all of which can be easily tailored to your brand.
  • If your layer of choice is a vest, we have a few recommendations. Back adjusters are customizable depending on the desired fit. For example, the Stock Melange Vest has adjustable backs to suit the individual. 
  • If you’re opting for the sweater and want to maintain your professional appearance, a Black Turtleneck Sweater ticks all the boxes. It ensures warmth and comfort for your staff while maintaining a professional look. 


Finding proper footwear prevents fatigue and increases safety. Shoes with slip-resistant soles, cushioned interiors, and flexible exteriors support employees across long shifts. Explore clogs, oxfords, and sneakers.

More details:

  • Clogs are roomy with toe boxes to prevent irritation and injury. Polyurethane materials are used for fluid resistance, and removable footbeds support various insert options.
  • Oxfords should have padded collars and oil or slip-resistant soles. Perforated vamps increase airflow.
  • Sneakers require flexible soles and shock-absorbing heels. Mesh panels and moisture-wicking linings keep the interior fresh.

More Details:

  • Clogs are known for their comfort and support. With their cushioned heel for shock absorption and easily cleaned outer fabric for any food or drink spillages, they are a popular choice for many workers.
  • For more formal workplaces, an Oxford shoe is perfect for a professional look. With padding to increase comfort and slip-resistant soles to prevent trips and spills during busy shifts, they add comfort and class to your work attire. 
  • Sneakers are one of the most popular footwear choices for workers who work long hours on their feet. Opt for sneakers with water-resistant fabric with mesh panels and moisture-wicking linings to keep both the interior and exterior clean and fresh during working hours. Black sneakers allow staff to feel light on their feet all day while maintaining a professional aesthetic. 

For more guidance, take a look at the most comfortable shoes for servers, and the best shoe choice for bartenders to help you make the right decision for your staff and brand.


Critical accessories provide protective embellishments for demanding jobs. Aprons safeguard the uniform itself during spills or messes. Belts, ties, and custom patches designate roles. Professional name tags complete the look.

More details:

  • Aprons with adjustable necks and extra-long waist ties are often a great option. They add versatility, ensure the perfect fit for various body types, and provide complete comfort for staff during shifts. For improved functionality, divided individual pockets help staff ensure their pens, bottle openers, and notepads are readily available when needed. For example, the Indigo Denim and Coyote Herringbone feature multiple pockets. 
  • Scratch-resistant coatings on name tags will endure the everyday wear and tear of busy staff duties, and clear, easy-to-read fonts contribute to improved communication between staff and guests. Adding magnetic fasteners can also enhance personal touch and convenience.
  • If you’re looking to improve the aesthetics of your overall look, think about adding embroidered details. These can enhance patches and add a personal touch. Twill backing is also a great addition to help prevent fraying. Even though sleeve placement is crucial to avoid restricting visibility, there are endless ways to revamp your uniform to match the tone and experience of your establishment. Check out the Stock x High Life Heritage Collection to see how adding these personalized touches can bring out your brand's personality. 

Each element of a uniform serves a specific purpose for functionality and design. When cohesive, uniforms make employees look and feel their best.

Tailoring Uniforms for the Hospitality Industry

Creating the perfect uniforms for the hospitality industry is both an art and a science. It requires a keen understanding of the diverse roles within this sector, each with its own unique demands and standards. The aim is to design uniforms that are practical and comfortable for the staff and convey the ethos and brand image of the establishment.

Front Desk and Concierge

  • Appearance: Professional, approachable.
  • Uniforms: Blazers, vests, or suit jackets paired with trousers or skirts. Neutral colors like navy, black, or gray often work well.
  • Footwear: Comfortable yet formal shoes, considering staff spend long periods standing.
  • Accessories: Subtle name tags, small lapel pins representing the establishment.

The front desk and concierge crew act as the first point of contact for your customers, in addition to their other duties. Their uniform must reflect the tone and ethos of your establishment while still enabling them to carry out their daily duties without restrictions which is why we recommend opting for an unstructured blazer and stretch chinos allowing full movement and a polished look.

Waitstaff and Bartenders

  • Appearance: Smart, clean, and functional.
  • Uniforms: Button-up shirts or blouses, with options for short sleeves in warmer climates. Dark trousers or skirts to hide stains. Aprons – waist or full-length – for added functionality.
  • Footwear: Non-slip, comfortable shoes as they move frequently.
  • Accessories: Adjustable belts, small, secure pockets for pens or order pads.

Adding a twill apron to your bar staff uniform helps keep the rest of the uniform clean while also adding a professional look. Depending on your brand, these aprons are easily paired with long or short-sleeved shirts, chinos or jeans to add functionality.


  • Appearance: Functional, easy to move in, and durable.
  • Uniforms: Polo shirts, and comfortable pants. Fabrics should be easy to clean and wrinkle-resistant.
  • Footwear: Durable, comfortable shoes, preferably with protective features.
  • Accessories: Aprons with pockets for cleaning tools, hairnets or caps in some settings.

The tipped camp shirt is a looser-fitting top that provides housekeepers with the ability to move freely. We’ve paired this with black stretch jeans for a comfortable yet professional look for housekeeping staff.

Chefs and Kitchen Staff

  • Appearance: Professional, heat-resistant, and safe.
  • Uniforms: Double-breasted chef jackets, which can be reversed to hide stains, paired with checkered or black pants. Aprons for additional protection.
  • Footwear: Slip-resistant, protective, and able to withstand kitchen spills.
  • Accessories: Chef hats or hair coverings, and sometimes neckerchiefs for absorbing sweat.

Spa and Wellness Staff

  • Appearance: Serene, clean, comfortable.
  • Uniforms: Soft, neutral-colored oose pants or skirts, allowing for ease of movement. Materials should be soft and hypoallergenic.
  • Footwear: Comfortable, quiet shoes, sometimes spa-specific sandals.
  • Accessories: Minimal; perhaps a small, discreet name tag.

Spa and wellness staff uniforms should reflect your brand while ensuring maximum comfort for staff. Plain polos and trousers work best and can be enhanced with simple embroidery to add branding, names or logos. 

Event and Banquet Staff

  • Appearance: Elegant, coordinated with event themes.
  • Uniforms: Formal suits or dresses, possibly with specific colors or styles to match event décor.
  • Footwear: Formal but comfortable for long periods of standing or walking.
  • Accessories: Discreet earpieces for communication, elegant but functional name tags.

Neckties and suit coats are a great combination for formal events and banquets. Opting for custom-made suit coats will ensure an elegant and professional aesthetic while ensuring your staff have a full range of movement. Pair with our stretch service chinos for maximum comfort.


  • Appearance: Authoritative, professional.
  • Uniforms: Well-tailored suits, dresses, or formal business attire. The quality of fabric and fit is essential to convey professionalism.
  • Footwear: High-quality, comfortable formal shoes.
  • Accessories: Minimal; quality watches or subtle jewelry, name tags or company pins.

Management staff must have a sophisticated and elegant uniform to reflect your brand's ethos. Combining a navy blazer with a white ruffled blouse creates a polished appearance, and pairing it with a stretch trouser creates a complete and cohesive look that reflects your professionalism.

General Considerations

  • Branding: Logos or company colors subtly integrated.
  • Comfort and Fit: Ensuring a range of sizes and fits for diverse body types.
  • Climate Adaptability: Lighter materials for warm environments, layering options for cooler settings.
  • Durability and Maintenance: Fabrics should withstand frequent washing and varied work conditions.

More Tips In Creating a Work Uniform

Choose Quality Fabrics Optimized For Your Work Environment

Great uniforms start with fabric selection. Consider the following, based on staff duties:

  • Durability: Synthetic blends withstand daily wear-and-tear better than natural fibers. Opt for wrinkle- and stain-resistant fabrics.
  • Breathability: Lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics prevent overheating in hot environments.
  • Stretch: Incorporate stretch-woven fabrics or four-way stretch knits to allow free movement.
  • Easy Care: Antimicrobial fabrics minimize odor after long shifts. Some synthetics are machine-washable.
  • Functionality: Secure storage pockets and protective fabrics safeguard essential tools.

Analyze work environments and needs to select optimal textiles for each uniform.

Allow For Both Consistency And Personal Expression

Consistency promotes brand unity, while custom accents boost morale. Aim for:

  • Identical Uniform Sets: Provide each employee with multiple sets of the same uniform for a consistent look.
  • Subtle Personal Touches: Monogramming, custom name badges, and colored accents allow personal expression without sacrificing cohesion.
  • Backup Sizes: Keep 1-2 backup sizes on hand for emergencies like spills that require immediate replacement.

Choose Styles With Timeless Appeal

While trends fade, impeccable tailoring and quality fabrics remain fashionable year after year. Consider the following elements that transcend passing fads:

  • Flattering Silhouettes: Crisp shirting, tailored pants, and structured outerwear flatter most figures.
  • Neutral Solids: Black, gray and navy suit most environments without feeling dated.
  • Natural Fibers: High-quality cotton, linen, silk and wool feel luxurious and last longer.
  • Classic Styling: Opt for straight-leg pants, graceful midi skirts, crisp button-downs, and double-breasted jackets.

Elevate Your Uniforms With Stock Manufacturing

Stock is an acclaimed Chicago-based workwear design company trusted by leading hospitality brands globally. We offer both ready-to-wear and fully customized uniform solutions.

For quick shipping, our Core Collection offers pre-designed uniforms that are available online. Mix-and-match shirts, pants, outerwear, and accessories to create polished looks.

For small customization, our Curated Collection takes our standard offerings and adds branding details like embroidery or screen printing based on your art files.

But for completely original designs made just for your staff, consider our Custom Program. Our designers collaborate with you to bring your vision to life through:

  • Custom presentation decks with renderings organized by staff position
  • Sourcing of specialized fabrics and accents
  • Garment sampling to test styles
  • Fine-tuning of patterns for optimal fit
  • Production of final personalized uniforms

Our dedication to quality and performance ensures uniforms as sophisticated as your brand. Improvements, like stretch-woven shirts and durable oxfords, mean maximum comfort and increased productivity.

So whether you need a ready-made uniform solution or fully custom designs, we have the experience to deliver exceptional employee workwear.


There are many factors to take into consideration when designing distinctive uniforms. Fabric quality, flattering silhouettes, subtle personalization, and ergonomic performance must all be considered, and our team at Stock is here to help make sure you create the perfect custom uniform that aligns with your brand’s sophisticated style and aesthetic.