How To Make Sure Your Business Uniforms Inspire Trust

Trust goes beyond what you say with your words. Mean what you say, but look like you mean it, too. Inspiring trust nonverbally is key, and a uniform is a great place to start.

The Classic Looks Work For A Reason

Consider the uniform archetypes we are taught to trust from a young age: the policeman, the doctor, the firefighter. We assume that when someone wears one of these uniforms that we can trust them to do their duty and harness their authority.

Similar classic looks exist for chefs, servers, and doormen. The chef’s hat, the server’s apron, the doorman’s jacket and cap. These are instantly recognizable and trust-inducing because of our preconceived expectations. These classics still work.

But the classics can’t be everything or there’d be no room for innovation. Our conditioning can’t be the only reason we trust in a certain cut of cloth.

How Suitable Is The Uniform For The Type Of Work?

How appropriate is the uniform? Would you trust a police officer wearing cargo shorts and flip-flops?

The same goes for the world of hospitality. Imagine a doorman with a pastel pink T-shirt versus a reserved burgundy suit. Which seems more professional and appropriate? If you’re running an ‘80s themed resort, you may have a different answer for this one.

Guests and customers should know at a glance who is an employee, who they can look to for help and authority. After all, trust is about security and comfort. A uniform that doesn’t suit the environment can lead to confusion and mistrust.

It’s more about looking the part and relating with the environment than the exact look in this case. A uniform that clashes with the environment could benefit by helping staff stand out to guests, but sometimes it pays to blend in a bit.

Uniform Color Plays A Large Role For Both The Employee And The Customer

What about the color of the cloth itself?

Through biology and society, we have evolved certain unconscious associations with specific colors. Blue is security and comfort. Red means danger or excitement. Black evokes professionalism and power. White is purity and simplicity.

There are entire creative schools of thought built around color theory: interior design, cinematography, graphic design, etc. Color seems as intrinsically tied to our mood and emotional being as music. It sets the tone of an interaction in ways we don’t immediately realize. It is a powerful and delicate choice to make. Black may convey authority, but it can be intimidating as well.

Color also affects the wearer, not just the viewer.

For example, a study done by Cornell University found increased aggression amongst hockey players wearing black jerseys compared to white ones. While this may not apply to the hospitality industry, it sheds some light on the more extreme end of color’s effects.

Strike a balance between approachability and authority. Navy blue, tan, burgundy, and forest green are great mainstays, but the spectrum is vast and worth looking into.

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