When it comes to uniforms, fit and size are not the same thing. Size is your actual measurement (think waist, inseam, neck, etc.). Fit is more about the shape and cut of the garment. There’s Modern Fit, Slim Fit, Classic Fit and many others. You need to consider both when ordering garments. It’s just like going to the mall to buy jeans – in brand A’s jeans you are a size X, but in brand B’s jeans you may have to go down a size. The same goes for uniforms.

Pick Your Fit

Most apparel will have a fit description tied to it. You’ll want to pay attention to these descriptions. For example, leading F&B garment manufacturer Chef Works®, has three distinct men’s chef coat fits: Modern, Classic and Generous. Depending on the look and level of comfort that’s needed in the kitchen, you may go with the Generous Fit, which is very baggy and allows for ample room to perform with no restrictions. And since it’s a roomier fit, you may need to try on a couple sizes.

Now more than ever, uniform manufacturers are offering styles specifically for women. Women’s companion pieces are tailored for a woman’s body type. Fits are typically more figure flattering than men’s styles. Shirts may feature princess seams or front and back darts for sleeker silhouettes. Fits may include Slim, Form or Tailored.

Also keep in mind if a garment is made to wear over clothes (e.g., coveralls and lab coats). The manufacturer most likely has already taken this into account, but your correct fit may vary.

Measure Up

Which brings us to the importance of measurements. Make sure you take advantage of garment fittings offered by uniform providers. A uniform supplier should have standard measuring guidelines to ensure each team member is in the right garment from day one. Having a uniform representative take actual measurements and align them with a garment’s sizing eliminates the guesswork. They should also bring along sizing samples to try on. Move around in the garment as you would during the course of the workday to check for ease of movement. Don’t be afraid to crouch, bend or reach.

Be Aware

Why does all of this matter? Because it can affect several areas of day-to-day operations, such as:

  • Presenting a cohesive look – If pants are too long, an employee may roll them up, which can look sloppy. In a restaurant setting, if a shirt is too snug, an employee might not button it up all the way. Now all your servers have a different look.
  • Safety implications – For certain uniforms, such as FR garments, fit equals safety. If sleeves are too loose, skin may be exposed to potential injuries from flames or chemicals. Or if a hi-visibility vest is too tight, they may not wear it. These instances may result in your team not being in compliance with industry regulations.
  • Unexpected wear and tear – Again, pants that are too long may drag and end up tearing or fraying unusually fast. When this happens, employees will need to repair or replace pants more frequently, which can be an added cost.
  • Comfort level – If a worker is more focused on the itchy fabric of their polo shirt, distraction increases and productivity decreases.

It Pays Off

Choosing the right uniform styles for your business isn’t an easy task. When you’re ready to order, take as much time determining the right sizes and fits for your team. You’ll be glad you did. A professional, productive and safe team reflects positively on you and your business.


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