As the hotel industry continues its resurgence, fashion designers from Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ: CTAS) have unveiled the year’s hottest trends in luxury hotel apparel. Slimmer fits, jersey fabrics, charcoal suiting and statement pieces are just some of the looks being demanded across luxury hotels and resorts. While comfort and functionality remain important aspects of any uniform program, many high-end properties are placing additional emphasis on retail-inspired, on-trend apparel.
“As the economy resurges, demand has increased for apparel that not only makes a statement, but does so in a retail-inspired way,” said Kass Graham, Design Manager at Fourmy, a Toronto based Cintas division that specializes in customized uniform programs. “In the luxury hotel market, this has resulted in apparel that’s more approachable and more like what employees wear outside of the workplace.”
Cintas’ top trends in luxury hotel apparel include:
- Brighter Resort Colors – Luxury resorts in Calif., Fla., Ariz. and Hawaii are embracing brighter, livelier colors representative of their environments. This includes brighter shades of blue indicative of the ocean and citrusy corals, oranges and crisp, clear greens representative of the bright flowers and colorful landscape. Although these are mostly used as small pops of color in an accent or trim, some properties have embraced the brighter hues for high visibility positions, such as their hostess or cocktail server, in order to give ‘punch’ to a room.
- Less Formal Wear Styles – Although ties have long been considered a staple of high-end uniforms, a few upscale organizations are embracing the open collar shirt look in order to be more approachable to guests. In addition, female front desk professionals are starting to don day dresses or skirts with jackets instead of traditional suiting. Further, as more resorts turn to retail-inspired apparel, garments such as maxi dresses are becoming more common among hostesses and cocktail servers.
- Statement Pieces – As more resorts transform their main dining rooms or bars from quiet, nightcap areas into hot spots for the locals, their apparel has also transformed. Now, luxury hostess and cocktail dresses are being designed with considerable “wow” factor encompassing higher hemlines, more body-conscious fabrics, slimmer silhouettes and beautiful statement jewelry. The end-result is a vibrant, dynamic look that helps reinforce the room’s high-energy atmosphere.
- Local Flair – As more hotels and resorts look to distinguish themselves from competitors and build a story for their property, many are looking for uniform programs that reflect their local culture and geography. For example, a property in Scottsdale, Ariz. might select a color palette of warm, earthy tones with accents of rich, brick red or orange to complement the famous red sandstones in neighboring Sedona. A property in Hawaii might select embroidery in the shape of flowers for their uniforms, and many other properties draw on historically or culturally significant fashion trends to connect to a sense of place.
- Jersey Fabrics – Although jersey is often used for tops, it’s making a big comeback as more properties request the knitwear fabric for their cocktail or hostess dresses. A blend of polyester and spandex, the fabric is comfortable, drapes beautifully on the body and captures a modern aesthetic popular among today’s luxury uniform designs.
- Charcoal Suiting – For a while, brown remained a popular suiting color—in part as a reaction to try and get away from black and navy suiting, which were strong for many years. Now, designers are seeing more requests for neutrals, such as silvery taupe, grey, and charcoal. Properties are finding that grey suiting, paired with a splash of color, brings warmth to their uniform programs.
“Communicating a cohesive story, or brand message, remains extremely relevant to luxury properties, as it helps guests appreciate the value of their experience and gives it meaning,” said Jeff Marino, Creative Director, Cintas. “Uniforms are an important component of that message, as they enable employees to ‘look the part.’ Our goal is to design a uniform program that is commensurate with a property’s overall luxury experience, and in that way, every uniform program Cintas creates is unique.”