Royal Palaces housekeeping uniform detail

Royal Palaces housekeeping uniforms

Our client

A prestigious body of Royal Palaces who are known and respected globally, needed to update and improve their housekeeping uniform, which had not been changed for over 30 years.

It is very common that most hotels, households and restaurant groups don’t have the expertise or extra time in their job roles to be able to design, source and test fit for an entirely diverse body of staff.

The challenge

The duties of the staff were varied. They could be cleaning, doing the laundry, cleaning bathrooms, making beds to serving canapés, setting out grand halls, greeting guests and taking care of their clothing and bedrooms.

On top of this they could expect to cross paths with staff from different departments who didn’t wear uniforms. They’d regularly see the Royal residents in halls making them feel dowdy and embarrassed. In the addition the housekeepers would be required to greet and take care of special guests coming to stay which would mean changing out of their white cleaning uniform and into a dark coloured smarter dress for public facing appearances which added complication in performing their duties daily.

Issues with the housekeeping uniform were:

  • The housekeepers felt very self-conscious and uncomfortable in unlined white, stiff cleaning dresses.
  • The uniform had not changed for over thirty years, so it had become very dated and out of style and ill-fitting for curvy shapes.
  • The cardigan, was handwash and shrank and stretched out of shape, looking very scruffy.
  • Buttons came off the cardigan and smart dress needing staff to constantly repair; whether they could sew or not
  • Not practical or functional enough to be suitable enough for a variety of tasks
  • Poppers came undone easily on the front of the cleaning dress as there was no stretch in the stiff poly cotton.
  • The fit of the cleaning dress did not work well for a breadth of sizes and unusual shapes.
  • White underwear had to always be worn in order not to show through
  • The smarter dress of the uniform was outdated, not liked, had a hem that kept coming down and was high maintenance.

Our solution to create the perfect housekeeping uniform

The client wanted to develop a set of uniform to include a dress, jacket and cardigan; allowing staff to easily switch between from behind the scenes tasks to front of house roles without changes and more professionalism.

We looked at the elements that worked and removed the problem areas to inform design, and developed concepts that were comfortable, flexible, professional and stylish. We needed to create styles that would suit sizes 6 to 26 making them all look and feel equally good.

  • We looked at traditional shapes with a princess, a-line cut to wrap dresses to flatter, flare over larger hips and provide comfort. We looked at optimum sleeve lengths and settled for an elbow-length sleeve and a vented neckline with contrast piping edging that looked stunning, on brand and flatters with style large busts as well as small or add shape to a smaller chest.
  • We sourced durable stretch materials that are very high performing and easy care.
  • Created focus groups to look at the best shape and measure fits for bodies.
  • Finding the perfect below the knee dress length to suit all nody shapes and lengths empowering wearers that might have issues about their knees or legs.
  • We offered two back lengths to make a bespoke fit per size and wearer.
  • We designed one universal dress to suit all activities instead of two.
  • Used navy blue as the key colour as far more flattering and is a universal colour which means it suits all skin types as well as concealing specs of dirt, creates a more premium look and a perfect brand match edged with gold detailing.

We produced a trial set in a range of sizes to test for one week on a diverse body of ladies. The trial set proved the new uniform was more practical, preferred by the team so much so a few ladies didn’t want to go back to wearing the old dress. We approved and proceeded to bulk which was delivered three months later.

The outcome

  • Adding a jacket and a stronger looking dress automatically elevated performance, pride and connection with others. Staff moral increased.
  • Housekeepers felt confident and proud to be seen by all and not afraid to bump into royal residents in halls.
  • Practical, easy care and beautiful uniforms which are part of a congruent set.
  • More sustainable: buying less often and looking smarter for longer and reducing two dresses to one with no need for lining.
  • An added universal look and colour that suited all types, fits and figures beautifully.
  • A new improved identity for the staff through a uniform maintaining tradition, but with a modern edge and a timeless look that was congruent with the brand lasting another 30 years!
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Royal Palaces uniforms: before
Royal Palaces uniforms: after