Top trends for healthcare & hospitality workwear 2021

Workwear isn’t often the first type of clothing that comes to mind when you think of what’s in vogue. Yet fashion within the work sector is constantly evolving with the latest technology to influence and be influenced by the high street.

At Alexandra, we’ve grown to become the UK’s most trusted work clothing supplier because we pay close attention to these yearly trends. We consistently improve our products to make sure they’re at the forefront of clothing design. 

This article will show you the top trends in healthcare and hospitality workwear for 2021, and our lead designer, Nicole Lewis, will tell you a little about how we at Alexandra ensure all of our clothing remains up to date.

The top workwear trends for all sectors 2021

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused shifts in the way people work, no matter the sector they serve in. It’s meant much longer working hours for healthcare workers. Whereas for hospitality workers, it’s meant innovating new ways of working. These changes have had a ripple effect on the uniform trends for 2021, so here’s the top three across all industries:

Short Sleeve Chef JacketShort Sleeve Chef Jacket
Short Sleeve Chef Jacket

A focus on sustainability

In the wake of the climate change crisis and an increase in single-use plastics due to Covid-19 PPE, this year has seen more pressure placed on companies and services looking for greener options for their uniforms.

To make sure their workwear is sustainable, companies now pay attention to what materials go into their clothes and their environmental impact. Fair Trade, carbon-neutral and biodegradable fabrics are becoming the norm and preferred choices.

Getting ahead of this trend, in 2020, Alexandra partnered with the NHS as part of its Greener NHS scheme to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2035. We developed a reusable theatre cap to reduce single-use PPE waste within the healthcare service. This development has helped to make us one of the best providers/suppliers for environmentally friendly clothing, UK wide.

Within the hospitality sector, our Made to Order range is leading the way on sustainable materials. Many items in the range - such as trousers and tabards - can now be chosen in TENCEL clothing fabric, which is made from 100% sustainably sourced materials and is 100% biodegradable. 

Boyd Cooper Made to OrderBoyd Cooper Made to Order
Boyd Cooper Made to Order

Moving away from fast fashion

Hand in hand with a drive towards sustainability is people buying clothes built-to-last. As companies, services, and individuals want to do their part to help the environment, they’re doing this by choosing ethical workwear.

The healthcare industry is making strides towards this through purchasing more reusable PPE where possible. It’s also making sure to buy high-quality clothing, like scrubs that can withstand the harsh conditions of the industrial laundering process, which is a leading cause of healthcare uniform ‘wear and tear’.

In terms of hospitality, the move away from fast fashion looks very similar. Companies now tend to purchase uniforms made from robust and durable materials with colours that don’t fade. As colour technology from brands like Alexandra has improved, establishments realise their staff uniforms can remain tidy and professional for much longer. This cuts down on cost and waste.

At Alexandra, we put all of our products through a strict testing process to make sure they’ll last no matter what the role is. This process involves stress tests to ensure the materials withstand rigorous laundering processes, and seams can withstand daily wearing strain. After that, we conduct user wearer tests that make sure our clothes perform equally well in the real world.

Once the stringent testing is complete, we send our products to market. Finally, to prove just how confident we are in our clothing, all of it comes with a two-year guarantee from the date of delivery.

Boyd Cooper TunicBoyd Cooper Tunic
Boyd Cooper Tunic

Personalisation

As it’s recently become easier for manufacturers to personalise clothing in smaller batches, more have opened up the option to their customers. Anyone who wants to add a custom design to most kinds of garments now can. 

Personalisation has made a massive difference within healthcare, where being covered head to toe in PPE has caused a barrier to personable care. Many clinicians are now wearing uniforms with their names and roles embroidered to make communication easier and put their patients’ minds at ease. 

Within the hospitality industry, personalisation extends brand awareness. By adding the colours of your establishment to staff T-shirts and trousers, you can make them more easily identifiable to patrons and make customers take note of your branding. 

At Alexandra, we offer personalised embroidery across a wide range of our garments, whether you want to buy in bulk or smaller quantities. Our Made to Order range also gives you the chance to design clothing from the ground up by choosing design, fabric, colours and personalisation options. 

PPE

The trend across all sectors that no one can get away from in 2021 is personalised protective equipment (PPE). For a long time, hospital PPE was mainly used in the healthcare and beauty industries, but with the need to stay safe working within a pandemic, most out-of-home workers have to wear some form of protection.

Face masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and uniforms with messages about social distancing are commonplace in uniforms. That’s why Alexandra has curated a range of PPE suitable for use across all sectors, from disposable aprons and protective ffp3 face masks to disposable face masks and carry kit bags ideal for protecting commuters.

FFP3 Face MaskFFP3 Face Mask
FFP3 Face Mask
Unisex Lightweight TunicUnisex Lightweight Tunic
Unisex Lightweight Tunic

The top workwear trends for healthcare in 2021

Alongside the changes across all industries, the healthcare sector has seen some noteworthy trends in 2021. Here’s a rundown of three of them:

Increased athleticism

Many healthcare professionals have switched to wearing scrubs during the Coronavirus pandemic. This change is because scrubs provide a safety barrier for infection prevention and control and can be easier to wear over long periods than other garments - like nurses tunics - due to their looser fit.

The broader societal trend towards fitness, especially in lockdown, has only cemented this trend. Nursing staff spend long periods on their feet and now want looser-fit uniforms to allow them more freedom of movement, which suits their more active role.

Alexandra offers a wide range of scrubs for all healthcare workers’ needs. For example, our lightweight scrub sets are ideal for use in the hot summer months, and our contrast trim scrubs are suitable for large teams where they can use colours to denote roles.

Wider choice for everyone

One of the most significant trends of 2021 is the increase in styles of tunics for healthcare workers. For the same reason that personalisation has taken off, having a bit more control over the kinds of tunic they can wear allows healthcare workers to show more personality.

While the classic collar will forever be a bestseller due to its professional look, other popular nursing top choices include the rever collar, mandarin collar and contrast trim. The rever collar allows staff to break up their single colour tunic with a flash of colour at the top, whereas the mandarin collar lends itself to a more contemporary look. As already mentioned, the contrast trim tunic is ideal for denoting roles.

Designer glasses

Healthcare workwear has not always permitted clinicians to show off their personal sense of fashion. As hospitals need to prioritise the safety of colleagues and patients, uniforms that are durable, provide an effective infection barrier and are easily distinguishable are required above anything else.

One way medical staff are finding to show off their sense of style is through designer glasses. Whether they prefer thicker frames or half frames, or brown or black rims, designer glasses are a small touch that show a flash of personality.

As with all clothing items and accessories, always check your workplace uniform guidelines before purchasing a pair of glasses, and make sure your choice still remains conservative.

Women's Mandarin Collar TunicWomen's Mandarin Collar Tunic
Women's Mandarin Collar Tunic

The top workwear trends for hospitality in 2021

As with healthcare, the hospitality industry also has notable trends for 2021. Here’s a rundown of the top three:

Statement pieces

Statement pieces on hospitality uniforms are set to make a return for 2021 for similar reasons as personalisation. When lockdown restrictions ease and establishments can reopen, they’ll be keen for people to take note of them. Hence many businesses want to build a sense of fun and flair into their workwear.

To draw attention, lesser-used clothing items combined with striking patterns are making a comeback. For example, this striped men’s and women’s waistcoat, complete with faux gold buttons, looks professional and captures attention. Available with custom fitting options, there’s a size to suit any colleague.

Clean-cut lines are the other big trend for hospitality in 2021. Items like the mandarin collar chef uniform jacket give off a crisp, professional image whenever the chef goes front of house.

Women's Striped WaistcoatWomen's Striped Waistcoat
Women's Striped Waistcoat

Easier ordering for hospitality uniforms

When the industry reopens, hospitality managers know they will have a hectic few months, so they’re getting uniform orders in place now. One of the things they’ve focussed on is choosing to use websites that make it easy for them to select and re-order the uniforms they need quickly.

In February 2021, Alexandra recently relaunched our website to make it easier for hospitality managers to order clothing. Our quick order system allows you to easily reorder past orders and add bulk orders to your cart. 

Vibrant colours

To differentiate themselves from competitors and help them stand out, many companies within hospitality are adding flashes of bright colours to their uniforms. Cyans, magentas, and lime greens are making a comeback within 2021.

A great example of this is Alexandra’s bib apron, which is available in a huge range of bright colours, including lime green, petrol blue, cherry red and spruce green. Given the colour options, this apron works perfectly to finish off a front of house cafe uniform or in a high-end rustic restaurant.

If your establishment brands itself as neutral, but you’d like to experiment with colour, you could try our contrast waist apron. This gives you the option of having two strips of colour - ranging from bright orange to royal purple - to a mainly black garment. This mix of neutral black and striking colour gives the best of both worlds.

How Alexandra ensures high quality

At Alexandra, we’re constantly updating the products we offer to make sure they stay innovative and fresh. Over the years, we’ve become known for our durable clothing that professionals can rely on to protect them throughout their shifts. 

Alexandra’s good name is one of the reasons our lead designer Nicole Lewis was drawn to us. Having previously designed children’s high street fashion, she jumped at the chance to work in workwear. Nicole says “the different regulations and necessary uniform features for various roles offer unique challenges that I couldn’t wait to get stuck into.”

Being the lead designer at one of the UK’s leading workwear manufacturers means Nicole constantly strives to improve our products. She says “the reason our clothing remains consistently high quality is that every change we make is based on four core principles.” These principles are:

Contrast Waist ApronContrast Waist Apron
Contrast Waist Apron

1. Changing industry standards for safety

Nicole says “before coming up with any new designs, our designers research the latest safety standards to ensure any new garments meet them.” No matter the industry, you can be sure all of Alexandra’s uniforms remain at the cutting edge of keeping you safe.

2. Changing trends

“At Alexandra, we believe workwear should still be something you feel proud to wear”, says Nicole. “By incorporating the latest trends into our garments, we hope our customers feel confident, comfortable and themselves in their uniforms.”

3. Changing desires of our customers

Nicole is well aware of what Alexandra’s customers want, because they tell her. “We don’t believe in dictating to our customers what they wear, which is why we appreciate getting feedback from them.”

Any comments Alexandra receives about our products are sent to our designers, such as Nicole, for consideration when creating new lines.

4. Improving technology

As we manufacture most of our products ourselves, at Alexandra, we can lead the way when it comes to innovations within our workwear ranges. 

The constant innovation spurs Nicole to get even more creative: “When technology improves, techniques change, or new materials become available, we incorporate them into our latest products’ designs.”

How to buy new workwear from Alexandra

Alexandra is the UK’s most trusted supplier of workwear across all industries. We manufacture most of our clothing in England, and all of our garments come with a two-year guarantee from the date of delivery.

You can see our full range of medical-grade healthcare uniforms here.

To view our wide selection of hospitality workwear, click here.