The uniforms dilemma: Stock uniforms vs. custom-made

In the professional world, uniforms play a pivotal role in conveying a sense of identity and unity within a team or organisation. When it comes to outfitting your staff, the decision between ordering stock uniform garments and investing in custom-made items is a critical one. Each option comes with its own set of pros and cons, and understanding these factors is essential for making an informed choice that aligns with your brand identity and also meets your practical requirements when it comes to uniforms.

When we refer to uniforms in this article, we mean any garment or hat which has your brand on it. This could be anything from a polo shirt with your logo on it, to a full range of unique workwear or PPE.

Pros of Ordering Stock Uniform Garments:

  1. Cost-effectiveness: Stock uniforms are generally more cost-effective than custom-made ones. They are mass-produced, which means lower production costs, making them a budget-friendly option for businesses with limited resources.
  2. Quick turnaround: Stock garments are readily available, allowing for quick and hassle-free procurement. This is advantageous for businesses that require uniforms on short notice or who will require small quantities of uniforms to top-up their stock or for new starters.
  3. Variety and availability: Stock uniforms come in a wide range of styles, colors, and sizes. This diversity allows businesses to choose from a selection that best suits their brand image without the extended wait times associated with custom orders.
  4. Easy re-ordering: re-ordering stock uniforms is a straightforward process. Whether you’re expanding your team or need replacements, restocking is as simple as placing another order, minimising downtime.
  5. No design hassle: For businesses with straightforward uniform needs and small budgets, the absence of design considerations can be an advantage. Stock uniforms eliminate the need to spend time and resources on designing custom attire, making the ordering process more streamlined.

Cons of Ordering Stock Uniform Garments:

  1. Limited uniqueness: The main drawbacks of stock uniforms is the limited ability to reflect a unique brand identity. Stock garments are designed to cater to a broad audience and whilst there is a huge range of colours available, you may not be able to get a garment in a precise colour match or colour combination.
  2. Size limitations: Stock uniforms come in a fixed size range. The range is very wide for most items, but you may still find that you have a team member who doesn’t fit into the available size range.
  3. Fabric choice: Sometimes your preferred fabric may not be available in the colour you require. If you have specific fabric requirements, i.e. you would like a particular fabric blend, then you may need to be flexible and choose the closest available option in a stock item.

Pros of Ordering Custom-Made Uniforms:

  1. Brand identity and image: Custom-made uniforms provide an excellent opportunity to showcase a distinctive brand identity. Designing uniforms to reflect specific colors, logos, and design elements ensures a unique and professional look that aligns with the brand’s image. You can be sure no other organisation will be wearing the same uniforms.
  2. Quality control: Custom-made uniforms often involve a higher level of quality control. Businesses can choose premium materials and fabric composition to ensure that the final product meets their standards.
  3. Enhanced employee morale: Employees tend to take pride in wearing custom uniforms that are uniquely designed for their organization. This sense of belonging and pride can positively impact morale and lead to a more unified team.
  4. New technology: Advances in fabric technology mean there are more options for custom-made items including dye sublimation and cut-and-sew (using existing fabrics to create a unique uniform pattern). These allow a quicker turnaround time than custom-making a uniform from scratch.

Cons of Ordering Custom-Made Uniforms:

  1. Extended lead times: Unlike stock uniforms that are readily available, custom-made uniforms involve a longer lead time. The design, approval, and production processes can take weeks or even months, making it less suitable for businesses with urgent uniform needs.
  2. Minimum re-order quantities: Re-ordering custom-made uniforms is not as straightforward as it is for stock uniforms because minimum re-order quantities will apply (usually 50 items depending on the manufacturing process). You may find that you run out of a certain size before you need to re-order the minimum quantity.
  3. Higher cost: In most cases, ordering custom uniforms is more expensive than ordering stock items, unless you are ordering very large quantities. Businesses with tight budgets may find this option financially challenging.


Choosing between stock uniform garments and custom-made items is a decision that requires a careful consideration of your business’s unique needs, budget constraints, and branding aspirations. While stock uniforms offer affordability, quick turnaround, and variety, custom-made uniforms provide the opportunity for unique brand expression, meeting your specific colour and fabric requirements, and enhanced quality control. Ultimately, the right choice depends on finding the balance that aligns with your business goals, budget, and the image you want to project.
Please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Simply Uniforms to discuss your requirements. We’re here to help you through the process.

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