It's true what they say: "Knowledge is Power." And when you're faced with the challenges of dressing your team for success, a little knowledge can go a long way from knowing what's popular and why... to what terms mean when you see them on a label or in a catalog... even to fun tidbits of information people find interesting. All this can simplify your decision making, streamline your process, and show your team you've done your research. And that will build their confidence in you, boost pride in their work, and virtually guarantee a more productive, powerful performance in the office and on the field.

Here, we've provided you with some of that knowledge... peruse it, have fun with it, use it in whatever way you can to put the power to work for you.

Casual Fridays and Dress Down Days

In order to compete in the employment marketplace, employers in the 90s searched for creative options to attract new employees and retain present ones.

So, what happened?
Wearables shot to the #1 category in Promotional Products, up 3 points from 24% to 27% in one year.

Why did this happen?
- 90% of all US companies have casual day of some kind
- 1/3 of all companies allow casual clothing every day
- More the 40% of all companies have expanded their casual dress options in the last three years

Casualwear Businesswear Human Resources Survey
- 87% - improves morale
- 81% - perceived by employees as a benefit
- 51% - employees save money because of casual dress
- 47% - improves productivity

Given the chance, 96% of employees take advantage of dressing casual.

What employees said
- 81% - improves morale
- 57% - I'm judged now more on my performance than appearance
- 57% - better camaraderie with managers and co-workers
- 51% - do best work when casually dressed
- 43% - boss is more approachable

46% reported that if they were offered two equal positions, the employer who offered casual days every day would get preference.

The 4 basic classifications of Corporate Casual at work today are:

Boardroom Casual

Apparel that's different than the traditional business suit, but still appropriate for the boardroom. Blazers, oxfords, vests, ties, and scarves are the operative words here.

Business Casual

Professional dressing that's perfectly suited to attend a meeting, conduct a seminar or to meet a client. Banded collar shirts, oxfords, denims, vests, sweaters and turtlenecks are your main menu here.

Relaxed Casual

Office-appropriate attire that's professional enough to face customers, but comfortable enough to sit in front of the computer. Golf shirts reign supreme in this area, as well as denims, chambray shirts, fashion fleece, sweaters and turtlenecks.

Dress Down Casual

Casual apparel for a labor-intensive day such as cleaning out files or organizing your area. Tees, sweats and denim are your directions on this one.

When holiday time rolls around, showing appreciation to clients and the people on your team can prove to be a smart move for encouraging more business and productivity in the office. Give gifts of golf shirts, wovens, tees, fleece, or caps tastefully decorated with your logo, and you can increase the benefits to corporate identity programs.

Consider these opinions of small business owners when asked about holiday gift giving:
- Over 75% feel it helps improve their business
- Over 55% believe it leads to increased sales
- Over 70% consider it an important part of their marketing effort
- Over 85% believe it improves employee morale

Still not sure if golf shirts are right for your team? As the game itself continues to skyrocket, so does the popularity and acceptability of golf shirts as a staple of corporate casual dress codes. And, with the numbers of people playing golf today, the odds are in your favor that the majority of your team will -at the very least- be wearing your golf shirt on the green. Just consider these stats about golfers:
- 22.5 million men
- 6.5 million women
- 1.5 million players are under 30
- With 7 million, the 50-59 year age group is the largest percentage at 24%
- 1 in every 4 golfers is a senior (2.7 million aged 65+)
- 43% hold Professional/Management/Administrative occupations

Statistics courtesy of the National Golf Foundation, US Census Department

Why do women's shirts button on the opposite side than men's?
Way back in Medieval times, women did not usually dress themselves.They had handmaids to help them. Therefore, the dressmakers designed the garments so the buttons were in the proper position for the dressers, the person USING the buttons. The tradition continued throughout the ages and even into today's styles.

What percentage of the American workforce is female?
60%, making Ladies' style shirts increasingly popular for all types of corporate casual decision makers.

What does "pre-shrunk" really mean?
It is NOT pre-washing the fabric. It is a process where the bolted, uncut fabric is run through rollers containing tiny nubs that press the fabric over the nubs, creating grooves which condense it. This puckered shrinking effect then allows for real shrinking when washed. Therefore, the fabric not the shirt is pre-shrunk before it is even cut and sewn.

Where did the word "jersey" in jersey knit come from?
It is called that because it was first knitted in the Jersey and Guernsey Islands in the English Channel.

What is the origin of the pouch pocket that's so popular in today's fleece styles?
It actually dates back to the 1800s when muffs became a fashionable accessory for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to keep their hands warm and conceal money and small treasures when traveling.

Where does the name "henley" come from?
Copies of this shirt, a no-collar knit with buttoned placket, were worn by rowers in Henley, England. It was originally a rower’s shirt.

What is a "half moon sweat patch" and what’s it really for?
The inset back yoke of many upscale-type golf shirts. While called a "sweat patch," it is actually there for decoration purposes and extra collar support.

Name three colors that are popular for trade show "uniforms" today?
Any three bright colors. The brighter the color, the more booth staffers stand out as a team, so they can be found anywhere in the booth. The trade is calling them "Crayola colors."

Where did the American T-shirt originate?
The "great American T-shirt" actually originated overseas when American soldiers in WW I took a lesson from their European counterparts and started wearing cooler, light-weight, cotton undershirts instead of their wool uniforms in the hot summer climates.

Where does the term "denim" come from?
From the French "serge de Nimes," a twill fabric made in Nimes, France from blue vegetable dyes from the indigo plant, which is why deeper hues of blue denim are called "indigo."

What does the term "ounces" of fabric refer to?
The weight of the fabric based on one yard of fabric.

How does the fabric "sanded gabardine" get its soft finish?
It is run through an actual belt sander so that the fabric is extra soft before it is cut and sewn.

Where does the word "khaki" come from?
From the Hindu word meaning "dusty," which applied to the light brown cotton of the Indian army uniforms. Troops in 1850’s India found their white uniforms would be dusty within hours and began soaking them in mud to turn the same practical khaki color.

Do recycled bottles actually play a role in apparel manufacturing?
Yes! Recycled plastic bottles are cleaned, crushed, melted and extruded into the polyester fibers that make many of today's most popular fleece clothing. It's every bit as warm and durable as virgin polyester... but conserves more energy in processing.