This is our guide to team building attire.
Team building attire is clothing that helps employees demonstrate team spirit. For example, matching hats with team names or T-shirts made especially for corporate events. This attire can also include team costumes.
On a similar note, you can use outfits to build unity and encourage enthusiasm at your next team building event. This article outlines how to create a dress code that promotes teamwork without sacrificing individuality.
This article contains:
- What is team building attire?
- team building dress up ideas
- dress code for team outing
- what to wear to a picnic
- what to wear to a work away day or team retreat
- what not to wear at a company event
- Best websites for team apparel
Without further ado, here are all the tips you need to properly outfit your team.
What is team building attire?
Team building attire refers to the collective style of your employees. This term could refer to a professional dress code or more informal apparel such as team jerseys, custom t-shirts, and coordinated group colors. While your employees do not necessarily need to don a uniform, wearing similar clothing can help team members feel more connected to the group.
Team building dress up ideas
Team attire can be a team building activity. You can challenge your team to dress up based on a certain theme, and the team can respond by coordinating group costumes. (Think Halloween, minus all the pumpkins.) This exercise allows teams to let loose and express creativity while having fun. The following list offers a few suggestions for dress up themes to present to your teams.
Dress up theme ideas:
- Famous bands
- Superhero teams
- Historical figures
- Cast of movie or TV show
- Cartoon characters
- Different versions of the same character
- Group puns
- Dress up as a teammate
You can turn the dress up challenge into a friendly competition, or you can let the team dress up just for fun. Silly as it may sound, team costumes foster team bonding and feelings of belonging. In the same way the Justice League needs Wonder Woman and the Flash and the Beatles need Ringo, teams need the unique contributions of every member.
For more ideas, check out this guide to online costume contests.
Dress code for team outing
The dress code for a team outing depends on the nature of the activity. You wouldn’t want to wear a suit to a baseball game, nor would you want to don a company sweatshirt at an upscale restaurant.
When presenting a dress code for a team outing, consider the venue’s dress code or the apparel of the other attendees. Presenting guidelines of what to wear is helpful, i.e. “jeans are ok, but no tears or holes.” You should not stipulate the exact outfit, such as, “all attendees must wear khakis and blue polos,” as this tone could seem controlling and might erase any potential goodwill.
You should also remain sensitive to the fact that you and your group will likely be among strangers, and depending on the venue, your team may feel awkward about wearing matching company apparel. A better approach is to encourage matching accessories, for instance handing out logo-adorned sunglasses during an outdoor sporting event or buttons during a dinner. Another idea is to coordinate non-branded apparel. For instance, at a concert, you may invite each team member to wear a favorite band T-shirt.
Matching outfits at outings is not mandatory, but can promote a sense of togetherness. Above all, you should ensure that you provide a clear standard for apparel. Though off the clock, your employees will represent the company and should dress appropriately.
What to wear to a company picnic
Company picnics are informal team building events. These experiences call for a laid-back dress code. Because picnics occur outside, typically during summer months, comfort is the first priority. T-shirts, shorts, sneakers, and sundresses are standard picnic apparel. Company picnics are great opportunities to show off company-branded tees and hats. You could give away T-shirts pre-picnic and offer hats during the event, or you can encourage your employees to show up in swag of choice. Because picnics celebrate the accomplishments of the company, wearing branded apparel is a great way to show company pride.
Some companies even go as far as creating custom T-shirts for the event. As a millennial former-college student who has received literal drawers full of free T-shirts, I advise you that vaguer is better. If you limit your design to the company name and a simple theme instead of “teambuilding.com company picnic 2022,” then your team will be able to re-wear the shirt to other company events, which is a much better investment.
What to wear to a work away day or team retreat
Work away days or team retreats are intensive team building events. Because the affairs are typically private, you can order custom T-shirts and require more elaborate outfits without fearing making team members feel too self-conscious.
If your event includes team building games and competitions, then you may want to encourage individual teams to dress up distinctly.
A few team attire ideas:
- Team colors
- T-shirts with team names and slogans
- Team costumes, such as coordinated tutus or superhero shirts
- Matching accessories, like headbands, leis, and pom poms
Another fun idea is for teams to do-it-yourself a T-shirt as a bonding exercise. Teammates can tie-dye, puffy paint, or screen print a team T-shirt for the event. Making your own outfit adds an element of accomplishment.
Of course, you can always spur attendees to dress as one large team, i.e. “Team teambuilding.com.” Your organization is a large team that consists of many smaller teams, and sometimes employees need a reminder that all parts of the company are fighting on the same side.
Whatever the approach, adopting team attire helps to shape team identity and gives teammates the sense of contributing to a larger cause.
What not to wear to a company event
Though dress code may vary based on the event, there are certain articles of clothing that your teams should not wear, and you should never ask your teams to wear.
Team attire don’ts:
- Apparel with non-company approved foul language. (For instance, Museum Hack’s unofficial slogan is Museums are F***ing awesome, so T-shirts with that phrase would probably be fine, as opposed to a shirt printed with only the F-word.)
- Overly revealing clothing or clothing of a sexual nature
- Any articles that may offend a particular group, i.e. cultural appropriation or stereotyping
- Apparel with put-downs (For instance, shirts that say, “Social media team rules, advertising team stinks!)
- Competitor swag
Sticking to these ground rules for team building attire promotes inclusivity and ensures that all attendees feel safe and respected. When team members dress considerately, nothing distracts from the communal spirit of the event.
Best websites for corporate team apparel
There is no shortage of sites that cater to teams who desire to dress alike. Here are a few of our picks for some stellar team building attire sellers.
Corporate team apparel websites:
- American Apparel: The brand offers a wide array of super comfortable basic tees in plenty of colors. You can find third party sites that will print slogans and designs on the tees, or you can buy the shirts plain directly from the brand. American Apparel seems to sell exclusively through Amazon these days, so Prime shipping is an added plus.
- CafePress: CafePress is one of the largest and most popular custom apparel sites used by businesses and individuals alike. The site boasts a truly impressive selection of products, including the relatively unusual offering of pajamas and the more standard T-shirts and sweatshirts. You can shop pre-made designs or customize your own apparel. Typical turnaround time is very fast.
- Discount Mugs: Despite the name, Discount Mugs offers several formal and informal apparel options. The site’s design process is easy to use and ideal for the less tech savvy, as the interface simplifies the process of uploading a logo or choosing a clip art design. Discount Mugs is also one of the most affordable options.
- Rush Order Tees: True to the name, Rush Order Tees turns orders quickly. The site offers rush shipping and free shipping options. You can customize several types of clothing such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, polos and hats. In addition to printing, Rush Order Tees also provides embroidery options on several products.
- Custom Ink: This site offers many different custom printed products such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, polo shirts, jackets, and activewear. Custom Ink’s design lab feature allows you to easily create and preview designs. This website is great for aesthetic-conscious team apparel creators.
While you certainly do not need to spend money on custom T-shirts and products, these corporate clothing websites can help you achieve wardrobe uniformity and can save you time and hassle.
Looking like a team can help your employees feel more like a team. Team building attire adds a sense of cohesiveness to your event and promotes feelings of togetherness. Ideally, you should strongly encourage instead of demand a team dress code. Teammates should feel proud to wear a uniform, not forced. Chances are, most teammates will be happy to sport a team cap or tee, especially if you have built a healthy company culture.
Clothes are an effective team bonding accelerator, but there are many other tactics and tools you can use to foster relationships among teammates.