What colours, prints and cuts are influencing uniform fashions this season and next? Will McCann reveals his tips

The event and fashion industries have been and will always be synonymous with extravagance. Both push boundaries, whether it’s the new must-have colour or print, or the latest delicacy to grace the canapé tray.

When it comes to how we dress our staff in the industry, uniform fashion should always remain a focus of an evening, but perfecting that look can be quite an investment. The visual presentation of staff is regularly overlooked, with standard all-black uniforms, or the white shirt, black tie combo rolled out en masse. How very drab, you might say, but actually, 75% of the time the white shirt, black tie ensemble is perfectly appropriate for an awards dinner, for example, or for a drinks and canapé reception.

Why shouldn’t the industry try and adopt more of the trends falling off our catwalks in the booming British fashion industry, though? One of our clients adopted a new style for all of their staff combining a waistcoat (black or tweed) with a pink knitted tie and a tailored white shirt – it’s on-trend and looks fantastic!

While this has meant giving out new uniform at an event and then monitoring stock, it does look truly brilliant and unique and it distinguishes this client’s staff from other event caterers.

A big trend in the Autumn/Winter 2013/14 season has been the use of checks, squares and my personal favourite, tartan. In fact I’ve just recently purchased the most splendid navy tartan suit for myself. As with all winning trends, tartan’s popularity shows no signs of waning and we can expect to see this edgy fabric continue on into the spring/summer season. Its widespread availability makes it a smart and relevant look for special events.

Forget garish red tartan; think of a more toned down, sartorial version. Navy, burgundy and green tartan fabrics are very smart and they look particularly striking in the form of a waistcoat teamed with a tailored white shirt, or as a tie paired with a tailored shirt. That sort of look exudes class.

Floral is another trend with legs for the summer months – a look we’ll see bloom in hospitality uniform fashions this coming spring season. For a summer wedding or other summer event, use the floral uniform trend to bring an event theme to life. Imagine female waiting staff in fitted white shirts or blouses paired with flowing, floral skirts or more figure-hugging pencil skirts adorned with floral prints. It’s professional, yet has a whimsical air of informality, in contrast with the severe look of a black shirt and black trousers.

And for the die-hard monochrome crew, you’re in luck, because this uniform fashion trend is a keeper, but you should make an active effort to keep it updated. A little alteration here and there to the custom event wardrobe can transform the look and feel of a brigade of event staff and the effectiveness of an event theme.

For a trendier event, consider a cropped or turned up trouser with a sockless shoe in the summer. Tailoring is a must – a fitted shirt and trousers always look splendid and exude elegance. Team with simple accessories, such as a monochrome flower tied around the wrist, a plain cravat or a different coloured tie or trousers, and you have easy and affordable techniques for elevating the look and feel of your all-important staff. Never underestimate their ability to make an event experience memorable.

Will McCann is operations manager for leading events industry staffing agency and training academy Off to Work.