Cold Weather Staple: Fashion Fleece

fashion fleeceWhen it’s important for your brand to be seen in more places than just the customer’s backyard, fleece garments with fashionable styling, lighter weight fabrics and better fit are an option that has grown in popularity.  And since branded apparel purchases are generally more costly than the average promotional product, selecting a style that many consumers would choose for themselves is the best way to get the biggest return on those limited marketing funds.

The trends in retail fashion influence the corporate clothing market, and now that market offers styles that range from rustic, casual fleece jackets to polished, sleek options with contrasting drawcords and white metallic zippers. Performance fabrics provide warmth with less weight, and moisture-wicking technology draws perspiration away from the body in order to maintain warmth and dry skin.  Color choices range from earth tones to jewel tones, while always maintaining the classic white, black and navy for the more conservative crowd.  Even with classic college-style crewneck and hoodie sweatshirts, corporate apparel suppliers have answered the call with distressed fabrics, hockey style laced fronts and retro styling.

Gone are the days when the choices for branded sweatshirts and fleece jackets were limited to four basic (or some might say “boring”) styles offered in three colors and the five standard men’s sizes.  Enlist creative thinking and consider your audience when choosing the best fashion fleece for that next executive premium or customer gift-with-purchase – the improved brand awareness and customer appreciation will be worth it!

(Image via Tri-Mountain)

An Ounce of Performance Is Worth Pounds Of Promises

Mae West was not referring to performance wear apparel when she made this statement, but her sentiment makes sense for branded clothing purchases nonetheless.  Clothing manufacturers use the word performance when describing fabrics that are resistant to stains, wrinkles, wind, rain and the ever-challenging body moisture.  In today’s world of active lifestyles, putting a corporate logo on an apparel piece that fits into the daily routine of the recipient will demonstrate your company’s awareness and appreciation of life outside the office.

When working with clients to come up with ideas for corporate give-aways, I always tell them that the money is wasted if it’s spent on an item that serves no purpose for the recipient.  And it’s not about the cost – a refrigerator magnet with the local team’s game schedule will remain in the house at least as long as the season.  But a lead crystal letter opener will likely end up in the bottom desk drawer.  Likewise, a lightweight jacket made from performance fabric will make it to the gym, yoga studio or children’s sports activities much faster than an unlined nylon jacket that is uncomfortable and makes that annoying swishing noise with every movement.

For easy reference on your next apparel purchase, I have provided an abridged summary of the most common fabrics and their characteristics, as offered on the Fabrics Manufacturers web site.

  • Cotton:        high water retention; long drying time; high shrinkage; medium durability
  • Wool:          high water retention; long drying time; high shrinkage; medium druability
  • Nylon:         medium water retention; short drying time; low shrinkage; high durability
  • Polyester:   lowest water retention; shortest drying time; low shrinkage; high durability

When considering clothing for a logo store, uniform program or client gift, ask your promotional merchandise partner to discuss the performance fabric options.  There’s no down side to associating your brand with high performance!

(Image via Ash City)