Embroidered Jackets, Vests, and Outerwear
We order from three primary and three specialty suppliers for our customers looking for quality outerwear, and we will be happy to help guide you. If you just want to dive right in and start browsing our suppliers’ catalogs, go right ahead but contact us when you have questions and before you think you are ready to order (or else you’re going to pay more than you need to pay).
If you would like some guidance about how to compare features when shopping for embroidered jackets or embroidered vests, we will be happy to share with you what we have learned about outerwear. Here are some of the ways to narrow the field of choices:
Application — Are your people romping around outdoor construction sites in the middle of a wet winter or would a windbreaker suffice for getting between the building and the car?
Lightweight or heavyweight — This may seem obvious when you are thinking of your own wardrobe, but when you are thinking of how to outfit your team, it may be a little different. Is your team out in the elements so much that they will need a heavyweight jacket for protection (and will pull one from their own wardrobes rather than wear the company jacket)? Or can you count on your team to wear removable layers under their jackets while they dodge a few raindrops here and there? We will talk with you about the application you envision so that you are completely happy with your purchase decision.
- Cotton — There are some lightweight cotton jackets, but cotton fabric for a jacket usually means that the fabric needs to be extremely tough and washable — think Carhartt.
- Nylon — Nylon shell jackets are common, inexpensive, and useful for lightweight applications. Boating and sports environments are examples of where just a simple windbreaker may be all you need. Sports team uniforms often include nylon windbreakers as part of the uniform package.
- Soft Shell — Embroidered soft shell jackets are quite popular. The polyester fabric is woven in a way to reduce wind and water penetration. Two key things to look for with these jackets are, first, whether you want them to be somewhat breathable, and second, how waterproof you need them to be (see more on this below).
- Fleece — Embroidered micro-fleece vests and jackets are a common sight from Seattle through Tacoma and all the way to Portland
Lined or unlined — Unlined jackets can come in both thin (windbreakers) and thick varieties. Lined jackets come with mesh lining for lightweight items, cotton or flanel lining for light to medium weight items, and polyester fleece lining for medium to heavyweight jackets.
Hood or no hood — Function vs. fashion. If you want a hooded jacket, look for whether the hood is hidden in a zippered compartment in the collar or zips (or snaps) on and off, which means it could get lost or left behind if you are not careful.
Full Zip, Quarter Zip, or Pullover — Pullover jackets are usually windbreakers of the crew neck or v-neck variety, or may have a 1/4 or 1/2 length zipper on the front. While most folks are comfortable with full zip or pullover, think through whether you want your team pulling things on and off their heads. Example one: one nursing home client of ours realized that its residents would not all be ambulatory enough to pull jackets over their heads without causing a risk of falling. Example two: If you have staffers who spend a lot of time getting their hair to look perfectly coiffed, they are not going to be excited about logowear that musses up their hair.
Waterproof rating — Are your folks out in the elements or merely dodging raindrops from the car to the building door? The rating for how waterproof a jacket will be can be read in the catalogs’ jacket descriptions/specifications as a number such as 1000MM, 3,000MM, or 10,000MM. See the example below. As it was described to us by one of our suppliers, the metric refers to the amount of water to which the fabric must be exposed before water seeps through the fabric. The higher the number, the more waterproof the jacket will be. For most folks who just need to get between the car and a building, this won’t be much of an issue. But if your team spends a lot of time climbing telephone poles in rainstorms, this may be the most important feature consideration. We can tell you from personal experience that the higher ratings do work as advertised. The jackets we have pressed into use for our ourselves have kept us dry even after hours of exposure to steady, driving rain.
Fashion — There are several elements to this. First, we like ensuring that our clients with female team members have ladies’ cut jackets that match the mens’ cut jackets. If that is a concern for your organization, it will limit your choices somewhat, but the choices tend to be popular staple items of our suppliers. Do you need to have your folks in the latest, trendiest styles or would you rather forgo a little style in favor of fashion longevity?
Visibility — Do you need reflective OSHA-certified ANSI-compliant Class 2, or Class 3 high visibility jackets? We offer them, but we don’t recommend embroidering on them if you need to retain that ANSI compliance because embroidery will poke thousands of little holes into what was intended to be a very waterproof item.