Forget Patagonia. One of the most commonly worn vests in America is getting an upgrade.
Walmart has announced it is redesigning the signature vest worn by many of its 2.2 million employees.
Gone is the familiar blue vest with yellow trim. In its place, Walmart says, will be steel gray vests weaved from a fabric made of recycled bottles with trims in colors that pop, including green, blue, hot pink and orange. The pockets in the vests are also bigger, letting associates carry equipment they need on the sales floor. And each has a big Walmart logo on the back, making it easier for customers to identify employees.
“Bringing your true self to work means bringing your own style, so later this year, there will be lots of options for associates to customize their looks,” the company said in a statement. “Uniforms are important, but looking exactly like everyone else isn’t. We all want to be able to express who we are, and the new Walmart vest will allow associates to do just that.”
The new vests will begin rolling out later this year.
Walmart, which employs one in 10 retail workers in the U.S. and has close to 5,000 stores, has long suffered criticism for its labor policies. With increased competition from other retailers, Walmart has taken steps to be perceived as more employee-friendly in the past year, including relaxing its dress code, allowing employees to wear whatever color jeans they chose, rather than khakis. Managers were also allowed to start wearing sneakers.
The retailer announced an increase to its starting hourly wage at the start of 2018, up to $11 from $9. It has also sought to increase employee bonuses, expand parental-leave policies, and add an adoption benefit.
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