If your local UPS delivery drivers are looking a little nattier than usual, it's not your imagination. They're probably sporting new, more contemporary-looking clothing from the company's newly redesigned uniform line.
Last month, the Atlanta-based delivery and logistics services giant announced it was making the first major redesign in decades to the uniforms worn by 125,000 drivers worldwide. While the uniforms will still come in the company's trademark brown, the redesign marks the most significant change since the company's drivers began wearing short pants in the early '90s, a bold move that undoubtedly raised a few eyebrows in UPS's famously conservative boardroom.
The new uniforms feature breathable fabrics and reflective logos that UPS says will improve driver comfort and safety. For instance, the new lineup includes a pullover polo-style shirt with a three-button collar that's made from a moisture-wicking micro-piqué fabric that improves breathability and enhances employee comfort in warm temperatures. The shirt comes in a short-sleeved version and, for the first time, includes trendy color-blocking on the sides.
"UPS is in the midst of a companywide transformation, and a significant part of that effort involves a cultural and brand shift that embraces innovation, speed, and relevance," UPS Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Warren said in a release. "Our new uniforms have a more contemporary look consistent with the company's ongoing transformation efforts."
Outfitting UPS's driver workforce is no small task. It takes nearly 4 million yards of brown cloth and 2 million yards of brown thread for the 375,000 hats, 405,000 shirts, 375,000 pairs of trousers, and 290,000 pairs of shorts issued to UPS drivers, according to the company. That's enough cloth to stretch the distance of the Mississippi River.
The new uniforms are being phased in across the country, although drivers have the option of keeping the old pieces if they prefer. UPS has pledged to recycle the old uniforms, keeping the fabric out of landfills.