Sunday, December 16, 2007


We all know that the majority of workplace uniforms are absolute tat but the dynamic duo once again set out to change all that, in Trinny and Susannah Undress the Nation - Uniform (Tuesday 18 December 2007 @ 8:00pm on ITV1).

Despite being worth a massive £430 million pounds a year, Trinny and Susannah soon discover, thanks to the pink pod, that the nation’s uniforms are largely made up of ‘fleeces, shirts, and ill-fitting trousers’.

In an attempt to revamp one company’s uniform, the girls have joined force with supermarket chain Somerfield to redesign their uniform to accommodate 42,000 workers. They head to Birmingham to road test the existing uniform and work alongside the supermarket’s staff.

Susannah takes an instant dislike to the whole ensemble. “I’m coming out in a rash as I put this on.”

While Trinny mans the deli, Susannah decides eating the produce is much better than stacking it. Fellow workers describe the uniform as ‘uncomfortable’, ‘tatty’ and ‘horrible’. After their day in store the girls are armed with all the ammunition they need to fight for a new uniform.

In order to hammer home their mission, the girls invade the Somerfield annual conference, which is attended by all the store managers. They are greeted with resounding agreement when they pitch their plans, with 84% of the store managers in favour of new uniforms.

Now the girls need to road test their ability to create a uniform. They visit an all female driving school in Leeds who would like a company uniform that is fashionable and practical. In a swift fix they take the five driving instructors shopping and kit them out in figure flattering outfits of silver and grey with white shirts and practical yet stylish rain macs, all unified with a bright pink scarf to tie in with their company branding.

“The whole experience of designing the uniform for the driving school was great because it really made us think of important points like the sense of uniformity but keeping the women as individuals, colours and how important they are, corporate identity and confidence,” says Trinny.

But before they launch straight in to trying to accommodate a 42,000 strong workforce, Trinny and Susannah have a go at transforming the uniforms of the catering team at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.

Lead by Barbara McCarthy, the team’s uniform is from a catalogue and was last changed ten years ago. Barbara presents the style experts with their uniforms for the day complete with hairnets and plastic aprons to meet health and safety guidelines.

Whilst Trinny and Susannah get down to business buttering bread and serving at the hot plate, they disagree with Barbara about being called dinner ladies, and Barbara is adamant about one thing – colour. “We definitely don’t want pink,” says Barbara.

But, it seems Trinny and Susannah think pink is the colour as they choose the ladies’ new outfits – pink, gingham and white.

“I think they’ve been watching too much Grease,” says Barabara. Despite their reservations the ladies are won over by the new pink uniforms, which are a hit amongst their colleagues.

Finally, after their two practice runs, Trinny and Susannah come up with their own uniform designs to be made for the Somerfield team. They opt for a pallet of greens fabrics with navy blue, in styles that are designed to be hard wearing, comfortable and on budget.

Trinny describes it as a ‘couture supermarket collection’ as they head back to Birmingham to present Somerfield staff with their new look.

They’ve planned a catwalk show amongst the fruit and veg, but it’s not without complications as the outfits get muddled and nothing quite fits right.

Crisis averted, the eight staff members reveal their practical but stylish new look to the store, which comprises warm, smart fitted fleeces for those who work in the freezer departments, flattering flared trousers and comfortable, long culottes for the ladies, with waistcoats and fitted long sleeve tops for the gents.

A resounding success, Trinny and Susannah receive the seal of approval from the store, and as a result Somerfield agree to remodel their uniforms. The new designs are yet to be revealed.