Walmart ditching blue vest for a redesigned version

A Walmart staff member models the company’s new uniform design.

By Maria Halkias

The Dallas Morning News

The Walmart vest — famous long before Wall Street banker bros and Silicon Valley geeks started wearing vests _ has been redesigned.

There’s even an option with a mock collar that’s preferred by the Patagonia crowd.

Later this year, Walmart employees will receive new required vests upgraded with fashionable color trims and a fabric weaved from 15 recycled plastic bottles.

The darker blue/gray fabric is lighter weight, breathable and more stain resistant, Walmart corporate officials said. Trim comes in green, blue, hot pink and orange.

The big Walmart sunburst logo is on the back of the vest and trims the deeper front pockets.

Employees will be able to personalize the zippered vests that come in two shapes, V-neck and high collar, which Walmart calls a mock neck, or not exactly a turtleneck.

The new vests follow a relaxing of the dress code last year when store employees could wear any color jeans.

Shirts can still be blue, but don’t have to be. The blue vests stayed to help customers identify an employee.

Another change came last year for managers. They got to wear sneakers, which previously were only allowed for store employees who could put in 8 to 10 miles a day in a large Walmart Supercenter.

After years of employee protests and organized efforts to force the company to raise wages, it was one of the first decisions made by CEO Doug McMillon after he moved into the top job in 2014.

When he told investors that pay raises were going to cost a lot of money, Wall Street punished the stock. Shares are up almost 30 percent since McMillon made the announcement in February 2015 and up 50 percent from the lows of that year.

The first raise cost $1 billion a year to increase wages to $9 for 500,000 employees. Walmart raised its minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $11 an hour in last four years.