What you wear to work defines your role and identity in the corporate world.
As a woman making her way up the ladder, dressing up for work appropriately is the perfect recipe for respect, dedication and professionalism. Regardless of your job and line of work, sporting the right workwear is of paramount importance.
A look at workwear challenges faced by women
As women aspire to be their best at work, numerous work clothing challenges persist, including the difficulty of finding women-appropriate workwear.
Unfortunately, many clothing brands still design workwear catering to the male population. Some companies claim they design women-specific work clothing. But making the garment sizes smaller won’t cut it.
Thankfully, more brands with inclusive and forward-thinking fashion are stepping up. Women in various career landscapes are getting enough workwear options to help them look and feel their best at work.
With that said, here are four things to consider when shopping for women’s workwear:
1. Safety above all
Safety should be your priority when shopping for workwear.
Every workplace poses specific hazards and work conditions that can put a worker’s life and safety at risk, whether directly or indirectly. Therefore, you should be aware of these dangers so you focus on safety through the workwear you choose.
To choose women’s workwear with safety at its heart, take note of the nature and material of your clothing.
For instance, if you work with heavy machinery, your work clothing should be made of wear-resistant fabric to keep it from threading, thus helping you avoid you getting caught in machinery.
Meanwhile, you should wear flame-resistant (FR) clothing if you’re exposed to fire hazards in your worksite, such as flammable chemicals and electricity.
To maximise your safety with FR clothing, make sure to wear moisture-wicking, fire-retardant garments under your clothing and avoid fabrics such as cotton, nylon, polyester, spandex and acetate.
Paying attention to hazards associated with your job and worksite is key to finding the right workwear that upholds your safety. Corrosive chemicals, oil spills, high temperatures, bacteria and blood are other safety hazards from which your workwear should protect you.
2. Look for proper fit, comfort and functionality
When visiting clothing stores, you’ll always see separate sections of menswear and women’s wear. While there’s a clear line of distinction between them, it’s rare to see them in workwear, especially clothing designed for manual and physical labour.
For the appropriate fit and comfort, women need a different fit that accommodates their builds and needs. After all, ill-fitting workwear will only look unprofessional, uncomfortable and, most importantly, unable to afford the level of protection it’s designed to provide the wearer.
To achieve maximum comfort in your workwear, browse clothing brands specialising in making women’s workwear, like Federal Workwear, as you’ll have better chances of finding the best fit for you.
By picking well-fitting workwear, you can accentuate your figure and enhance your look, but keep in mind that your comfort is imperative.
In terms of functionality, high-quality workwear is normally heavy duty to establish protection against different elements. If you work in a cold environment, you’ll benefit more from women’s workwear equipped with heavier layers. If you bring many tools around, it’s worth picking workwear with plenty of storage.
3. Play with the right colours
In the corporate world, workwear colours are typically darker and less colourful. The darker your work attire is, the more professional and appropriate you look.
However, it doesn’t always apply to workwear for career women with more physically challenging roles. Hence, choosing the right colours is highly associated with your safety, but it doesn’t mean you can’t play with them.
When selecting colours for your workwear, you should take a look at incorporating high-visibility clothing to keep you safe. Essentially, high-visibility clothing — often shortened to hi-vis Viz clothing — is designed to make wearers highly visible and noticeable in poorly lit indoor and outdoor environments.
To find the right colours for your work clothing, take a look at visibility requirements applicable for women in the construction, utility, emergency response, security, warehousing, and transportation workforce, as established by such agencies as the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or Safe Work Australia.
4. Don’t forget your feet
Footwear is the foundation of worker safety.
To complete your work apparel, providing support and protection to your feet can make a huge difference in your performance at work. When it comes to work boots, splurging on a more costly yet superior pair of work boots is worthwhile.
Gender-specific work boots should always be your first option. Since the female foot is much smaller and slimmer than its male counterpart, you should get work boots specifically crafted for women.
Other qualities and characteristics of your ideal work boots should depend on your type of work and its usual environment.
Women’s workwear comes in all shapes and sizes, depending on one’s career roles and responsibilities.
In terms of blue-collar jobs involving manual and physical jobs, wearing suitable work attire that puts your safety, comfort and well-being first is essential to working efficiently and achieving job satisfaction.
While it can be challenging to find these characteristics in women’s workwear, it all boils down to your and your job’s needs and preferences.