Maybe it's just a coincidence, but in the year since EC&M published its first annual construction clothing round-up, we've noticed you seem to be dressing a little sharper — and safer — on the jobsite and in the plant.
Of course we're not so bold as to think we're your only source for on-the-job fashion advice, but just in case you were paying attention, we went out and found another trailer's worth of stylish and useful clothing this year for your workplace wardrobe…just in time for the fall fashion season.
SERVICE WITH STYLE
What he's wearing: Thanks to all the tradesmen caricatures that have graced TV and movie screens over the years, the soccer moms who call you for electrical service probably have a distorted idea of what a tech looks like — ripped jeans, a yellowed t-shirt, a “Wire or Die” tattoo — so imagine how impressed they'll be when you show up in this sharp ensemble from Red Kap. This breathable, 100% cotton short sleeve shirt will help you keep your cool when Mrs. Smith starts to get upset about the bill, and these cargo pants have two side pockets for stashing meters, wire nuts, or a stick of deodorant for those times when you aren't feeling sure. And even though the 8-inch Foundation boot from DeWalt may be as comfortable as those fuzzy slippers you wear at home, be good to your customer's carpet and take them off when you get inside.
What he's carrying: Tool boxes went out of style with the mullet, and tool belts are the #1 cause of plumber's crack, so today's chic service technician carries a tool bag. Klein Tools' durable Tool Tote sports a dozen pockets (five inside and seven outside) for storing everything you need to troubleshoot and wire in style. Just don't let anyone call it a man purse.
SNUFF MY FIRE
What they're wearing: You're not a firefighter, but 480V can still cook you, so this shirt-and-pants combo from Carhartt can tame the flames from an out-of-control transfer switch and keep you safe. The FR chambray shirt may look mild-mannered, but its Indura Ultra Soft fabric is like a fire extinguisher with sleeves. The company's new FR work dungarees also incorporate Indura Ultra Soft for a comfortable fit and tough protection. And Workrite's 110NMX-45 coveralls use Nomex IIIA fabric to offer full-body protection without the hassle of maintaining a large wardrobe.
Hold on there, champ, you're not ready to step out onto the floor yet. You may not have to worry about an errant nail gun stapling your toes to the floor, but a pair of tough boots is still a good idea. Wolverine's new 6-inch Cannonsburg boot (left) has a steel toe and an internal metatarsal guard, and DeWalt's 6-inch Foundation boot (right) has a heel protection system and a cushion gel bag to keep the bottom of your foot just as safe as the top.
Everything else: Failing to accessorize outside of work will only expose you for the fashion failure you are. Making the same mistake around energized equipment can make all your effort picking out the right protective clothing an exercise in futility. North Safety's Peaks series hard hats (left) have four-point suspension, and Bullard's 5100 hard hats (right) are equipped with accessory slots for mounting faceshields and headsets for added protection. And it never hurts to have a pair of Klein Tools' protective safety glasses around, but there's a good chance it will if you don't.
For the hands: As the old proverb goes, every time you hold a screw or nail between your teeth, a dentist gets a toothache. Strong enough to hold even a screwdriver, the Zeta6 magnets stitched into Illinois Glove Co.'s Silver Back gloves let you keep all that little metal hardware nearby and use your teeth for something that really matters…like finishing that last Krispy Kreme before break is over. Warning: Silver Back gloves do not prevent tooth decay.
For the gadgets: All those wireless devices you insist on carrying around may be handy, but don't you wish they were easier to keep track of? The ScotteVest Version Three.0 jacket with detachable sleeves has more than 40 pockets to hold PDAs, cell phones, pagers, and anything else that can store and send digital data. And a system of “conduits” makes it possible to link everything and create your own personal area network. The days of private digital autonomy are upon us.
PROTECT AND SURVIVE
What they're wearing: If the big guy looks serious, it's because safety is no joke. Bright colors, like the safety orange option in Riggs Workwear's line of pocket t-shirts, call attention to you even if your big head doesn't. And when a t-shirt isn't enough, Skillers' ANSI/ISEA-approved high-visibility vest makes it easy for even the most near-sighted driver to see you.
No matter how hardheaded your boss thinks you are, you still need a hard hat. NorthSafety's Peak series hard hats (right) comply with ANSI Type I requirements, and the plastic shell in Bullard's 911C model (left) is so tough it can withstand 350°F for 5 minutes…even if your brain can't.
Carhartt's denim work dungarees (left) have triple-stitched main seams so you can abuse them all you want, and Riggs Workwear's Utility (center) and Workhorse (right) jeans both have the company's “room to move” fit, which basically translates to “loose and comfy.”
Had a little trouble tying your shoes in the past? We won't tell. Red Wing Shoes' slip-on trail oxford (right) nixes laces but keeps the safety features like a steel toe and slip-resistant sole. Also incorporating a steel toe, DeWalt's 6-inch Foundation boot (center) provides a similar level of safety but is more suited to the shoelace-inclined. And Wolverine's 6-inch DuraShocks slip-resistant work boot (left) has an oil-, water-, and abrasion-resistant polyurethane outsole and features electrical hazard protection.
Don't forget: For elevated work, North Safety's E-Z ON comfort harness goes on easy and stays on firmly to keep you safe even when you fall. Just don't forget the lanyard.
For the hands: As the old proverb goes, every time you hold a screw or nail between your teeth, a dentist gets a toothache. Strong enough to hold even a screwdriver, the Zeta6 magnets stitched into Illinois Glove Co.’s Silver Back gloves let you keep all that little metal hardware nearby and use your teeth for something that really matters…like finishing that last Krispy Kreme before break is over. Warning: Silver Back gloves do not prevent tooth decay.
For the gadgets: All those wireless devices you insist on carrying around may be handy, but don’t you wish they were easier to keep track of? The ScotteVest Version Three.0 jacket with detachable sleeves has more than 40 pockets to hold PDAs, cell phones, pagers, and anything else that can store and send digital data. And a system of “conduits” makes it possible to link everything and create your own personal area network. The days of private digital autonomy are upon us.
NEVER LET 'EM SEE YOU SWEAT
What they're wearing: Super Soakers aren't exactly approved “tools” for the jobsite, so when it gets hot you're going to have to find a better way to stay cool. And unless you feel comfortable asking your co-workers to rub sunblock on your back, going shirtless probably isn't an option. Carhartt's 100% cotton t-shirts are the next best thing, and they're also handy at covering up unsightly back hair…ladies excluded, of course. For below-the-belt comfort, Skillers' cotton/poly blend pants (left) and new 100% cotton/canvas pants (right) are light enough to let your legs breathe but still durable enough to protect them from day-to-day abuse. And for those days when it's so hot you feel like you're working out instead of just working, a few innovative companies have your back…literally. The patented fabric in Silver Eagle Outfitters' classic cooling vest (left) has been shown to reduce body temperature and dehydration in extreme heat conditions, and Bullard's Isotherm vest (right) is equipped with special cooling packs that provide two hours of relief. So much for those afternoon naps in the shade.
On their feet: Hot or not, your feet are going to stink, so you might as well make sure they're comfortable. With their steel toe construction and a removable full-cushion dual-density polymer footbed, Wolverine's DuraShocks slip-resistant work boots (left) are strong enough for a man but made for a woman. And DeWalt's 5-inch Plunge boot (right) incorporates the company's air circulation system for enhanced shock absorption.
Don't forget: Your boss called. He said he's tired of you carrying your tools across the jobsite one at a time. It slows things down. Available in 16-inch and 18-inch sizes, Klein Tools' new line of canvas tool bags will hold everything you've got and cut down on those unnecessary trips to the truck.
THE CHILL IS GONE
What they're wearing: Tired of having to huddle up with Jumbo — that big guy with week-old burrito breath and the steel wool beard — when it gets cold on the jobsite? Now you can tell him to find a new cuddle buddy. No longer satisfied with just making boots, Timberland recently expanded its PRO series clothing line to include these quilt-lined overalls and this long sleeve Tech t-shirt made of moisture-wicking polyester. And when worn together, Riggs Workwear's long sleeve henley, hooded flannel workshirt — flannel's back, baby — and carpenter jeans will help you fend off frostbite…and Jumbo.
Without boots, hard hats, gloves, and safety glasses, the jobsite would be pain's playground, so keep these items in mind. Not only do Bullard's 5100 series hard hats protect your melon from harm, they keep your face safe from the elements by redirecting rain, sleet, and snow away from it. And new this year to Red Wing's Worx line of work boots is the 8-inch 5348 work boot (left) that combines a warm Thinsulate lining, a steel toe, and electrical hazard protection to wrap your dogs in multi-layered protection. Wolverine's latest line of DuraShocks slip-resistant boots (right) has a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane lining so you'll never have to bring an extra pair of socks to the work site again. And Illinois Glove's suede side cowhide gloves have leather finger tips and a 100% cotton flannel back to keep those rough hands of yours from getting any uglier, while North Safety's N-Vision safety glasses deflect assaults on your eyes and reflect the sun's rays.
Don't forget: So your union rep said “no” to adding a 15-minute dance break to the latest labor contract. That doesn't mean you can't get busy every once in a while with Bosch's Power Box AM/FM stereo. It plays your favorite CDs and even has a 4-way GFCI outlet for plugging in your power tools…or a strobe light and mirror ball.