James Whitaker, Marketing Director at Dickies Workwear – a sponsor of this year’s SkillBuild UK National Final – shares his advice on what to look for when shopping for professional workwear …

The quality and choice available in today’s workwear market is impressive. However, with so much to choose from, knowing where to start can prove a daunting task. At Dickies, we’re committed to supporting the next generation of tradespeople as they start their careers.

Here’s my advice on what you need to think about when shopping for clothing and footwear to support you at work:

Choose fit for purpose products

Investing in clothing that’s specifically designed to support you at work offers many practical benefits, while helping to promote a modern, professional look.

For example, a particular item of clothing we’d always advise tradespeople to invest in are trousers designed for workwear purposes, rather than simply wearing jeans. Look for features such as functional pockets for specific items (like a ruler or phone), plus hammer loops. For maximum flexibility, trousers should feature elasticated waist bands and reinforced stitches, while premium products should also include built in knee pads.

Consider all eventualities

It may sound obvious, but when you’re likely to be working outdoors in all kinds of weather, it’s important to stock up on items that will make your job as comfortable as possible – whether it’s extra hot or pouring with rain.

For instance, on days when the temperature rises considerably between early morning and late afternoon, layering is key. Consider options such as a thermal base layer top that’s smart enough to double up as a standalone item as the day gets warmer.

Similarly, investing in a full waterproof rainsuit that can easily and comfortably fit over your usual clothing will ensure you’re covered whatever the weather. Opt for items that are both waterproof and breathable.

Look for cutting edge fabrics

Workwear manufacturers have access to fabrics that are more flexible and durable than ever before, with additional benefits such as UV protection. This offers tradespeople an extra layer of defence from the sun when working outdoors.

Specific examples include Coolcore®, which regulates moisture and Cordura®, which offers extra defence against wear and tear on elbow panels and knees, helping clothing last longer.

Staying safe

If you’re likely to be working outdoors in dark conditions, visibility is key. Our own innovations in this area include the Wakefield. This jacket appears just like a typical soft shell jacket, but becomes reflective in poor lighting conditions, allowing the wearer to be visible without compromising on style.

Think about your image

Wearing clothing that promotes a professional image can help make the right impression on your future employers, colleagues and clients.

There’s no need to compromise when it comes to workwear! Functional, practical designs that make your job as easy and as safe as possible, while offering a professional style, is something you should demand whenever shopping for new clothing and footwear.

Get the latest workwear: www.dickiesworkwear.com

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