What springs to mind when you think of protective work clothing? Garish colours and unattractive, uncomfortable fabrics that make you stand out from the crowd… in a bad way?
In the past, functional work clothing was the kind of thing you’d quickly change out of once you’d finished your shift - you didn’t want your friends and family to see what you were wearing! For years, style and function were seen as two entirely separate entities; you picked one or the other. As such, work gear - whether you were working on a construction site or in a warehouse, was created for purely practical reasons, with little or no consideration of how it looked.
However, times have changed, with a growing demand to combine the two aspects. Innovative workwear brand Scruffs look to the future of protective clothing, and show why you no longer have to forego style for the sake of function.
Performance fabrics are materials that provide added benefits such as waterproofing, temperature control and abrasion resistance.
Whilst the existence of performance fabrics have been around for years, they are continually improving, and this extends to how they look.
Instead of unsavoury colours, you can now invest in workwear featuring subtle tones, such as black and grey. This enables you to add items into your everyday wardrobe that look stylish, whilst still being protected from the elements at work.
One example of the evolution of performance fabrics, is the creation of workwear-specific jeans. Denim is naturally strong and durable, and this has been built upon to make them flexible and comfortable.
You can even buy workwear jeans that have subtle extras like kneepad inserts and holster pockets to provide ultimate protection at work. Yet, no one would be able to tell them apart from regular jeans, so it means that if you’re heading out for a drink after work, you won’t have to change out of your workgear!
It’s not just performance fabrics that have had a makeover. The protective elements that make workwear safe can now subtly be added into items of clothing, so no one would ever need know they’re there.
Workwear-specific shoes are created to protect the wearer’s feet should any heavy items or corrosive substances drop on them. Steel toe caps are a common way to make boots more durable as they protect feet from impact and compression. With evolving technology and the desire for stylish clothing, steel toe caps remain well hidden inside the layers of material, making the boots look like the normal fashion footwear that you would find on the high street.
Brands are waking up to the fact that people at work want stylish clothing. In the face of increasing demand for style and function, brands are ensuring that these wishes are being met.
Without this demand, safety trainers wouldn’t exist. Featuring reinforced toes and penetration-resistant outsoles, you can keep your feet protected whilst wearing trainers that are inspired by popular high street styles.
Now, you can wear safety specs at work that resemble sunglasses, as opposed to the goggles you wore for GCSE Chemistry! This is in addition to the several styles of hats - from beanies to bobbles and baseball caps - that are lined with microfleece to ensure maximum warmth whilst working onsite.
Whilst in the past there was a clear divide between function and fashion, with workers having to pick one over the other, this conflict has now disappeared. Evolving technologies and a demand for stylish clothing means you can have a workwear wardrobe that will make you look and feel good, whilst providing you with all the protection you need.