What’s Stylish and Functional for a Manual Laborer?

I work in the electrical industry, so I’m on my feet and doing some manual labor (not tons of heavy lifting anymore, I’m too important for that now!) during my day job. What should I be wearing to look good but still be able to get in and out of wall panels when I need to?

2 Replies to “What’s Stylish and Functional for a Manual Laborer?”

  1. In general guys who want to look good on a job site can go for a slightly nicer upgrade on what the usual work crew is wearing:

    – Replace work jeans with either khakis or a slightly nicer pair of dark, more closely-fitted jeans. If you get them dirty or torn they’re still cheap enough that it’s not a big deal like it would be in wool slacks, but they look nicer and make it clear that you’re in charge (or make you look like you should be in charge if you’re not!)

    – Wear a collared work shirt in white, blue, or a light pattern on white. A polo shirt is a good warm weather alternative, if bare forearms aren’t a safety concern.

    – Neckties depend on the job site. Err on the side of caution and don’t wear one unless you’re absolutely sure there’s nothing they could get caught in. Use a tie bar or tie clip to keep it attached to the shirt down low as well as up at the neck, if you do wear one.

    – Replace work boots with a pair of tough leather dress shoes. You can get some rubber-soled ones from camping, outdoors-wear, and work-wear companies that are built pretty solid but follow more of a business dress style. Dust them off regularly and polish out scratches to keep them looking sharp.

    – Keep a casual sports jacket in your office/trailer/car and throw it on whenever you’re not doing hard work or near moving machinery. It’s an instant upgrade to a higher level of formality whenever you need it, whether it’s to impress a visitor or have a serious talk with an employee.

  2. Some of these tips are for work and some are for after-work social wear, but we did do a video on style for working men over at the Real Men Real Style YouTube channel:

    Hope it’s helpful!

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