Fashion & Style

What to wear to work

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Women and men alike prefer work gear that offers safety and style
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What gear to wear to work often depends upon safety concerns

Sugar and spice and everything nice. In the old days, that’s what girls were made of while boys were known more for snails and puppy dog tails. 

Today, things are different. You might see a woman investigating a crime scene or driving a bulldozer at a construction site. A man might be the nurse that attends an expectant mother in the delivery room at the hospital. 

Roles have changed through the years. Chances are good that both the man and the woman are wearing slip-resistant footwear or other job-specific pieces of apparel.

Basic gear emphasizes safety

Today’s selection of work gear also includes modern innovations such as footwear designed for use in environments where metal—a conductor of electricity—is not desirable. There are water-resistant styles with non-metallic safety toes and puncture-resistant foot beds. Non-metallic footwear meets rigorous safety standards and has a big side benefit: the gear can be worn when passing through a metal detector.

What to wear to work is no longer a conundrum for anyone. No more will an otherwise metal-free worker face an embarrassing shoe-shucking at the airport or be denied entry to a job site where metal detectors are used for increased security. What to wear to work has become for him—or her— a much easier quest.

Men and women have many choices

Today, people work hard for their money at an astounding array of jobs that are no longer gender specific. Each job has its dress code, company culture and job-quality expectations. Jobs often call for specialized gear that looks good but ensures both safety and comfort. Indoor work and outdoor work have different mandates for apparel.

Footwear in wide widths and a variety of colors abounds. Ladies concerned with what to wear to work need not fear their choices will be clunky or unattractive. Most of today’s styles—slip-ons, laced-up low riders, buckled ankle-highs and more—look great and feel great. And men’s choices are wide-ranging.

Will traditional styles go away?

Today, when it comes to what to wear to work, the choice of footwear and clothing for both men and women is far ranging and versatile. Slip resistance remains a major factor in what to wear to work, especially for people who use ladders or scaffolding. Clothing with snaps or Velcro closures—in place of laces—reduces the risk of snagging. Steel-toed shoes and steel-toed boots add protection.

Many footwear selections offer extra safety features such as padding that reduces lateral heel movement. There are more sizes and widths available than ever before. Indoor styles—loafers, sneaks, sporty styles and dressy classics—remain popular, too.

Caution prevails in all jobs

There are some universal, common-sense cautions that now influence what to wear to work. Accident prevention is a constant goal. Awards and other incentives go to safety-minded workers in many industries. Successful safety campaigns are backed with bumper stickers, buttons, posters and other eye-catching printed campaign products. The giveaways increase awareness of accident prevention. Other tips relate to what to wear to work—or what to watch for at work.

• Tuck in shoe laces to avoid an accidental snag
• Refrain from wearing chains and dangling jewelry
• Remove watches and rings when repairing machinery
• Outdoors use hats with neck flaps for sun protection
• Inspect and restock First Aid kits on a regular basis
• Keep a list of emergency phone numbers at hand
• Use safety glasses with approved protection ratings
• Do not wear a red shirt when buying a healthy bull

What to wear to work

When it comes to what to wear to work, even if you freelance or work from home, the answer is: whatever is appropriate, safe and comfortable for the job at hand. There are fabrics, footwear, accessories and apparel for every job. 

Combine a job-specific wardrobe with a generous helping of motivation and a heaping portion of enthusiasm and know you are dressed for success—until the day comes when spray-on clothing and spray-on footwear answers everyone’s question of what to wear to work.

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