The workwear market now offers a lot more choices than the standard cotton. Fabrics consider a range of factors, including budget, comfort, fashion, safety and ease of movement on top of durability alone. So how do you decipher the basic elements of a solid workwear choice?
Polyester is now a common choice in workwear as it’s more durable than cotton, but is generally ranked lower in comfort. You may remember the controversy surrounding Sydney Trains (Daily Telegraph 18/4/2015), where garments with a high polyester content were introduced. As a result of the overwhelming negative employee feedback, the company has since had to make appropriate amendments to their uniform. Polyester and synthetics have a tendency to hold in stains, which can
be less than ideal in environments that cause staff to get messy or be prone to spills, dirt and grime.
What polyester is great at, is drawing moisture away from the body. But then you must consider the bacteria and odour that becomes trapped in the fabric as a result. Blends can combine benefits from different fabric types. It’s about finding the right balance for your needs. You may notice spandex cropping up as part of workwear blends. Spandex adds stretch to a fabric and this makes movement more comfortable. In Australia and New Zealand, the sun can be harsh. Some brands offer tight weaves that can actually block out UV radiation from reaching the skin, to provide sun protection. The great thing about this type of clothing is that you don’t have to constantly reapply sunscreen throughout the day to be protected. If you’re shopping for sun-protective workwear, look for garments marked with a UPF 50+ rating and remember that the uncovered parts of skin will still need some sunscreen.
In addition to fabric choices, you’ll also need to consider the ‘make’ of the garment. EHS Today say that brands are now directing extra focus to areas prone to wear. Think added reinforcement and gusseting in knees, elbows and pockets. Other components of the manufacture to look out for include felled seams that overlap and are triple-stitched to give the maximum levels of strength and durability. Bar tacks and rivets like you ordinarily see on jeans and denim are also popular features of workwear
that needs to be built tough. Bar tacks are those bold reinforced areas of stitching you see on the pockets and other stress points of jeans and denim, while rivets are usually found at the top of jean pockets. And of course, no one likes a broken zip or a popped button. Look for heavy-duty fastenings that can withstand a bit of wear and tear, and also the regular laundering they’ll be subjected to. You might not be on the runway but you still want to avoid a wardrobe malfunction!
Your final choice should boil down to your environment and what tasks will be performed there, while also considering specialist needs, like the workers who deal with high voltage electricity, chemicals, flames, or situations where they need to be highly-visible. In these cases, there will be additional safety standards to observe.
Have a chat with Jon Monsir Uniforms for the best option of your business.
(Adapted from Staples: 4/7/2015)