There are plenty of influences that determine what people wear to work. When workwear is defined as heavy-duty clothing designed to protect workers who engage in manual labor, seasonal changes are a pretty big influence. What those workers wear during the winter months can be drastically different compared to their summer clothing.
For the purposes of this post, workwear is defined as that industry-specific clothing worn by construction workers, landscapers, tradesmen, auto mechanics, industrial workers, etc. This post does not address the casual and formal attire worn in offices and retail settings.
With that out of the way, let us talk about how seasonal changes affect the workwear choices of outdoor workers. We will start with winter given that it is the season we currently find ourselves in.
Staying Warm and Dry
Winter is the season of less sunshine and colder temperatures. In more northern environments, temperatures well below freezing are not abnormal. Yet even in southern climates, temperatures can dip well below what workers are used to during the other seasons. All of this is to say that one of the functions of genuine workwear during the winter months is to keep workers warm and dry.
Utah-based Alsco explains that material choices are important here. Some materials are better at wicking away moisture than others. Some materials stand up to cold temperatures and whipping winds while others do not. In more extreme working conditions, employees may require fire resistant uniforms made from special fabric. It is all about choosing the right materials and selecting individual clothing pieces wisely.
Dressing in layers is a big thing in cold temperatures. Layers offer better insulating properties while still allowing the body to breathe. Moreover, layers can be added or removed as necessary.
Protection Against the Sun
The other side of the coin is the summer season when temperatures rise and the sun stays out longer. This is the season when workwear needs to offer adequate protection against direct sunlight. Workers need clothing that protects them against UV rays and sunburn. Again, material choices are key.
Certain fabrics are lighter and airier than others, making them suitable for long-sleeved shirts and long pants that protect against the sun without being uncomfortably hot. Lighter colors also help in this endeavor. The idea is to protect against the sun without causing overheating.
For some workers, summertime workwear also includes high contrast clothing for easier visibility. Think road crews here. Road crew workers tend to wear bright orange and green – either in the form of T-shirts or as vests worn over regular clothing. The high visibility apparel makes workers easier to see as motorists pass by.
In the Spring and Fall
Defining workwear choices for the spring and fall seasons is a bit more difficult due to varying conditions around the country. In some parts of the country for example, spring sees an excess amount of rain that can cause trouble for workers who spend their days outdoors. This is when heavy-duty rain gear becomes a necessity.
Wind chill is a problem during the fall in many parts of the country. Air temperatures may be comparatively warm on any given day, but a stiff wind can still make outdoor workers feel cold. They need jackets that will protect against the wind without causing overheating.
As you can see, seasonal changes affect workwear choices for all kinds of outdoor workers. Whether it is protection against the cold and snow of winter or the hot sun and warm temperatures of summer, workwear has to be designed to offer maximum protection and comfort at the same time. Thank goodness workers have plenty of workwear choices to accommodate their seasonal needs.