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Women's Workwear and How to Get the Best Fit for Your Body Type

Women make up over 10% of the construction industry and just over 1% of frontline construction positions in the US. Unfortunately, this means that there is not much focus on women's workwear.

In almost every fashion retail store, there's a clear distinction between menswear and womenswear. However, there isn't always the same attention to male and female work-specific clothing — particularly garments designed for manual work.

Many women already struggle to find a good fit in everyday clothing despite the vast choice available, so we're not pretending there's a magic solution to the perfect female PPE and workwear. However, one thing is for sure — providing women with men's garments in smaller sizes just doesn't cut it.

Comfort & Safety

Workwear needs to be strong and durable. Many construction positions involve hard physical work, so workwear must be robust, functional, and made to a high standard.

Workwear generally also serves a protective and safety function. Where workwear, suitably sized for women is not readily available, ill-fitting workwear can pose a health and safety risk.

For example, a woman's face is typically smaller than a man's. As a result, safety eyewear and respirators may leave vulnerable gaps if there is not a close fit. The same applies to female hands. Loose gloves can lead to poor grip, which can compromise safety.

Further, workwear and PPE that causes discomfort because it is ill-fitting can discourage the wearer from using it, leading to a high risk that female workers, in particular, may be inadequately protected.

In circumstances where available options for workwear designed with women in mind is limited and where workwear has a very functional purpose requiring it to be strong and durable, it can be challenging to find a fit that is also comfortable and easy to wear. It is crucial to seek out the best fit in women's workwear, given the role workwear plays in ensuring workers' health and safety.

So, where workwear options are limited for women, correctly measuring for a suitable and comfortable fit is essential.

Measure Up

How to measure workwear for women.

While taking women's body measurements for workwear, it's essential to keep the measuring tape level and snug but not too much. Also, wear nothing more than undergarments or light clothes when measuring.

Here's a guide on taking all the essential body measurements for women's workwear:

· bust size,

· arm length,

· natural waist circumference,

· lower waist circumference,

· hips, and

· inseam.

How to correctly measure your bust size

Measure the most protruding part of your bust, ensuring the tape measure is level and loose enough. Also, make sure you're not breathing in and holding your breath while taking this measurement.

It's wise to keep one finger between the tape and the body and round to the nearest whole number. Size up if you fall between sizes.

How to measure the arm length

To take your full sleeve-length measurement accurately, start from the center back of your neck along your arm to the wrist. Get help with this as it is virtually impossible to do this on your own.

Measure your waist

You'll find your natural waistline by bending to the side. The crease that forms, located above your belly button and below your rib cage, is your natural waist. That's the narrowest part of your torso.

The tape measure, which also needs to be leveled and not too tight, is then used to circle your waist.

If you're taking this measurement for overalls, make sure you've added one or two fingers between your body and the tape at the belly button line to ensure enough comfort and ease of movement while working.

How To measure your lower waist

Wrap the tape measure around your lower waist, which is around 4cm below your natural waistline, keeping the tape straight and parallel to the floor. Measure in your undergarments without wearing other trousers.

How to measure women's hips correctly

When measuring your hips, make sure to find wherever your widest point is. Some women are wider front on because their hips come out to the side, whereas others' bottoms stick out.

When you find the most protruding part, remember to keep the tape measure level round while wrapping it comfortably around your hips.

How to measure women's inseam?

First of all, to correctly take this measurement, you need to be standing with both feet on the flat floor while keeping your legs straight and slightly apart. More importantly, you'll need someone's help because it's nearly impossible to measure your inseam yourself.

Hold one end of the tape at your crotch point while your assistant is straightening the measuring tape down your leg to your shoe heel top if you're wearing shoes, or to your foot sole if you're standing barefoot. Measure from your crotch to your desired length of pants.

It's essential to take this measurement correctly so that the kneepads embedded in your workwear sit in the right position.

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