Blue-collar jobs tend to receive negative perceptions and stigma from society. Even from high schools, where students are prepared for college without considering if they’d rather take a vocational course instead. This long-running cycle of stigmatizing blue-collar jobs has led many of its workers to feel less empowered and confident.
To make matters worse, blue-collar uniforms are hardly paid attention to by the fashion industry. Sure, looking stylish should be the least of your concerns when you’re welding metals. But it doesn’t mean you can’t feel self-conscious. You’re not a machine, which only exists to fix or create things for people’s consumption. You are a skilled and hard-working person who deserves to feel proud of what you do.
Dressing smart or power dressing isn’t the only way to feel like a boss. Wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), with all your tools and equipment, should also build up your self-confidence and sense of empowerment.
Fashion may not be a big deal in your job, but your sense of style is a significant part of who you are. You may not be able to control what you wear at work, but you can change how you feel in it. Below are some ways to feel good in your blue-collar uniform:
1. Ensure That You’re Comfortable First
It may be impossible to feel comfortable all-day in your workwear, especially during sweltering or freezing weather. But still, aim for the best comfort you can get. Your PPE and your clothes underneath should fit you well, and stay on even when you move a lot.
If you’re in construction, you probably wear a work jacket. Those things tend to feel more comfortable the more worn they get. But if you don’t want your jacket to look battered, choose one made from high-quality material, like a canvas shell and a fleece or quilted lining. It will make you feel warm during cool weather.
To make your hard hat or construction helmet for construction workers more comfortable, ensure that it fits like a baseball cap, but not too tight. It should stay on when you work in a cramped attic or crawl space.
For your boots, a typical pair of working boots will serve you impeccably. A good hack to keep your boots fresh is to fill it with cedar chips. It absorbs moisture and eliminates odor. Stuff the cedar chips in a pair of old socks, then put it in your boots. Change out the chips every month or so.
Being comfortable in your workwear is the first step to feeling great in what you do. Discomfort is a huge distraction at work. If your clothes feel awkward on your body, you’ll hardly concentrate on your tasks because you keep feeling the texture or weight of your clothes. It’s the same with suits and neckties; the more comfortable they feel, the more focused you’d be on your activities.
2. Reflect on the Purpose of Your Clothes
If you dislike your workwear, try to reflect on its purpose. It may help you develop an appreciation for it.
The main purposes of work uniforms are to create a professional image, give customers a bigger sense of trust and confidence, provide safety and security, and aid in marketing. That said, your workwear is not just for identification purposes. You help establish your company’s name by wearing it. In addition, you make your clients more confident and trustworthy, because they associate your workwear with your expertise and professionalism.
Blazers and shiny shoes aren’t the only clothes that display a professional image and command respect. If you carry your blue-collar uniform with pride, you might as well be your company’s boss!
3. Find Your Power Pose
A power pose is a technique office employees and motivational speakers use to assert authority or to attract their audience’s attention. But blue-collar workers can have their power poses too. You can use it when interacting with project managers or clients so that you can inspire confidence in those people.
Even if your boots are muddy and your hands are covered in dust, you can still project a respectable image. Keep your head held high, your shoulders square, and feet flat on the ground. This simple body language instantly makes you look dependable and trustworthy.
4. Speak With Confidence
Your power pose should be combined with an even voice. Speak with clarity, and be mindful of the words you use. If you often utter “filler” words, such as “Does that make sense?”, for example, it could tone down your professionalism. So in addition to practicing your stable tone, avoid saying filler words, and convey your honest thoughts without sounding defeated.
The way you carry yourself is the ultimate key to feeling confident and empowered in your blue-collar uniform. Even if you’re not a big fan of your clothes, you can make them look flattering by exhibiting pride and professionalism. So help end the stigma by wearing your uniform proudly.