Two years ago, Jesse and I showed up to our newly-purchased 5-acre property with nothing but our city clothing and a big dream. We had this dream of developing this property into a self-sufficient homestead and building a beautiful home from scratch with our own bare hands. Our dream was fully laid out and the only thing between us and achieving that dream was a lot of hard work. A LOT of it.
While Jesse and I have always been hard workers, dirty work was always to be done in clothing we didn’t care much about… you know, clothing that we didn’t care if it ended up covered in paint, stains, or full of holes.
While this strategy works well when you have a DIY weekend project here and there, like painting your bedroom, it certainly doesn’t hold up well when your entire life is work. This strategy doesn’t work well when you work HARD, outside, sometimes up to 16 hours a day. This strategy doesn’t work well when you find yourself not wearing your “nice” clothes anymore because your life never NOT revolves around work.
After spending over a full year in our city clothing, we decided to look above and beyond the depths of our closets, as well as Goodwill, and invest some time in finding quality, durable workwear.
On this page, we want to share with you what the best workwear for us has been (men and women) and why, but we encourage you to not take our word for it, go out there and try on some clothing from whatever brands you wish!
Best Construction Work Clothing for Women
Finding any type of workwear for women is challenging, to say the least.
If you’re like me, you’ll discover that there are very few stores that carry construction work clothing whatsoever, and if they do, 98% of the selection is for men. Fair enough. But this is a problem when you’re not only trying to find work clothing but when you’re trying to find items that actually fit well and are comfortable.
My workwear journey started when someone suggested I buy a Carhartt jacket to stay warm. I took their advice, I bought this jacket (in hot pink!) and I’ve been sold on such workwear for life. I’ve since tried out many styles of Carhartt pants and other clothing and have added numerous items to my wardrobe.
We’ve since been introduced to Duluth Trading Company and exploring their product line has been a wonderful experience. Similar to Carhartt, they focus on durability, but also versatility and for me personally, I like that their product line is a little more feminine.
Lately, I find myself wearing much more from Duluth Trading Company since I’m loving the more casual look, yet still built for work!
While the items below are favorites or must-haves to my wardrobe at the moment, I encourage you to do your own research and go with a brand that seems it will suit your needs. Try multiple brands, styles, and sizes… if you’re serious about finding quality workwear, it will be an excellent investment of time.
Work Jackets for Women
DuluthFlex Fire Hose Insulated Jacket
As a new product for Duluth Trading Company, this is on my wish list of the season. As someone that abuses my clothing, the Fire Hose fabric is something I really enjoy, as anything lesser just isn’t up to the task of my daily life. This comes in three neutral colors (black, olive and bourbon) and I can’t decide which color I want. I like that this is as stylish as it is functional.
Frost Lake Lightweight Fleece Pullover
This is hands-down my favorite fleece right now. It’s not too bulky, not too light, just perfect, and I love that it has a flattering neck line. Going to order another since this is all I wear in winter, and my Goodwill fleeces have kicked the bucket.
Work Pants for Women
DuluthFlex Fire Hose Slim Leg Cargo Pants
I haven’t had a lot of time in these pants yet as I ordered black and they’ve been too hot to wear, but they are very promising. Not only are they made out of the Fire Hose fabric, but they’re trendy, have somewhat of a stretch to them, and they stay up without a belt. Huge since I hate bulging belts under my clothing. Available in three colors.
DuluthFlex Fire Hose Slim Leg Work Pants
These fit similar to the pants above except instead of cargo pockets, they have slots to put knee pads. While I love pockets and loops for things like screws or tape measures, I can see the value of having the option to protect my knees. Duluth Trading Company sells these knee pads to put in these pants in particular.
DuluthFlex Daily Slim Leg Jeans
These are the only jeans I’ve been wearing lately. They’re quite comfortable, durable, flattering, and stay up without a belt. However, as far as working goes, I’ve been liking the Fire Hose fabric and have been reserving these as my “night on the town” pants, except if work catches me off guard, I’m ready to go.
DuluthFlex Fire Hose Bonded Fleece Pants
Fleece lined pants are kinda my thing in winter (Jesse thinks they sound WAY too hot) and for that reason, I will be ordering these in the very near future. Yes, unfortunately, I desire different pants for every season. Life’s too short to be anything but as comfortable as possible.
DuluthFlex Dry on the Fly Slim Leg Pants
I wore these on a daily basis all summer long. These were extremely lightweight, quick to dry, comfortable, and somehow tolerated crawling around on my knees in dirt and rock for months on end. I loved these so much that I ordered two more pairs, but these may be a little chilly in the cooler months.
Work Shirts for Women
Armachillo Cooling V-Neck T-Shirt
Designed to be a comfortable summer shirt, this has become a staple in my wardrobe. I love this because it’s loose, comfortable, durable and in my opinion, highly flattering on any body type. It’s gusseted in the back which is a very feminine touch. I like this in gray, but there are other colors to pick from as well.
No Yank Short Sleeve V-Neck T-Shirt
I ordered one of these to try out and I do have to say that it’s quite long. Something that I didn’t realize until I ordered it was that it’s meant to fit next-to-skin so it’s not supposed to be a loose shirt. I’m a fan of loose but YOU might not be! This could be a great layering shirt.
Lightweight Longtail T Long Sleeve Shirt
This is on my winter wishlist. I’ve tried out a shirt in the longtail series except it was on the heavier side weight-wise, and it also had a higher neck, so if I did my research correctly, this should be the best of all worlds.
Armachillo Long Sleeve Plaid Shirt
Jesse and I wore these all summer long when we were trying to beat the heat… we each ordered four of them. These are as lightweight as it gets when temperatures are extreme, yet still provides protection from the sun on your arms. We beat the snot out of these shirts and while they’re permanently stained and dirty, they are’t ripped!
Best Construction Work Clothing for Men
Jesse is just as picky with workwear as I am, but for different reasons. He isn’t as concerned with clothing being somewhat stylish and flattering as I am, yet he has a bad history with clothing and trying to find items to fit.
Jesse isn’t a frail city boy that has good luck shopping at Abercrombie & Fitch, he’s a worker with a lot of muscle and it’s best when clothing really just stays out of his way.
Jesse’s major gripe with clothing is that it falls down without a belt (often resulting in plumbers crack), it isn’t easy to move in, shirts are too short, it’s hard to find things that fit overall, and clothing rarely lasts longer than a couple of months when being worked hard.
That said, after much trial and error, he’s found many items that he not only can tolerate but actually looks forward to wearing when doing construction on the house.
Mens Construction Work Pants
Fire Hose DuluthFlex Carpenter Pants
Jesse’s been wearing these all summer and says he loves them. He specifically likes the flex in the pants as it’s easier to take large steps and reduces the risk of tripping.
DuluthFlex Fire Hose Cargo Shorts 12″ Inseam
Jesse has been wearing these all summer as well and loves them. His other shorts (not designed for a rough lifestyle) all have holes in them after minimal wear. He wore a hole in these too, but not after giving them hell and ordering more. Again, he says he loves the flex in these shorts, and these are a good substitute for pants in hot weather.
Mens Construction Work Shirts
Armachillo Long Sleeve Cooling Shirt
Some know this as “the orange shirt” that Jesse wears in 90% of our videos, but on a serious note, this has been an absolute life saver as we were working in 100+ degree heat on our property for about 10 weeks straight. This shirt saved the day, and it’s still in-tact!
Longtail T Short Sleeve Shirt With Pocket
Jesse has short legs and a long torso which means most clothing doesn’t fit him. Longtail shirts to the rescue – these are longer than normal and provide added coverage. These shirts are a heavy material which means they don’t wear out quickly. I can tell the difference between these shirts and his cheap shirts when folding his laundry.
7-Year Performance Midweight Crew Socks
Before these socks, Jesse was the value pack guy. That was until he actually tried a quality sock. I’m not sure exactly what he loves about these other than I imagine they aren’t yet covered in holes and are highly comfortable.
Free Range Cotton Boxer Briefs
Another favorite in Jesse’s wardrobe. He likes these so much that we ordered more. I like them too… very nice fabric compared to his other cotton boxer briefs.
What makes for quality workwear & construction work clothing?
If you’ve stumbled upon this page, chances are we have the same belief – life’s too short for bad clothes.
When it comes to workwear, what should you be looking for? Does it cost? Comfort? All the above? Check it out below!
Workwear should be comfortable
Work is already often hard enough as it is, so it doesn’t need to be uncomfortable. Clothing should help you achieve what you need to achieve, not hinder you from doing so.
Pants shouldn’t be so big that they’re falling off of you, or so tight that you can’t bend and get into those crouched positions.
You shouldn’t be fighting plumber’s crack all of the time.
Workwear shouldn’t result in your body temperature getting too warm or even too cold – your clothing should keep you at an appropriate temperature for work.
The right workwear should be comfortable enough that you’re not rushing to take it off the second you walk in the door. This has been my personal problem with work clothing – I only wanted to wear them when I was working but not a second longer.
We live a life that IS work, and more often then now, we think we’re going to take a day “off” only to have something come up where we need durable clothing, so for us, we want workwear so comfortable (and good-looking) that we’re willing to wear it to a coffee shop or a casual dinner out!
Workwear should be durable
This one goes without saying, but unless your work consists of vacuuming your one-story house, your workwear should be built to last and take whatever you throw at it.
So much clothing today is cheaply-made and won’t tolerate much bending or squatting, nor can most clothing stand up to the test of time.
Quality workwear should be able to withstand crawling around in the dirt on your hands and knees, taking large steps, squatting without ripping, tolerating getting nicked with a saw, gathering firewood for hours on end and more.
The problem with durability is that IF you find something durable, chances are, it’s not comfortable or stylish in the least. A big problem for us females that want to feel happy in our clothing.
Workwear should be flexible and allow for mobility
Have you ever worn pants or a jacket that is restricting? And even worse, clothing that rips when you try to move?
Yea, us too. Quality workwear should complement your work, not detract from it.
Workwear should be easy to try on for size
If you’re new to the work scene as we are, it’s not obvious which brands to go with, which sizes in those brands and even which styles. Even though it can be an investment in time, it’s been worth it for us to try on a variety of clothing, even with the same brand!
This can involve going to a physical store location even if it’s a couple hours away, or accepting that you’ll do a lot of buying and returning online to find items you like.
Other Brands of Construction Clothing & Workwear
If you’re completely new to quality workwear, there are a handful of other brands you may want to check out. Just click the button below to access the list!
Carhartt – This is another brand we wear often. I’d say their clothing is less versatile for women as their focus is function over fashion, but a great selection of clothing to browse for both men and women.
Red Ants Pants – I’ve yet to try these pants, but people claim that they love them. They are on the spendy side (I think $150+ for a pair of pants) but if you wear them daily and they do the job, that’s a great deal.
Sierra Trading Post – This isn’t workwear specifically, more like activewear, but you can find some great deals on brand-name clothing such as Carhartt. This is where I bought my first work jacket for 50% off.
Wrangler – I always thought of Wrangler as the brand of my jeans when I was a cowgirl (yes, I rode horses for 10 years) but they carry a line of workwear as well. Their selection doesn’t speak to me, especially as a woman, but give it a look to see if you can find anything you like.
Filson – Work pants for men.
Timberland – I believe they have a decent selection of work boots but haven’t personally dug through them.
Justin Boots – Great selection of work boots (Western).
Ariat – Great selection of work boots (Western).
Twisted X – Comfortable work boots for both men and women (Western).
Have other brands you enjoy that aren’t on this list? Please, do enlighten me. Always looking for the best work clothing, and I know there are many brands I’m missing and need to check out.