Finding the PPErfect Fit: A Collaborative Effort

We’ve all been there, going from store to store, hoping to discover that one pair of pants that really works for your body. Fitting room to fitting room, the frustration builds and builds as you become increasingly sure that you’ll never find that perfect match. But when all hope appears to be lost and you’re ready to call it quits, you try one last store and slip on a pair that fits like it was tailored just for you. What a feeling.

Unfortunately, many women undergoing a similar search for personal protective equipment have yet to discover that feeling. Some employers are still failing to provide a true women’s fit in safety apparel programs, and instead continue to offer, what they call, a unisex fit. A unisex option rarely provides a safe and comfortable option for most women, who are then forced to seek out protective clothing on their own time, and on their own dime.

All that being said, employers have become increasingly cognizant of this issue and have begun to introduce women’s fit clothing into their safety apparel programs. With the help of their clothing suppliers, companies are working to provide garments that are both safe and comfortable for their workers. This effort is being made with close and constant communication between workers, program administrators, and their clothing designers, resulting in the improvements we are starting to see.

A recent project, undertaken with collaboration between Women of PLT and MWG Apparel, was performed with the intention to create an arc-rated pant for powerline technicians that is safe, functional, and comfortable. Working closely with women working in the field, the MWG Apparel design team was able to learn what worked – and what did not – in the early stages of their design.
During the initial trial, multiple wearers, including Journeyman Powerline Technician RaeLynn Hawco, wished for a change in the pocketing, stating that “stuff falls out” of the pockets while at work. While Apprentice Powerline Technician Jaimey Fulford said “the comfort and fit is perfect”, and went on to say “these are by far the most comfortable and logically designed pants I’ve personally worn”.

Hearing first-hand reviews from a number of unique perspectives helps immensely when moving forward with the design and production of new garments, ensuring both the design and the functionality are appropriate for the work being done. The wear trial and the reviews that followed helped MWG Apparel to improve the design and function of their new arc-rated women’s pant, which will be released later this year.

Continuing to work collaboratively alongside clothing manufacturers will help more workers feel comfortable and protected on the job site. As the number of women pursuing careers in trade and technical roles continues to increase, it will become ever more important to make your voice heard and demand gear that provides proper protection and exceptional comfort. Be sure to make the request to your employer or clothing supplier for quality gear that fits, because you deserve to experience that feeling of a perfect fit when it comes to your workwear.

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