Patriarcal workplace cultures have demanded women dress and look a certain way while on the job for centuries. From traditional secretarial positions to factory jobs, the expected dress code has been the same. Uniforms have always been manufactured from more heavyweight, thicker materials such as wax canvas and cotton, making it harder to perform optimally. Women’s workwear has lacked functionality and practicality – being that it’s traditionally just a shrunken, yet prettier, version of men’s workwear.
Nowadays, however, young women are beginning to recognize their potential earlier. Women are breaking free from the “norm” and paving their own paths, right into traditionally male dominated industries. The steep increase in women working in predominantly male industries shows an increase in our belief that women can do anything.
Women are becoming construction workers, artists, first responders, tradespeople, landscapers, forestry and marine specialists, truck drivers, biologists, hikers, wilderness guides, farmers and so much more. Women are no longer feeling like the weakest links, so it’s relieving to see women’s workwear finally aligning with that strength, too.
A horticulturist by the name of Taylor Johnston founded a small women’s workwear company. After seeing a picture of herself working in the garden at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum sporting run down workwear, she was inspired to create workwear garments for women which were comfortable and functional. A uniform is meant to be worn every day and should make you feel good and able to work at your best.
Johnston explains, “Every day when I get up to go to work, I feel so confident and good and I don’t spend any time thinking about what I’m going to put on my body. I have one pair of pants and a shirt and I love them and they’re great. All my bandwidth goes to other problems, bigger problems, better problems.” Her years of experience in the dirt have proven that comfort, function, and durability are key for women’s workwear.
Women all over the world are changing the popular narrative and proving that women are strong enough, for anything. When it comes to the workplace, be it a construction site or arctic mountain top, women are showing how capable we really are. As we break free from the patriarcal workplace standards, we need the workwear that caters to OUR needs. Finally, women have uniforms and clothing that allow them to perform at their best by allowing them to feel confident, look great and be comfortable while we pave the way.