James Whitaker, Marketing Director at Dickies Workwear, explores why the right workwear can make a big difference to your professional image.

Practicality and durability will always be among the top priorities when choosing workwear but, in recent years, we’ve seen a rise in demand for clothing and footwear that also helps tradespeople to cultivate a professional style. Plumbers are recognising that looking smart not only creates a good impression for their clients, but also helps to foster an even greater sense of pride in their trade.

There’s no doubt that first impressions count for a lot and, no matter how hard you work and how skillful you are at your job, a potential customer will start to form an opinion of your professionalism from the moment they meet you. Looking smart can go a long way towards instilling confidence in what you do, before you’ve even had a chance to show how good you are at your trade.

Yet, while making the right impression on others is a key motivator when thinking about what kind of image you want to create while at work, creating a professional look can make a big difference to how you feel too. Looking smart can boost your confidence and help you feel focused on doing a great job.

A good example of this has been the feedback we’ve had from our sponsorship of SkillPLUMB, which we support alongside the SkillBuild, SkillELECTRIC, and APL Landscaping competitions by providing clothing and footwear to competitors at both regional heat and national final stages. 

The trainee tradespeople who have taken part in these competitions have spoken enthusiastically about the practical support their workwear has given them, but it’s clear that looking professional while competing has also had a positive effect. Competition organisers have told us that wearing a smart ‘uniform’ of clothing – as opposed to the less prescriptive approach taken in previous years – has had a noticeably positive impact on the conduct of those taking part, both in and out of the competition arena.

We sponsor these competitions as part of our ongoing efforts to support and champion the next generation of tradespeople and helping them to look professional plays a big part in fostering pride in what they do. If we’re going to challenge traditional perceptions that a job in the trades is a somehow inferior career choice, promoting that sense of professionalism is a big part of that.

For teams of tradespeople working together, wearing the same uniform can help them to feel part of their team – even if it’s simply choosing the same colours and styles of clothing.

Most workwear brands provide ranges that include items that can be easily coordinated – from trousers to jackets, shirts, caps and accessories, such as belts or hats. These items are usually easy to brand with a company logo, instantly creating a uniform appearance that makes it clear to a client that you’re all working together as one professional team.

Choosing workwear that keeps you looking smart isn’t difficult given the broad range of clothing and footwear available to tradespeople today. There are ranges specifically designed for those keen to focus on creating a professional image, which offer options that look smart, but offer all the practical features plumbers need to do their job well.
If you don’t wear a set uniform as such, a simple way to look more professional is to choose items that are coordinated both in style and colour. It may sound obvious, but resist any temptation to reach for items of everyday clothing to supplement your working wardrobe – not only are those comfy jeans unable to offer the practicality and durability you need at work, but they will never look as smart as a good pair of workwear trousers.

Polo shirts will often look smarter than a t-shirt but, if it’s part of a coordinated range, a t-shirt can work just as well. If you’re working outdoors, good workwear ranges will include jackets and coats that keep you warm and dry throughout the year, while also coordinating with the rest of your working outfit.

Today’s plumbers care about what their clients think and want outfits that can see them from job, to meeting a potential client, to the pub – or that don’t look out of place when walking down the high street. And, thanks to the broad selection of workwear available today, you can find something that helps to cultivate the right image, without compromising on the practicality and durability needed to support you as a plumber.