Looking Professional, In the Factory

Reader D has a unique question: what to wear in the field?  More specifically, to visit a factory (and ride in her client’s plane!)

I am going on a site visit to a factory near Seattle.  The visit includes riding in a small plane and then visiting a large factory so I will need to be casual, wear flat comfortable shoes, yet still look professional.  Any advice?  Although I am a senior associate I will be the sole representative for my client and want to make sure I come off as professional as possible.

Congratulations on the opportunity — it sounds fun (riding in a private plane is on my Bucket List) and like a good career opportunity. As far as fashion goes, I think my answer depends on one question: can you wear denim around your client? If so, I think a pair of dark (preferably black) jeggings skinny jeans, tucked into flat boots, topped with a button-front and blazer, and accessorized with your normal work jewelry, would probably be my best guess for an outfit. (Update:  There’s a lot of disagreement with me in the comments, which is fine, but just to be clear: when I say “jeggings” — I mean skinny  jeans that have a bit of extra Spandex in them to make them more comfortable, but are still primarily denim.  E.g., these, these, or these. Not these.)  Here’s my thinking:

- Factory = boots. While ballet flats and other flat shoes have many things to recommend them, on the off (off) (off) chance something falls on your foot, you should be as protected as possible. Also, I think if there’s any uncertain footing that requires delicate stepping (e.g., over pipes), you’ll want to be in shoes that you know will not fall off. Oh, another reason: if it’s at all muddy or dusty on the runway (or in the factory), you’ll want the dust to stick to your boots rather than your pants.

- Factory and small plane = pants. See above re: delicate stepping.  I think it’s also possible in the factory you could be walking on grating, or on metal stairways, with people walking or working below, such that you wouldn’t want to wear a skirt.  I could also see there being some awkward stairways to get up to the plane (although it’s entirely possible I’ve just watched Arrested Development too much).

- Factory and small plane = tight-fighting, non-voluminous clothing. You wouldn’t want to get a flowing cardigan or skirt caught on a piece of machinery, or (ack) in some part of the propeller.

- Professional = blazer, dark pants. I would suggest that you carry over the jewelry you normally wear with suits to this more casual outfit — if it’s pearls and diamonds, do it; if it’s a statement necklace that you always wear, do it. Part of this is for a continuous look: the client has seen you wearing the jewelry before, and even though you’re in a different type of outfit now you’re still, at the core, the professional lawyer he knows. Another part of this is to help YOU feel confident and be in your zone for your most professional self. For me, for example, that means putting on my good watch whenever I have a business meeting, no matter what I’m wearing… even if I don’t wear the watch when I’m lazing around the house or hanging out with friends.

So all of these thoughts, above, send me to jeggings, flat boots (get ‘em shined before you go!), a nice top, a blazer, and your work jewelry. There are some non-denim leggings that have enough weight to the fabric that they can be worn as pants (despite the popular Buzzfeed “am I wearing pants” flowchart) — I got a nice ponte pair from Ann Taylor earlier this year. If you really would rather wear proper trousers, I might still advise wearing flat, knee-high boots beneath them — that way if conditions are really horrible you can tuck your pants into your boots.

A few other considerations: plane and runway = wind, so I might suggest pulling your hair back from the get-go. Keep in mind, though, that the factory may require you to wear a hardhat, hairnet, and/or goggles… so I wouldn’t do anything too fancy that will interfere with those requirements.  In other words: low “on purpose” ponytail, not a French twist.

Readers, have you had to visit factories (or, speak up ladies, how many of you have ridden in private planes)? What would you wear?

Comments

  1. Oh, no... :

    Jeggings???? To look professional????

    No. Just…no.

    • Anonsensical :

      I wear them every casual Friday, usually with flat riding boots and a dressy sweater or blazer, and get lots of compliments from the more stylish female attorneys at work.

    • I thought that maybe this was a late April Fool’s joke. Dark skinny jeans made of actual denim, yes . . .knit jeggings, no no no.

    • I have stretch denim “jeggings” from Calvin that are awesome and definitely on the pants size of the equation, though comfortable and stretchy, they play like jeans but are great tucked into boots. I wear them with blazers or sweaters and I love them.

      • I have black ponte knit pants (more like leggings) that I sometimes wear to work. With nice shoes and a blazer on top, people have actually mistaken them for a “dressed up” look (including a director-level colleague, who thought I had had dressed for a client meeting). This, considering I wear pencil skirts and pantyhose almost daily.

        Meanwhile, I felt more like I was wearing yoga pants. Comfortable but good-looking=win.

        • Where did you get these? I’ve been looking for something like that!

          • Express, believe it or not. I got the “skyscraper” ponte knit pants, so they’re extra long and needed hemmed, but I liked that they had extra room around the ankle. They have regular skinny ones, too.

      • No jeggings for plane flight or factory visit. This is where you wear a pants suit or pants and a blazer, with a shirt or something sorta high necked. Dark or neutral, keep jwelry to a minimum. You will be stared at in the factory, so don’t give them a lot to stare at.

        Jeggings are not for work – but they are adorable and I love them. Bought mine at Burlington for $7.00 and they do look great.

    • there are jeggings that are thick denim, basically look like jeans, just a little more stretchy. That are not ‘pajamajeans.’ No where close. I think Kat is right on with this suggestion, but maybe it needed a little more specificity, since apparently people have very different ideas about what ‘jeggings’ means.

    • Agreed. I’ve done the factory visits and rides in private plane. I would recommend trousers, khakis, or even jeans and a button up blouse or knit shell and blazer (it may well be extremely cold on the client’s plane, if it is not a jet).

      • Having trouble posting here. If it is a small private plane, you may well have to do some awkward climbing in and out of the plane. Flat shoes or boots are a must. If you have not traveled in a small plane before, I would recommend the little airsickness prevention bands that you put around your wrist. I don’t consider myself particularly sensitive, but it is very easy for me to get queasy in a hurry if the ride is bumpy in a small plane. In that case, turn on your air vent full strength and aim it at your face. An ice cold regular canned coca-cola also helps, and many private pilots will have them available for you.

    • Even though Kat denies it above, jeggings means leggings with a denim look. What she recommends is stretch skinny jeans, which is not at all the same.

  2. momentsofabsurdity :

    My thoughts :

    On many factory floors, you will need to wear protective gear to tour certain areas, and will have to leave personal items outside. Therefore, slimfitting pants and a slimfitting top are a must, as you may have to pull on a second pair of pants or jumpsuit or a gown over them. Similarly, while I agree with covered fit shoes, you may need to pull bootie covers over them, so make sure they are not too bulky. Wear contacts, if you wear glasses, so you don’t need to deal with safety goggles over your eyewear and any reflection problems that might cause. Make sure you have a hair elastic with you. Put your really really important stuff (like ID for flying, keys, credit cards) in a small card wallet you can stick in your pocket, because there’s a good chance you’ll leave your bag outside.

    In general, as someone who visits factory floors often for work, Kat’s suggestions are spot on. By jeggings, I assume she means heavier weight pants with more stretch in them than regular slim fit pants, that look more like denim than leggings, but feel more like leggings. If you’re uncomfortable with that, slim fitting or skinny trousers should work just as well, but you will not have the same range of motion for climbing in/out of small planes, walking all over the factory, etc.

    • From my SIL who works at Boeing (where I suspect Reader D might be traveling to?), on the goggles point:

      “The only thing she didn’t mention was GOGGLES! The ones they hand out at the door are totally embarrassing, and usually much too large for a women’s face. If you comment on this site often, you might suggest she buy some at home depot that don’t look like they were made for an old grandpa driving a Cadillac. :-)”

      Otherwise, she says Kat nailed it.

      • No one will laugh at you if you wear the embarrassing, ugly safety goggles. But they will laugh at you if you bring your own goggles. Plus you have no guarantee that yours will offer an appropriate standard of protection for the situation.

        Otherwise, wear slacks you can move freely in, and sturdy flat shoes/boots. Don’t worry about steel toed boots or anything unless someone tells you specifically that you need them (I never have). No scarves or dangling jewelry. No jeggings.

  3. A question I would ask of the person from the site is if steel-toed boots are required. A lot of factories require anyone who is on the floor to wear them, and if you don’t have them, they will provide you with spat-like covers for your shoes. In my experience, these spats are made for men’s shoes, and do not fit well over ballet flats or most other women’s shoes. If there will be more than one factory visits in your future, I would recommend purchasing a pair of steel-toed shoes or boots, which are far more comfortable than the spats.

    • This is what I was thinking as well – she should find out if steel toed boots are required. There are actually lots of different styles out there now, and while not necessarily super fashion forward, not necessarily super industrial looking, either.

      And they should count as a reimbursable expense, imo.

    • Go for composite :

      If you do need to get steel-toed shoes, I would actually skip the steel-toe and buy composite-toe. It’s the same strength (at least as far as I know!) but much lighter, which makes a big difference after a day of walking around.

  4. Echoing the above: NO JEGGINGS AT WORK EVER. EVER. EVER. Obviously Anonsensical is doing something right, and I congratulate her. Without a pic, I honestly can’t imagine how she’s pulling it off. But I went into law because I lack imagination, so…

    • Anonsensical :

      They’re dark skinny jeans with a lot of stretch to them. Not sure where y’all draw a line between skinny jeans and jeggings but to my mind, they’re the same thing ~ jeans that are so skinny they’re like leggings. I’ve noticed even Express and BR have been calling their super skinny denim “denim leggings” or “jeggings” these days. Is it purely a matter of the cotton to spandex ratio? How soft or thin the fabric is? The presence of pockets?

  5. I work in construction management, so it may not be completely transferable, but I think you would be fine in a pair of khakis and a collared shirt. Definitely wear boots. That is typically what we and the other professional people wear daily or when making a site visit.

    • Yes, this. Boots over jeggings is NOT professionally appropriate for the field. Ever. Khakis, medium-to-dark denim, cargo pants, or any combo of the previous are ok. You want thick fabric for the pants so that the magical factory dust stays on your pants and does not travel through onto your skin. If steel-toed boots aren’t required, Timberland’s or something similar. A French braid or very low ponytail for goggles/hardhat accommodation. Jackets are good and make sure you bring more business cards than you need to hand them out to whomever appropriate.

      Try to wear something with pockets so that you can stick your wallet, keys and phone in them. Stay away from dangly jewelry – necklaces, earrings, etc. I’d say a watch and not-fashiony rings would be ok (like a wedding or engagement ring). Depending on the type of factory, I’d say do NOT wear contacts bc the particulate matter in the air can get stuck in your eye and teary red eyes are not the most professional look either. And some chemicals can bond to your contacts and be really irritating.

      • lostintranslation :

        This x100. Kat’s response is like me giving lawyers fashion advice from reading John Grisham novels. Do NOT wear jeggings/riding boots. The decisive factor is the actual product. Heavy industry -> Ru’s instructions. I work in automotive/electronics industry which has super clean manufacturing facilities, so I wear dark trousers, a collared shirt, loafers or boat shoes, and minimal makeup. I wear a lot of dresses to work otherwise, but in this case I stick to a much more boring/unisex look and find it to work better.

    • Khakis are awful, though. I don’t mind them on men, in the right context. But for women, there is always a more flattering and stylish option that is still appropriate.

      • J.Crew and Old Navy have some relatively stylish ones that work. They are certainly not the most fashionable pants in the world, but they do stand up well to factory conditions. I’m an environmental consultant, so when I do site visits, I wear a company polo, khaki pants and steel-toed shoes if it is a factory. That is usually as dressy as it gets for most industrial facilities.

        • Yes, my comment was too broad. I understand that khakis are essentially the uniform for certain jobs. When offered a choice, though…

          • I agree, every day when I’m not doing field work, I wear anything-but-khakis. It took me 2+ years to find a pair of khakis that I didn’t mind wearing every day. Apparently there is no market for nice looking women’s khaki pants, so no one makes them!

          • Nice khakis :

            J.Crew Favorite Fit Chinos (Factory) – they have them in a khaki color that I did not purchase because I don’t need khaki color pants, but I own them in grey and black. Very flattering.

          • Express Columnist barely-boot pants are available in khaki. I don’t own them in khaki, but I own them in other colors and they’re one of the most flattering cuts of pants I own. I also own a pair of khaki dress pants from Ann Taylor that I like, but they’re from a few years ago.

        • New York and Company also offers pretty reasonable chinos that are appropriate for the field.

    • eastbaybanker :

      I also visit construction sites occasionally. I wear what I would always wear to work, but a more boring, unfashionable, and sensible version of a typical outfit. I’ve gotten feedback from construction types on white collar visitors who try to dress the part. Basically, they think we look ridiculous when we try to blend in (see jeggings and riding boots!) So I still dress for my professional role. No khakis and polo shirts for me, thank you.

      Basic rules of thumb:
      – No skirts, so I’m not flashing anyone on a ladder or open elevator.
      – No bright colors or large accessories, since I prefer to keep a lower profile in a dirty high testosterone workspace and not come off as too girly.
      – No scarves or anything dangling that could get caught.
      – A purse that leaves both my hands free.
      – Older trouser pants that I could get dusty and wouldn’t be too sad.
      – My go to shoes are an old pair of black leather ballet flats. They’re too old to wear to the office but are still a plain closed toe professional shoe that I don’t care about getting dirty. I’ve visited a fair number of dirty job sites and never felt like I needed work boots.

      • I’d also caution about Kat’s “nice shirt” injunction. A nice shirt here is one that you can lean in to look under something without flashing whatever guys happen to be present. And let’s not even mention maintenance issues. But if you feel an unstoppable urge to wear a silk shirt, at least put a crew-neck t-shirt on underneath.
        And likewise I’d think twice about the usual jewelry – it’s not just avoiding an expensive accident, it’s that any accident could lead to removal of body parts. You don’t really want to make headlines about cracking graft techniques, and even a wedding ring can be downright dangerous. That said, you should not be touching anything, but safety should be a primary consideration.

  6. I 100% agree with the NO jeggings comment. Especially because factory/plant environments are typically more conservative.

    I recently had a business trip that included a lot of time in a server room, which has similar consideration to a plant. I wore comfortable grey trousers (mine were a moderately wide-leg cousin to khaki’s, not wool, but any professional trousers would work), sturdy shoes (mine were Tsubo’s that have a wedge heel because my trouser length needed a heel, but flats are obviously fine – I agree with the sturdy-ness factor, though, for safety purposes), thin sweater or knit top, and an unstructured blazer or cardigan. I chose grey & black for my color palette because I was only there for 2 days & needed everything to interchange easily (and fit in my carry-on).

    Stay away from scarves or anything else that could get caught in machinery, including flowy tunics an big necklaces or earrings. If you have long hair, you might want to put it back or in a half-up style that could accomodate a hard hat. In some environments, you might also have to wear a hair net, anti-static or steel-toed shoes, or other safety gear (should be provided for you), so the idea is to wear separates that are easy to manage.

    Honestly, this is a time when function should take consideration over stylishness, although you can still express your style in a print top, color palette, etc. No scarves or big jewelry!

    • Totally agree. Call me crazy Kat but part of looking professional is dressing appropriately. If you wear a statement necklace, be prepared to take it off at the factory because it can strangle you. Function over form, all the way.

  7. I agree with Kat’s recommendations. I work in a factory-type environment with polished concrete floors, plenty of oil/grease in spots that I might want to talk, and hazardous chemicals. I would recommend skipping your favorite shirt, pants, and shoes, just in case something spills, you step in grease, etc. I wouldn’t worry about being too informal, since most of the warehouse/factory staff work in jeans, t-shirts, and usually wear rubber boots or steel-toe boots, and some kind of apron and glasses. The office staff usually “upgrades” to khakis or trousers and a polo shirt, so that they can go into the shop without being hindered. You might also want to be aware of temperature changes between the factory and office, and consider dressing in layers in case it goes to the extreme.

  8. It depends what kind of factory. A sawmill is one thing, but most modern factories are cleaner than my house. It’s highly unlikely a visitor will be let anywhere near machinery with moving parts.

  9. SpaceMountain :

    Yes on the boots, or lace-up flat shoes. I had a client with some factory-type settings, and it seemed like every visit, I was called out on my shoes and forced to cover them up or change into something else. It was embarrassing, as I was the only woman in the group and they always found something wrong with my shoes. That and my jewelry.

  10. I tried this threadjack yesterday but I think it was too late in the day – anybody have recommendations for blogs focused on Attorney Working Moms? I thought Corporette was going to have something (does anybody remember a discussion about this by Kat in one of the pregnancy/maternity posts?) but I don’t see anything. Just looking for a blog community of mom’s who are attorneys and all it comes with. Thanks!

    • Charlotte :

      I remember that post and was looking forward to it, too…

    • I recall Kat talking about doing a Corporette Moms newsletter of some sort, but I’m not sure what even happened to it. To tell you the truth, though, while I absolutely love what Kat’s done here, I’m not sure that I’d be thrilled with the idea of a Corporette Moms newsletter from her, because she’s never been both a ‘rette and a mom. Don’t get me wrong; I completely respect that she’s decided to stay (sort of) home with her munchkin and that she’s made this site into something that is actually something like a full time job, I’m just not sure how much Corporette Mom advice she can give. I was wondering if that was why the project seems stalled.

      Of course, if she did it as more of an aggregator of others’ contributions – I’m sure that that would be really great.

  11. Anonymous :

    Two-part threadjack:

    1. Is there anything you do when you’re extremely sore from an intense workout the day before?

    2. I’m joining a new gym and plan on negotiating the cost. Any advice/tips from those of you who have done this?

    • another anon :

      For the soreness, drink a lot of water. Take some tylenol or ibuprofen. And try to get up and walk around a bit–it can hurt at first, but I find that the movement makes me feel better.

    • Go for a short job or walk, just to loosen up the muscles/keep the blood flowing. Also, stretch after the walk so your muscles don’t tighten up too much.

    • Eat protein.

    • Tired Squared :

      What did you do in your intense workout?

      For soreness, I usually try to stretch out the muscles I worked the previous day. For example, if I did lots of squats/lunges/leg stuff on Wednesday, then I like to do a quad stretch, a couple of (easy) lunges, and probably a squat or two on Thursday. I don’t know the science behind it, but I feel like it really helps to stretch out the sore areas so you can go on with your day.

    • Anonymous :

      Hot tub or hot shower and movement.

    • My recipe for success :

      (1) It is counterintuitive but get up and get some activity. Long walk, light jog, easy yoga, etc. It will be painful at first but will then feel ooh so good.
      (2) Stretch then stretch some more later.
      (3) Eat healthy (think protein, veggies, fruit like bananas). Feed your body. Feed your muscles.
      (4) Water water water. You want to add as much fluid as possible to help your body flush out that lactic acid and to rehydrate.
      (5) Sleep.

      Yay for you to get movin!

      The negotiation part? No clue. My gym is flat fee, no haggle.

  12. Anonymous :

    Sorry, but the parade of horribles in this post is kind of cracking me up. Poor Reader D has a lecherous client look up her skirt on the plane stairs, gets sucked into a propeller, then finally gets to the factory (which apparently is circa 1920s in terms of cleanliness and work conditions) and has to walk on some sort of open grating plankway (where more lecherous workers look up her skirt), trod through puddles of greasy gross chemicals and climb over piles of pipes and machinery, only to have to avoid getting sucked into the killer machinery they are for some reason allowing her to get up close and personal with!

    • Reminds me of poor Mrs. Palsgraf.

    • This cracked me up! But…I supervised a 6 month document production at an oil refinery and I can tell you that this parade of horribles is NOT that far-fetched! No plane, but definitely circa 1920s cleanliness & working conditions, open grating plankways, puddles of greasy gross chemicals, climbing over pipes & machinery, lecherous workers, tramping through dirty fields — yes, yes, yes to ALL of that! Ugh!!!

      Another time we got an emergency call at 8am to go to the refinery — thankfully I’d worn pants that day to work. My co-worker had on cream very-high heels, barely long enough pink skirt, & brocade-ish pink & gold jacket (absolutely beautiful, just not very refinery-worthy). The refinery workers still call her “Tinkerbell” — affectionately, but she was trying to be taken seriously, not be equated with a Disney fairy. From that day on, I kept an extra pair of pants and real shoes in my car, just in case.

  13. Ugg this got trapped in moderation – anybody read any good bl@gs for working mom’s who are attorneys? A little less fashion focused a little more mommy focused? Thanks for any recommendations!

  14. No jeggings! Most modern factories are very clean environments, i’d eat off their floors before I would my own. I would say business casual, nice trousers and a button down or sweater. That is what I usually wear to work. I only wear jeans on casual Friday, never anything that ends in “eggings.” Flat or low heeled boots, or even oxfords are fine. I usually wear 2-3″ heels and never have an issue. Just make sure your toes are covered.

  15. Instead of jeggings, try these: http://www.secondclothing.com/product.php?id=3

    I wear style 18. I’m wearing them now since I’m working from home. They’re awesome. They have a zipper and pockets so they’re actually jeans. And they make my a$$ look great.

    I can wear jeans to my new job so I’m actually going to buy another pair.

    • Anonsensical :

      Those look awesome! What’s the fit like? I have trouble finding jeans because of my waist-to-hip ratio ~ most stuff gaps horribly, which is precisely why I gravitate to denim leggings over heavier and more structured jeans.

  16. If you’re in a factory where there will be lots of dust or grease, wear dark colors and shoes that you don’t mind messing up. Speaking from experience on that one, unfortunately!

  17. No Jeggings! :

    I definitely say NO to jeggings tucked into boots. I live in the Pacific Northwest and have been on a tour to one of my firm’s client’s factories. The best thing to do is to wear professional clothes that don’t attract too much attention to the fact that you’re an outsider – make it seem like you know the client’s business and are more like “one of them.” The jeggings look is just too trendy for a factory. Just wear comfortable pants and sturdy flats or boots (with no heel). Definitely no heel whatsoever.

    This kind of coincides with another issue that I want insight on. Although there are plenty of women in the law, when a female lawyer is interacting with a male client in a male-dominated industry, should we be making concessions about our appearance and behavior? I used to work in construction management before attending law school and was told multiple times to tone down my femininity on the job-site (e.g., loose fitting shirts and pants, hair pulled back, minimal make-up, no perfume). Yes, the statements were likely discriminatory, but (and this is definitely no excuse) tight skirts and heels were distracting to the workers and caused talk.

    When we are dealing with clients that have certain *opinions* about women in the workplace, is it just in our best interests to make ourselves appear more masculine? Or do we just stick to our guns and wear what we normally wear?

    • Anonymous :

      What about straight-leg jeans? On Fridays, I’ll wear black or a dark rinse straight-leg jean tucked into riding boots. I do wear a blazer but more often than not I’m wearing a tee underneath.

    • I’m an engineer and wear fluttery dresses and heels to the office every day. But when it comes to field work, I make sure that I’m dressed appropriately for that environment – nothing that flutters, make sure everything is covered and proper foot attire. I don’t think that has anything to do with femininity but function. It can be dangerous for you to wear a skirt and heels to a job-site. Workers are REQUIRED BY LAW to wear full-length pants and shirts with sleeves.

      As for opinions about women in the workplace, those can be ignored, says the chick who shoes up to the field in a bright red hijab. I’m a professional, my gender is not what’s important here. My ability and skill are what matter, and appropriate attire is part of that.

    • I think some of it depends on your own level of comfort and the difference between “feminine” and “hot”. I work in a male-dominated industry, and during my interview, I was asked specifically about how I would feel about this type of environment. I feel like my colleagues treat me with respect, and I don’t feel ogled at all in my office, but when I attend industry tradeshows, there’s definitely an air that women are eye candy, not professionals. I think you can be feminine, but not “hot”. I wear knee-length skirts and conservative heels, but I usually do the husband test: if I put it on and husband reacts with anything other than a boring, “See you after work”, I assume it’s too eye-catching for the office. If it’s an attitude that woman should be home baking cookies, heck no you shouldn’t have to put up with that. But, if it’s that the general mentality will be too mentally undress you, I would choose to dress more conservatively. In my case, I feel comfortable in skirts and well-fitting but not tight dresses/blouses, but for others, that may mean pants and loose-fitting tops.

  18. I’m a construction lawyer and site visits are not uncommon. Jeans (not jeggings!), flat boots, a blazer only if site and temperature appropriate (I’ve attended inspections in 113 degree heat and 30 degree cold). All of the other lawyers, clients, and experts are generally dressed similarly.

    Dressing like a lawyer will make you look like a fool–I learned this one personally at my first site inspection. And at the last inspection I attended, one of the male lawyers was suited up and the others were teasing him.

  19. Funny story….I once showed up to the construction site for CityCenter in Las Vegas in a skirt suit and heels. We didnt know we were going on a tour of the site after our meeting with management. They ended up finding me a pair of women’s work boots that I had to wear with my suit, which tore up my nylons. We all laugh about it now, but at the time it was uncomfortable!

  20. I think it depends on the kind of factory. I have to do site visits to both plants and construction sites. I bought steel toed shoes for work–there really aren’t any great looking professional women’s options that I have found. I settled on some Keen shoes that look more like hiking shoes that the usual Franken-boot out there. There are also a few varieties that look like sneakers. I usually wear mine with dark jeans and and some variety of knit top (unlikely to get caught in machinery). If I wear jewelry, I keep it close to the body (i.e. stud earrings instead of hoops). Depending on the weather, I might wear a sweater, jacket or blazer over the knit top. For my job, hard hats, safety glasses and ear plugs are also typically required. Because of that, I usually pull my hair back in a low ponytail.

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