Women in the construction industry have often settled for wearing men’s clothing on the jobsite. Now, Carhartt plans to fix the problem with Carhartt for Women, a line of clothing and accessories tested last fall at 150 North American retailers.
More than 25 percent of Carhartt’s existing customers are women, says Jill Makinen, women’s category product manager, “This isn’t about our clothing in feminine colors, it’s about creating tough workwear that actually fits women,” Makinen says. For example, the company’s pants for women feature a contoured waistband that sits lower in the front and higher in the back to eliminate gapping when bending. Their women’s gloves are designed for a woman’s hand width and length. The new line initially includes jeans, dungarees, knit shirts, sweatshirts, outerwear and accessories.
Frank Marcovis, co-owner of G & L Clothing, Des Moines, Iowa, sells the line through both the G & L store and on their website, www.gandlclothing.com. The store held a “Women’s Night Out” to launch the line. “In an hour and a half, we sold more than 100 units of the new line,” Marcovis says.
Makinen says the company tested the clothing by finding women in a variety of fields to “torture-test” the clothes. Kathleen Dobson, regional safety manager for Alberici Constructors and vice president of the Detroit chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction, served as a tester. Dobson says she regularly wore men’s Carhartt clothing before testing the women’s line. “It didn’t matter what I did, I was comfortable,” she says. “I spend 80 to 90 percent of my time in the field, but still want to look like a manager. I need to look professional, but still wear clothes that stand up to jobsite conditions.”
“This thing hadn’t been worked on since the 1950s.”
– Wendy Fox, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, telling the Toledo Blade (Ohio) why renovation of Dorchester’s John J. Beades bridge involved repairing or replacing almost every component of the bridge.
“My goal was not to make a feminist statement. I just liked being on the construction site.”
– Linda Alvardo, owner of Denver-based Alvarado Construction, telling the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette her reasons for entering the construction industry.
“In a way, we apologize for the inconvenience, but inconvenience is a part of construction. This particular inconvenience will last longer than most.”
– Glen Larum, a Texas Department of Transportation public information officer, telling the Odessa American (Texas) an I-20 overpass construction project will take two years.