7 Style Tips for the Working Man – Blue Collar Style Advice
7 Style Tips for the Working Man – Blue Collar
Iím Antonio Centeno, the founder of Real Men Real Style.
And today I’m going to be talking about style for the blue-collar men.
And this is in support of my article over The Art of Manliness.
You can go to the article by just following the link below.
And if you find this talk interesting, if you want to learn more about menís style,
make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Weíve got dozens and dozens of videos on menís style.
And I donít just talk about blue-collar style, I talk about everything.
And hopefully, youíll be able to learn something.
So let me go ahead and jump right into it.
What ñ you know, when you think about blue-collar style, it almost sounds like an oxymoron.
Most people donít ñ when they think of stylish men, they donít think of the blue-collar
worker, of the man who works with his hands, of the man who wears a blue collar because
Itís not going to ñ I mean, here I got a white shirt on and white cuffs.
This shows that, you know, most of the time, Iím sitting at a desk, Iím working on a
I donít have a blue-collar job.
And I used to work in construction.
I worked myself through college, climbing and working on radio communication towers.
We built them, we climb them.
It was pretty very interesting work.
So thatís ñ how did I survive?
But in any case, there are three things Iíve come to believe which a blue-collar man needs
to pay attention to and think about anytime he purchases something that heís going to
The first one is function.
Any piece of clothing that he purchases, he needs to first make sure that it functions.
So when he looks to purchase a pair of boots, he needs to make sure those boots actually
work properly, that they have a steel toe, that they, you know have, the right amount
of insulation if heís going to wear it in the winter.
Looks are nice, and theyíre great for style purposes but function always comes first.
And you should not compromise on function.
So after function, it comes down to fit.
And I remember there were times when I was climbing these radio communications towers
in Iowa and weíd be climbing a tower and be covered with ice.
And I had to make sure my clothing actually fit me.
Eventhough, you know, it would have been easy to just layer up with all these cheap clothing
that, you know, I guess I could put on like seven layers and sometimes itís seems like
I did, but really I wore a lot of skin-tight layers, because when I was moving around on
these radio communication towers, I had to have freedom of movement.
And if youíre clothing doesnít fit you, youíre not going to have freedom of movement.
And that actually holds true in custom clothing and it holds true in work clothing as well.
Because when we think about it, your arms got ñ basically, the armhole, the larger
that is, the harder itís going to be for you to move your arms.
And if your crotch hangs too low on your pants or on your jeans, youíre not actually going
to have the full freedom of movement in your legs.
So pay attention to fit.
In addition, if youíre wearing clothing, which is excessively loose and baggy, youíre
having to retuck it in, or youíre not even tucking in your clothing, youíre just wearing
it all over the place, then it can get caught on something sharp.
And if youíre around heavy machinery, that you know, can suck you into you it, you know,
that is a very dangerous situation.
So weíve talked about function, weíve talked about fit.
Now, letís talk about cleanliness.
So at the end of the day you maybe covered in oil and grease.
But when you start the day, you need to be clean.
And this isnít ñ yes, I know, you can do your job if youíre dirty starting the day.
And in some cases, if youíre on site, you know, there isnít going to be getting around
this, especially if you donít have access to a washing machine or laundry or some way
to clean your clothing.
But I think itís a matter of pride.
And it shows an attention to detail.
If a man, even at the end of the day, heís covered in grease and grime, when he starts
the day, he at least look sharp, his clothing is as clean as he can get it because, again,
And if you donít pay attention to those details, if you show up to work looking dirty, then
your fellow workers, they begin to wonder, you know, what kind of guy — I mean, if he
doesnít pay attention to his own clothing, in those small details, do we want to trust
him with the other details around the office?
And if youíre a father, think about it.
I mean, you donít want to be hugging your little girl right before sheís going, you
know, to school and you get her dirty.
You need to wear clothing thatís clean.
Yes, it takes a little bit of extra effort.
And yes, you can probably get away with, you know, wearing the same clothing again and
But I say cleanliness is one of those things.
It shows pride in everything you do.
So weíve talked about function, fit and cleanliness.
Now, seven items that you should pay attention to as a blue-collar worker.
The first one is going to be your footwear.
And for most of us, itís going to be boots.
So look for boots which are not only functionalÖ
So you donít want to go with something thatís old or cheap.
Not only is it ñ not going to last as long, but itís never going to look as great.
So great quality-made footwear that uses quality leather and is stitched together, not glued
together, because that can actually be resolved.
And over time, if you take care of it, if you make sure itís weather-sealed, itís
actually going to look better as time goes on.
So invest in good quality footwear.
Number two, your jeans.
So jeans were developed as workwear.
But itís probably actually harder in the year 2011 to find a good pair of quality work
jeans that it was in 1911; because in 1911, all the jeans were workwear.
Nowadays, we see $500 designer jeans and we see, you know, $5 jeans which, you know, wonít
even last two days on the work site.
I recommend Leviís, Wranglers, Carhartt makes a great jean and Lee to some extent.
Lee, not so much anymore, I think theyíve gotten more into the fashion side.
But I have good look with Leviís.
And a lot of it goes to where they place the rivets.
I mean, theyíve got just a long history.
And I know some people you know, they want American-made but you know, thatís for another
Again, Leviís, Wranglers, Carhartt, in some cases, Lee.
This is an alternate if youíre going to be in an office, in moving, you know, between
Go with darker colors because you can expect it to be stained.
And if you need something higher level in your trousers, look for maybe, what to say,
So gray wool flannels, very versatile.
You can wear with a dress shirt.
And gray wool flannels they can actually take a little bit of dirt, a little bit of staining,
although I wouldnít recommend it because they are usually, you know, dress pants.
But the darker the color, the less chance — you know, if you get something on it, a
little bit of dirt, you know, no oneís going to see that.
Letís talk about quality eye protection as the number three item.
So oftentimes, Iíll see a man and heíll be working on a side or heíll be working,
you know — actually, mostly at his own home.
And heís not protecting his eyes.
You need to buy good eye protection.
And the difference between good eye protection and you know, bad eye protection, in my opinion,
is you need to find something that fits you, thatís comfortable, that you enjoy wearing.
Because if it meets all of those criteria, youíre actually going to wear it.
And if youíre wearing something, youíre going to protect your eyes.
I mean, think about it.
If you screw up your vision, because you just donít like the way these things look on you,
you donít like, you know, people make fun of you, I donít know, maybe at the work site,
of your pair of sunglasses which, they actually, slit, you know, they donít allow you to see
You know, what have you gained?
So donít buy those $10 sunglasses.
And thereís a big difference between a $10 pair of sunglasses and going out and getting
a pair of those sport Oakleys.
Whenever I was in the Marine Corps I would always see all of the other marines, and that
was on of the things that marines splurge on, is they got a good pair of sunglasses.
Because they realized that under harsh conditions, they need to be able to see.
And so we all had this sports goggles or this sport ñ not goggles, but glasses, you know
the ones that wrapped around.
Because you could jump off of a truck, you could jump off of a helicopter and those glasses
You were firing your weapon, those glasses stayed in place.
Invest in good quality eyewear.
A lot of times I see guys working on a site and theyíre wearing t-shirts.
And I used to do that a lot, you know, when I was working in the summers in Iowa.
Itís not very smart.
Because when you think about it, you want to get a quality cotton work shirt which is
going to be breathable, it is going to protect your forearms, and you can even roll up and
Oftentimes, shirts theyíre made from really flimsy materials or synthetic materials and
they tear very easily.
And if you rub up against something sharp, you donít want it to go right the shirt and
then scratch up your chest or scratch up your stomach or to scratch up your arm.
You want a material thatís a bit tougher.
Yes, youíre going to probably sweat in it a bit more.
Thatís a small sacrifice for, you know, making sure that you keep all your layers of skin
or you donít get a huge cut with it and you know, and start bleeding all over the place.
You have a few options.
Cotton is a great fabric and cotton, you know, it comes in different weaves.
Usually the work shirts which actually you see a lot of, you know, our group in West
Texas, where you saw a lot of other guys that were still on rodeo, I think thatís a great
It comes in darker colors.
So whenever they got knocked off of, you know, knocked off a buck or knocked off a bull,
these guys were able to pick themselves up rushly thereof and jump back on.
Very durable cottons.
So you can find that a lot of — look in western stores, youíll find a lot of great work shirts.
Also denim, itís a great shirt.
Itís a bit heavy, hot, you know, you donít want it for summer wear.
But chambray — so this is not going to be as durable and a lot of times itís going
to be a bit more expensive.
But you can find some great chambray on sale.
You know, you have to look for it and this is great for lightweight.
And if you get hot, roll up the sleeves.
You know, you at least have the option of rolling it back down if you think youíre
going to be in a situation that calls for it.
Letís talk about the hat, headwear.
I see guys out working, theyíre wearing baseball caps.
It just doesnít cut it.
Look for a cap or a piece of headwear that allows air circulation.
A straw haw is great.
Something that, you know, you donít nee to wear a cowboy hat.
But Iím talking about something thatís going to protect your neck, going to fully protect
your head, and allows your head to breathe.
Carry a handkerchief.
A red handkerchief, something bright.
Why something bright?
Oh, because youíre not always going to be using it to blow your nose, which a lot of
people say, ìOh why donít you use a tissue or a paper towel?î Well a handkerchief can
be used for so many other things.
So youíve got a long piece of pipe that youíre carrying in the back of your truck.
Well, take your handkerchief and tie it off or tape it and all of a sudden, youíre marking
for, you know, a long load.
You cut yourself and you slice open your hand.
Well, youíve got a handkerchief there you can push on and apply pressure.
I mean you need to hold down, you know, two pipes together and you donít have any tape
with you and you need it to hold together right then.
Well take the handkerchief and tie them together.
There are so many options to consider handkerchief.
All right, weíve talked about boot, jeans, cotton chinos, and wool flannels over there
with the jeans, quality eye protection, work shirts, hats, handkerchiefs.
So Iíve covered a number of items that the blue-collar man should pay attention to.
And if you want step up with style, look for items like that that have a little bit of
style; but donít go too crazy, always pay attention to function, always pay attention
to fit, and lastly, always make sure your clothing is clean.
Antonio Centeno with Real Men Real Style.
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