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Safety Clothing at Work

High visibility on the High Street

Hi Vis clothing, like safety footwear, has gone mainstream lately.

No longer is it solely the preserve of construction workers and police. A high visibility waistcoat is almost mandatory for cyclists at all times of the year, while runners, dog walkers, and their pets all benefit from the advantages of being easily seen on darker nights.

A fluorescent yellow parka style jacket is ideal for attracting the attention of bus drivers on dark rural routes, as well as being a warm and cosy waterproof coverall. Despite the fact that it is hi visibility clothing, the wearer may also find that they enjoy an exalted status as a tourist guide, security guard, bus company employee or similar position where they are the fount of all knowledge and requests they issue are obeyed without question.

Designers have not been slow to jump on this particular bandwagon. While many safety clothing wearers stick to the standard jackets, waistcoats and trousers in bright yellow (for road and construction work) or orange (for rail workers), hi vis fluorescent yellow coloured skinny tops and jeggings for women have been seen on catwalks for the last couple of years. Sara Henrichs has a full range of silvery-grey hi vis gear for cyclists that is both distinctive and reflective.

 There are also many alternatives out there compared to the traditional yellow or orange hi vis jackets and waistcoats which are available on Aston Workwear's site.

Of course, for work purposes, it is recommended that employees stick to wearing the standard high visibility clothing provided by their company. But for those times outside work where hi vis is required for safety, or even preferred for fashion, wearers can be as creative as they like. Nike and Reebok both have bright tops in a lime-green-yellow shade, which, while not fluorescent, draws the eye. Nike’s ladies’ v-neck T-shirt proclaims Run to be Fierce, while Reebok’s equally virulently shaded hoodie means that even in a rainstorm the wearer will be visible.

Athletic wear manufacturers were among the first to start using the fluorescent safety wear colours outside the work environment. The bright and vibrant colours became so popular that the All England Club, organisers of Wimbledon tennis championships, were forced to issue a dress code update in 2014.

This specified that coloured flashes, insets, caps, headgear, undergarments and even trainer soles were not permitted and that the only colour allowed on the players’ attire would be ‘a single trim of colour no wider than one centimetre’. In 2013, no less a player than Roger Federer had been seen in Nike branded white trainers – with orange fluorescent soles.

These days hi vis clothing comes in a variety of shades from the traditional yellow and orange to hot pink and cool silvery grey that reflects bright white when caught in a beam of light. Even the most fashion conscious wearer will be able to find something to suit their tastes and still remain safely visible at all times.

Also these days, safety clothing does not have to be obviously workwear, unless it actually is workwear, of course. Hi vis clothing can also be fashionable, cool and shapely as well. As with every clothing influence, the designers eventually have their input into the ranges and subsequent designs are never the same again.

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