Image credits: BuilderSpace
Construction project managers have responsibilities both in the office and the jobsite. As a project manager in this field, you will work with different stakeholders and clients from the beginning of the project till its completion. You will also prioritize time management, budget allocation, and milestone delivery to make sure that everything is streamlined and headed towards the end date. Since you are required both on and off-site, it is important to dress accordingly to represent your profession as confidently and effortlessly as you can. Construction project manager attire should be clean, crisp, and yet jobsite-ready to allow you to switch between the two environments easily. It needs to be functional and professional to suit stakeholder meetings – even if they are conducted via Zoom. At the same time, the outfit should be rugged and durable to withstand the rough construction site conditions. Overall, your choice of attire must always be comfortable to help you move around better, especially on challenging terrains.
Project managers in construction environments do not have to wear corporate-formal attire, as this is not a strict office-based job that requires a suit. Both men and women can choose construction workwear that is safe, durable, professional-looking, and comfortable to match their job description. Although fashion is not the top priority here, adding style to this business casual does go a long way. After all, the way you dress up reflects your personality and sets the bar for your teams to follow. Here are some construction-friendly ideas for project manager outfits that look great in the office and the jobsite.
Construction project manager attire
As a construction project manager, make sure that you follow your company’s dress code for acceptable clothing and colors. Generally, there are no uniforms for project managers – unlike other employees who have to wear them for different jobsite trades. However, there are still some professional standards that all project managers can use to look presentable and work-oriented – and most importantly, stand out as the project manager! Your choice of attire should match your company’s dress code to create a more cohesive workforce and move as a team. The following workwear options for pants, tops, and shoes have been quite a norm in the construction industry and should help you plan your wardrobe as a new project manager.
Under the pants category for both men and women, you can choose slim-fit chinos, cargo pants, durable jeans, khaki pants, cotton pants, and so on. Slim-fit chinos and khaki pants are quite popular for their versatility both on and off-site. Also, they look great with a variety of shirts and vests depending on the weather. Fitted pants that are comfortable are the best choice for a construction project manager because you do want something that allows movement and flexibility as you navigate. Since denim does not always meet the office look, you can keep it for outdoor purposes only like on days when you have no meetings and just need to be on-site. Construction workwear pants should be thick and rugged to withstand the tough conditions on the site, so khaki and jeans are ideal for outdoor responsibilities.
Straight-leg designs are more suitable because they look professional and neat while keeping you comfortable. Overall, choose fitted pants that are flexible to wear as a project manager who moves back and forth between offices and terrains. You want to avoid baggy pants as they can slow you down – and they simply deviate from the crisp and neat look we are aiming for. If needed, add a leather belt and wear a matching leather strap watch to complete the look – avoid fancy watches, bracelets, jewelry, cufflinks, and other accessories that will get damaged on the jobsite. Simple, rugged, and professional is what you need!
Collar shirts, polos, and flannels are perfect to go with any of the pant options above. You can wear breathable shirts during summers and add layers beneath a jacket for winters. Flannels and polos stay in line with the business-casual workwear in the construction industry. The benefit of wearing base layers as part of your construction project manager attire is that you can keep the jacket on when you are outside in the cold and remove it once you are in the office. This is achieved by simply wearing 1 or 2 fitted shirts underneath to keep you warm without looking bulky. You can opt for longer sleeves during winters. Vests are another great option in terms of layering. They look crisp and tidy for all purposes without making your winter ensemble too bulky. Also, inner layers with a vest on top allow you to move more freely than a restrictive jacket. So, the key takeaway here is to choose a top that keeps you comfortable in the current weather, does not require constant adjustment, and allows you to work easily in all environments.
Walk a mile in a project manager’s shoes, and you will know how far a good pair of boots can take you – quite literally! As a project manager, you will walk, climb, and maneuver around tough construction landscapes that can be pretty aggressive on your shoes. So, never take your construction footwear options lightly and always choose thick, rugged boots for outdoor tasks. Construction boots for men and women are designed for both durability and style, which makes them suitable for office meetings as well. Some project managers might wear normal shoes and keep a pair of boots ready to wear when they go outside. Safety boots protect your feet from site hazards, help with a stable footing, and simply go well with rugged construction vibes. There are lots of stylish and site-ready boots that look professional even if you wear them in the office. You should follow your company’s rules for the required boot types, especially if safety considerations need to be met. For example, your company might want you to wear boots that are insulated, waterproof, slip-resistant, or electric-rated depending on the jobsite conditions.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Construction project manager attire will be incomplete without the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) for safety. While on the site, you will wear a hard hat, safety goggles, gloves, and a high-visibility reflective vest.
The type of gloves you need to wear will also be determined by your jobsite’s conditions, so you can expect to use insulated gloves, waterproof gloves, thick rubber gloves, etc.
Construction project managers usually choose neutral color palettes for their ensemble – except for the boots which can be a darker color. It helps to keep your outfit color-coordinated for a more professional appearance. Khaki, gray, brown, and beige are standard color choices for construction workwear, keeping in mind the constant dust and dirt in jobsites. You can choose navy blue or black pants and tops if it is going to be a mainly office-based day. You also want to avoid wearing colors that are allocated to specific construction departments in your company. Project managers tend to opt for neutral shades in pants and shirts with the occasional pop of color in belts, wristwatches, sunglasses, and boots.
What to wear to a construction project manager interview?
If you have a job interview coming up for this position, we have one piece of advice: ditch the formal suit! Your interview outfit should not be much different than a regular workday outfit. This is because you will be interviewed on the basis of your office skills such as project and time management as well as your jobsite skills. So, you can expect a walk around the site with the HR team, and a 3-piece suit with shiny shoes/stilettos calls for a splash waiting to happen! Keeping that in mind, you should look smart, prepared, and jobsite-ready before going to the interviewing company. This includes doing some research on the company’s dress codes and preferred colors for a good first impression. You can choose from the attire options listed above and take extra care to arrive in neat boots and an overall confident look. So, yes, you do need to embrace the business casual even before you begin working as a construction project manager. Consider wearing long-sleeved button-up shirts and khaki pants with good leather shoes or boots. Add a belt and wristwatch to complete your professional look, and keep a jacket at hand in case you need it during winters!
Popular Construction Workwear Brands
Now that you know what to wear as a construction project manager, here are some attire options from popular brands that make durable clothing and footwear for construction experts.
Carhartt is one of the leading construction clothing brands that offer options for both men and women. You will find jeans, jackets, work pants, work shirts, boots, hoodies, gloves, base layers, PPE, and other accessories. The brand’s rugged design and stylish options allow construction project managers and other experts to look their best and stand out in their professions.
Carhartt women’s rugged flex relaxed collar vest is one example. It is made of 98% cotton with 2% spandex and has a very relaxed yet fitted appeal. It makes a great choice for layering your outfit during winters. The vest has quilted canvas and taffeta lining in its fabric. It features Rugged Flex stretch technology that helps you move around easily, so this is a huge plus. There is a rib-knit collar with a snap-button front. The combination of inner and outer pockets gives you ample space to carry your gadgets and stationery. Overall, we think that this vest offers a very functional and neat look compared to wearing a baggy jacket to keep you warm. And the black color goes with all other colors in your ensemble, so you can wear denim pants and a long-sleeved shirt to create an effortless style.
This is Carhartt men’s rugged flex relaxed-fit canvas work pant option. It is available in a dark khaki color and is made of 98% cotton with 2% spandex. We like the relaxed-fit design of this work pant as it adds flexibility and does not restrict movement. There is a better bend in the knee areas, allowing you to climb and maneuver around easily. The stretchable fabric is very comfortable and keeps its shape, which is ideal for maintaining a smart look throughout the day. You can wear these pants for both office and jobsite responsibilities. Pair them with a neutral shirt and brown boots, and you have the perfect definition of business casual!
Timberland PRO is also a leading brand for construction workwear. It has a variety of boots, shoes, tops, and pants for both men and women. The catalog features the best combination of style and safety for a jobsite-conscious attire that works well in offices too.
It will be a good choice to buy comfortable clothing that makes you look great all day long.
Timberland PRO men’s flannel work shirt is one example from the huge collection. Made of 100% cotton, this flannel shirt includes nylon taffeta edges and comes with pockets, so it checks the boxes for functionality and comfort. You can even wear it as a base layer during winters with a jacket on top. The fabric is breathable and goes well with denim pants. It is also lightweight enough to keep you comfortable throughout the day, which is what makes it ideal for construction project managers who move in and out of jobsites regularly.
Wrangler Riggs is another top brand you can choose for durable attire that withstands tough construction environments. There are clothing options for men and women. You will find cargo, jeans, shirts, vests, jackets, and other varieties. The brand offers different fitted and non-fitted styles to suit your workwear aesthetics. It also has flame-resistant options for jobsite safety.
Wrangler Riggs workwear women’s utility pant is available in dark khaki. It goes well as the blue-sandy brown-khaki color palette shown in the picture, so it is quite versatile for redefining your business casual. The material is 100% polyester and offers comfort for all-day-long job duties. It features reinforced edges and deep pockets for extra durability and functionality in your choice. You can complete the look with a Riggs jacket for winters. We also like the slim-fit and straight-leg design of these pants because it offers a very professional and neat look throughout the day – without restricting your movement.
CAT boots for men and women have become a construction standard. The brand offers various styles of work boots such as safety-toe, waterproof, slip-resistant, and lightweight. You will always find a pair that performs well in the rugged construction site and still looks great in the office.
This is CAT women’s construction boot available in a frost gray color that looks confident and professional. Made of 100% leather with a rubber sole, these waterproof boots have moisture-wicking mesh linings and a cushioned footbed for maximum comfort. They are electrical-rated, slip/oil-resistant, and stable for jobsite purposes, so we like them for the safety features they provide. The steel-toe design keeps your feet safe from debris impact. The boots help you keep a strong grip without slipping, protect you from electrical shocks in hazardous areas, and are quite durable for long-term convenience. They are also not as heavy as you might expect a steel-toe design to be, which is great for easier navigation on foot.
Chippewa is a huge competitor for construction footwear brands. It has some of the best boot styles that are both impactful and jobsite-friendly. You will find waterproof, safety-toe, insulated, heat-resistant, puncture-resistant, and electrical-rated options for men and women.
Chippewa men’s service utility boot is a great example. These black leather boots include rubber soles and have a very dual nature for office and jobsite settings. Construction project managers who do not like bulky boots will find this pair to be a huge relief from the added weight. The boots can be worn with all types of business-casual attire and color palettes. Their cushioned insoles will keep your feet comfortable and reduce strain throughout the day.
To summarize, construction project manager attire is a business-casual outfit that can be worn both indoors and outdoors. A good fit is absolutely crucial, as it allows you to look neat and presentable rather than shabby and careless. Avoid baggy or loose clothing for the same reasons – they simply do not look neat and can slow you down in the jobsite. It is not important to wear something fashionable as a project manager, but you do need to make some effort to look smart and professional. Rugged and fitted is the way to go, so always opt for something durable and neat to create your style.