Construction site dress codes are designed to promote safety and a cohesive workforce for projects onsite. Construction superintendent attire should reflect the professionalism and functionality that accompany your job responsibilities. If you are a superintendent on the field, you will be responsible for site supervision, the overall schedule of the project, worker safety, overall jobsite organization and cleanliness, stakeholder interaction, and a lot more. For this multi-faceted profession, there is a trade-off between working in an office environment and transitioning into a construction landscape where you have to deal with potential safety risks and varying weather conditions on a regular basis. Additionally, you are expected to appear ready and presentable for client and stakeholder meetings on a regular basis. At the same time, you must look like a qualified supervisor and leader who knows their way around the site and has safety on your mind at all times.
Construction Attire For Safety
When I think about what I need to wear when I am spending a day (or an hour in most cases) at the jobsite, the number one thing I have to think about when choosing my outfit is safety. So often a subcontractor or a client comes onto one of our jobsites with clothes that are inappropriate and unsafe. When a client arrives on a working jobsite with inappropriate footwear (i.e. flip flops or high heels) or when a subcontractor shows up on our commercial jobsite wearing shorts, the first thing that our team thinks is “this person doesn’t know what they are doing” or “this person doesn’t care to be here”. So, in general, you need to first pick your construction attire for safety. For nearly all jobsites that means wearing a long-sleeved shirt, durable pants, and sturdy boots. If you come to a jobsite wearing those items you will be in good shape. Now, of course you will need to wear proper PPE (personal protective equipment) such as safety glasses, a safety vest, and a hard hat, but those can usually be given to you when you arrive at a jobsite.
Construction Attire with Weather In Mind
The second thing I ask myself when getting dressed in the morning is what is the weather going to be like? Here in Denver that can be a difficult question to answer because we tend to have some pretty wild temperature swings. Generally though in the summer it is going to get hot and winter it’s going to be cold (of course), so I always make sure to dress appropriately for the seasons. If you don’t go to a jobsite every day it’s easy to forget that most jobsites really don’t have proper heating or A/C. Sure, there will be a construction office trailer and most trailers will have A/C or heat but as a superintendent you don’t have the luxury of hanging out in the trailer all day. You will be going in and out of the trailer, outside to walk to the building, inside the building that may or not be heated (or some parts are and some are hot) so you will certainly have to deal with the elements for the majority of the day. For that reason I usually recommend wearing layers when it is cold out so you have the flexibility of taking an outer shell (jacket) off when you are sitting down in the office, but also wearing a middle layer and an inner layer so you can adjust your clothing at any given time. Usually that means you are wearing a nice, sturdy jacket on the outside that can handle getting scraped up against something without scratching, a long sleeved button down (i.e. flannel) or non-collared shirt underneath, and a t-shirt or similar under that should you get hot. Always make sure you have a rain jacket of some sort on you at all times as well in case you get an unexpected downpour of rain. Since I personally drive to a number of jobsites in any given week I try not to have to guess what I need to wear and I just keep a few different jackets in my vehicle so I can grab what I need when I am visiting jobsites.
Construction Superintendent Attire
There is no gender-specific attire to be worn by construction superintendents. You do not need to struggle with a bulky ensemble of crinkled and lousy-looking clothes. Part of the safety aspect of how to dress as a construction superintendent is that you should not be wearing loose or ill fitting clothing, but you still need to be able to perform your daily tasks while staying comfortable. So you should opt for slim for comfortable clothing, which is a standard rule for workers and supervisors alike. Slim jeans, khakis, chinos, “work pants” (i.e. Carhartt or Dickies), or cargo pants, coupled with a collared button-downs or collarless t-shirt/work shirt (i.e. see Carhartt again), and work boots are always great choices. Yellow or orange reflective safety vests (or sometimes bright and reflective shirts can be worn as an alternative) distinguish construction workers from the general public so that will be a mainstay for a construction superintendent.. The reflective lining will highlight your profile for easy visibility at night. You can take an optional blazer with you for client or potential client meetings although that is not very common nowadays. You can also have your company’s logo printed on your shirt or jacket. While on site or near machinery, make sure to use safety gear (PPE) like gloves, hard hats, earplugs, and goggles. Generally, a construction superintendent attire walks the fine line between formal and informal.
Popular construction wear brands
Carhartt is famous for its iconic work pants, jeans, coveralls, flannels, vests, and footwear suitable for construction sites. There are various seasonal options and flame-resistant attire for men and women. So, if you are a new superintendent, a casual and self-assured outlook is exactly what you need to blaze your trail as your career kicks off.
Carolina offers footwear for men and women to accommodate industry-standard work boots and shoes. The stylish and work-oriented line includes waterproof designs, union made, and safety toe boots as well. The company’s slogan says it best: Built For Work.
Timberland Pro is another one-stop experience for adding the best construction attire and accessories to your cart. There are exceptional styles for women’s work boots, work shoes, and waterproof/fleece-lined jackets for superior protection against the elements while on site. Men’s work pants, safety work jackets, Timberland Pro logoed shirts, and versatile collections of boots ensure a smart and presentable appearance.
One of the oldest and the largest apparel manufacturers, Dickies is the go-to store for quality construction workwear. It offers a range of clothing options for both men and women. The catalog includes denim jeans, premium work pants, long sleeve work shirts, insulated coveralls, lined hooded jackets, bib overalls, belts, and gloves. There are also construction-specific features you can choose, such as moisture-wicking, sun protection, multi-pocket, double knees, water repellent, wrinkle resistance, heavyweight design, reflective fabric, etc.
Tingley’s footwear and clothing line is designed for maximum protection against the elements, mud, chemicals, and debris. You can choose durable workwear options to put together your best construction superintendent attire for any environment. The brand’s catalog includes safety toe boots, knee boots, rubber work boots, overshoes with gaiters, and other jobsite-friendly boot options. You can also buy jackets, mesh vests, and overalls under the hi-vis, fleece liner, softshell, heavyweight, flame resistant, and waterproof categories.
CAT construction clothing line is known for its durability, performance, and quality. It makes the perfect choice for functional, comfortable, and modern construction workwear for men and women. All the apparel designs are suitable for both on and offsite purposes, so you can choose the perfect superintendent attire to wear in offices or outdoors. Women’s workwear includes insulated jackets, vests, flannel overshirts, button-down work shirts, anti-fog safety glasses, defender work pants, and work stretch leggings. Men’s workwear includes work pants, heavy insulated jackets, defender work pants, flannel shirts, and button-down shirts. There are also options for hi-vis clothing in work pants, softshell jackets, safety vests, and gloves.
Flame-resistant base layers and cargo work pants are other great choices for superintendents.
What to Wear to Construction Superintendent Interview
It would be a tempting idea to wear formal business suits to create a lasting impression for your job interview. However, as a person who interviews superintendents on a regular basis I really am not expecting you to be wearing a suit to an interview. Most superintendents that we interview are either already superintendents or they are foremen or project engineers who want to become a superintendent, so I would not expect that you would swap your normal work clothes to don a suit for an interview. Additionally, there is always a chance that you may go on a jobsite visit during your interview. It is an industry-based job after all. You will be expected to demonstrate your field knowledge and expertise, and a crisp designer suit would not be very favorable. You do not want to look like a visiting CEO who lost his or her way, and the last thing you want to be in an interview is uncomfortable because of your outfit choice. Depending on the firm you are applying to, consider wearing simple dress pants, full-sleeve button-downs, polos, or slim khakis. Wear work boots or work shoes and definitely avoid wearing ties. In the end, a professional-looking construction superintendent attire should leave a great first impression and showcase your personality as an industry expert.
It is also a smart idea to find out the dress code of the firm you are applying to. As part of your preparation for an interview, you can do some research to get an idea about the firm’s business casual wear or formal preferences – and then dress accordingly. If the company follows a set of colors for construction superintendent attires, wearing the respective colors will give a good first impression. Generally, neutral color palettes are quite common. These include navy blue, beige, black, and brown as the standard colors. You can contrast the light and dark tones depending on the weather as well. You do want to stand out as a construction superintendent – and not be mistaken for someone else – so the choice of colors is very important.
While you can skip the tie, do consider wearing just the right accessories like a watch and sunglasses. A watch definitely completes the overall look and is something you will always need to stay on the dot – and it is simply the hallmark of a punctual person. You also need to be COVID-conscious and respectful towards the interviewing company’s safety rules – which you must include in your pre-interview research. Wearing a mask and face shield and using gloves when needed will be a good measure of your current work ethic and responsible nature.
All in all, appear smart and be safe!
Construction Attire Summary
At the end of the day, superintendents will wear a variety of different clothes when coming to the jobsite. Superintendents within our own company will wear a variety of clothing options amongst themselves depending on how casual or formal they want to look and what the conditions are at the jobsite. You can decide for yourself what you feel like wearing on a daily basis but the most important thing to consider how to dress as a construction superintendent is safety, warmth (or coolness in the summer), and to make sure you are picking a comfortable enough outfit to be able to perform any physical tasks that you may encounter for the day.