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1. General Considerations

Work trousers are perhaps the most popular item of workwear we sell.  There are so many different styles and types to suit all sorts of applications and professions.  This category is concerned with 'workwear trousers' - so designed for physical work as opposed to trousers for office based work.

You will find work trousers for both men and ladies and for all sorts of trades - and the most important aspect is to get the right style for you.  There is no 'perfect work trouser' as every wearer has a different combination of requirements for size, fitting and function.  Different brands have slightly different features and sizing so it is a case of finding the style that is perfect for you.  For this reason, we stock an extensive number of styles.


2. Choosing the right style

The are a few things to consider when choosing a work trousers.  The most basic is perhaps colour.  If you want an unusual colour, such as maroon or orange, then you will certainly be limited to the styles you can have.  By far the most popular colours are black and navy as they don't show dirty marks and go well with most other colours.  Almost all work trousers chosen for corporate uniforms will be either black or navy - and therefore virtually every style of trouser comes in these two colours.

When you've chosen your colour, you need to think about what you want the trousers to do.  If you work in a warehouse and just carry, say, a pen, a stanley knife and a phone then you don't need as many pockets as a tradesmen such as an electrician, who may need to carry many tools and fixings.  If you don't regular carry a lot of tools, you may want to avoid trousers with holster pockets - even though they usually tuck away they still add unnecessary bulk.  Indeed some industries, such as car valeters, actively avoid pockets as the studs and fasteners can scratch the vehicles they are cleaning.

Probably the biggest feature on most work trousers is whether or not they have integral pouches for foam knee pads.  These knee pad trousers originally started out for carpet fitter and floor layers to protect their knees from their prolonged periods on all fours.  As more and more people tried them, it soon became clear that knee pad trousers were a good idea for many different trades.  Tradesmen such as carpenters, electricians, plumbers and plasterers often spend periods on one or both knee and it is surprising how much better your knees feel when using foam knee pads.  It is one of those things that, once tried, you wonder how you managed without before!  Knee pad trousers are also increasingly popular with people that work outdoors, such as builders, groundsmen, greenkeepers, gardeners as the pad protects against stones and lumps when kneeling on the earth, but also stops cold and damp getting through to your knee.   Surprisingly, knee pads are also great if you ever spend periods up a ladder - they protect just the right spot where your lower knee hits the rung above your feet.


   Knee pad pouches can be either internal (so pads put in from inside) or more commonly external like these.   The pad is put in from the outside, and is usually bottom loading to prevent bits falling in and getting stuck in the pocket.  The pouch is sometimes self fabric (so the same fabric as the trousers) or sometimes tough manmade fibres such as Cordura or Duotex.  Either way, you always get at least two layers of fabric at the knees.  Knee pads are universally sized at 6" x 8" so all brands of pad fit all brands of trouser.  Note that when not kneeling the pads can feel like they are too low on your legs, and this feels a bit strange at first.  This is expected as they natually move up when you kneel.
   Holster pockets are particularly useful for tradesmen who need to carry a number of small hand tools, such as electricians or plumbers. They are also popular with dry wallers, carpenters etc who find it useful to carry a large number of screws or nails and have immediate access.  The majority of styles have a large pocket behind and you can tuck the holster pocket away when not in use.  Some styles, such as this Lee Cooper pair illustrated, have a concealed zip which means you can completely zip the holster pocket off if not required.
   Most styles have a number of specialist pockets.  These include mobile phone pockets, long thin pockets for pencils or rulers, and most have at least one large cargo pocket on the leg.  A number of styles have hammer loops which are great if you suddenly need both hands when you're up a ladder!
   Some of the higher spec models use tough manmade fibres, such as Cordura, on the parts that get the most wear.  As mentioned above, this is most commonly on the knee pad pouch.  However it also used on or above pockets, where frequently taking tools in and out of the pocket would cause excessive wear.  It is also used on leg ends which often get some stick rubbing either on the ground or against dirty boots all day.  People who subject styles without this reinforcement to heavy wear often find the leg ends will be frayed and tatty when there is still plenty of wear in the rest of the trousers.
   A good feature to look out for in work trousers is the use of triple stitching.  Most everyday garments (and cheap work trousers) use double stitching which is perfectly acceptable for light / leisure use.  However, they often give or split at the seams after prolonged heavy duty use.  Quality work trousers have triple stitching - not always at every seam, but certainly at the stress points such as crotch, around knee pads, the seat etc.  Some styles are also rivetted  at stress points to provide even greater durability.


3. Getting the right size


As previously mentioned, different manufacturers have slightly different ideas of what is the cut is like in a particular size.  This is more often than not a difference in the width of the leg, either in the calf or the thigh.  Some styles are roomier - a so called relaxed fit.  Others, such as Lee Cooper, tend to have a more fitted cut.  As these vary from manufacturer to manufacturer (and quite often among styles from the same manufacturer) there is no real substitute for trying on a pair.  Having said that, the manufacturers obviously make them to fit the majority of people, so unless you have particularly chunky or skinny legs then this should not be a problem. 

 The most important thing to get right when ordering work trousers is the waist size.  There is nothing worse than wearing work trousers that are too tight - and a sure recipe for Betty Swollocks Syndrome in the summer!  Almost as bad, although worse for other people than you, are trousers that are too big - the infamous 'builders bum'!  To work out your correct size, simply take a tape (ideally a flexible fabric tape, although it's possible but less accurate with a standard metal tape measure!) and measure all the way round your waist.  If you're measuring over existing trousers, measure around the waistband.  If measuring when undressed, measure at the height the waistband of your trousers would normally sit.  Make sure the tape is level all the way round and taut but not stretched.  Whatever measurement you get in inches is your waist size in trousers.  If you fall in between two sizes, then round up (so if you measure 33" then order 34" trousers).

Many styles of work trousers come in a variety of leg lengths.  The vast majority of people will be OK with 'regular' which is usually 31 - 32" for men and around 29" for women, but can vary between styles.  The actual measurement will usually be shown on the individual product choices.  To determine your leg length the easiest way is to measure some existing trousers where you are happy with the leg fit.  Measure from the crotch seam, all the way down the inside of the leg to the bottom hem.  The length in inches is the inside leg you should order.  If you have to measure on your body, get someone (careful who you ask) to help and measure from your crotch to where you want the trouser leg to finish.