Sunday, May 29, 2011

Women's Work Jeans

  • Why is it that manufacturers haven't figured out that women do work that's just as hard and heavy as men?
  • Why can't we find heavy (14+ oz) denim work jeans? Why are women's jeans only 11 oz denim?
  • Why are the pockets in women's jeans so short? Why don't they go down to the top of the thigh like men's so they're actually useful?
  • Why can I find a plethora of women's work slacks (lightweight BTW), but not work jeans?
  • Why do manufacturers think all women wear pink? Or want stretch-elastic waists? Or low-rise and "fashionable"?
  •  Why do we have to pay more for size 2/4 when they're almost half the material of a size 12?
  • Why do we have to buy men's/boy's rugged jeans that don't fit properly in the waist if they fit in the hips?
  • Why do manufacturers who do make a few bits of working gear for women think only large women do real work?

All I want are a couple pairs of heavyweight denim work jeans, with useful pockets, in a size 2-6 (depending on how many layers of long-johns I have on beneath). I want some room in the seat and thighs because I actually have some muscle and do a lot of bending and stooping. I want a normal waist that I can tuck a shirt into and it stays tucked, and one that doesn't gap too terribly or fall down when I have my Gerber knife, Leatherman multi-tool and H&K 9mm on my belt. I don't want cutesy pink camo, or kiwi or mango or floral... these are work clothes, they're going to get muddy and grimy, because I'm working not going on a date. And by working, I'm not talking about a little light gardening or milking a goat in the parlor. I need jeans that will stand up to construction, hauling firewood, clearing trail, digging trenches, butchering game and spreading manure as well as tending a large garden and herding livestock.

I might be just a tiny "poptart" but I pull my weight (and then some!) and I need clothes that can stand up to it!   (and, yes, someone did just call me a "poptart" recently LOL)


Seeking Serenity said...

I found the best working pants for me are carpenter jeans-heavy denim and triple seams. I agree with you about all of the above- I hate 'womens' clothing...and wtf dont even start me about the thin underwear!

Anonymous said...

duluth makes women's 14oz

Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog since last October, for my man and I are wanting to move to SE Alaska. I've read through all the posts and I did some research on rugged jeans, for I too, work hard and will needs clothes that will keep up.

I found Fire-hose canvas jeans - men too. I am getting ready to buy a pair for my man and I to see if these hold up like the claims. Anyhow, I thought this site was good and thought you'd benefit from it.

This entry hit home with me and sounds like something I could write. I don't like pink. Purple is my color. I prefer normal work clothes fit for a woman. I'm not as petite as you, but I'm 5'4" and petite is just as difficult to find!!

I hope this helps. I feel you and G-man have done a great job and I know what to expect when we get to SE Alaska and start building our place.

Anonymous said...

Also, I forgot to mention the following

Oh, and there is a work jean there for women made of 14-oz cotton denim.... I think you'll like it

Here is a link to it.

MamaHen said...

I've been a commercial carpenter for almost 20 years (I'm female) and have rarely been able to find affordable women's work clothes that actually work. Even companies that claim to make clothes just for women make them thin or stupid looking (I won't wear pink either) and I can't afford to pay $50 for a pair of jeans. Fortunately, Carhartt makes small enough men's sizes that I just wear theirs. They finally started making some decent women's stuff too. I'm a size 6-8 in women's but they make stuff that fits me and is comfortable. I especially like their insulated bib overalls and we put our clothes through hell, but they hold up.

Bob from Athens said...

Ya know, that if you started up a small company making what you just described, five or eight people sewing, they could do the sewing in their "spare" time" you could probably sell all you could make right in Alaska. One central local place cutting out the cloth then sending it to the people doing the sewing and they send it back when finished. Then sending it to the customers.

Anonymous said...

I second the fire-hose jean recommendations, extremely tough yet comfortable jeans. I'm a guy though, so have no 1st hand knowledge of the women's size fit.

I've tried to convince my wife to try them, but she's satisfied with her choice in overalls. Sez don't fix what ain't broke - I know better than to try changing her mind, lol.

Good luck with your choice.

Plickety Cat said...

I'll have to check out the fire-hose jeans. They only go down to size 4, so they'll be a little big in the summer; and are pushing $50, but if they stand up that might not be too expensive in the long run.

I have tried on the Carhartt boys and men's jeans, and they make for one angry beaver (the women's version of the ballroom problem) or I have a handful of waistband bunched under my belt. Carhartt women's do go down to size 2 (for $50) but they're only 11 oz denim.

I don't mind bibs or coveralls in the winter when I could use the room and extra layers and am already bulky with thermal undies. Looks like I'm going to have to live with a bunching waist band under a belt, or learn to sew so I can make my own alterations.

I think making proper work clothes and work gloves, etc could be an excellent cottage industry if shipping weren't so expensive here in Alaska... we'd end up having to charge too much to recoup our expenses. If any of our readers live in a less remote place (in or out of Alaska) that has access to easy and affordable shipping, and is interested in this business idea, I'd be more than happy to offer my recommendations and feedback :)

Anonymous said...

I laugh when you say they only make the heavier work cloths for big women... I have yet to see any for someone my they dont even bother. I usually wear mens clothing. Easier, fit isnt that good but what the heck... I really really dont care what they look like if Im just going to get them dirty, grimy and muddy anyway...

FYI---Im sure you already know this, they dont make womens outer ware in heavy enough weights either like women dont ever go out camping or hiking with their partners... Its a mans world out


Plickety Cat said...

Too true, Wash. I had just as much problem finding sizes 22-24 when I was big, as I am finding sizes 2-4 now that I'm small again.

Gear of all kinds are extremely limited for women. I went through Hell trying to find a good pack... one that was made for a smaller frame and accommodated breasts, but was also sturdy enough to hump 60+ lbs of gear in. Evidently, women only ever take cosmetics, romance novels and frilly clothes out camping while the men do all the heavy lifting and hard labor LOL! Although I do admit that hubby gets to carry the cast-iron when we hike -- hahahaha

Marybeth said...

I have to add to your rant!!!! Why do they think all thin woman are short!!! I don't want all of my pants to make me look like I'm waiting for a flood. Sorry to steal your post, but I rant about this all the time!!!!

Plickety Cat said...

ROFL MaryBeth!! I just think that they think all women are short. I'm not tall, just average, and have had trouble with leg length in all different sizes; but my sister is over 6' and she can almost never find women's pants that fit. She ordered a pair of "tall" pants, and they looked like capris ::eye roll::

BTW - hubby #1 was a 27W 36L... that was fun, finally had to order unfinished jeans from the manufacturer and hem them myself.

Anonymous said...

One angry beaver? Channeling your inner trucker? lol

What's up with all the've been on a marathon lately..Flexing for hubby? :-)

Plickety Cat said...

ROFL -- you all might be under the impression that I'm such a sweet little thing; but I'm usually pretty crude for a "lady" and can swear to make sailors, truckers and marines blush ;) Might come from the fact that I've always had more guy friends than gal friends and I totally don't understand most of the social rules and gender expectations.

Ranting is a symptom of intense stress. Since I can't get anything done on the cabin or homestead due to external factors, my frustration comes out in bitchy posts because everything starts to irritate me. My normal, happy-go-lucky, peaceful attitude is seriously compromised when I have an overwhelming desire to ventilate someone's forehead :D

Anonymous said...

I wish you many deep relaxing days to come then. :-)

Anonymous said...

Might I ask what is holding up the cabin? Mud, etc. keeping building material at bay?
That would be very trying, for sure.
The Word verification word is "bummer". Will have to agree. :)

Plickety Cat said...

"bummer" eh? That's appropriate ;)

Lots of little things are holding us up with the cabin -- mud, injuries, mechanical issues with the truck & ATV, random retardedness with the neighbor situation...

Seems we couldn't win for losing this past month. More retardedness on the horizon, but we're going to try to keep from getting sucked into the middle of most of it. Really, we moved out here to get away from all the stress and drama, and refuse to let others' bad decisions get us into the firing lines.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I *had* to ring in on this one. Usually I just reply directly to PC, but she did bring me up in a comment earlier (I'm the big sis). And, yes, I'm big all over. As she mentioned, I cast a long shadow, and I have a curvy (read: boobs & hips, with thinner waist)and muscular frame. I, too, live the rugged life, being the primary laborer on our farm in central Texas. My dear hubby, bless his soul, works FT off the farm to make it financially feasible for us to continue with this venture.

Having been big & tall all of my life, it is a constant struggle to find women's clothes for me for just about any situation. While I wear "regular" women's sizes in T-shirts, finding them long enough is a bitch. Men's T-shirts are long, but baggy as hell in the midsection (not to mention that they're not all that flattering). Going with a smaller size looks obscene, because, to get them to fit my midsection well, they look practically sprayed onto my boobs. Not the look I am aiming for. Even when I go to the larger womens' clothing stores, I have problems. If I purchase a larger blouse size (14/16) to accomodate the shoulders and chest, and keep from suffering that awful button-gap problem, I spend about the same in tailoring fees to bring in the waist and flare back out to skim the hips.

The same goes for women's (if I can find them tall enough) and men's pants. If I get them big enough to fit the hips, I must do extensive altering to bring in the waist to alleviate the sagging and gapping problem. And most women's pants, even when taller or larger, do not have the rise properly adjusted to fit the rest of the pant. For example, low-rise jeans on a tall, curvy woman? You are just asking for crotch chafing and ass-crack displays. Not my idea of fun or classy. I run into the opposite problem with men's jeans. While they are mercifully tall enough, there is, let's say, an excess of room in the crotch region. Honestly, because I'm frugal and know that I'm just going to tear these jeans up, and because I'm alone on the farm most of the time and don't have to worry about what I look like, I buy men's jeans at thrift shops and then put suspenders on them. It makes the boobs stand out a bit, but it is way more comfortable than wearing a sweaty, chafing leather belt in this Texas heat. I can then wear a loaded mesh tool belt slung lower, which helps with the waist gap issue, and my pants don't fall off.

That's how I get around the work pants issue. For dress pants/jeans & blouses, I still employ a tailor. Luckily, since I am on the farm 95% of the time, my dress wardrobe is quite limited. And I love it that way!

Good luck, PC, and all of you lovely, hard-working ladies, in your search for durable, well-fitted work/trek/camp attire. And don't even get me started on the shoes and know what I mean, girlfriends!

...Big Sis

Plickety Cat said...

Hey Boo - good to see you here on the blog :) I know you've been ultra-busy down on the farm yourself!

I've often thought that if Fate had combined and then averaged the two of us, we might actually both be able to buy things off the rack ROFL.

I think I only had a brief moment of in-between overweightness, and you only had a brief pre-pubescent pre-growth-spurt period, where "normal" sizes fit properly. Now everything is too big for me and too small for you, and neither of us can find a friggin' decent pair of work gloves!

And what is with our huge shoulders/backs/chests??? And all the muscle??? LOL

I promise, the first good moose hide I get, I'm going to make us both a couple of decent pairs of custom work gloves!!

MamaHen said...

Yeah, I have the same problem with Carhartt jeans. :(
Now, Wranglers carpenter pants are the most comfortable I've ever worn but you have to get them in men's and not sure they make a men's small enough for you. I wear the 28-30's. You might check them out if you can though and they are very affordable. They are a little thin but very comfortable in the summer; at least our summers. lol! and I love the pockets on the legs!

Anonymous said...

PC and Big Sis,

I've been shopping at Duluth, and look forward to getting my first order of fire-hose work pants, long-tail shirt, and hole-free belt in about a day or so!!

I am the petite commenter from above (5'4") that is planning to move to SE Alaska or just find a nice piece of local dirt (not happening).

I too have large shoulders, chest, and a nice size waist, but I am longer in the torso than what is normal for petite (aieee). I attribute this to my 50% Irish build - stocky!

At Duluth, I found long-tail shirts that are made 2" longer. I've read through the customer reviews and many TALL women reply that these are the shirts for them. I personally am sick and tired of shirts that are just not long enough to either tuck in or cover the top edge of my jeans.

They're pricier than what is found in a regular mall store, but from the comments, they last.

Oh, and I'm not looking forward to finding work gloves to fit these petite hands. Where do you get your gloves and what works best. Even men's small don't fit me right.

Also, I called the customer service at Duluth to ask about the fire-hose jeans. She was great in recommending what size would fit me, because the generic sizing chart wasn't helping me much. She also made note of something that must be considered, fire-hose jeans don't stretch out like regular denim. She says they fit like jeans just out of the dryer, etc... and they don't stretch in a couple hours, it's how they are.

Now, they do carry a fire-hose stretch jean that is a combination of fire-hose canvas and stretchy stuff (spandex I think). Also, a great item to mention (for me anyhow), customer service rep sounded like she lived down the street from me - meaning they have a domestic call center.

P.S. I love this blog and look forward to it. When we start our adventures, I may blog about it, just so my family can track what's going on and I don't have to send out so many duplicate updates.

- Ketrai -

Plickety Cat said...

Ketrai - sounds like you and I have opposite problems. I'm very short waisted, with only a couple inches between my hip bones and ribs... but I have longer legs and pelvis than my store size. The biggest problem I have with shirts isn't that the shirt is too short (unlike Big Sis), but that the waistband of the jeans is too low so the shirt keeps untucking.

Of course, now the fashionable style is low rise jeans and belly shirts, which just compounds the problem!

I've had much more luck tapering the waist and shortening the sleeves on a mens shirt to get them to fit than I have with trying to alter a waist on jeans. Of course, I did have my breasts reduced to a normal size for my frame, and that makes finding shirts that fit my shoulders and my boobs much easier (and got rid of all those backaches!), even if they are still a little big in the waist.

Geneva in Missouri said...

Clothes shopping is the tenth level of hell for me. The only clothing item I don't mind purchasing are socks and I get them by the bag from Wal-Mart. Even shoes suck because I have to get a 1/2 inch lift in the left shoe and they can't do that with all shoes. I have longish arms and wideish shoulders. I'm also big from the boobies to about mid-thigh. I'm almost short enough for petite but they are usually a few inches too short (just short enough for me to feel stupid) but some averages are too long (hems wear out quick when they are dragged and stepped on). I dread the day I need to find heavy duty clothes for Alaska. I like Carharts but I'll end up buying too big then taking them to a seamstress to alter for me. To fit my chest, gut and rear end I'll have to get way large but then the crotch will hang down to my knees and the pants will be WAY too long. I'd love to loose about 90 lbs before I move (move date unknown if ever) but it's hard to be motivated and stay on course when you're alone.

Pajama Jeans said...

The ability to purchase work pants for women seems important when you're trying to the same job as men. Thanks for pointing this out.

Anonymous said...

This place:

offers heavy weight (14+ oz.) denim and will custom make your jeans, though the cost runs around $50.00. Just a suggestion, given your dilemma.

Plickety Cat said...

Thanks for the tip! I've bookmarked their site and will investigate further when I find my tailor's tape measure again :)

A little spendy, but certainly worth it for the heavier denim and custom fit if the quality construction is there as well. My only concern at that point would be how much shipping would end up being... that's always a problem up here.

Anonymous said...

I also live in AK, and take a women's size 2-4. I was very excited when Carhartt started making women's clothes a couple of years ago, but they run too large. With a 27" waist and 33" hips, I can take off their smallest size jeans (W-2) without unzipping them. And I have long legs and a high waist so boy's sizes are too short in both dimensions.

If you had asked me back in the 1970s -- when I was in my 20s -- if manufacturers would still be treating women like decorative objects in the second decade of the 21st Century, I would have laughed. Now I feel more like yelling at the morons who want to keep me tottering around in heels and those ridiculous skinny jeans.