For many, clothing is a lifestyle statement. It is about fashion, culture, and personal expression. It is less about fit and more about fitting in. Many considerations go into buying a new article of clothing. One of the least of those considerations is whether or not the item of clothing is actually needed. A closet full of clothing that you only have worn once, if at all, has become a right of passage in some circles.
It is probably a reactionary response to a time when a person was lucky to have one dress or one suit that was worn and patched and altered to within an inch of its life. A new piece of clothing was truly a big deal. It became a symbol of poverty that one had to wear the same clothes for long periods of time. The opposite of that is to wear them less often. It has gotten to the point where people don’t even bother removing the tags from new clothes that have been in their closet of shame for years.
Perhaps the least of the reasons we buy clothes is protection. Here is a look at some of the garments that keep us safe, and why they should move up on the list of priorities:
Very few people buy work boots as fashion statements. If they are not dirty and a bit on the ugly side, you’re not doing it right. A work shoe is for protection. In particular, comfortable steel toe boots are designed to keep your feet from being damaged in the event of a heavy object falling on your toes. These boots also have to be comfortable for standing and doing heavy labor on your feet all day.
Protective shoes are not just for men and women on construction sites. If you do a lot of DIY type work around the house or office, or do a lot of work on your vehicle, or just find yourself helping people move, you should have a pair of protective shoes. If they also happen to look nice, consider it a bonus, not a must.
There is a lot to know about American hats. There was a time when a man was not considered dressed until he put on his hat. Being out and about without a hat would have appeared indecent. Women also had deep cultural reasons for wearing and owning many hats. But the best reason to wear a hat today is for protection.
Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and is the one most easily prevented. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and large sunglasses when the sun is particularly bright. You will also help protect your vision while protecting your face and upper-body. These types of hats and sunglasses are seldom the most fashionable. But they can save you from poor vision and skin cancer. As we head into Spring, it is time to reassess your hat collection.
In many circles, gloves are still a fashion statement, Michael Jackson didn’t wear that single glove to keep his hand warm. Thin, decorative gloves are also a part of ladies’ formal wear. But those gloves are hardly meaningful protection against the rigors of hard work.
Try gardening without gloves. You can’t do it well. Many use driving gloves to improve grip and to protect their hands from a hot string wheel. If you work in a stock room or warehouse where lifting is required, you need gloves to protect yourself from tears and blisters.
One of the most overlooked pieces of protective clothing is the humble sock. It keeps your feet padded and safe from blisters. But the biggest sock innovation is moisture-wicking. Sweaty feet are not only malodorous, but become the breeding ground for fungus, blisters, and possible infection. If you have never thought much about the protective power of socks, empty your sock draw and fill it with socks that are worthy of respect.
Don’t just buy clothes because they’re in the sale. And give extra consideration to the ones that protect your feet, your skin, and your hands. Fashionable clothes are seldom worth the money. But protective clothes usually are.