Five Key Differences Between Men’s and Women’s Workwear

woman in hi vis

Women’s workwear should be built specifically for women — right? You’d think so, but, as many women on the job site can tell you, it’s common to find women’s workwear that’s simply men’s workwear in smaller sizes. Professional women in the trades know that isn’t good enough! 

To understand how to find properly fitted women’s reflective clothing, it’s important to understand the physical differences that women’s safety gear should accommodate. While women obviously have a range of different body types, there are some general rules that women in the trades rely on to find workwear that’s comfy and ready to kick butt. 

man and woman shirt cuts


1. Women’s workwear is made to provide more room in the chest. 

A proper women’s shirt, jacket or vest has additional room built into the chest area. This extra capacity helps women’s workwear fit comfortably on a variety of different body shapes and sizes.

2. Women’s workwear has narrower shoulders.

Women’s shoulders tend to be narrower than men’s, with almost five inches of difference on average according to some estimates. That means the broader shoulders in men’s workwear don’t fit as well on women — another reason that women need well-made workwear specifically for their bodies. 

3. Women’s workwear has different arm holes. 

The shape and location of the arm holes on women’s workwear are slightly different from men’s. This might seem small, but it’s important for making sure that the arms of a shirt or jacket fit comfortably. 

4. Women’s workwear is cut with more curvature in the hips. 

Women’s hips tend to have more curvature than men’s hips, and proper women’s workwear is built to accommodate this. A pair of women’s coveralls or work pants will usually have wider hips that taper slightly toward the waist to help them fit more naturally. 

5. Women’s workwear has buttons and zippers on the opposite side from men’s workwear.

Women’s clothing almost always has its buttons and zippers on the left hand side, as opposed to the right for men’s clothing. There’s no big practical reason why — it’s mostly a quirk of history that things ended up this way. However, it’s a good rule for quickly finding out whether a garment is designed for men or women. 

Discover Our Selection of Women’s Hi Vis Workwear

opening IBC container

Real Women’s Workwear for Real Working Women

HiVis Supply is proud to offer women’s workwear that’s designed specifically for women and made to the highest standards of quality. Below are five of our favorite ladies’ workwear staples that are in action every day on job sites across America. And, yes, we do also have a pink safety vest for those who want it! 

1. HiVis Class 2 Ladies Fleece Lined Parka

This ANSI Class 2 hi vis women’s work parka is the perfect mix of durability, versatility and economy. Its polyester microfleece lining is warm enough for the coldest winter mornings, and the Teflon-coated outer shell helps protect it against liquids, oils and other splash hazards. 

2. Radians ST21W Women’s Class 3 Max-Dri Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Moisture-wicking design and high performance visibility make this ANSI Class 3 women’s work shirt a winner for ladies in the line of duty. Comfort is paramount in this shirt, including our Max-Dri™ breathable birds-eye mesh fabric and flexible segmented tape design. 

3. Radians SV59W Class 2 HiVis Ladies Heavy Duty Surveyor Safety Vest

Tons of pockets, a breathable lightweight mesh and ANSI Class 2 protection — this women’s surveyor safety vest is the complete package at an economical price. The adjustable waistline cinch and reinforced wear points give you both flexibility and durability for a longer-lasting vest. 

4. GSS Safety 5125 Class 2 Hi Vis Lime/Pink Ladies Short Sleeve Safety T-Shirt

This women’s hi vis t-shirt is built for comfort and performance with a breathable polyester mesh that makes it a great choice for warm weather work. ANSI Class 2 performance helps you stay safe and seen, wherever you are. 

5. Kishigo JS144 Black Series Class 3 Hi Vis Ladies Soft-Shell Jacket

Let’s close with one more of our favorite ladies’ work jackets: this ANSI Class 3 soft shell jacket. The Kishigo Black line is popular for its excellent build quality and sharp black accents that also help keep each garment looking sleek and sharp. 

construction worker

For a deeper dive into the world of women’s work gear, see our complete guide to women’s hi vis workwear. And. of course, remember that our full women’s workwear selection is waiting to help working women find their perfect fit!


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