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Style in a dirty work environment?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I've been working at my machine shop now for 3 years part time while going through school. I graduate December 21st and start full time there as a Manufacturing Engineer December 23rd.

 

Only over the past few months have I really got into style and dressing more professional, but I don't know I can continue that in my machine shop.  You see we aren't some little shop that machines clean aluminum, we manufacture A/C compressors from cast iron castings.  Some weighing up to 6 tons!  The air always smells like coolant, there is oil all around.  Even in the engineer office where I have my own desk there is still that lingering odder.  I do spend much of my day in the office, but most days I spend anywhere from an hour to all day in the shop.

 

I am worried if I start bringing any of my garments/shoes into the facility they will be ruined by the environment.  Lets say my pea-coat, just to wear that into the shop in the morning and hang next to my desk, it will get the same smell the shop does.  Or if I brought a bag of clothes to change into after work, not only will the bag develop the smell but my skin gets oily from the environment through the day.  I live 20 minutes from the shop so a 40 minute round trip seems crazy if I want to go into town and sit at a coffee bar of lounge.

 

Any advice on mixing my style/clothes with my work environment? 

 

 

A glimpse of the shop, you can see 2 of the 20+ CNC's we have in the shop, I do love my job!

post #2 of 11

denim is your friend, keep a sportscoat in your car with a change of shoes and some plain t-shirts or chambrays. nice shoes, jeans and a s/c is style enough going out. especially for a guy who actually works for a living. :fonz:

post #3 of 11
I've seen some pretty nice denim work aprons that you can rock
post #4 of 11

agreed, more on the sw&d side. but still styleforum.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by size 38R View Post
 

denim is your friend, keep a sportscoat in your car with a change of shoes and some plain t-shirts or chambrays. nice shoes, jeans and a s/c is style enough going out. especially for a guy who actually works for a living. :fonz:

 

Good point!  Thanks, I'm excited to be back here now and have a full time position right after graduation! :cool:

 

How do I deal with the scent of oil and machine shop without drenching myself in cologne which I am not for doing?  I'm thinking my jacket I'll put in one of those suit protective zippered hanger bags, but I'll have the scent :confused:

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by acidboy View Post

I've seen some pretty nice denim work aprons that you can rock

 

Haha we'll see about that, I'm mostly in my office but when I go out in the shop that might be an option.

post #6 of 11

just wash your face, wearing a hat at work might help you keep the machine shop smell out of your hair.  wearing a clean outer shirt, and jacket/shoes. with just a hint of cologne.any lady really close to you will not be put off by the "Worker" smell. in fact, some women like it. most chicks don't really want a university professor anyway. so just get out there and have fun!

post #7 of 11
I work in a very similar environment, I know the exact smell of coolant and cast iron chips you are talking about. I face a similar dilemma.

If your office will accept jeans, as others have pointed out, they are what you want to rock, if styling is that important to you. The problem with raw denim is that, if it does absorb the odor, you aren't going to want to wash them as much as perhaps you should. This time of year, I like easy care stuff like corduroys, which are comfy and look good. I think the smell is what it is if you're not going to shower in between work and after-hours activities like happy hour. There's a lot you can do with a streetwear look that will look good at happy hour and still looks rugged. You can even try to go a little MC with decent trousers, fitted dress shirts, and a sportscoat with square to throw on on the way out the door.

For shoes, I stick with commando-soled boots these days. Lots of good options out there these days in the SWD arena, like those custom work boots that are all over the title page. Today I'm rocking Cheaney Tamar C boots, for example (google for pics), which are pretty good shit kickers for an office/shop environment.

Good luck with the job.
post #8 of 11
The AE Bayfields are a good boot option too. Available on sale sometimes through lands end (their coupons usually exempt AE...but sometimes they forget). Looks like they are not selling them right now...hope that is not because they are discontinued but just because they are doing a 40% off everything sale and don't want you using it on full price AEs.

Commando sole, Chromexcel leather (so they love more heavy duty treatments like obenauf's leather oil but can still get touched up with some brown cream polish if you gotta spiff them up before going out).
post #9 of 11
Dang...looks like AE may have discontinued the bayfields...

shame, they are my favorite winter shoes for those days following a fresh snowfall before the salt melts everything away and the sidewalks are dry again.
post #10 of 11
I change to my older denims and steel toed work shoes when I report to work. fashion takes a backseat, specially if you've had the pleasure of having a heavy object accidentally fall on a big toe.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by size 38R View Post
 

just wash your face, wearing a hat at work might help you keep the machine shop smell out of your hair.  wearing a clean outer shirt, and jacket/shoes. with just a hint of cologne.any lady really close to you will not be put off by the "Worker" smell. in fact, some women like it. most chicks don't really want a university professor anyway. so just get out there and have fun!

 

I can wash my face and arms, I would wear a hat but I get pretty bad hat head.  I actually do know a number of girls that love the smell of the shop, I personally just get tired of it after work, haha.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas View Post

I work in a very similar environment, I know the exact smell of coolant and cast iron chips you are talking about. I face a similar dilemma.

If your office will accept jeans, as others have pointed out, they are what you want to rock, if styling is that important to you. The problem with raw denim is that, if it does absorb the odor, you aren't going to want to wash them as much as perhaps you should. This time of year, I like easy care stuff like corduroys, which are comfy and look good. I think the smell is what it is if you're not going to shower in between work and after-hours activities like happy hour. There's a lot you can do with a streetwear look that will look good at happy hour and still looks rugged. You can even try to go a little MC with decent trousers, fitted dress shirts, and a sportscoat with square to throw on on the way out the door.

For shoes, I stick with commando-soled boots these days. Lots of good options out there these days in the SWD arena, like those custom work boots that are all over the title page. Today I'm rocking Cheaney Tamar C boots, for example (google for pics), which are pretty good shit kickers for an office/shop environment.

Good luck with the job.

 

With us being a job/production shop I am usually in the office however I do spend at least an hour to almost all day in the shop.  This means everyday I work I am required to wear jeans and steel toe boots. I keep a few sets of Jeans and label inside of them "Work" since the smell stays with them forever.  The thing is I do get to visit customers and some days have customers come to visit, I'd like to be able to have a nice change of clothes to look more professional. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by otc View Post

The AE Bayfields are a good boot option too. Available on sale sometimes through lands end (their coupons usually exempt AE...but sometimes they forget). Looks like they are not selling them right now...hope that is not because they are discontinued but just because they are doing a 40% off everything sale and don't want you using it on full price AEs.

Commando sole, Chromexcel leather (so they love more heavy duty treatments like obenauf's leather oil but can still get touched up with some brown cream polish if you gotta spiff them up before going out).

 

I'd be worried to wear any kind of boot beyond a work boot for most days in the shop.  However when I go to visit clients it be nice to have steel toes that also look presentable.

 

These are my 2 year old boots... You'll see how much abuse they take (You can see they should be brown)

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by acidboy View Post

I change to my older denims and steel toed work shoes when I report to work. fashion takes a backseat, specially if you've had the pleasure of having a heavy object accidentally fall on a big toe.

 

I have to wear steel toes to work.  I wouldn't mind however having a pair that is my "nice" presentable pair for days at work when I can actually dress up a little more or as mentioned, go to visit customers.

 

My main concern is after work, when I walk out that door how can I look more presentable. 

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