Home Featured Dress for Success Work Clothes: The Next Frontier of Technology

Work Clothes: The Next Frontier of Technology

When technology meets fabric, it creates an entirely new way to dress for success

Hexoskin Woman's Shirt. Credit Hexoskin.

Dress for success. What does that mean to you? It conjures up the image of the power suit, the high heel, the silk tie – all the elements that speak to influence and confidence. However, there’s a quiet but powerful revolution sweeping the clothing retail landscape, bringing with it clothing that does far more than project a successful image. These are clothes that are infused with technology and designed to work as hard as you do. These are clothes will push your performance, on and off the job.


A Second Skin

Hexoskin’s biometric smart shirts monitor heart rate (heart rate recovery), breathing rate (minute ventilation), activity intensity, calorie burn, peak acceleration, cadence, steps, and sleep. The in-garment Bluetooth connects to your smartphone, and the shirt has a 14-hour battery life.

“Hexoskin can be worn under daily living clothes and monitors your health. It’s a convenient way to follow your fitness level all day,” says Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, co-Founder and CEO of Hexoskin. He sees the biometric shirt as just the beginning of a movement. “There will, for sure, be more technology-infused clothes because people are more curious about their own health and vitals than ever.”

The biometric shirt is a new and exciting way to gather and analyze feedback for healthy lifestyle enthusiasts, athletes and coaches, researchers, and medical professionals. Hexoskin is machine washable, and the sleek styling allows for wear under a sports jacket or blazer, on its own with jeans, or as part of gym-going attire.

Hexoskin can be purchased online at www.hexoskin.com.


The Real World Answer to Vibranium

Those that follow the Marvel Cinematic Universe are no strangers to the magical properties of vibranium, a powerful metallic ore that gives Captain America his indestructible shield and the Black Panther his bulletproof suit. Well, vibranium isn’t real, but vibram is, and it’s a huge help to the thousands of women commuting and working outdoors in Alberta’s icy winter. Don’t worry gentlemen! There are “superhero” boots for you as well, thanks to the infusion of green diamond.

Dave Stephens, footwear buyer, Mark’s, talks about the Sperry Powder Valley Arctic Grip winter boot for women and the WindRiver’s Bivy winter boot for men.

“Vibram is known for providing innovative technologies in shoe soles for winter’s slippery surfaces, such as wet ice. The Vibram Arctic Grip sole, featured on Sperry Powder Arctic Grip Winter Boots, is a state-of-the-art technology that uses entirely rubber material without the addition of metal components to provide grip on icy surfaces.

“Our Tarantula Anti-Slip™ on Ice with Green Diamond Technology is exclusive to Mark’s in Canada and is featured on WindRiver Bivy Winter Boots. This patented technology uses tiny silica carbide crystals embedded throughout the rubber sole, providing maximum safety, grip and traction control. As the sole of the boot wears, more crystals are exposed so it will continue to provide traction on ice, snow and slush.”

This anti-slip technology is the result of years of research, Stephens explains.

“Many Canadians visit the emergency room every year due to injuries related to falling on ice or snow. In an effort to keep Canadians safer throughout winter, a team of researchers at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute used their innovative WinterLab to build evidence-based ratings on footwear and their ability to grip on snow and ice. The WinterLab recreates typical Canadian winter conditions, for example sub-zero temperatures, snow and ice-covered surfaces, and winds up to 30 km per hour. It also has the ability to create slopes and can be moved suddenly to challenge a participant’s balance.

“The team developed the first test of its kind in the world – the Maximum Achievable Angle (MAA) Testing Method– to validate slip resistant footwear on icy surfaces. These ratings can be found on www.ratemytreads.com and are denoted using a ‘snowflake’ scale. With the help of the WinterLab, researchers have tested the slip resistance of a number of winter boots and rated them on a scale from zero to three snowflakes.

“Innovation is very important to us, and developing solutions for Canadians drives the purchasing team. This year at Mark’s, we have over 15 styles of footwear that have achieved a Snowflake rating on ratemytreads.com.

“Mark’s has a full line of slip-resistant boots that are sure to fit anyone’s lifestyle. The boots are available in various styles, each of which provide everyone, from daily commuters to outdoor construction workers and ranchers, with the footwear they need to walk safely.”

These boots can be purchased in store on online and start at a regular price of $150.


Climate Change

Now that you’re headed to work with a shirt measuring your health and your feet firmly planted on the ground, what’s next? How about a coat that gives you your own personal, comfortable climate?

“JobSite Workwear is proud to carry the largest selection of Carhartt’s Force Extremes collection that uses their new 37.5 technology – active particles permanently embedded at the fiber level to capture and release moisture vapor and prevent liquid sweat from forming. This helps keep you cool when you’re hot,” explains Marc Poirier, head buyer at JobSite Workwear. “The same active particles trap infrared energy to warm you up as you start to get cold. The technology uses your own body’s energy to create a micro climate that allows you to stay on the job when you need to – not too hot, not too cold!”

He’s a fan of workwear that…well… works.

“For most workers, they’re on the job for the majority of their day. What they wear is important, and getting the right gear has repercussions on the job. Without sounding too theoretical, the right gear can create a safe environment where your focus can stay on work. On a worksite with hazards all around, if you’re thinking about how cold you are, how your feet hurt, or if you’re overheating and dehydrated, the consequences can be dramatic. Your work gear should be tuned and fitted to work with you, not against you.

“With the technology available in workwear in 2018, the traditional cotton tee, jacket, and pant have been replaced with products that are actually designed to improve everything, from movement and durability to personal climate.”

It looks like this is just the beginning of a more focused and comfortable workforce.

“We’re seeing more and more technical innovation in fabrics,” confirms Poirier. “Workwear is catching up to technical outerwear like North Face and Patagonia, with the mindset based around ease of movement. Our work outerwear increasingly has additional stretch, gussets, and panels that are designed to move with you while you work, and we use lighter weight materials.

“Because it’s still the work category, our manufacturers are testing lighter weight materials that not only wick, stretch, and move, but that are actually more durable and tougher than traditional work gear, too. This means you can get a jacket or pant that feels lighter, has a more modern fit, and will actually last longer than old school workwear.

“Carhartt is using Quick Duck, which is tougher and 30 per cent lighter than their traditional cotton; Wall’s uses Kevlar® in a new line of jackets and bibs; and Helly Hansen has a four-way stretch polyamide pant that we think is the future of work pants. These innovations allow the wearer to focus on their job and actually be safer on the jobsite; all of that means a successful day at work.”


Dress for Success

The power suit will always have a place in our closets as a way to dress for success, but thanks technological innovation, it becomes just one of the many ways Alberta’s hard working men and women can put on clothes and be more successful, on and off the job.