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Posted by Kimberly Witte

Empowering Elegance: Guide to Professional Dress for Women in Engineering

February 22, 2024

In college, I was in a professional engineering sorority that strove to foster female engineers and provide them with the fundamentals they would need when entering the work force. I had opportunities for leadership and mentorship, was able to make connections with other female engineers, and learned how to be professional in the workplace – including how to dress professionally.

As the engineering landscape expands to embrace diversity, it becomes essential for women in the field to navigate not only the complexities of their technical roles but also the nuances of professional attire – both in the office and on project sites. Embarking on a career at Hallam-ICS has been a journey filled with exhilarating challenges and triumphs and I have discovered how to merge my personal flair with industry expectations while working as the Manager of Electrical Safety Operations. In this blog, I will share my professional attire suggestions and recommendations; whether you are working in an office or on a job site, it is important to find the appropriate attire that you feel empowered in while meeting the requirements of the job.

Screenshot 2024-02-20 134423For most engineers working in an office environment, the dress code tends to be business casual – which does not always mean the same thing to everyone! Personally, I define business casual for women as:

  • A pair of slacks or jeans
  • A nice blouse or sweater
  • A pair of loafers or flats

If you are unsure what to wear to a new job, my suggestion would be a more formal business outfit. Then, take cues from your fellow coworkers to see what is appropriate to wear. At Hallam, we have a flexible work attire when we are in the office and not client facing.

As an engineer in the Electrical Safety Services group at Hallam-ICS, a large part of our job is traveling to client sites and surveying their electrical equipment. When we are at a client site, we wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is required by Hallam-ICS and by the NFPA 70E. Our daily wear PPE includes arc-rated shirt and pants, arc flash safety shoes, hard hats, safety glasses, and hearing protection.

PPE (1)

When our team has a new hire, they will select the arc-rated shirt and pants that best suit them with the guidance of the senior technical staff. However, women’s arc-rated PPE that meets company-specific requirements and is comfortable to wear can be very difficult to find. Many PPE companies are not inclusive and have very limited options. My tips for finding PPE that suits your needs are:

  • Determine what your company policies and requirements are – your PPE may need to meet certain code requirements.
  • Research different PPE manufacturers and read the reviews.
  • Measure yourself before ordering and if it doesn’t fit, exchange it!
  • Ask fellow female engineers for their PPE suggestions – they have been in your shoes before and can provide you with guidance.

Whether you are a seasoned engineer or just starting your journey, I hope you enjoyed reading about my experiences with professional attire as a woman in engineering. It can be a trial-and-error process to find the attire that works for you and your industry, so lean on your fellow female professionals and you will succeed. Let’s empower each other to embrace our authenticity, one outfit at a time, and demonstrate that in a world of technology, style is not just a statement – it’s a tool for success!

About the Author

Kimberly Witte is the Manager of Electrical Safety Operations within the Electrical Safety Services group. She has spent the last 6 years at Hallam-ICS after graduating from NC State University. She enjoys ballroom dancing, reading, and crafting.

Read  My Hallam Story  

About Hallam-ICS

Hallam-ICS is an engineering and automation company that designs MEP systems for facilities and plants, engineers control and automation solutions, and ensures safety and regulatory compliance through arc flash studies, commissioning, and validation. Our offices are located in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Vermont and North Carolina  Texas, Florida and our projects take us world-wide.

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Topics: Culturally Different

Kimberly Witte

By Kimberly Witte February 22, 2024

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