3 Essential Features to Consider Before Buying Construction Shirts

by Molly Joyce

If you were a construction shirt, you would be hard pressed to jump through all the hoops to serve your wearer well.

Think about it, warm enough for cold weather but breathable enough for hot weather. Bright enough to meet safety regulations while still playing into the construction company’s branding.

Let’s not forget durability since it’s not cost effective to keep replacing construction gear. Lastly, you’d have to look good because construction workers deserve nice things too.

You would need all these features while being functional.

It can be a daunting task to source this magical construction shirt for your crew. That’s why we’ve prepared this short guide for the essential features to look for in construction shirts.

1 - Safety Regulation Compliance

safety yellow shirt with retro-reflective strips vertically and across the middle

OSHA regulations for safety apparel have reduced workplace injuries by 40% since the 1970s. That’s why safety compliance in construction shirts should always be your first consideration.

Whether construction workers are interacting with machinery, oncoming traffic or the public, they need to be easily identifiable to reduce the occurrence of accidents.

In a nutshell, safety regulations for construction shirts are:

  • Fluorescent colors for daytime visibility—safety yellow and safety orange to contrast with the environment
  • Retro-reflective strips for nighttime or poorly lit areas that have no natural light
  • Retro-reflective strips should be a minimum of 50 mm wide and form an “X” at the back, vertical strips in front and a continuous strip around the waist
  • Long-sleeved or short-sleeved shirts, no sleeveless shirts
  • Snug fitting in both the sleeves and torso to avoid snagging on machinery

The manufacturer usually provides proof that their garments meet the ANSI safety regulations, which OSHA recommends as a way for employers to comply with its enhanced visibility requirements.

Of equal importance is the placement of branding on the shirt. Here’s where Jupmode can help you out with our decade’s worth of experience custom branding construction safety wear.

  • Your logo should not obscure any of the retro-reflective material.
  • The logo should be small enough on the front to avoid overpowering the fluorescence of the shirt.
  • Multi-colored logos aren’t appropriate as they crowd out the background safety color.

correctly placed company logo on safety clothing

It can be daunting to follow up on the nitty gritty of these branding rules. Cut to the heart of it and have Jupmode sort out your crew’s construction shirts. We’ll take care of everything from custom design creation to printing or adding embroidery on the garment.


2 - High Quality for Durability

safety yellow custom shirt with neck taping on the inside back neckline for durability

Construction shirts need to be as hardy as the men and women who wear them daily. High-quality fabric and construction go hand in hand with durability.

The criteria that determine the durability and quality of a construction shirt are:

  • Fabric composition
  • Fabric weight
  • Quality of garment construction, e.g. neck taping to stretching out of shape

This table shows you the pros and cons of the most common t-shirt fabrics.

Fabric Composition of Construction Shirt Advantages Disadvantages
100% Cotton
  • Strong
  • Absorbent
  • Eco-friendly
  • Breathable
  • Durable
  • Hypo-allergenic
  • Wrinkles easily
  • Doesn’t dry quickly
  • May shrink over time
  • Poor insulator when wet
100% Polyester
  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Fast-drying
  • Colorfast
  • Good insulator
  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • Wicks moisture away from the skin
  • Doesn’t breathe well
  • Suffers sun damage
  • Not absorbent and clings in heat or humidity
  • Holds odors
  • Has static buildup
  • Not environmentally sustainable
  • May cause skin allergies
Cotton Polyester Blend
  • Breathable
  • Wicks moisture away
  • Absorbent
  • Retains its original size and shape
  • Wrinkle-free
  • Dries faster than pure cotton
  • Retains its color
  • Softer and more comfortable to wear
  • Not as breathable as cotton
  • Attracts dust particles
  • Less affordable than polyester
  • May cause skin sensitivity

Cotton and polyester blend construction shirts offer the best of both fabrics while limiting their individual disadvantages.

The fabric composition ratio may skew towards polyester, providing a lighter, athletic-wear feel and less of the cotton advantages. However, if the percentages skew towards cotton, you get a more breathable and sturdy shirt at a higher cost.

Our selection of the best safety shirts reflects diverse compositions to cater to different customer needs:

  • Bayside 5040—90% Cotton, 10% Polyester
  • Jerzees 29MP—50% Cotton, 50% Polyester
  • Gildan 5000—99% Cotton, 1% Polyester
  • Next Level 6210—60% Cotton, 40% Polyester

Fabric weight is measured in GSM. Heavyweight shirt fabrics range from 180–200 GSM while medium-weight fabrics range from 130–160 GSM.

Heavyweight shirts are denser and warmer. They also hold their original shape and size for longer. Medium weight shirts are more ideal for summer wear as they are lighter.

Manufacturers use a higher quality raw material to create the heavyweight fabric options, so they also come at a higher price.

Apart from fabric weight and feel, a shirt’s construction will also speak to its quality and durability.

If you can answer yes to these questions, then the shirt is well made and worth buying:

  • Is the fabric of good quality and feel?
  • Do all the seams and hemlines lie flat when worn?
  • Are the stitches of a higher number showing attention to detail in construction?
  • Have the raw edges on the inside been properly finished with no loose threads?
  • Is the neck taped on the inside to make it more durable?

Expert Tip: Cheap is expensive when it comes to work wear. Find the right balance between your safety apparel budget and your choice of durable, well-made, high-quality shirts that do justice to your brand.

3 - Functionality, Fit and Comfort

long-sleeved safety yellow construction shirt with pocket and company branding

“Functionality, fit, and comfort are like the three wheels of a tricycle. Knock out one and the whole thing doesn’t work as it should”

If a construction shirt makes the wearer feel uncomfortable, unwilling to use it or if they’re forced to pair it with other functional items, then it has failed.

Functionality refers to how the shirt meets the work needs of the construction worker, which may include:

  • Pockets to store small items mid-task, such as pens, notepads, or tester screwdrivers
  • Long sleeves to protect from sun exposure, cuts, abrasion and other surface injuries
  • Fitted cuffs on long sleeved shirts to prevent snagging and injuries
  • Brand elements in easy to spot locations to simplify identification
  • Easy care thanks to stain repellant treatments

Fit straddles the line between comfort and function. An ill-fitting shirt complicates the work day for the wearer. If it’s too loose it’s a snagging hazard that can lead to injuries. The too-tight extreme restricts movement and causes discomfort.

Comfort speaks to the weather appropriateness and wearability of the shirt. Your crew will be in their shirts for at least 40 hours a week. You need to ask:

  • Is the fabric cool and breathable enough for the warm outdoors?
  • Does it wick away sweat, allowing for longer wear throughout the day?
  • Is it warm enough or easy to layer for insulation?
  • Does the shirt have static buildup?
  • Does it take too long to dry?

It’s evident that functionality, fit and comfort feed into each other. To resolve one is to tackle them all.

Expert Tip: Bulk order your custom branded shirts in both heavyweight and medium-weight options and long and short-sleeved varieties to ensure your crew are appropriately outfitted year-round.

Outfit Your Crew Right

Now that we have a clear picture of how quality, durability, safety compliance and functionality are essential to a good construction shirt, what’s next?

Next is to get an expert team on your branding—you don’t want the bundle you dropped on quality gear to go to waste.

Whether you need to overhaul your logo or see your current artwork expertly printed or embroidered on the shirts for your crew, Jupmode can sort you out. Get started with our no-obligation quote request.


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