Have you ever hired painters to paint your home, or have you ever just sat and watched them work? For many people who see professional painters at work for the first time, they may enjoy watching the painters as they do their job. One question that is asked frequently by people seeing painters work for the first time, though, is “Why are these guys wearing white?”
It is a good question. After all, the biggest majority of professional painters you see are more than likely going to be wearing white on the job. What started this tradition, and why do professional painting contractors usually wear white on the job? Let’s jump right in and explore some of the answers to this intriguing question.
The Usual Painter’s Attire
A real work outfit is called painter’s whites, which is a typical painter’s work uniform that consists of several varying pieces of clothing. You’ll find painters will typically wear white work pants, usually in an overall fashion. Underneath the white overalls will also usually be a white short-sleeved or long-sleeved shirt, and you can expect to find your painter wearing a white hat to top it all off.
Why so much white on the traditional painter’s work attire? Here are seven reasons why painters usually wear nothing but white, and some of these are pretty interesting, to say the least.
White is the color of painter’s unions
There was a point in time when the painter’s union declared that all of their painters would be required to wear white clothing while working. Funnily enough, many painters were already wearing white clothing to work before any unions ever existed for painters, so they basically continued the same work clothing style when the unions began.
These days, the tradition carries on, whether the painters are members of unions or not, as you can still see plenty of professional painters who religiously wear white to their jobs.
White is a cooler color
If you wear black clothing out in the summer sun, the chances are good that you are going to start getting hot and sweating before someone who is wearing lighter colored clothing does. Painters realized there was a good reason why they were painting houses white back in the old days (helping to keep the houses cooler) and began wearing white to help themselves keep cool on the job.
White clothing allows you to see painters’ battle scars
Often, painters will display the layers of paint smattered onto their work clothes like battle scars, and proudly say to the world: I’m a painter! The various colors that have been etched into their clothing tell the story of their profession, and they are proud of that.
In fact, many painters will continue to wear the same sets of painter’s whites for awhile, letting their battle scars continue to build from job to job. This way, they can tell when a new painter is on the job, because his painter’s whites will be pristine and free of any markings.
White tells people they just entered a painting zone
No one wants to walk into an area with fresh paint and lean against the wall, getting the brand new paint all over their clothes. If you walk into an area that is being painted and see a bunch of guys in white working, it is going to subconsciously click for you that you just walked into an area that is being painted.
All of the workers wearing white will denote that someone just entered a painting zone before they even hang up a wet paint sign. This is because people have universally accepted that when we see workers wearing white, the chances are good that they are probably painters.
White clothing is pretty cheap
Another great reason that professional painters wear white? It’s some of the cheapest clothing money can buy! You can go to almost any dollar store and find white clothing on the lower end of the price spectrum, and if all of your clothes are going to be getting paint on them, why spend a bunch of money unnecessarily on something fancier?
White clothing is very cheap for clothing manufacturers to produce, which makes them very cheap for retail and clothing stores to sell, which in turn makes them cheap for the end customer to purchase for themselves. For people who get dirty for a living, cheap work clothes are a boon.
White is the base color of every color out there
Think about what happens when you mix paint colors. More often than not, your base color is usually always going to be white. If you want to make another color, you just have to add the right amount of any other color to the white, like red, yellow, blue, or something else entirely.
This is just how paint mixing and colors work in general.
A long time ago, professional painters would take paint paste and mix it up with white lead powder. The process of mixing this combination would produce huge clouds of white dust, which would get all over the place, especially all over the painters’ clothes.
To hide all of these white dust particles, painters simply started wearing all white clothing. This is one of the older reasons on record for painters consistently wearing white clothing on the job, and it is certainly one that makes a lot of sense.
White is the color a painter wears
When it comes down to it, this is one of the most basic reasons professional painters wear white when they are on the job. For centuries now, it has just become standard practice for painters to wear white when they are getting ready to head to the job site. Why should new painters break tradition and wear some other color?
For many painters, it really is that simple. They know that the profession they chose has a certain tradition behind it, and they choose to stick with that tradition. In this case, it is wearing white clothing to their painting jobs.
Many painters just want their customers to be able to tell their painting crew apart from anyone else who may come to their homes, so they wear white so that everyone will be able to know, these guys are the painters.
Whatever the case may be, white has just become universally accepted as the color that professional painters wear. As such, many painters proudly don their white clothes every day when they get up and begin getting ready for another day of work.
You Can Always Tell a Painter Apart From the Crowd
Usually, it is very easy for you to be able to tell when someone is a professional painter. White clothing, paint buckets, brushes, and drop cloths lining up the back of their work trucks, painters are easy to spot. Many people don’t think about it, but as you learned above, there are some good reasons why the biggest majority of professional painters you come across are going to be wearing white.
Now you know some of the reasons why this is the case, so next time, instead of asking a painter why they wear the colors they do, thank them for all of the hard work they do instead. Their job is thankless and difficult, and one that many of us should be glad we do not have to deal with on a daily basis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still got questions about why painters wear white clothing to work? Let’s check out some of the most common questions asked about this topic:
What do painters wear to protect their clothes while working?
Many painters don’t wear anything to protect their clothing, they simply wear their white clothes and let paint get all over them. Some painters are a little more reserved, however, and you can often find them wearing protective gear, such as a painting smock or even a simple apron.
What are the painter’s pants?
Painter’s pants are actually an article of clothing meant for work (in this case, painting) that got adopted as a fashion statement, much like what happened with blue jeans. Painter’s pants were intended to be worn by professional painters on the job, and have been actively sold on the market by manufacturers of work clothes since the 1920s, at the very least.
What type of shoes do painters wear?
Many painters wear typical, everyday shoes, but a majority of painters like to wear something with good treads, like a good pair of work boots. Not only will these make the painters more comfortable after standing all day, but it also helps their feet find grip when painting from ladders and high places.
Professional Painting to the Rescue
Next time you need the interior or exterior of your home or office painted, keep those guys in white on your mind to get the job done. You’ll be able to know when your painters show up and when you encounter one on the job because they’ll most likely be wearing the same uniform, that battle-proven and time-tested painter’s white.