Protection against the work elements

Why are so few overalls designed like this one?

As a keen do-it-yourselfer, I have always been puzzled at the general lack of decent protective workwear on the shelves of consumer outlets. Apparently the management and buyers are unaware of any design other than the ubiquitous two-piece ‘Continental Suit’. This type is fine if the trousers and jacket wear out at different rates and have to be replaced separately. But it’s a pain – literally – if you have to crawl underneath a broken-down vehicle in the veld. The thing simply doesn’t cover you adequately as you slide around.


The single-piece Sweet-Orr boiler suit is ideal for working in awkward, demanding situations, such as under a car. It is also acid-repellent. Courtesy of Chris Nel

In contrast, the boiler suit, or ‘engineer’s style work suit’ as this manufacturer calls it, is a one-piece design with a full-length zip in front. This has two sliders, opening from the top and bottom. Whether you’re lying on your back, side or stomach, it keeps out grass, sticks sand, soil, stones and goggas. The Engineer’s style Work Suit, Code 02102 04102 from Sweet-Orr, is one of the best available. It has long sleeves with elasticised cuffs and waist, two breast pockets with flaps and stud closure, two side pockets with vents, hip and rule pockets, and a double slider full-length YKK zip.

It is washable and can be dry-cleaned and ironed. The fabric, an 80% polyester and 20% viscose blend, is acid-repellent. A criticism is that it does not seem to be scuff-resistant. Mine showed abrasion marks after a short period, which made me wonder about its long-term durability. The bottle-green Engineer’s style Work Suit shown costs R299, excluding VAT. Other colours and sizes may be priced differently. 

Phone Marion Ruiters on 021 932 6921 or email [email protected].