In 2010, when Jaime Glas was a college student, she spent the summer in Houston interning for Chevron. Working in the field, she was issued flame-retardant clothing (FRC), the standard industry uniform. But Glas, the only female on the jobsite, had a problem: There were no women’s sizes.
“I was given a bulky coverall that was a men’s small, but it was huge, too long and just didn’t fit,” she says. “Even the material was terrible—scratchy, canvas-y. It was hot and uncomfortable.”
In 2012, Glas completed her degree in petroleum engineering at Louisiana State University. She went to work in Houston, as a production engineer for Chevron, and then for current employer Parsley Energy, joining an industry that’s becoming less of a boy’s club with each passing year—although there’s still work to do. According to the National Science Foundation, 19.8 percent of students who earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 2014 were women, a 9.4 percent increase from 2009.
Back in the field, Glas found that the workwear options hadn’t changed much since her intern days: Her only option was a men’s coverall over her regular clothes. She found herself wondering why manufacturers weren’t noticing the needs of professionals like her, who would eat up FRCs that were comfortable and flattering for women.
And so, in 2014, Glas, who’s always been interested in both science and style, decided to fill the gap herself and start her own workwear company, Hot Stuff Safetywear, collaborating with Tennessee-based design and product-development agency The Brand Developers to manufacture a new, National Fire Protection Association–certified line of garments for women. It officially launches this month.
In lieu of bulky coveralls, Hot Stuff offers streamlined, standalone jumpsuits in four styles, along with a couple other workwear pieces, that highlight women’s body types with an assortment of lengths and cuts. The garments come in more comfortable fabrics, as well as 16 colors, all named after Glas’s female-engineer colleagues—among them Wendy White, Mackenzie Mint and Lindsey Light Denim.
More than anything, Glas says, what she wants to implement is greater confidence. “Some women don’t feel comfortable wearing bright colors because they don’t want to stand out, especially new engineers. I’ve never believed that the way to advance in your career is to hide,” Glas says.
“A key part in people respecting your abilities is your confidence, and feeling confident in what you’re wearing is part of that. Women aren’t one-size-fits-all—neither should our uniforms be.”