As we all know, winter can be brutal. If you don’t have appropriate winter work clothes, you don’t stand a chance working outside during the brutally cold months. Not only is it painful, it is dangerous.
But recently we’ve had several readers reach out to us and complain about how expensive winter workwear can be, especially when you consider all that goes into making a complete winter work wardrobe.
Well, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that expensive. Recently I put together a complete winter work wardrobe from Key Apparel for less than $150 total. This included:
- Insulated Hooded Duck Jacket ($59.99)
- Fleece Lined Work Jeans ($29.99)
- Heavyweight Long-Sleeve Work Shirt ($14.99)
- Fleece Pullover Hoodie ($29.99)
- Winter Hat ($9.99)
Here I am wearing all of these pieces I purchased for under $150:
There was even some money left to spare in case you want to also shop for other winter accessories (like a base layer) to add to this wardrobe.
In this article, I want to take a closer look at the pieces of clothing I purchased so you have a better idea what to expect. Let’s also discuss the Key Apparel brand, where they got their start, and what they do well.
Key Apparel Winter Workwear
Insulated Hooded Duck Jacket
Any good winter work wardrobe needs a durable work jacket. Most workers prefer a hooded duck canvas jacket that is durable enough to take on a work environment.
I was able to buy this Key Apparel Insulated Hooded Duck Jacket for $59.99. Here’s what you need to know about this jacket:
- Outer Shell – 12-ounce 100% cotton duck canvas outer shell fabric durable enough to handle a work site.
- Insulation – This jacket has 4-ounce Polyfill insulation with a Taffetta lining. The lining makes it easy to slide this jacket on and off without it bunching up your sleeves.
- Flexibility – This jacket has a bi-swing back which makes it easy to use your arms and shoulders while you work. The elbows are also pleated for additional freedom of movement.
- Pockets – Plenty of storage options for this jacket, including two different pockets on the inside of the jacket to store essentials.
- Water Resistant – This jacket has a water-resistant finish that will repel light precipitation to help keep you dry.
- What I like the best – Key Apparel actually lined the handwarmer pockets. Way too many workwear companies neglect to line the handwarmer pockets. It’s nice to see them add this little touch because as we all know, if your hands are cold, it becomes very hard to function at a high level.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised at how warm this jacket, especially considering the price. It’s very capable of handling colder temperatures, especially if you combine it with layers underneath.
Again, it checks two of the most important boxes for me:
- It has a bi-swing back which means it I can freely use my arms on the job.
- It has insulated hand-warmer pockets. Nice touch, which is often neglected by other companies.
This is where you can buy this insulated duck canvas jacket at keyapparel.com. Multiple colors are available for this jacket, and they also offer tall sizing.
Fleece Lined Work Jeans
For the brutal winter months, I always turn to a dependable pair of work jeans that have an extra lining for additional warmth. In my experience, fleece tends to be a warmer lining than flannel, but I’ve worn both.
I was able to buy these Key Apparel Performance Comfort Fleece Lined Jeans for $29.99. Here’s what you need to know about these jeans:
- Lining – These jeans are lined with a soft, 4-ounce polyester fleece. As I mentioned earlier, in my experience fleece lining does a better job at trapping heat than flannel lining. Just my opinion. These jeans are fully lined from top to bottom.
- Fit – These jeans have a relaxed fit that isn’t too tight or too baggy. The fit is a nice middle ground which provides you the space you need to work, but doesn’t look too sloppy or baggy. Heavy-duty brass button closure to help these jeans stay in place.
- Material – These jeans are made with a 12-ounce cotton/poly blend that isn’t stiff and moves with you as you move.
- What I like the best – I own several styles of lined winter pants from various brands. What jumps out at me about these pants is the comfort and flexibility. The fleece is extremely soft against the legs, and the poly/cotton denim blend keeps these jeans from feeling stiff. Although they have that extra lining, I don’t feel like they limit my range of motion.
I have a pair of lined canvas pants from another major workwear brand (which I won’t mention by name), but those canvas pants feel so stiff when I wear them. Feels like I wrestle them when I wear them.
These jeans aren’t like that. They are very comfortable and easy to move around in. I’ll wear them outside of work too.
The only drawback here on these jeans is they don’t have any utility pockets. For me, that’s something I can usually work around. If you need extra pockets, Key also offers a pair of lined dungarees jeans that have utility pockets and tool loop (view).
This is where you can buy these fleece lined winter jeans at keyapparel.com. Available up to a 36 length for those of you who are taller like me.
Heavyweight Long-Sleeve Work Shirt
Of course you need a basic work shirt, and I personally prefer wearing heavyweight long-sleeve t-shirts during the winter.
I was able to buy this Key Apparel Heavyweight Long Sleeve Pocket T-Shirt for $14.99. Here’s what you need to know about this shirt:
- Lining – This shirt is made with a cotton/poly blend and has a heavyweight material that helps provide some additional warmth.
- Pocket – Yes, this shirt has a chest pocket which gives you a spot to store basic essentials while you work.
- Fit – This shirt has a standard fit in my experience that doesn’t hug too tight and restrict your freedom of movement.
- What I like the best – I like the fact that Key offers this shirt in tall sizing, which means for those of you who are 6’2″ or taller (like I am) you can buy a sizing that gives you enough coverage in the back.
This is where you can buy this heavyweight long-sleeve tee available at keyapparel.com. Multiple colors are available for this shirt, and they also offer tall sizing.
Fleece Pullover Hoodie
I feel like a dependable pullover hoodie is an essential piece of a winter work wardrobe. I wear a hoodie basically every winter day. On a mild day, it’s my outer layer, on the brutally cold days, it’s a layer under my jacket.
One reason I love to layer a hoodie is because it gives me a second hood. I don’t see enough workers taking advantage of two hoods. PRO TIP: Two hoods is warmer than one.
I was able to buy this Key Apparel Fleece Pullover Hoodie for $29.99. Here’s what you need to know about this hoodie:
- Design – This hoodie is made with a cotton/poly fabric blend. This hoodie has a kangaroo pocket for warming your hands. Certainly warm enough to wear on its own during the more mild winter days.
- Fit – This hoodie has a standard fit in my experience that doesn’t hug too tight and restrict your freedom of movement.
- What I like the best – I mentioned this earlier about the t-shirt, but I appreciate the fact that Key offers this hoodie in tall sizing. Being 6’4″, one thing that bothers me is I often can’t find hoodies that have sleeves long enough for my arms. This tall size hoodie fits perfectly.
I’d say the only potential drawback here (it doesn’t really affect me) is the hood is regular size, meaning it won’t slip over the top of a helmet. If you wear a hard hat, you’d need to buy a hard hat liner to pair with this.
This is where you can buy this fleece pullover hoodie available at keyapparel.com. Multiple colors are available for this hoodie, and they also offer tall sizing.
I can’t stand a cold head and cold ears, so I also bought a standard winter watch hat from Key. It cost $9.99.
This hat has a classic design and is insulated with 3M Thinsulate. If you are unfamiliar with 3M Thinsulate, it is a non-bulky, lightweight synthetic insulation that is very good at trapping heat.
Here’s a look at my hat:
Of course, if you already have a winter hat, there are other winter options you could buy from Key, including base layering and flannels.
This is where you can buy this Thinsulate watch cap available at keyapparel.com. Multiple colors are available for this hat, including hi-vis colors.
Other Winter Options from Key Apparel
Key has a wide selection of winter work apparel beyond what I purchased. Here’s some of what they currently offer.
- Base Layers
- Winter Hats
- Insulated Vests
- Bib Overalls & Coveralls
- Jackets & Coats
- Lined Pants
- Sweatshirts & Pullovers
History of Key Apparel
For those of you who read this blog regularly, you know that I am from Kansas, and so it’s cool for me to be able to highlight the Key Apparel brand since it also has its roots in the state of Kansas.
Key Apparel was originally established as the Lakin-McKey Manufacturing Company in Fort Scott, Kansas in 1908 by founders C. A. Lakin and Harry McKey.
Like a lot of workwear brands at that time, the Lakin-McKey Manufacturing Company took pride in making durable bib overalls. The plains of southeast Kansas were full of farmers and ranchers who needed dependable overalls and other types of workwear to help them function during a long day of work.
And you have to remember, Kansas is well known for drastic seasons. The workwear had to fit all types of weather, including the brutal heat and the bitter cold.
The Lakin-McKey Manufacturing Company took pride in making these bib overalls at a fair, affordable price for Kansas farmers. I think this is perhaps the most important aspect of the company that we have seen carried forward into present day: Key offers very affordable, fair-priced workwear.
Today, the Key Apparel brand offers a wide variety of clothing for all types of seasons. Their workwear has a traditional style, with core work essentials like canvas jackets and pants, and durable button down work shirts.
But this brand does have plenty of depth and variety, and they have workwear that can meet specific needs. And as I have shown you in this article, if you need a complete winter work wardrobe, Key Apparel can provide you that at a very fair price point.
You can explore all that Key Apparel has to offer by visiting their website. They offer options for both men and women, and do have flame-resistant and hi-vis options to satisfy certain safety requirements.