I’m a freak. I keep my things too long. My things have holes, but I cannot let them go. I buy tools that work and I buy work pants, painter pants that work. For these you will also want the knee pads: the most important thing here besides the cell phone pocket. Pads should be 20cm x 17cm. See important info about knee pads in painter pants below. Also check to see if the pants you decide on are pre-washed so you can order the right size (more below).
To make it short, these are for ladies, and men but there are others we’ll look at here. These are
I stood on the porch of a client once ( I always wear my white pants to give someone a price), and the first thing he looked at was my pants and remarked: “Just like a Pollack”. If you don’t know Jackson Pollack, he is the patron saint of all painters!
The reason we wear white is that in the old old days, and as recently as the 80’s, most of what we put on walls was white, and therefore the painter pants would work for you that much longer.
Painter Pants Have Special Features No Other Pants Have
If you really want the real thing, here is what you should look for.
- Poly-cotton blend is important. Pure cotton is cooler, but does not last long enough. If you are just going to we a do-it-yourself-er, try these pure cotton pants. Pre-washed and without cool pockets. The 5-in-1 tool fits in the side pocket: it is my second right arm.
- Knee-pads are essential for me, but most painter pants do not have the pocket built in. These pads are for that, but if you want to strap on the pads, I have used these.
- All painter pants have the side pocket for our favorite tool, the 5-in-1 (which is a new invention). That pocket was designed for a small putty knife… when we used to use, you know, putty. See my post on our favorite tools.
- Some water repellent is good, but I recently read about how our clothes are killing us with additives that go right into our skin.
- Some elastic in the waistband is nice and velcro flaps over some pockets is good to keep paint dust etc out, especially in the…
- Cell phone pocket. I have a big phone and keep it on me. Careful with that of course.
- Rag Loop on side: not really for hammers, but it can work for that. Painters don’t use hammers enough to carry them around. This loop is for your rag! We like non-white rags because when they do drop, you can spot them easily on a white drop cloth!
- Thigh pocket with flap and velcro & reflective piping on pockets and lower legs
See a post with other tips here and here.
I never really like the ‘bib overall’ (they are too hot), so I cannot speak about those, but I’ve been through probably at least one pair of painter pants per year over a career of 30+ years. I often thought of selling my old old ones on ebay, but I wonder if it is worth it. I’ll have to look at what someone will pay some day! They make a great gift, believe it or not.
I’m not a big fan of the Dickies painter pants anymore as they don’t have enough bells and whistles for me: I depend on my kneepads: they make me fearless about dropping down to paint a baseboard etc, not to mention walking/sliding along on my knees. You want a tough fabric for that and pure cotton is … meh.
Just an extra: I always have more tools on me than I need. If I don’t have them I will need them. If I have them, I won’t need them. I have one of these on my belt all day long: wow, what a time saver. If you want to have the best go with a tool pouch: very useful when cleaning, or working around the house.