Why Do Painters Wear White?

When we think of house painters we don’t necessarily think of their style. But the white overalls and cap that painters have become famous for have gained popularity outside the profession. So let’s understand a bit more the question: why do painters wear white?

Photo: Oh Anthonio

The painter’s ensemble is a must-have for young hipsters and festival-goers. Urban Outfitters is now even selling a pair of ’90s style Dickies White Overalls: a classic house painter look.

The brand, Dickies, when it was founded in 1922, started as a bib overall company that catered to house painters and the everyday worker. They couldn’t have imagined that the baggy white overalls would become the fashion trend that it is today for everyday people.

The white overalls are uniquely more popular than any other color. It is the white overalls that house painters are known for, which is odd in a profession that is notoriously messy. This begs the question: why do house painters wear white? There are many different theories about why painters wear white.

One theory dates back to the beginning of painter unions. Once some of the house painters unionized, they wanted to stand out and have a clean, professional look, so they chose white. This way the more seasoned house painters were distinguished because if they were careless, you would see paint on them. Today, if a painter’s clothes have more colors and stains on them, it means they are more experienced because they have done more painting jobs.

Another – perhaps more practical – reason is house painters deal with white spackle, white paint, and drywall a lot. With white clothing, these materials won’t be as noticeable.

White is also a cool color, that is, it will keep the house painters cool in the sun as they paint the exterior of a house.

There is a certain pride and notoriety in what a house painter wears; whether it is keeping it clean or showing off previous work, white is the perfect uniform.

To see examples of how the uniform has changed and gained popularity, here are some images of painters through history in their traditional garb.

1840s – 1850s

Photo: Invaluable.com

1890s – 1910s

Photo: Flickr

1920s

Photo: Pinimg

1930s

Photo: Le peintre en bâtiment by François Kollar

1940s

Photo: Financial Times

1950s

Photo: “Eiffel Tower Painter” by Mark Riboud

1950s

Photo: “House Painter” by Irving Penn

While this may inspire you to purchase some clothing inspired by trend-setting house painter’s, chances are you don’t want to get them covered in paint. Paintzen painters do!

As you’re looking good in your new overall’s, our house painters can update the look of your space. Get started today with a free and instant online quote.