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Here’s how to look good on a girder 30 stories up

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Forget about skinny jeans and high heels, pink power tools are the new black.

Answering the call of tradeswomen who are sick of gloves that don’t fit, reflective vests that sag, and the abject lack of work boots designed for the feminine physique, longtime construction worker Deidre Douglas opened Woman Up, a work-wear store on Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights.

“I have customers as far as California because no one wants to wear stuff that doesn’t fit,” said Douglas, herself a construction worker for a decade. “Women come here for the boots and the gloves and they all tell me how happy they are that I’m here.”

Though the store has been open for a year, Douglas has moved beyond the apparel problem. Next up is a line of pink power tools that are strong enough for a man, but made for a woman.

Her clients aren’t all construction workers. Transit workers, letter carriers, and dockworkers also frequent her store, she said — all with one thing in common.

“We wear boots, not suits,” Douglas said.

Woman Up is not all about pink hues, frills on hardhats or petite sizes. But it is about not losing your femininity even when you’re on a girder 30 stories up.

As such, the store offers a line of sweat-absorbing supportive underwear. Think Hanes Her Way with extra support to straighten spines, lift breasts, regulate body temperature, and generally improves figures while you work.

Men are welcome, certainly. The other day, a United Parcel Service driver stopped by and bought a pair of work gloves because his hands are small for his sex, Douglas said.

He wasn’t the only exception, but Douglas mostly caters to women, including selling nutritional supplements and skin and bath products.

“Because after you stop working you still want to come home and feel like a woman,” she said.

Woman Up [708 Washington Ave. between St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place in Prospect Heights, (347) 750-6836].

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Reader Feedback

michelle from brownsville says:
I am so pleased to see this article I often shop at this store & know mrs.douglas personaly.I think this store is great idea,and she is a great person as well
Feb. 20, 2010, 10:40 am
Terrin from Brooklyn says:
To: Anne from park slope

First of all that woman is very hard working and is married with children. Your comment is very immature, childish and ridiculous coming from a "woman" such as yourself. What is your life like? i bet you have 10 cats unmarried and are out of shape with no children. How about you judge yourself before you point and call someone else a hurtful name and or title. oh and p.s. skinny jeans are out of style and only wore by kids in high school. You have no sense of fashion, read the article and you will understand that you can be only but so fashionable while doing manual labor, you inconsiderate prick.
Feb. 24, 2010, 2:51 pm
Robyn from manhattan says:
Anne - you are ignorant. And hurtful. Guess what? You can't wear Uggs on a jobsite. Duh. I work in construction and the point of the article is that it's difficult to find clothes that fit a woman. I weight 120 lbs and even if I grab a small safety vest the armpit holes hang to my waist - it's not comfortable and it's not safe. This woman was smart enough to recognize an underserved market and I can't wait to go visit the store.
March 15, 2010, 2:58 pm
Marina from Crown Heights says:
Thanks to this store I was able to try on boots, different styles and brands, in my size, and actually purchase one that's comfortable for my feet, and it wasn't special order with a $30 fee that I can't return if it doesn't fit. You've no idea what a blessing it is to find a comfortable boot when your feet's tortured 9 hours a day. I couldn't even get my size on zappos. The owner is super knowledgeable and helpful and deserves all the support she can get, they're having a crazy clearance right now that I picked up an extra pair of Carolina's for $20. It's just the little things like safety glasses that are small enough to stay on my face when I lean down or gloves that are small enough that i can use my fingertips that can make the difference going home injured or intact. Thanks Deidre, I wish you the best.
Aug. 17, 2010, 7:31 pm

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