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How workwear became an obsession in the fashion industry



Workwear tags and pieces are almost certainly in your closet: jeans, khakis, denim jackets, and maybe a chambray coat or shirt. Most of the masterpieces of the wardrobe were created for work, that is, for hard physical work, and it was thanks to their simplicity and durability that they lasted so long; many of them date back to the 1920s and 1930s.


However, today's workwear is made up of labels that stem from this durability and practicality to create clothing that is both comfortable and stylish—often by creating exact replicas, stitch by stitch, and sometimes by mixing pieces to come up with a viable idea. What a simple, valuable garment can be.

The usefulness of work clothes isn't the only reason people like them. Workwear attracts nerds who lyrically talk about the background of a particular garment and would gladly spend a fortune on an authentic version of the same.


Workwear has been a street fashion staple for years, and it's not going away. On the other hand, it looks like workwear-inspired fashion is gaining momentum. With that in mind, let's look at how workwear has influenced street style and where that inspiration can be found.



What are work clothes?

Work clothes are a piece of cloth worn when doing manual work, as the name suggests. It usually consists of durable denim, wool, or tarpaulin that is more about safety and comfort than fashion. As a result, railroad workers, farmers, miners, mechanics, and repairmen especially liked such unified solutions.


On the other hand, workwear has a local definition in the fashion world. It refers to the clothes worn by American workers during the so-called Ford era, which lasted from the 1920s to the 1970s.

In that era, workers wore work coats, overalls, engineering jackets, and clothing with multiple pockets and equipment holders. Most of these components have now made their way into the fashion business, especially the streetwear segment.

Although it may appear to the untrained eye that all street cultures are the same, this is not the case. Mixing skaters and hip-hoppers or both with punks will almost certainly result in a few ugly looks. Since all of these sub-genres have adopted workwear to varying degrees, we'll focus on those who have gone above and beyond.


Figure skaters are known for their love of workwear, so this shouldn't surprise. Shortly after that, companies such as Dickies and Wrangler realized their enormous potential and decided to make them available to the general public. As a result, clothing must be durable and functional, similar to that worn by workers on railroads and construction sites.

Skaters love overalls but prefer them for the look. After all, a jumpsuit can easily fit into any situation with just a few adjustments!


Workwear has influenced the style of skaters, but not as much as hip-hop fashion. Given that hip-hop depicts the brutal reality of street life, it's no surprise that rugged and durable gear has become so fashionable in the culture.

Can you imagine hip-hop style without Timberland boots, for example? These sneakers have taken over rap and hip-hop, with Notorious BIG and Jay Z mentioning them in their tracks.

The Carhartt jacket is another standout workwear-inspired garment in the hip-hop world. Like regular work coats, these jackets are roomy, comfortable, and warm, with plenty of pockets.


These communities were constantly looking for authenticity. They wanted one-of-a-kind clothing that stood out from the crowd without being overly expensive. This is precisely what workwear has done, and it has also provided a natural connection to something real and concrete, which is lacking today.


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