What is Workwear?: A guide to Workwear style

While many of the planet works, not all work outfits will be considered workwear. Sure, you could argue that workwear is just the clothing which you wear to your place of work, but any fashion-minded individual will likely tell you that’s not the case. Instead, workwear to many, is a trend that treads the fine line between fashion and function, and with it, it brings some of the most trendy and budget-friendly brands on the market.

So if you’re wondering just exactly what workwear is, we’re here to answer your questions! In the following article, we will break down just exactly what defines workwear, as well as idea some of our preferred brands. So if you’re wanting to add some workwear vibes into your outfits and wardrobe, you’re in the right place.

So, What exactly Is Workwear?

As defined by the oxford dictionary, workwear clothing is “clothes that people wear for work, usually heavy work that is finished with the hands”. Typically, you will see people in trades such as carpentry, construction and other blue-collar disciplines wearing these garments, more so for PPE function over form.

Usually, workwear pieces will be made from hard-wearing and resilient materials to ensure the garment is long-lasting and will keep the wearer relatively safe against any minor work-based contusions. given the robust materials used, selected pieces will usually adapt to the wearer’s physique over time, meaning a lot of pieces will sport a custom fit for the wearer.

Workwear pieces will typically tend to sport neutral and drab tones also. across a lot of workwear brands’ key selections, you can expect to see shades of brown, beige, olive, black and grey. These tones usually age better than your usual bright tones, and they won’t show dirt as easily.

Image via Dickies
How Does Workwear fit into Fashion?

A lot of people will attribute the workwear inclusion in fashion to rappers in the early 90s hip-hop scene. due to the availability and affordability of workwear garments, rappers chose to start wearing these rugged silhouettes in oversized fashion and in return, workwear became somewhat synonymous with casual street-style. Looking back, you can see rappers such as Eazy-E and Tupac rocking Carhartt jackets.

As the trend gained popularity, both streetwear and skateboarding cultures began to adopt workwear silhouettes into their repertoire, and as a result, workwear gained a foothold within modern fashion culture.

Image via Carhartt
What key pieces Are part of the Workwear Trend?

Fashion’s adoption of workwear arrived with a range of signature silhouettes and staples. many of these staples are now found in your average fashion fan’s wardrobe, with many unknowingly sporting workwear heritage. The following items are some of workwear’s many recognised items.

Chore coats – typically characterised by large front pockets and button closure, chore coats are a trendy outerwear alternative, perfect for layering or wearing atop a T-Shirt. usually made from twill or canvas, chore coats are hard-wearing and usually age nicely when exposed to general wear and tear. Today, Carhartt’s WIP iteration is possible the most well-known on the market due to its fair price point and its timeless appearance.

Overshirts – Overshirts, or “shackets” to some, fall somewhere between your average shirt and jacket. These pieces offer a trendy mid-layer alternative to your conventional crewneck sweatshirt or hoodie, as well as some classic blue-collar styling. There are currently thousands of overshirts on the market, but workwear heritage brands such as Dickies seem to do some of the best, all at a fair price.

Denim jackets & denim jeans – As we’re all aware, denim is very resilient and heavy-duty for the most part, so it might not come as any surprise that both denim jackets and jeans have a long and storied history in workwear. Levi’s, for one, has a direct link to workwear, with its initial beginnings linking back to the California gold rush in 1853. since this point, Levi’s has created workwear for both the casual dressing person as well as blue-collar workers.

Chinos – While many of us will think back to the Topman era of chinos circa 2008, these now common fashion items got their start way before this as workwear staples. Dickes to this date do one of the most famous iterations with its signature 874 pant. These pants arrive with a ridgid construction with a wrinkle resistant fabric, meaning they rarely need ironing.

Overalls – probably the item many associated with workwear on this list are overalls. arriving in both dungaree and boiler suit styles, overalls are a classic workwear staple that has been both embraced by streetwear as well general fashion. While your obvious workwear heritage brands such as Dickies and Carhartt still produce these pieces, other unlikely labels such as supreme have also been known to produce them as part of their seasonal offerings.

Work Boots – Naturally, it wasn’t just the clothing inherited as part of the workwear trend, but the footwear also. work boots have been embraced by fashion for years now due to their robust and rugged appearance. some of the most well-known work boot brands include the likes of Red Wing, Danner, Dr. Martens and more. These boots are a staple for the months and pair well with jeans and the right pair of chinos.

Image via Stan Ray
What Are the key Workwear Brands?

Carhartt – founded in 1889 in Detroit Michigan, Carhartt made its start by producing hard-wearing clothing and work gear for blue-collar workers. fast forward to 2022, and the mission is still the same but instead, with an added focus on bringing workwear heritage to its WIP streetwear range. In 1994, Carhartt launched its WIP range, a selection of Carhartt goods instead built for those wanting to add some classic workwear inspiration to their street-style outfits. key pieces from this brand include the Chore Coat, Detroit jacket and its Chase range of quality everyday essentials.

Dickies – celebrating its 100-year history this year, Dickies possesses a storied past of producing some of the finest workwear clothes available on the market. While the brand is well known for its resilient and well-constructed garments, it also produces its own streetwear pieces under the guise of the Dickies construct banner. In addition, Dickies also produces a skateboarding range complete with unwinded and trendy silhouettes. key pieces from this brand include the Eisenhower Jacket, 874 work Pant and its Painter’s Pant.

Engineered clothes – While only 20 years into its history as a brand, Engineered clothes has built a world-renowned following in the stylish workwear scene due to its extensive and eclectic selection of pieces. Based in new York, Engineered clothes combines classic new York street-style with both military and workwear influences, creating the perfect blend of fashionable, utilitarian clothing. key pieces from this brand include its Explorer shirt and Ripstop Trousers.

Stan Ray – since 1972, Texas-born Stan Ray has made “clothes that are developed for wear and movement, with minimum fuss and maximum practicality, for rough work or lateral living.” With a distinctive emphasis on durability, Stan Ray produces classic workwear silhouettes, all with a distinctive modern twist. key pieces from the brand include its Painter Pants, fatigue pants and 4 Pocket Jacket.

Workwear has became engrained within the streetwear scene and its influence has even spread as far as Paris and new York, with elements of workwear style making their way on to runway shows. Be sure to add some workwear style to your ‘fits by shopping the most recent clothing releases on our clothing hub.

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