The workwear aesthetic is defined by functional, rugged items, both clothing and accessories, that were originally designed for people such as carpenters, fishermen and construction workers. These items are designed to be used every day and to withstand the type of abuse that comes with many of these professions. Traditional workwear pieces include carpenters pants or classic denim jeans, trucker/chore jackets, and of course, the classic flannel overshirt. Workwear often features sturdy fabrics, reinforced seams, and copious amounts of pockets to accommodate tools and accessories. We also see a lot of looser, boxier fits for added comfort and mobility. Workwear also gets better with age, with many people seeking out vintage and thrifted pieces because of the added character and uniqueness added through time and use. While initially designed for practical purposes, certain workwear items have evolved into fashion statements, with brands incorporating elements of utility wear into mainstream styles.
“The appeal of workwear is that it doesn’t date,” says Chris Gove, founder and creative director of British menswear brand Percival. “It was never designed for a particular era or movement, so the purpose and appeal of workwear remains relevant, transcending trends.”
A traditional workwear outfit (Left), compared to a more modern example of the workwear aesthetic (Right).
Workwear is appealing because of its comfort and functionality, even if not being used for its intended purpose. This is the reason why I chose it for my upcycling aesthetic. My upcycling project is going to be making a chalk bucket for indoor rock climbing (mainly bouldering), with the main material being denim reclaimed from an old pair of jeans. The interior lining of the chalk bucket will be a flannel/fleece material, likely also recycled/reclaimed, to reduce chalk dust and provide a great user experience. The bucket will also have lots of functionality, in the form of pockets, brush loops, and buckles, adding to the overall workwear aesthetic.
An example of a Chalk Bucket by Organic Climbing
As this bag gets used, the chalk will accumulate and give it a used, weathered look, which adds to that vintage workwear vibe that is so sought after. The usage of rugged fabrics like Demin will ensure that it remains rugged and durable, and I can throw it around without fear of it ripping or deteriorating. This will an item designed to be used hard, and will patina and improve with use and wear over time
- On Point Fresh, https://onpointfresh.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/2fc55d783c4156e7ad43f47324d8effe.jpg
- On Point Fresh, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/workwear-aesthetic-men-in-2023–622481979768617294/
- Organic Climbing Deluxe Chalk Bucket, https://organicclimbing.com/cdn/shop/products/IMG_4073_1_2048x.jpg?v=1573996318
- On Point Fresh, Workwear Fashion for Men https://onpointfresh.com/workwear-aesthetic/
- THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE WORKWEAR TREND, Alfred Tong https://www.fashionbeans.com/article/mens-workwear-fashion-trend/?http://ignorenitro=8af23741d4d94d44bf9d19af6e3a88c1