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workwear, authenticity, details and context

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
The discussion with Pink Panter in wywth made me realise this is an interesting topic. Quoting Pinky "Though, admittedly those little authentic details - the cigarette pockets, hammer loops, tripod pockets, etc. always turn me off from buying the workwear stuff because they seem like a museum piece, a relic, more than everyday wear. Bums me, because I can really get behind the fabrics/patterns - the herringbone wools, the heavy weight twills, chambrays, etc. I realised that im pretty much on the other end of the spectrum, I like workwear and "classics", (in part) just because it has "history" and looks the way it does for a reason, with details that once, or still, had a use. It so to say "culturally anchored" in another, more fundamental, way than just a pair of pants and a sweater. It of course gives it a museum piece quality, but I for some reason dont mind it. For me it makes it more interesting when pieces have the right details, and somehow adds to the "experience". How do the rest of you with and interest in vintage styles feel about this? Especially all the newer EG fans, just cool designs, or interesting because of its history? And should menswear/clothes be "modern"?
post #2 of 56
can you give me an example of what a cigarette pocket and hammer loop is? what other details should be on authentic work shirts?
post #3 of 56
I would shy away from the word authentic, but the history of a garment is very much of interest. I think your term, 'culturally anchored' is fascinating and reflects the need to create a story to justify our purchasing decisions.

The image that workwear built our roads, ploughed our fields, constructed our tenements, creates a kind of romance and grandeur through daily struggle. Like a Springsteen narrative or the beautifully broken sound of a minor chord.

Does the knowledge indigo's historical roots exert some kind of gravitational pull on us? We are seduced by knowledge.

I think the most highly evolved working garment, the Levi's 501, may represent a universal truth, a common resonance born out of not only nostaglia, but of it's pure utilitarian design. Transcending languages, cultures and countries, we instinctively know it looks right.

But, I would empathise with Pinky, too many details can over egg the pudding

To attempt answer your last question - yes, I think all clothes should be modern. Like quantum theorists' believe that objects are changed when you look at them, then wearing clothing in today's context should make them modern

Or not?
post #4 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaguirre View Post
can you give me an example of what a cigarette pocket and hammer loop is? what other details should be on authentic work shirts?

The cigarette pocket is the triangular pocket on the EG workshirts. A hammer loop is a detail on carpenter pant, for carrying a...hammer. Otherwise side gussets, cat eye buttons, triple stiched seams are common, but not necessary, details on vintage styled work shirts.
post #5 of 56
Carhartt clothing defines modern workwear. I do like a lot of the reproductions from days long gone. What I do not like is some of the designer attempts at workwear. Plain and simply the stuff isn't workwear and no matter how hard you try to make it work the look will never be achieved.
post #6 of 56
Thread Starter 
Speaking of Carhartt, oh how I wish theyd license someone to do reprodutions of their old stuff. I´d pay a buck for some 50s style double front duck pants...
post #7 of 56
i was googling workshirts, chambrays and others today and i came across a blogspot of a guy who's doing custom made tailored workshirts. pretty interesting, the blog just started last week and there hasnt been an update since. it said in his initial post that he's willing to copy some stuff if someone emails him about it.
post #8 of 56
Our clothes are filled with anachronistic details tied to work and sport. Most of these we accept without blinking an eye (eg, the button down, or 'polo', collar). I think it boils down to what one is comfortable wearing and what is aesthetically pleasing.

I think culturally anchored is the way to look at it. If you want to dress 'modern' then you've got plenty of Buck Rogers and Star Trek episodes to use as inspiration.
post #9 of 56
I enjoy clothing, period.

I think its the romanticism, the details, the fact I see people who I know have worn it for 50-60-70 years hell my great grandfather wore it til he was 100! Its just a sense of nostalgia, a scene even.

I don't have a particular music scene or culture like say GetSmart, but I've worked a ton of shitty blue collar jobs. The way you dress can become a part of who you are.

I try and look 'modern' yet still 'classic' and 'American' and workwear is a way to do it.

It is also what Bobo has mentioned many a time, the 'free and easy' aspect. 15 dollar pants meant to be beat to shit can be worn easier than say 275$ rope dyed jeans.

I wear both, like I said I like clothes.

I guess each 'genre' of clothing achieves a different look, a different feel, etc. And the details, the history, nostalgia, whatever appeals to me.
post #10 of 56
for me, the authentic details are what make certain garments dealmakers (and the lack of, dealbreakers)

I think fit is where you have some room to play with, and don't mind modern interpretations of the fit, but I do like, appreciate, and expect the detailing to be intact for me to consider buying something that is paying homage to a very distinct look.
post #11 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by ringring View Post
then wearing clothing in today's context should make them modern
Perfect. Part of what makes workwear/Americana interesting to me is its long history of mis-use. The Take Ivy kids wore their parents' clothes in the wrong way (and their parents had taken it all from British sporting clothing), jeans became everyday wear, skinheads took Ivy and mixed it with workwear and tailored clothing, preppies added their New England outdoor/hunting gear, etc. etc. I like the fact that these styles have traveled, and that we don't necessarily wear them in the "right" way either. To me this is just as modern as the latest genius designer runway creation. Of course at first it was just "cool design."
post #12 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanC View Post
Our clothes are filled with anachronistic details tied to work and sport. Most of these we accept without blinking an eye (eg, the button down, or 'polo', collar). I think it boils down to what one is comfortable wearing and what is aesthetically pleasing.

Certainly, but a button down doesn't evoke anything because it is so common. When you see someone decked out in vintage workwear it evokes a time and place in the past. At least for me, I often categorize that person as someone who wishes our current society was simpler, like it was in his Grandpa's time (thats not to say that this person would want to revert the civil rights progress and such that has happened since then, etc).

Here's a question for workwear enthusiasts - the general standard of casual dress in developed countries has been towards the lackadaisical, particularly since the advent of consumer culture. Right now, there is still a lot of overlap between workwear and typical casual dress (button downs, denim, chinos, its really just the details that differentiate). Is there a point you can see in which workwear is so different from what the typical person is wearing that you'd view it as too antiquated? Do you still see people wearing buckle-back jeans in 2050?
post #13 of 56
I think you guys have hit the nail on the head with this thread, i like it.
post #14 of 56
Thread Starter 
This is a great point, and pretty much my approch to clothes and style. I have no problem mixing and wearing things "wrong" as long as the pieces are "right", and somehow classic.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wiru View Post
Perfect.

Part of what makes workwear/Americana interesting to me is its long history of mis-use. The Take Ivy kids wore their parents' clothes in the wrong way (and their parents had taken it all from British sporting clothing), jeans became everyday wear, skinheads took Ivy and mixed it with workwear and tailored clothing, preppies added their New England outdoor/hunting gear, etc. etc. I like the fact that these styles have traveled, and that we don't necessarily wear them in the "right" way either. To me this is just as modern as the latest genius designer runway creation.

Of course at first it was just "cool design."
post #15 of 56
Pink I don't really think that clothing/fashion is going to go to a place so far different from now that in 2050 workwear will look so foreign and antiquated, I imagine that the overlap between casual and workwear will still exist. I first got into workwear via EG and waywts from Bill, Bobo, Cotton and the like, to begin I cared more about the style and design. I didn't really consider the history but it is certainly beginning to interest me more. I love the small details that are in EG shirts... the pockets, red button, stitching, cut. I wouldn't like the shirt as much if it was cut like BoO (just for an example) but with EG materials/ patterns.
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