Though it was originally made for hard labor, workwear has gradually expanded further from the workplace and into streetwear. This transition has not always been easy due to social class prejudice and fashion trends. Still, some garments have managed to transcend all boundaries and become not only parts of modern fashion but also its symbols.
Nowadays we can say that American made workwear has unquestionably changed fashion. It also changed the way we dress and what we see as trendy, no matter what our job is. But how did this sudden rise in its popularity come about? Read on to find out.
American Made Workwear: A Brief History
Different professions had different clothing associated with them for centuries. Cowboys, farmers, lumberjacks, miners, and many others wore garments that made their work easier and safer. The clothes also offered protection from both the weather and any potential dangers on the job.
Then came the industrial revolution and the opening of many factories. The need to have workers dressed differently and adequately arose fully and became a big subject. Factory workwear came to life, and at first, its main use wasn’t protection as much as class marking. Still, it started the workwear movement and, by extension, changed the future of fashion as well.
During the 19th century, workwear mostly consisted of corduroy pants, knee-high waterproof boots, donkey-jackets, and flat caps. The clothes covered all parts of one’s body to ensure easy movement and protection. Protection was necessary especially for those working with chemicals or steam machines. Workwear brands were on the rise, and their profit could not be rivaled by any other clothing type.
Workwear as a Class Marker
During the 19th and the majority of the 20th century, workwear was a strong class marker. Apart from allowing workers to do their jobs efficiently and safely, it served as a clear sign of class identity. By extension, it also marked one’s place in society.
We can say that workwear was stigmatized a lot in this period. It was frowned upon and ridiculed by the upper class. They saw the clothes as distasteful, dirty, and ugly and wanted them and the people wearing them as far away from their high society lives as possible.
But things changed pretty fast. Soon, the same people who couldn’t stand to look at workwear before started wearing it themselves. They made the American streets a true workwear runway.
The Turning Point
It was during the 1980s that workwear truly exploded and became a big part of modern street fashion. The rise of certain subcultures aided and helped this change. Suddenly, donkey jackets and overalls were worn by people who had nothing to do with manual labor but simply wanted to defy trends and refused to conform to them.
This change didn’t happen overnight, and it took a few decades for people to see past a century’s’ worth of prejudice. But work clothes slowly made their way into fashion trends, especially once people realized how cozy and durable they were. Clothing brands started experimenting with their brands, and prejudices and class marking became things of the past.
American Street Fashion Today
Nowadays, it is hard to imagine street fashion without jeans, overalls, dungarees, cargo pants, high boots, plaid shirts, lumberjack coats, and wool jackets. The clothing industry has revived materials such as denim, corduroy, quilt, and leather and made them trendy. The fact that clothes made from these materials are also warm and last long only adds to their desirability.
The reason for the massive success of workwear and its introduction to street fashion is the fact that fashion brands have found a way to combine the comfort and durability of working clothes with current fashion trends. Essentially, people don’t even realize that the clothes they’re wearing draw inspiration from workwear in the first place.
Women wearing trendy tight overalls or jumpsuits don’t see them as something people wore to mines or factories. Anyone wearing jeans doesn’t think about the fact that once, the only ones wearing jeans were mechanics and other manual laborers. The same goes for cowboy hats and boots, leather and denim jackets, as well as plaid shirts, all of which are staples in today’s street fashion.
Workwear was able to fit into the current trends seamlessly and quickly, and it’s all thanks to the innovative thinking of clothing brands.
American Made Clothes
Though workwear fashion is popular and profitable all around the world, no industry has seen as much success as the American one. American made clothes have the highest quality on the market. That’s because they were the first ones to see the fashion potential of workwear. They have had the time to perfect their craft and brands, so nowadays, American workwear is present on the streets in the entire world.
The rise of workwear, especially the American made one, in fashion has been one of the most interesting aspects of the whole industry. Combining durable and cozy designs with modern styles and trends makes for clothes that both look good and make moving around and going about our lives easy.
Gone are the social markings of working clothes and their use to distinguish between classes. Today, everyone wears them, from workers themselves, over ordinary people hurrying to their nine to five jobs, to celebrities and politicians. Workwear went from separating social classes to erasing the gap between them, a feat unparalleled by any other fashion branch.
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