Workwear is something that we here on this site love. Workwear is steeped in history and provides us with the quality and durability we crave on a day-to-day basis. As we’ve stated before, we’re not really that into fashion here but every now and then a piece catches our eye that we deem to be a must have.
Coincidentally, we’re left with pieces of clothing from two opposite ends of the spectrum that seemingly have no relation to one another. Well, I’m here to tell you today that perception is not reality (crazy, right?) and that these two disparate sections of the market can actually be blended together into something that looks quite stylish.
Workwear comes from a place of practicality- clothes to be worn hard and often that won’t quit on you. Fashion comes from a place of art and design- clothes meant to provoke thought and catch the eye. While they don’t seem to be a natural pairing I believe they are due to a concept we talk about a lot here: balance.
Unless you’re actually performing manual labour of some sort you’ll look ridiculous in head-to-toe workwear. You’ll look like you’re trying too hard to fit in on a job site that you don’t work at. And, if you dress in high fashion exclusively you look like Euro-trash. Combining the two in the right way offers that balance to your wardrobe.
It’s not quite as easy as throwing together whatever pieces you have and assuming they’ll blend, because there are a few potential landmines here. We’ll walk through what works and what doesn’t, and where the natural pairings are. Here’s our guide on how to blend workwear and fashion.
The best way to go about this is to look at all the pieces of workwear pieces that are considered “staples” and talk about what works best with them from a fashion standpoint. From there, it should be easier to conceptualize and put together some things of your own and try out what works and what doesn’t.
These five pieces in your wardrobe will combine well with anything fashion forward you have in your wardrobe. don’t be afraid to throw some combination of the items we’ve listed together and see what works best for you. Remember that you’re looking for balance and for a way to wear things seamlessly; one piece shouldn’t stand out above the rest.
While I do enjoy advocating for the combination of workwear and fashion, I must also perform my duties of warning you folks of what to look out for. Some ideas seem good at the time and then fall flat on their face. For instance, let’s say you have a pair of Carhartt work pants that you want to try to work into your regular wardrobe and think they might pair well with a new pair of wingtips you purchased. Well, I think you would be wrong about that assumption. It’s a complete lack of continuity and will end up looking foolish if you choose to wear it.
The phrase “workwear” needs to be taken with a grain of salt as well. As much as I do appreciate the true pieces of workwear, they don’t always work with things we have in our wardrobes. What I mean is workboots don’t necessarily need to be safety approved and steel-toed to qualify. You’re often better off finding something that’s workwear inspired instead of the real thing. The fit and cut will likely be better suited for wearing on the street and things made for the job site are often cut generously as these people move around quite a bit.
Be sure to consider every piece before you wear something out too. Juxtaposition is what you’re targeting here, but that juxtaposition needs to have balance to it. Diametrically opposed clothing items can work together but you need to be aware of how the fits, colours, and patterns will work together.
Whether you’re a fashion guy or a workwear guy there are elements of each that you can add to your wardrobe that will spice it up and keep things interesting. A mix of both will allow you to try on some new looks without totally abandoning your individual ethos. Fashion are workwear play well together when a balance of fit and colours has been achieved and confidence is brought along with that.
At the end of the day it’s an opportunity to try out some new labels with the knowledge in hand that they will work with your existing wardrobe. I assure you the Prada sweater you’ve been eyeing will work with your Iron Heart jeans. I also assure you that the Carhartt flannel you like will work with your Canali suit. Have some fun and try some new things, there’s no need to take yourself too seriously.