The Last Word

Workwear and the Modern Man


The workwear trend is not really a trend. It’s been around for a few years now. One would imagine its more recent renaissance was born out of a response to the uber-preened “spornosexual” culture. Men are still taking care of themselves, male grooming is big business now, but the big difference is that it’s moved on. Looking like you could chop down a tree or fix a truck by the side of the road has become relevant again; this time though, you do it wearing beard oil and sipping a strong flat white. Modern masculinity is a celebration of traditional manliness, brought up-to-date. Fishermen, tree loggers, explorers and field workers have influenced style choices and micro trends. As well as this, the traditional trades wear of cobblers, blacksmiths and tanners have become an inspiration.

In addition, the beard has become a staple. Measured ruggedness appears to be the story of menswear and men’s lifestyle in recent years. Even the places men hang out have become more primal, more stripped back; barber shops, coffee shops, tattoo parlours and pubs to mention the obvious.

That’s where workwear comes in. With these new rules of masculinity, men have a different attitude to what they wear. For them, disposable fashion was OK for a while but now they want something more considered and long-lasting. Making purchases as an investment, rather than on a whim. From boutique and vintage to high street and online, men have embraced traditional utility brands and more durable, lived-in looks. It’s still about looking good, but it also means practicality, good quality fabrics and originality.

If it’s still a bit vague, here’s a list of wardrobe staples that you may or may not already have: rain macs, military peacoats, check flannel and chambray shirts, fisherman’s jumpers, utility jackets, denim and lace-up leather work boots. Of course, the list could be three times as long but you get the idea. Think more lumberjack and less dandy. Google “lumbersexual” if you’d like a giggle.

As we head into autumn and winter, the weather is colder and more brutal; a man needs his clothes to be durable, warm and stylish. It’s the perfect chance to embrace the elements by embracing a workwear aesthetic. You’ll thank me in mid-January.

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