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Easy vintage workwear clothing ideas for men in any work place

July 5, 2019

Selecting vintage workwear clothing that comfortable and that fits any workplace shouldn’t be that hard to do – yet most working men just can’t get the hang of it!


Whether it’s a cotton twill outer shirt, a thick handmade woollen jumper, or a pair of vintage-inspired dress pants. Working clothes shouldn’t make you feel as though you were made for the clothes, but rather, they should look as though they were tailored just for you! And the key for working men to look their best at work, is selecting the right vintage workwear clothing that fits their style and their work place!

Railroad Workers,Texas & Pacific Railway Company, 1946]

Railroad Workers,Texas & Pacific Railway Company, 1946]

Selecting vintage workwear clothing

When it comes to workwear, working men usually struggle to put that perfect ensemble together. Often, their choice of a working wardrobe makes them look to “futuristic”, or their choice of vintage workwear makes them look overly “back to the future”!


When selecting vintage workwear clothing, there are some simple principles that men should follow:


  • One should look to balance what you wear with how it’s worn. Simply picking vintage workwear pieces at random, in the hope that it’ll all “stick together”, isn’t a wise thing to do!


  • Your choice of work clothes should blend in with that of your work environment: A Fisherman’s sweater may look cool in the outdoors or a sports shop – but likely not so great in a bank or more formal work place!


  • Dress for the weather, because the weather may also play a huge part in the clothing you source. A light cotton twill over shirt may work for the summer or late fall, but a woollen work jacket would be best in the winter.


  • Give due consideration to your choice of workwear combos too. Pairing Victorian era vintage workwear with something contemporary, yet “modest-looking” (dressy cuts or boxy) won’t make working men look as though they’ve walked straight out of a Charles Dicken’s novel!


The idea behind choosing vintage workwear clothing is to create an ensemble that’s both comfortable and “dressy” at the same time, yet doesn’t look out of place in the environment that you wear it in. And if you follow the four guiding principles we’ve outlined above, selecting vintage workwear that’s right for you shouldn’t be such a challenge after all!

Railroad workers Texas, USA, 1939

Railroad workers Texas, USA, 1939

Sourcing Men’s Vintage Workwear Clothing

Starting off your search for vintage workwear online may be a great idea, because you can do it from the comfort of your home (or office – if you don’t mind risking it!). But most of all, going online gives you an opportunity to comparison-shop at multiple sites simultaneously, and to pick the work clothes that you want without a fashion associate breathing down your neck!


Etsy has a great selection of men’s vintage casual wear that can easily double for workwear. Whether it’s 100% cotton, or a cotton twill piece that you are looking for, you’ll definitely find what you are looking for in their vast collection. A slightly faded, pre-worn workwear trouser from Berjac might be a cool idea for casual workplaces. Working men love lots of pockets, and finding one with two front pockets, a back pocket and a pen pocket might give you that perfect “ready for work” look.

When sourcing your vintage workwear clothing, make sure that you chose something that you can pair with other vintage pieces, like a denim short, Lee denim work jacket, or another item from your existing work wardrobe. You could easily create a powerful vintegy-looking combo with your Lee jacket and a striped Levi’s shirt, or even a thick flannel shirt underneath. And if you are cotton twill or 100% cotton lover, then a cotton shirt from LL Bean could be just what you want to finish your vintage workwear clothing ensemble.


Men that work in the outdoors can also look smart in appropriate vintage workwear sourced online. For particularly chilly mornings, your Berjac work-trouser would go well with a classic fisherman’s jumper available online from Carrier Company, UK. The featuring a traditional pattern of rib stitches, this 100% pure wool garment would make an ideal addition to any vintage workwear ensemble for the outdoors. And to keep warm and cozy, you could try a Scottish handmade woolen cap that will not only cover your head, but also stretch over your ears to protect you from wind gusts.


Classic style

If you looking for outwear, Carrier’s classic Norfolk work jacket might be what you should go for. Designed as an all-weather garment, it’s two slanted patch pockets, and a top breast pocket give it that classic vintage workwear look that mimic’s Bleu de travail – that classic cotton twill French jacket from the late 1800s.


And speaking of de travail, there’s nothing that says vintage workwear clothing like the navy-blue French work jacket – also popularly known as the chore jacket. A popular version of this vintage classic from The Nautical Company is a single-breasted creation, and features two buttoned-up flat pockets and has large buttons for ease of fastening. While this one is unlined and made from cotton drill, you could definitely find one made from cotton twill as well.

Main entrance exterior view of Selfridges on Oxford Street, London

Main entrance exterior view of Selfridges on Oxford Street, London

Vintage Workwear on the High Side!

Of course, there’s always iconic stores like Selfridges, which opened its doors in 1908 on London’s Oxford Street. Working men could get a pair of vintage faded Givenchy slim-fit tapered jeans to go with a contemporary dress shirt or any top, and be ready for work in any environment.  Guys looking for slightly less pricier work clothes may substitute a pair of Seleb stretch-cotton chinos from Ted Baker, available at Selfridges, instead of the less-formal jeans. The point is that, if you are looking for some high-end vintage workwear clothing options, you should be able to easily mix-and-match them with less-pricey contemporary wardrobe pieces, yet create an ensemble that doesn’t look out of date.



Working men looking for comfortable workwear may find a blue Lacoste Men’s Tartan Check Shirt that goes well with any contemporary pant or trouser. The classic meridian blue could easily be paired with a pair of khakis for any work environment. It goes without saying though, since you are willing to spend £99+ on your vintage workwear clothing, then you can expect these pieces to be classics that you’ll likely wear for many years to come!


If you are willing to spend £75+ on your vintage workwear collection, then a black Barbour sweater may be great addition to your fall/early-winter wardrobe. Made from a soft cotton blend, for this price-point this iconic brand features ribbed cuff’s and hem, and offers working men great insulation as well as durability.


Once again, if you are fan of the indominable work jacket, then for the £75+ price-tag, you might look at the Armor Lux men’s overshirt. The timeless classic piece is inspired by casual work clothes designs from the past, and offers men yet another option when a lighter layer is called for. Minimalist in its look, this is a piece of vintage workwear clothing that can easily fit in formal or casual work environments.



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