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The joys of wearing vintage workwear in UK workplaces

June 18, 2019

Swapping contemporary work clothes for vintage workwear in UK offices and shops is catching on, with British workers enthusiastically embracing vintage clothing.


They say fashion swings, and the love for vintage workwear at UK workplaces shows that it’s swinging time again! With so many working people wearing vintage clothing to work, it’s hard to argue that vintage isn’t in vogue once again.

Office workers operating Census Machines, 1950s

Office workers operating Census Machines, 1950s

Why wear vintage workwear in UK workplaces

Some estimates peg the vintage clothing industry in the UK at a staggering $1 billion plus! So, why are every day work-going people rushing to embrace it? The answer is really simple: Because vintage workwear is comfortable, relaxing and easy to maintain!


As life for the busy UK worker gets even more hectic – thanks to the age of rapid communications – turning to vintage clothing for everyday workwear makes sense. As anyone working outdoors, at an office, a shopping mall or a customer-facing job knows, you don’t have too much time to get ready for work. You need something that isn’t “high maintenance” – And that’s why so many people wear vintage workwear in UK work establishments.

Unlike a high-end suit or dress that you need to press each time before you wear it to work, most vintage clothing requires less maintenance. Of course, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to treat your vintage workwear wardrobe with TLC. But it does mean that, because it’s designed to “look aged and worn”, wearing vintage workwear in UK workplaces requires less time to get ready for work.


And, vintage clothing has shown that it can adapt and evolve with changing work lifestyles. For instance, the “typical” working man’s suite of yore was a pin-striped ensemble, crafted from heavy fabric – usually wool.


But today, vintage workwear for UK suit-lovers is available in lighter fabric, with padded coats and jackets. And unlike the fashionable workwear from yesteryear, today’s vintage workwear is more dirt resistant and can go without being dry cleaned for months at a time! So why wouldn’t you choose vintage clothing for work?

But there’s more!

1930s depiction of scientific efficiency management in the workplace

1930s depiction of scientific efficiency management in the workplace

Vintage clothing workwear mashups

Whether you don a pair combat trousers for a rough workday outdoors, or put on a pair of comfortable vintage Levi’s for an informal staff meeting, putting on vintage workwear at UK offices and other workplaces offers you great wardrobe flexibility.


Since you’ve got on a vintage-inspired wardrobe, it’s much easier to create a work ensemble using other pieces of easily mashable vintage clothing. For instance, that 70s or 80s Levi’s can easily be paired with a same-period dress shirt; or the combat trouser fitted with a vintage jacket to go! It’s really a matter of picking from a vast array of vintage options to create the perfect vintage workwear for UK workplaces.


And speaking of mashups, how cool would it look if you arrived at work wearing a polo shirt from Ralph Lauren, and give your self a mod look with a Fred Perry or a pair of Adidas or Reebok’s? Since vintage clothing is so easy to mix and match, your workwear will blend right into whatever the working attire of your particular work place is.

Woman office worker, circa. 1930s

Woman office worker, circa. 1930s

And…the beat goes on!

Today, there’s a whole industry around vintage workwear for UK workers. And while many office-goers and workers at other establishments love wearing authentic vintage, a new generation of vintage inspired workwear is fast taking hold.


Contemporary designers are creating vintage clothing that’s deeply influenced and inspired by fashion from the past. From work jackets to casual vintage-like dresses, blouses, trousers and shirts, UK workers now have even more choice when it comes to assembling their work wardrobes.


And what’s encouraging is the broad diversity of vintage workwear for UK workers that’s available today. Along with specialised designs and cuts for men and women individually, today’s vintage inspired workwear line-ups also include unisex designs. And that gives the “liberated” office-going soul a lot more variety in the vintage clothing he/she chooses to wear for work.

New generation

While the new generation of vintage workwear continues to evolve with time, vintage workwear in the UK has also kept pace with changing work-life balance needs of the working masses. Where once, “office wear” was overly rigid, and clearly demarked the 9-to-5 limits of the day, vintage clothing today can as easily pass for workwear as it can for casual, after-work, clothing.


And that evolution goes beyond just work versus casual wardrobes. For instance, in the 1970s and 1980s, workwear uniforms were very common for people working in trades or crafts. Today, a piece of vintage workwear for UK delivery truck drivers, for instance a work jacket, can seamlessly be integrated into the casual-wear wardrobe of someone heading to his/her job as a bank teller or a supermarket counter!


It is that ease of transition, and the seamlessness of vintage clothing, that’s making it harder for the everyday British worker to resist embracing it for work!


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