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What are the best vintage workwear brands, and why?

October 30, 2018

Look no further. We have the answers to your burning question: what are the best vintage workwear brands? Read on for the top vintage clothing brands in the world today.

If you are wondering what are the best vintage workwear brands in the globe today, look no further. We have done the work for you and have given you the top brands that will inspire you to mash up vintage pieces with your current wardrobe for a unique fashion style.

60s Blue Cotton Workwear Bomber Jacket

60s Blue Cotton Workwear Bomber Jacket

Mens Vintage workwear jacket

Men’s fashion in the context of vintage clothing is epitomized by the blue de travail or French vintage workwear jacket. This jacket has stood the test of time and is as au courant today as a style statement, as it was a workhorse workwear piece back in the 1800s.

This workwear piece was designed and built to be a utilitarian vintage clothing item and was widely adopted in France and across Europe by engineers, railway workers and other manual labour workers of the day. The name, “bleu de travail”, loosely translates as “working blues” or “blue work”, highlighting its function as sturdy outwear for blue-collared workers.


Typically fashioned out of cotton drill and less often, out of a cotton derivative called “moleskin”, this workwear piece was resilient and stood up to the depredations of weather, the physical demands and the challenging work environments of the industries where it was worn.


Cut in a loose silhouette, this men’s vintage garment was designed to be worn as an outer layer over undershirts and work shirts made out of flannel or cotton. The jacket buttons up all the way in the front and has multiple patch pockets for the worker’s tools and on-the-job essentials.

What are the best vintage workwear brands for Bleu de Travail?

The two French clothing houses that are synonymous with this classic vintage clothing piece are Le Laboureur and Le Mont Saint Michel, both of whom sell the Bleu de Travail today.


Or go to the global online marketplace of Etsy, and head out to their French Work Jacket section, and you’ll find a huge selection of vintage clothing products to choose from. You will also find at this shopping site, the vintage workwear piece known as Bleu de Travail, in a style and fabrication to suit the modern taste so that you can incorporate it into your own personal look for today.

Vintage Pieces styled for today

The blue work men’s vintage work jacket has a cult following and is popular with both vintage clothing connoisseurs as well as current trendsetters. Not just a workwear piece any longer, this men’s fashion favourite lets you express your style sense in a cool and laid-back way, pairing equally with your weekend street wear as it does with your edgy work wear.


The “now” way to style your blue workwear piece is to buy it in the authentic indigo blue fabrication and pair it with khakis or stone-washed jeans for off-duty style. As a men’s fashion workwear piece, combine it with dress pants and sockless loafers for daytime cool.


Another trendy way to bring this men’s vintage piece into today’s style is to layer it over camo pants, white or black T-shirt and sneakers for a street-savvy look.   Finish your look with aviator sunnies and you have styled yourself to perfection.

Female Turret lathe operator wearing coveralls, 1942

Female Turret lathe operator wearing coveralls, 1942

Key mens vintage workwear pieces


There are some key men’s vintage workwear pieces that never go out of style and are as relevant as workwear today as they were back in the 1920s to the 1950s. Here are some of those key pieces:


  • Overalls: there are a handful of vintage clothingbrands that make overalls that stand the test of time. Check out the Amazon marketplace to find a variety of options, with denim overalls being a bestseller.

What are the best vintage workwear brands - Pendleton Woolen Mills, Oregon, USA

Pendleton Woolen Mills, Oregon, USA


  • Work shirts: Dickies is the best known and loved brand for this workwear piece. They continue to design this essential workwear piece in the classic 1950s style. Pendleton is another vintage clothing brand that specializes in work shirts based on the authentic cuts and accessories of the 1950s.

What are the best vintage workwear brands - Representation of Levis logo

Representation of Levis logo


  • Denim jeans: Levi’s is the top vintage clothing brand for denim jeans that are based on designs from the 1800s through to the 1960s. Check out this supplier of reimagined vintage pieces for everything from jeans, overalls, pants to shirts and jackets, based on retro workwear trends and styles.


  • Hats: The newsboy caps and flat toppers worn as part of men’s vintage clothing back in the day are readily available online, in thrift stores, consignment stores or speciality shops. Cadet caps and yacht caps are also very much part of the put-together look of vintage clothing


  • Boots: Red Wing and Justin Original are just two of the vintage workwear brands offering leather and other types of work boots.

What are the best vintage workwear brands - Carhartt workwear farmers magazine advert

Carhartt workwear farmers magazine advert


What are the best vintage workwear brands globally?

  • Men’s vintage fashion like work jackets, railroad jackets, overalls and denim button-down shirts are offered by vintage clothing brands that include Levi, Lee, Crown and Carhartt.


These primary brands in the vintage clothing market started off by catering only to the early adopters of men’s vintage workwear but today they offer their products globally, targeted to the style-savvy consumers of vintage pieces for both work and play.


  • If you are looking for original vintage pieces done in the American way, take a look at Workers Denim, a Japanese online shopping site that offers American vintage clothing done the authentic denim way. They provide a portal to vintage workwear brands like Payday, Filson, Lee, Crown Overalls and many others.


Adriano Goldschmied, also known as AG Jeans, was started in the 2000s by a denim pioneer known as Yul Ku and offers vintage clothing created with contemporary fabrics and construction yet faithful to the original classical style of vintage pieces. Visit their online shopping site, AGJeans, and see how they merge their design skills with sophisticated manufacturing practices that are reflective of their corporate citizenship beliefs.


  • Warehouse & Co Japan is another vintage clothing brand that offers authentic high-quality vintage pieces and is primarily responsible for the boom in vintage jeans that took place in the early 1990s.


A Warehouse workwear piece successfully reinvents a reproduction of original denim styling that you’d normally find only in denim fashion history books. This brand is renowned for its yellow line selvage, its Brown-Duck Digger line and its Heller’s Café line.


Denim Dudes

  • The history of vintage clothing as epitomized by denim workwear is explored by Amy Leverton at her Denim Dudes website. Visit this store of knowledge and history to read and learn about all things denim. Her book called “Denim Dudes” is full of throwback denim and street style inspiration for the denim vintage clothing


Amy Leverton also pays homage to denim trailblazers of the female kind in her book, “Denim: Street Style, Vintage, Obsession”. She explores the backstory of Lynn Downey, who ran Levi’s vintage clothing archives.


Amy uncovers what makes denim so unique and the quintessential workwear piece designed to express the personal style of denim dudes and denim dudettes.


  • Another vintage clothing brand in the space of denim workwear was created by Jason Denham, the founder of the Denham jeans brand based in Amsterdam. You need to head on to their site to be transformed by Denham’s love story with denim vintage clothing and learn how Jason Denham reinvented Amsterdam as the denim jean capital of Europe.

So now you know what are the best vintage workwear brands

So now you know what are the best vintage workwear brands and their inspirations in the world today, right? We hope you have been inspired by the vintage pieces offered by these brands, the history behind women’s and men’s vintage fashion, and the multitude of styles, fabrications and designs to take your work and play wardrobe to the next level with an injection of vintage clothing vibe.


Your retro workwear piece options today range from casual ripped and rugged streetwear looks, all the way to tailored, sophisticated and office-ready vintage clothing jackets, shirts, pants, dresses, skirts and suits.


Links [i] [ii] [iii] [iv] [v] [vi]













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