Collecting American vintage workwear has been an interest of mine for a while. Finding sources for very old denim can be tough and I didn’t have any luck until I found a few of vendors at a vintage clothing fair a couple of years ago.
I own two pieces of vintage workwear; a pair of blue denim jeans from the 1930’s, and these Hickory Striped trousers from the early 1920’s. These pants are the oldest thing I own (and wear) with the exception of a few Victorian jackets that I’ve had for years. I’ve paired them here with a beaded top from H&M and black sequin ankle boots.
What I love about vintage workwear (and the older the better) is the layers of history in every rip, stain, and patch in each worn out piece. In those days, most American workers had one pair of trousers. If you were fortunate, maybe you had a second pair for your Sunday Best, but your one pair of pants got you through each day. Rips and stains were ignored. Big holes were patched. Today, we spend a lot of money for distressed and ripped jeans straight from the manufacturer. I love and appreciate decades-old vintage denim worn out organically.
I like wearing these pants with the cuff turned up. Not only do I like the look, the craftsmanship that went into clothes from this period is too good not to display. We have to pay designer prices for this level of quality today.
I enjoy an occasion to put on a pair of American vintage workwear to wear on my average workday as did farmers, railroad workers, factory workers, delivery drivers, and mechanics nearly 100 years ago.