The year was 2018. I was in Vermont with my best friend for my birthday weekend, and we pulled off to a farm supply store, as one does. I found myself in the fitting room with these pants, and my wardrobe has never been the same.
Of course, it’s hard to take a 26-year-old in Brooklyn’s advice on workwear. The whole topic feels incredibly trite. Wow! Overalls without any elastic! Beanies with ironic logos! Boring. But these pants are different. While teenagers all over the city seem to be sporting low-waisted renditions of these pants specifically, there’s a whole sea of options for those looking to add a little more work pant in their life.
Carhartt pants are sturdy. This pair, made for logging, has double lining on the front of the legs—nice to have if you’re engaging in manual labor, but simply very on-trend if you’re not. The leg is true blue straight with enough pockets to leave your purse at home. Practically speaking, the thickness of the 100%-ring spun cotton duck makes these pants my winter go-to.
Still skeptical? That’s understandable. If keeping things a little less crunchy is in your best interest, don’t worry, Carhartt has you covered. Their more modern line, Work In Progress, features of-the-moment silhouettes like this wide leg in black, with decidedly less country charm.
Read on for five ways to integrate these Carhartt pants into your wardrobe.
9-5 All The Way
The most obvious pairing for these work pants is a work top. Said more eloquently, a chore jacket. Lean all the way into the surprising comfort of stark materials like 100% cotton and keep things simple. Outdoor dining can feel like an arctic adventure these days, so warm up with a balaclava that has enough personality to carry an otherwise straightforward outfit. The outfit, minus the hat, works almost all year round, thanks to the breeziness of the jacket.
All In The Color Family
My favorite outfit formula (some would argue my most repeated outfit formula) is to create a monochromatic look. All black is a start, but recently, I’ve been more into all beige. These pants are a great starting point. From there, try layering a tan jacket or a camel coat. Keep things cozy in a tan knit or a simple white button up. Finish the look off with brown shoes and you’ve got yourself a look.
Dress It Up
Juxtaposition feels like another phone-in for an outfit formula, but it works. Try pairing the rugged feel of the pants with something silk or leather. The most extreme case of this would be pairing the pants with feathers or sequins, but only in small quantities. Try out the technique with accessories to start. From there, lean on your dressed up go-tos to elevate the look from upstate chic to night out.
There is the chance, though it’s never happened to me, that you might want to wear these pants for an activity that actually requires their structure. That might be hiking or snowshoeing or any host of athletic outings I’m not aware of. These pants are great to have, just in case outdoor inspiration strikes. Here’s an outfit that might not inspire eye rolls if worn into a farm supply store in Vermont. No promises.
There’s not a lot intrinsically cerebral about these work pants, but they do pair excellently with the academic aesthetic. Pull out your favorite collegiate sweatshirts and turn them into an outfit you’d be caught in off of the quad. Keep things warm with a cool overcoat and don’t be afraid of pairing socks and loafers.