Work clothes

Whatever business you are in, it’s important to be properly dressed. Lawyers need suits. If you are a doctor, you need scrubs. A chef? You gotta have those white jackets and puffy hats.

We woodworkers need work clothes. I’m not talking about overalls with little gorilla faces on them. I’m talking about good quality, plain and simple, durable clothing.

Clothes like that seem to be getting harder and harder to find. Clothing stores, more and more, are offering jeans that are already worn out or at least look it; shoes that look like race cars, covered with bizarre graphics in day glow colors; T-shirts that seem to be made of such thin fabric that they could not stand up to more than a few washings and that, invariably, have something printed on them. Even the old standbys like Eddie Bauer and Orvis have declined in quality to the point where the clothing simply does not hold up to daily shop wear.

Last week, for reasons I will not go into here, I needed a safety vest. So I did a search in my area and the first thing that came up was a place called Work World. I had visions of rack of scrubs, polyester uniforms, overalls and clunky looking nurse’s shoes, and they did actually have all of those things. But they also had all of the old standbys: Redwing boots, boot-cut jeans that actually looked new, practical shirts that were conspicuously lacking designer badges. You know, clothes.

I felt like there should have been a warning sign on the front door: “Fashionistas do not enter here.”

I’m sure there are still stores like this in every city in America but they are not to be found in the malls and factory outlet clusters that seem to have taken over the world. You gotta look for them. But it’s worth it if for no other reason that it’s reassuring to know that you can still buy “real” clothes.



  • Marty Kohler says:

    David, you need to find a Carhart store in your area. They manufacture the finest work clothes avaiable.

  • Dave Heller says:

    In Canada there is a company called Mark’s Work Wearhouse that is in every town and caters to the crowd you are referring to. Decent quality long lasting reasonably priced clothes.

  • Jim in PA says:

    Duluth Trading is my first choice for durable work and casual wear. Outstanding quality and comfort features, such as gussets in pants crotch and under the arms for more freedom of movement. And many of their shirts are 3″ longer so they stay tucked when you bend over…especially nice on the job site to avoid the customer enjoying a “sight” they probably don’t want to see. Highly recommended, albeit not inexpensive.

  • David Klear says:

    Real Clothes

    Pointer Jeans. Carpenter jeans. Even have bibs with a nail apron attached. American made. Last long time Joe.

  • Jim Davidson says:

    I understand your problem. At the same time, The kid’s love of carpenter pants and shorts, lets me buy them so cheaply that i can chuck them (or demote them to messy painting chores) and still come our ahead. Pricing Carhart’s or Duluth Trading’s real clothes can stop your heart.



  • Rich Flynn says:

    Have you tried Duluth Trading?

    Really good work clothes.

  • Chuck says:

    This is my favorite:

  • Drew says:

    It is my own shop policy that steel toes and safety specs are worn and when appropriate, hearing protection. In addition I provide company T shirts for daily work wear and on site installations. My own personal favorites are Dickies carpenter pants from Walmart and C.E.Schmidt carpenter shorts in the summer from Tractor Supply. I also have embrodered short and long sleeve button down shirts for client sale visits since first impressions are important.
    I do believe Sears also has work wear as well for “Real” trades people.

  • John Gresko says:

    I agree with you David.They all seem to want you to wear their stuff with big name tags saying who they are. If they make good stuff, we will always buy from them again, I will.

  • Nancy Kroes says:

    I think the best looking work clothes are offered by the Duluth Trading Company:

  • I agree with David that good work clothes are hard to find. One company you might want to check out is the Duluth Trading Company. Their clothing has been designed for those who work with their hands for a living. They have looked at some of the problems of “regular off the rack” clothing and designed clothing to resolve those problems– issues like freedom of movement, shirt tail lengths and wear and tear resistance. Their work pants are very tough to destroy. I have several clothes from them, as do several of my friends, and everybody brags on their products. Try’em out

  • Doug Darter says:

    There’s not a store like that here in Dallas that I know of. I have looked and have been disappointed. The stores here are happy to order for you but if I’m going to order clothes I’ll do that myself and have them delivered to the shop. I don’t need a store for that. I order my Carhartt clothes from The clothes are very well made and I love that. The service is also excellent, something a lot of stores have forgotten also.

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