Vintage Workwear- Modern Work?

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by cbrunt, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. cbrunt

    cbrunt One of the Regulars

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    Maryland
    Hey Gang,

    There are a couple threads similar to this but not exactly where I'm heading.

    Anyways I'm wondering who wears vintage 30-50s workwear to work? And more importantly what (if any) reeactions and/or comments you receive?

    I work in a technical/engineering organization at APG as a contractor. The entire atmosphere here is "modern work"- Carhartt, denim, steel toe boots and plastic hardhats.

    But since joining the Lounge have gone "full vintage" at least at work since its the easiest vintage look IMHO. 1960s Lee chore coat, fiber hardhat (modern SKulgard) button-up shirt, vintage jeans or chinos and either Indy Boots or cheap redwing clones (Eastland).

    Long story short- most folks love to make comments- generally insulting; some more so than others. Especially when in full-denim. Canadian Tuxedo and Puerto Rican Jump Suit are the stand-bys. I made the mistake of wearing high-waisted Chinos and shirt and removed the chore coat and almost never heard the end of it... My immediate friends at work are of course no hassle- but outside them, or when I go to other places on base... well looks and comments are made.

    Just wondering who else is in my shoes (or vice-versa).

    Clint
     
  2. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    Sorry, I'm drawing a blank on APG...Aberdeen Proving Ground? (I see you're in MD.)

    Your coworkers obviously have an unofficial "uniform" and deviations are noted. That's interesting. The common wisdom that "men will wear any old kind of clothes" obviously doesn't apply in your workplace.

    I'm guessing many, or most, are veterans used to wearing uniforms and being razzed for not wearing them correctly. That is the one situation where men will be VERY picky about each other's clothes.
     
  3. martinsantos

    martinsantos Practically Family

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    For men, at least, vintage clothes aren't so different than today fashions - if you use a suit. There are differences, of course - but not so strong. Really good suits are still using the same types of fabric.

    The only thing that really is different is the hat.
     
  4. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    True, but there's an important difference between "work clothes" for manual work and "business clothes" for office or other work. Most men who wear one rarely, or never, wear the other.

    In manual work, a suit is not only impractical, but marks you as an outsider, or even from a different social class.
     
  5. martinsantos

    martinsantos Practically Family

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    Location:
    São Paulo, Brazil
    Sorry, I didn't know this difference. I completelly misunderstood the meaning of the original post.

    "Work clothes" would be in Portuguese "roupa de trabalho" - the clothes you use to work, whatever you do. From policeman's uniform, the office-boy casual clothes, etc, to the suits of the politician, laywer, etc.


     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  6. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    Sorry if I was presumptuous at all - certainly didn't intend to be. :)
     
  7. martinsantos

    martinsantos Practically Family

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    Location:
    São Paulo, Brazil
    Of course you didn't!!!

    And I thanks you for the help! (by the way, I wrote wrong before - I MISunderstood the meaning of the original post).

    I have no way to get expressions like this (or slangs) if I do not get a little help like this one.


     
  8. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    I don't work with tradespeople, but all-denim makes me look like a convict. Altho I will wear chambray over denim.

    Google image search for Canadian tuxedo brought up this:
    [​IMG]The glasses and posture kind of give him away. He's being Mr. Irony.
     
  9. cbrunt

    cbrunt One of the Regulars

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    Location:
    Maryland
    Hey Fletch,

    You are correct- Aberdeen Proving Ground. Should've specified! And you're pretty correct in your assumptions- many veterans or military retirees plus many very educated people so an un-official uniform. Sure, the occassional guy shows up in sweats but at least in our shop sweat pants or ratty/torn pants are discouraged (both openly and subtlely). My boss (a PHD no less) chided me for holes in my jeans years ago- but in the intent of putting on a professional appearance rather than being a jerk. I guess we're actually upscale-work around here- many wear Polos or button-ups and don coverals for the real work.

    Not that my work-wear is ratty or sloppy; its just different. And as you say it is noted...

    Martin,

    Understand you taking "work clothes" literally. But yes, I meant more along the meaning of physical work.

    Cheers,
    Clint
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  10. cbrunt

    cbrunt One of the Regulars

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    Location:
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    Speaking of looking like a convict, Fletch... Chambray shirt and dungarees (and glasses) once earned the remark that I looked like I worked in a prison library...!!!

    clint
     
  11. TheLibrarian

    TheLibrarian New in Town

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    Location:
    Manchester, CT, USA
    At least I am guessing that you gentlemen can wear vintage to work. I feel half naked if I wear vintage or vintage-inspired clothing and no hat. And have you ever tried doing work on a computer all day with a hat brim coming between you and the screen?

    Since gents are expected to remove their hats indoors, I don't think this would be a problem for you. But for a lady...

    Although I have done it once or twice for special events. The kids especially love it. And when you try to take pictures of a group of children, it is nice to be able to tell them to "look at the lady in the hat" and have them know exactly where to turn!
     
  12. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    What I'm hoping for is that we hear from contractors or tradesmen outside a military atmosphere. Will they be as zealous about noticing "uniform" infractions or will only impractical or fancy clothing get comments?
     
  13. handlebar bart

    handlebar bart Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
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    Location:
    at work
    [​IMG]
    [huh]
    But seriously. My clothes get destroyed so I make no effort to be fashionable. For the price of an overpriced pair of pants I can buy a years supply of pants at the thift store. We don't see too much costumey stuff......unless of course a certain person has lost a bet.:eek:
     
  14. cbrunt

    cbrunt One of the Regulars

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    Glad to say I work in a fairly controlled environment.
     
  15. Xavier_Godshore

    Xavier_Godshore Familiar Face

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA
    I'm a white collar worker, not a blue collar but in the industry I work in (graphics/film, etc. - doing grunt work, not in an administrative position) dressing vintage in Apple Computer consuming/casual Hipster territory gets attention.
    At least once or twice a week I'll come in with a shirt, tie, braces, vest, two-tone wingtips and a shellacked head of hair. In an extremely casual environment (my baby boomer boss is a Hawaiin shirt addict) I get comments all day long. Some positive, some benign. As I work in media I wear a big set of modern looking, noise-canceling headphones, and click away on a mouse, I will often get the comment , "you look like a telegraph operator on the Titanic".

    I take public transportation to work (a train and a bus) and though I never have gotten comments, people's glances last a little longer. I was just noticing yesterday that strangers are a little kinder to me (not that they are generally mean) when I dress vintage. They're also more apt to ask me general questions like, "is this the train to...?" or "what platform does the southbound train come in on?" when I dress vintage as opposed to when I'm not. Maybe it makes me seem a little more approachable somehow? Trustworthy? I'm not sure.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  16. cbrunt

    cbrunt One of the Regulars

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Maryland
    Xavier,

    Glad to see you doing what you want. Our duds may differ but what we're doing is the same, with similar reactions. The telegraph operator dig at least shows the maker of the remark has some sense of the past! I've also been called the Denim Nigthmare by one of my closest friends and coworker when its all denim for me. He's a Star Wars nut who I tease in return and its all in fun- Hell, be bought a Tan-Tan sleeping bag "for his son"... Sure...

    Thinking back I should have specified vintage of any type in any work-environment. Focused on my own "environment" and frustration when I originally posted.

    So anyone that wears vintage to work- and your experiences, good or bad- please chime in!

    Clint
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  17. Mahagonny Bill

    Mahagonny Bill Practically Family

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    560
    Location:
    Seattle
    Ok, I know what a Canadian Tuxedo is but WTH is a Puerto Rican Jump Suit ?

    As for comments, try not to let it bother you. I work in a semi-industrial environment and I dress about the same as you describe. I get the occasional crack when I'm at a production plant, but I just brush it off. If you are going to do anything that is slightly different than the rest of the pack, you are going to draw both negative and positive attention. The negative comments are the price of the positive ones. If you give it time, people will come around....or get tired of ragging on you ;)
     
  18. David Conwill

    David Conwill Call Me a Cab

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    Bennington, VT 05201
    Men in clothes like you describe built your workplace, what have your coworkers done that makes them feel so superior to those men?

    At least that would be my response in your position, if I even felt compelled to defend myself.

    -Dave
     
  19. cbrunt

    cbrunt One of the Regulars

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Maryland
    Thanks for the replies guys. All good advice and I'm taking it. Cyncially, I really don't value most opinions from co-workers after knowing many for 14 years and seeing their "true" selves... But just get tired of hearing it...
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011

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