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Work Clothes, 2022 Edition

 
Posts: 13
Location: Cooksville, WI
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Hey Folks,
I've seen this brought up various times and I'm curious if any new insights are out there.
So far, i see the following points:
1) Thrift store buys are good because the ecological impact is already over, so this isn't so bad, if you can find what you want (agree).
2) Reparability and compostability are important, so having all natural fibers and no forever chemicals (e.g., waterproofing) is important to folks (agree).
3) High-end brands like Patagonia have nice looking stuff with fair-trade, organic, etc, but are pricey for something that is going to be abused (and they're partly synthetic and thus not compostable) (agree).
4) Some like to buy Duluth brand on deep discount (I don't like the fit and am a standard size, so I almost never find the discounted stuff in my size anyway).

Any other important issues, brands, or ideas I'm missing? These points all make sense but don't give a good bottom line.

Maybe, if I want something exact and can't find it at the thrift store, Ebay is worth a look? I've been doing that instead of Amazon for really specific stuff I need for projects.

I've been making a linen shirt for years. Each season I grow and process flax into stricks, which my friend is spinning into linen thread, which I will weave into fabric and make into a shirt. Not really feasible for all my work clothes or I'll be wearing a grain sack with a strap over one shoulder for a while.

Thanks and happy fall.

 
pollinator
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Well,  if you are thinking of shopping online,  the thredup website is a good place to find specific higher end name brands,  and sometimes prices are really great (sometimes just so-so but better than new).   They work to recycle packing materials and such too.   You can set up your search profile with your size and brand preferences to make searching easier.  
 
pollinator
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It's a fair question.

I'm a lot less fussy about my workwear than you, but then mine is for the garden and woodlot. If I had to be presentable to the wider world, it would be harder. I recently wore a well worn canvas work shirt to the local recycling depot and was complimented by a grizzled "workin' man" for not caring one whit how I looked. (Though I sometimes show up "office fresh" at the same facility, and any bank manager would invite me in.)

I also don't worry about poly/cotton blends too much. By the time I'm done wearing jeans/shirts, they are chopped up into shop rags. Then, if they are coated with oil/grease, they become firestarters for the shop stove so I don't have to burn propane.

My point is: perfection sometimes gets in the way of "good enough." It's still worth contemplating perfection, though, as an impetus to improve.

To answer your question, I wonder if you need to go the source for fabric that meets your ethical parameters, and cultivate a local seamstress (or shoemaker) to build what you want.

If I wanted to go 100% cotton, I would look into the tough cotton duck used to make outfitter wall tents or breathable covers for cars in storage. Companies that make that kind of thing might have connections as well -- chat them up.
 
pollinator
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Quick aside regarding Patagonia specifically:  They've recently reorganized so that all their profits go to environmental causes.  Also, they're moving toward their products being made 100% from recycled material, and you can return their clothes to them to recycle.

So if you're going to spend on new clothing, they're one of the few that might be worth looking at.
 
steward
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I shop for brands.

I only wear certain brands that I know the sizes work for me.

I also know what new prices are so thrift stores were good for me when I worked and lived in a big city.

Buying used online can be hit or miss with sizes.

I buy hubby's work clothes online but again I shop for brands which is only Dickey.
 
pollinator
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Craftsman brand (like Carharts) clothes are my favorite, sadly due to Sears going away they are hard to find.

Their jackets actually have a warm layer in the hand pockets that keep your hands warm. They also have organization in the pockets, with little inner pockets to keep things organized.

They have two types of vest, one with a liner and one without. Both have amazing pocket organization with inner pockets to keep things separate.

Their pants are great too, with the right amount of pockets to be useful.

If you need to stay warm the Lester River Bushcraft Wool Boreal Shirt Anorak is amazing. Lot of pockets, and super warm. Their vest is awesome too. The only thing is the pockets they are nylon and poly cotton used to construct inside pockets.

Speaking of wool, I really love the used East German wool military pants, though they are hard to find these days.

I know it doesn't meet your requirements of all natural (they are made from tent material) but I really love the Fjallraven pants. They last a really long time, I have a pair that are over 5 yrs old, and the only damage is where I had a chainsaw winding down and it cut the thigh fabric a little though the pocket but not the leg. They also have coats and other stuff but I have no experience with them.
 
pollinator
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I find thrift store clothes (pants) to be a gamble, they have already given their best wearings and washings, and haven't lasted me well. I wear pants out... knees, thighs, pockets, belt loops. The only old pants I have are "dress" pants, and a few that I sized myself out of too quickly.
If I get a third year out of pants it's a bonus.

I'm wearing a pair of Duluth pants right now, and I like the idea of them, but they're the shortest inseam and still two inches too long for me, so the fit isn't what I need (have to hike them up before kneeling on the integrated kneepads, which are still better than not!)
I used to wear army surplus BDU pants and liked them, but my body shape has changed some and I haven't tried any recently.

I'm with the others about "shopping for brands", once you find a brand that fits and feels right, it's worth it to skip the bullshit and just buy another pair of pants, boots, socks, etc... Then you can fairly confidently order online, and know you won't have any hassles.
 
Scott A. J. Johnson
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I think part of the key here, which pretty much we all probably do, is whatever we wear, wear it out, then make rags. Then compost the rags (if applicable). Then apply the compost... and eat the food.
I've got a pipeline of newer "nice" work clothes for teaching classes, which get demoted when my "crap" work clothes are done. And the cycle continues.
Thanks all!
 
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