Why I Love My Carhartt Pants

As these closet staples become fashionable streetwear, Carhartt pants still hold true to their roots.

Carhartt Pants Review

When it comes to blue-collar work wear, Carhartt is as American as Ford, Jack Daniels, and Red Wing boots. Over the years, the identity of the brand has shifted from traditional work attire to work attire that doubles as street fashion. To meet this demand, Carhartt stores are popping up in popular shopping areas.

The author in his beloved Dungarees; photo Steve Goranson

As an archaeologist living in the city, I need high quality, affordable goods that can withstand a heavy beating over multiple years. But they need to be versatile enough to wear on the weekends.

Durable materials, deep pockets, and a stylish look make the Washed Twill Dungarees popular with workers and fashion-forward people alike.

Multi-year test: Washed Twill Dungarees

Comfort: The Washed Twill Dungarees (imported, $40 – $45) run a little small, but compensate for that setback with a soft, snug fit that is easy to move around in. The pants become more manageable over time allowing for surprising flexibility when surveying through forests and plains.

They weigh around 9.5 oz. and are made of 100-percent cotton ring-spun peach twill. The straight cut is slim with cuffs that fit over boots. There isn’t much loose fabric that could get caught on bushes and branches.

Pockets: There are a multitude of pockets, nine total, that come in handy during fieldwork. Two front pockets and two back pockets make handkerchiefs and gloves accessible. On the legs, there are two right-side pockets, great for pencils and marking tools. One left-side pocket has a hammer loop, where I hang my trowel during excavations.

Durability: My first summer of fieldwork was spent on Plum Island, Wisc., excavating an 1850s-era historic lighthouse. We took a boat every day to the island and hiked off the beaten path, 1.5 miles to the site.

Work at the site was constant movement of excavating and screening. These pants withstood wet days, heavy underbrush, and relentless terrain.

Carhartt pants are a staple of workwear; photo by Sean McCoy

Another project was spent wandering the corn fields of western Iowa. The pants protected my legs as they withstood the onslaught of corn leaves. And after three years, these pants are holding up great.

Final Thoughts: Carhartt Is Still True Blue

Carhartt has been around since 1889 making blue-collar workwear for men and women. With a shift to being more fashion forward, they still retain the reliability sought out for those with tough jobs.

As a bonus, some Carhartt pants (like the Firm Duck Double Front Dungarees) are still made in the U.S.A.

As it may be “hip” to wear a Carhartt beanie, you will still see me with my tattered Carhartt ball cap and worn-in, washed twill dungarees. I wear my pants with a badge of honor—the dirtier and more beat-up they become.

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