17 April 2009

The Workers

Thank you all so very much for the kind words of support, it really did mean a lot. I had to go into hospital for treatment, which probably all looked rather more dramatic than it actually was. Thankfully it went well, and I shall hopefully be able to visit all of your wonderful blogs soon.

I was recently watching a rather interesting documentary on the industrial market during the first half of the twentienth century. Upon the crash of the world markets, the Great Depression saw the unemployed and poverty-stricken masses migrating in order to find even the most basic means of survival. The factory workers who managed to retain employment were fortunate enough to be able to support their families during those harsh times. It is odd to think that it took such tragic events to reduce the great economic woes of America and Europe. Indeed, rather conversely, it was the dire functional needs of World War Two that helped improve the markets and promote the growth of industry once again.

As the various historians and economists explained the situations and documented accounts, I was particularly taken by the footage and photographs of the actual workers of the time. I managed to find the beautiful colour images above, courtesy of The Library of Congress, from the FSA and OWI digital collection. What fascinates me so greatly, are the clothing and uniforms that the workers wore, and indeed, how smart the workers looked in comparison to their modern day contemporaries.

The most important fuction of each garment was undoubtedly that of practicality - they had to be strong, versatile and easy to craft. As such, the fabric choices had to reflect these needs, resulting in the employment of materials including linens, canvas and roughly combed cottons. The design of each piece was also inherently far smarter than the utilitywear of today, which left me feeling rather nostalgic of that presentability unfortunately lost since.

Following my hospital stay, I had to visit one of my doctors for an appointment, and decided I would try my take on the worker's uniform. Rather than using the rough linens and canvases, I opted for finer fabrics in order to give a more personal ready-to-wear feel to my look. I also tried to keep my colour palette solely to the varying hues of blue, of the uniforms.

Along with a light blue shirt, I opted to wear a grey sweater and woven navy tie. I used the tie to add a smarter feel to the more practical side of the utilitywear, and as such also decided to use a woven, as opposed to a silk or fine combed cotton tie. Atop of this I wore my finely stiped, blue and white cotton jacket, along with a white cotton pocketsquare. I noted that these stripes were a common finish to many of the industrial uniforms, and indeed evidence of this can be seen above. Continuing with my theme, I wore a pair of unfinished navy trousers with my Doc Marten boots giving a more workwear inspired feel. Using the concept of workwear, I tried to keep a far more personal feel to my outfit, as opposed to the strict uniformity of my inspiration.

Currently playing: Nocturne, Op.27 No.2 - Frederic Chopin



  1. I wasn't sure if that hospital photo was personal ... SO glad you're OK!

    And love this take on utilitarian workwear.

  2. Luckely you're ok!!
    Well, it didn't affect your outfits, it's a great one;)

  3. Glad you are fine & posing style for us again...perfect spring outfit! ~XO*

  4. You are alive and well, great!

    The Industrial Era is a fascinating time and the Library of Congress has some great images to American history!

    I love that outfit on you! I would have never thought it was a workers jacket, it looks so stylish the way you put it together!

  5. Your layering is done so well! I love your sweater! I am glad you're fine *hugs

  6. I'm so glad to hear you're okay, love!!


  7. Best wishes and get well soon, mister!

  8. I'm glad to hear you're okay! Those photos are inspiring stuff.

  9. This is a very fall look, I love the mixture of different fabrics, and I like the fact that you chose a well-put-together palette.( I thought your blazer was seersucker for a minute).

    Doc Martins are not my favorite, but I must admit, they do look great with those trousers. In my case I'll probably would have done aviators instead.

    btw, the pocket square adds a great touch to the look.

  10. Sorry I haven't commented in so long.

    Looking quite handsome and well put-together as always.

    Sorry to hear about you going to the hospital, but glad you're doing well :]
    Feel better!

  11. Nice, I also like the clothing of American workwear of the early 1900s. Things wear just simple and made to last.

    I found an old photo of my grandpa and he looks just like the men in these photos. brought back some memories for me.

    your whole outfit is great. I just love that cotton jacket.

  12. Oh honey your alive! After your hospital post I worried haha =.]

  13. You do have to wonder if the uniform made them feel better about their job..as well..very cool pics.

    Glad you are back.

  14. Just finished catching up with your last posts. Hope you're doing better now. For the record, you don't look like you've been in the hospital, but that sounds totally vain.

    Sending positive vibes your way :)

  15. I love the outfit! It's too gorgeous for work though, but you've captured the spirit =) I'm glad you're better!

  16. Good to see you on your feet again! Love that you take what could be considered a trend in menswear and make it solely your own. This is a great tutorial on how to adapt something to you, rather than the other way around.

    ps. love the railroad striping on your jacket!

  17. Sorry I didn't catch your hospital post! Glad that everything went ok.

    Loved your workwear look. The textures are so essential---and you got it----spot on! Love the jacket the most...

  18. Good to have you back from the hospital dear!This is a lovely outfit. What a brilliant idea(:

    Have a lovely weekend!

  19. Glad you're doing better!

    And I love your take on the worker outfit. Great jacket.

  20. Yay!!! I am so glad your back and feeling better!

    I really like your outfit!

  21. It's great that you're back and feeling okay. Your jacket is amazing. I hope you have a better week!


  22. oh I'm in LOVE with that blazer on you.

  23. i love this, i really do. you are so right about clothes not being made to last.. in a way that kind of makes me bitter, like they purposely make shoddy clothes so then we have to continually buy them.

    not for any political reasons, my boyfriend ended up not buying new clothes for a year. after that period of time, the clothes were really shoddy and looked quite tattered, and that was from using the regular washing instructions, hang dry and of course not washing after every single wear. and these were 'nice' clothes like fillipa k, acne, april 77... etc...

    i think clothes should last longer than one year of continual use. by continual, i mean once a week, maybe twice a week... which is still less frequent than what our industrial ancestors wore.

    sorry for long comment.

  24. I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool..