There are no rules when it comes to style — we’re all free to wear what we want where and when we want. Matter of fact, I think the only rule is that there are no rules. Fashion and style are subjective, meaning everyone’s perspective is valid even if it may not look like yours. One person can look at a shirt and see a shirt, yet another person can look at that same shirt and see a dress. That leads us to a brand that is universal and worn by countless individuals from different walks of life: Dickies. A brand with heritage that has been around for almost a century, it’s evolved with time while remaining true to its core theme over the years – quality workwear.
Dickies was founded in the early 1920s with the intention of providing workwear that stood for quality, toughness and a spirit that embodied the American worker. The Great Depression actually forced the company to pivot and provide millions of uniforms for the nation’s soldiers at that time. Once Dickies transitioned back into producing workwear for the public, the company established new production facilities, warehouses and sales territories throughout the United States. By the late 1950s, Dickies had expanded into Europe and the Middle East, making it an international company. Today, Dickies is the largest workwear manufacturer in the world and continues to update their assortment, while refining their staple pieces.
Although it’s clear that workwear is intended to be worn while working, there is no limit to what kind of work it can be used for. During the flourishing era of Hip-Hop in the ’90s and 2000s, rappers and members of the community could be spotted in a full Dickies sets. It became an adopted uniform for some of the most prominent rappers like Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and countless others. They made it their own by styling it with blinged-out accessories and wearing it oversized. On the flip side, Dickies attire would be seen on corporate employees, fast food workers and the construction workers of the world. The versatility and the range was there — and best believe it still is.
The Dickies trousers also became a part of school uniforms nationwide. It’s second nature for students that wear uniforms to over accessorize and put their personal touch on the uniform — as someone who did it myself, I can personally attest. We made them as stylish as we could by accessorizing, wearing it with a great sneaker and trying different fits. Some of us wore them baggy, some preferred the tapered version, and during the warm months some of us opted for the shorts.
As mentioned before, rappers were one of the main groups of people seen sporting Dickies sets, but the beloved workwear also made its way onto the athletes of the world as well. They put their own flair on it by wearing Dickies pants with raw edges, wearing cropped lengths to show their socks and ultimately showcasing the true quality and durability of them. Hip-hop culture and skate culture in particular has had an immense impact on the way people dress today and on what the fashion industry at large considers “cool.” With Dickies being heavily present in both subcultures, it was destined for the brand to live on and on.
In today’s world, Dickies can be seen on rappers including Lil Baby and Cardi B. Modern workwear has become its own market in the industry with brands like Carhartt and Ben Davis also holding space in the scene. The brand recently developed Dickies Construct — a line catered toward providing fashion-like iterations of workwear. The brand has also embraced the collaborative culture and had some great partnerships with Opening Ceremony and Supreme. Aside from its website dickies.com, the brand can be found at contemporary retailers like Urban Outfitters and Somewhere DC, as well as luxury retailers such as SSENSE and Farfetch — shopping havens for some of the most fashionable people in the streets and on the gram.