Manly Man: Work Clothes

Posted on September 27, 2009

For some reason I love “work clothes”, in particular construction trade clothing. I suppose it comes from wearing a kilt for so long. When I first started wearing kilts on a daily basis, years ago, I did so because a) you stick out in a crowd, b) they are super comfortable, and c) they just look kool. Kilts are the ultimate “man” clothing. Thanks to the Utilikilt I also found kilts to be far more versatile and functional than traditional pants (meaning Levi jeans or slacks, and the like).

I found this particularly to be the case when I became a father. In the hospital one thing you can’t buy is the attention of the nursing staff… no doctor or nurse forgot which room “that guy in the kilt” had. If Tamarah needed ice, we got ice, when she wanted to talk to someone they came pronto. But then as we were out on the town and Nova was 6 months, I needed to carry a baby, daipers, food, a bottle, in addition to keys, wallet, phone, etc. With my Utilikilts I could carry everything and still have absolute flexibility to do all the aerobics that parents do with young kids, and stay cool at the same time… no bags required.

For some reason this blossomed into a general love of work clothes. For instance, Carhartt overalls are just awesome:

The same goes for German Lederhosen, not that cheap crap you dress kids in or wear to the pub but proper leather (“leder”) britches. So sad the bad wrap lederhosen have gotten; any male garment with a built in chest strap was intended for serious action, with an axe or chainsaw.

But perhaps my greatest respect is for Japanese work clothes. The pinnacle of form and function. If you picture Japanese men as little frail guys, you’ve not seen the real Japan:

Have a look at the TOBI Catalog or my favorite store in Tokyo, Mannen Ya (Manly Man). Nikka pants are the best…. I’m wearing a pair now:

Nikka Zubon pants are for construction workers in high places. There are lots of variations for different professions in Japan and lots of reasons to wear them, but they have a lot of advantages. First, they’re comfortable and give you completely unrestricted movement, secondly the pockets are deep and plentiful, no spilled change with these, and the “poof” in the material adds to your sensory experience by being more aware of objects around you in tight spaces or wind direction. Shockingly, they don’t snag on things like you’d think and they are made of a really strong material… these are, after all, work pants.

Is there a point to this post? No, not at all, but some times its fun to branch out from the usual and perhaps as a guy that sits in a chair for a living I have an appreciation of things that are otherwise overlooked and under appreciated. Working men of the world, I salute you.