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Wonderful workwear

As a blogger of reasonable standing, I get sent a lot of press releases – too many these days to ever have the time to reply to as 99.9% of them are not about vintage, nor indeed any of my other interests outside of vintage. But the other day I got quite a cool one from Dickies that I thought I’d write up.

Now back in the 90s, when I was all into skater style, Dickies were all the rage! Work pants and work shirts on both sexes (but for girls, paired with little vest tops underneath) plus skate shoes (or Adidas shell-toes) were the standard uniform. Both things were even sung about by Vanilla Ice. Thems were the days!

But Dickies were historically always known for their tough workwear – something that they are probably more known for in 2014 again after those skate-tastic glory days of the mid-90s. The email I got was about all the awesome old advertising that they had dug up. Dating from the very earliest days of the Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Co, it seems they originally did leisure wear too!

I actually had to email back to ask why they didn’t make awesome vintage-style swimwear like this original ad shows. I mean, really! Happy to say, they thought they should as well! It might not happen, but who knows. If it does, it was my idea. 😉

Throughout the 30s and 40s, Dickies weathered the storms of the Great Depression and WWII, mainly due to focussing all their efforts on the sturdy, practical gear they became known for. 
By the 50s they placed the emphasis on the ‘men of production’ with not a lady in sight, unless she was ironing his Dickies. You know, very of its time. They liked to mention how hot men looked in their clothes though! ‘Do your job and look good while doing it’ – a motto you tended to see a lot in advertising to women, so it’s nice to see the same reflected in the blokes’ ads too! 
This one’s a bit weird though. 
Ladies started to reappear in the late 50s/early 60s, albeit these seem to be unisex pegs! 
In the 1960s, the adverts got more edgy…

And I love this campaign from the 70s!

But by the 80s… well, I’ll let the fashions speak for themselves.


Thanks Dickies Store for sending me these brilliant pictures. Looking through the store now, there are a few 90s skate-era looking hoodies tucked away in between the functional workwear, but nothing that I’d currently wear. I suggested to them that if swimwear is a stretch too far, they might go back into high-waisted workwear pants for men and women as I am sure they would be really popular among the vintage crowd, don’t you think?

Well if nothing else, with the current early-90s revival working its way up through the decade, work shirts and work pants with skate shoes will soon be back in style anyway. If only I’d kept mine!

Fleur xx


The Professor

I have such good memories of Dickies, mostly because of my Pop who was a carpenter/construction worker. He always wore Dickies slacks and jackets, and of course flannels. I can't help but smell "English Leather" cologne, cigarettes, mustache wax, and wood curls when I see Dickies. Ah, that was my Pop! Thanks for sharing these awesome images … and for giving me a great memory on a snowy NYC day.


Very cool! I love those early advertisements! Does this mean they'll start reissuing some highwaisted, vintage style trousers for guys and gals? I hope so!


Thank you for the great images. For sheer novelty value surely you can't go past the "New! Dickies Steadies"?! They made me laugh out loud. Did they sell many I wonder? Along with the excellent RIT dye cross promotion of course. We can learn so much from advertising material, there was so much copy included in it.

Miss Marie

Loving the progression of ads through the ages. They should absolutely go back to swimwear, as you suggested to them. Or, yes, high waisted work pants, definitely. I'd be in there.

Ladanu Ladan

Great art work and lovely clothing ranges. I would love to see some high quality designs like on that early poster – that halter and shorts combo that girl is wearing is amazing.


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