Growing up, every school day morning from elementary to high school began with me slipping into a pair of Dickies’ signature loose fit work pants. I’d sing the same complain-y song every morning, “Why do I have to wear these ridiculous pants? They’re not cute,” and my mom would respond the same way every. single. time. “School is not a fashion show,” she’d say. Says who?
My argument didn’t stand a chance against the brand’s affordable price tag (under $30), plus their functionality, versatility, and durability—but little did I know that it was only a matter of time before the same pants I dreaded wearing for much of my childhood would go on to become a mainstay in pop culture and the new It Girl staple on Instagram.
Yes, I know it’s hard to look at the carpenter-style, baggy, low-rise classic Dickies 874 work pants and wonder what part of them are fashun, but what was once considered the tough, durable armor for American factory workers quickly became “cool” thanks to hip-hop and pop culture. For west coast rhymers like N.W.A and Tupac, Dickies’ signature chinos were cuffed at the foot and paired with classic Chuck Taylors. Then came Gwen Stefani, who adopted the Chicano or “chola” aesthetic—thin, arched brows and deep red lipstick with an even darker liner—and sported cropped wife beaters and baggy hip-hugging Dickies. Skaters and grunge bands, followed suit.
And just like the revival of tartan plaid, chunky sneakers, fanny packs, bucket hats, and mom jeans, everything old is new again and thus Dickies’ “cool factor” has returned. Kourtney Kardashian gave us a simple, chic take when she stepped out in a beige pair of Worker Wide-Leg Pants with a matching nude top and shoes. Emily Ratajkowski slipped on a black cropped top to complement her baggy Carpenter Jeans.
Now I want on in the brand’s revival, starting with the most recent Dickies 1922 x Opening Ceremony unisex collections, which take the brand’s work shirt, work pants, and a lab coat and dips them in candy coated pink, brown, and lime green shades and stripes.
There’s also Dickies Girl, the cool-girl edition of the heritage brand, where the classic worker and carpenter pant styles are cut in wide-leg and cropped hem versions in bold primary colors.
If you’re ready to try the trend too, shop my favorite picks below.