Having grown up in Colorado, workwear has always been part of my life—whether it was something I wore as a durable layer while camping, or just whatever was the most cost-effective clothing in my broke college years. So, imagine my surprise when I moved to New York and found that workwear is actually a pretty integral part of very stylish streetwear. But while the barn coats and Carhartt classic tees I grew up with are easy additions to any wardrobe—they're affordable and look cool—I couldn't get the pants right.
On my body, wide-leg pants were either too wide (giving me too much of a square shape) or, sizing down to get a Goldilocks-level "just right" leg, they were too small in the waist. Others that fit well but weren't particularly well-made would look right at first, but just not hold up—they'd pill and loose their shape within weeks.
Then, after literal years of searching, I came across the Master Pant from Carhartt Work In Progress, the workwear pioneer's division that makes a younger, streetwear-adjacent product. Here's why they live up to their lofty name.
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The Fit Is Just Right
With a slightly tapered leg below the knee, the Master Pant finds the perfect balance between slim-fit pants and wider workwear pants. If, like me, you're someone trying to transition out of skinny jeans, these provide the perfect gateway into a wider fit that won't make you feel like you're wearing clown pants. More importantly, the wider look doesn't mean it's wide everywhere—the Master Pant thankfully isn't baggy in the hips or seat, giving your body a little bit of shape.
They Work Pretty Much Everywhere
What's interesting about the Master Pant, as opposed to other stylish Carhartt choices like the Double Knee Pant, is that this look is more versatile. The thickness of the pant makes them something that works year round. And, since this is basically just a beefed-up take on the classic chino, it's something you can wear to the office (with a collared shirt), to the bars (with a T-shirt) or for even legitimate, you know, work. Which brings me to...
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Like Regular Workwear, These Are Durable As Hell
At $128, I'll admit these are more expensive than the regular Carhartt pants that retail for about half the price, but it's absolutely worth it. The Master Pant gets you a more stylish cut than OG Carhartt, while retaining all of the quality of the classic workwear brand. These things are tough—tougher than most clothing you'll find at a similar price point. We're talking reinforced stitching at key spots, plus a rugged poly-cotton blend (called Denison twill) that doesn't show wear and tear easily. Go ahead, beat them up. That's what they're made for.
Prop styling by Miako Katoh. Photography by Tim Mulcare
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.