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The Ideal Painter

Updated: Jun 5

Painter pants are a bit of a mystery, aren't they? There's an inherent romanticism about them, perhaps stemming from the various connotations of the word 'painter'. I still vividly remember stumbling upon that black-and-white photo of Jackson Pollock wearing coveralls and painter pants while creating art—it left quite an impression on me back in high school. In that moment, I felt like it might be the coolest outfit ever. Back then I often fantasise about becoming an artist myself one day and adopting this attire as my signature style, like a uniform of creativity. It gives me the feeling that wearing this kind of simple work wear while doing what you love feels like it really sharpens your focus.

Painter pants have a rich history in vintage work wear, boasting a plethora of variations and designs. From the evolution of tool pockets to the intricate details of button closures and graphic embellishments, each pair tells a unique story. It's this diversity that makes them so intriguing and collectible, embodying a sense of craftsmanship and individuality unlike any other.

Among my own collection, one piece stands out—the dead stock 1960s Carter's painter pants I snagged in Tokyo many years back. When I saw it in the store and realized it was my perfect size, I immediately bought it without hesitation. Although it may not be considered very rare, I was genuinely excited to purchase a style with such details that I had only seen in photos in books for the first time. Carter's as a traditional work wear label epitomizes the authentic essence of classic work wear, and these pants are no exception. Dyed using the popular vat dye technique of the '60s, featuring a brass gilt plated press button with zip fly and slim tool pockets with a handy hammer loop on the other side, they offer a more tailored fit compared to traditional loose-fitting painter pants. The over-sized rear pockets provide ample storage while sporting vintage branding—a locomotive emblem with the slogan "watch the wear," evoking durability and industrial heritage.

Even the factory paper tag bear intricate printing, a detail I've grown to appreciate over the years. These small touches, like the woven tag and stitching colours, add character and depth to the garment, making it more than just a piece of clothing—it's a piece of history.

These painters are made of relatively thin fabric, around 9oz-10oz, which is ideal for summer due to its lightweight nature. The slanted pockets are also a signature design for most painters, making them more akin to functional clothing rather than traditional denim jeans.

The absence of a back yoke in this design was prevalent in work wear from the early 1900s to the 1920s, but became less common in products from the 1960s. It represents a simplified language in work wear design. That rugged and straightforward design style always evokes a certain architectural aesthetic for me.

(Brass gilt plated embossed front snap closure with zip fly during 1960s)

(Beautiful grey weft with contrast white side stitching)

Vintage garment like this holds an unmatched charm for me, exuding a simplicity and authenticity that modern clothing often finds hard to mimic. They're not just clothes; they're a reflection of a bygone era, a reminder of craftsmanship and tradition that's irreplaceable. In my mind, the ideal painter might encompass more than just one style, but all these designs I'm passionate about share a common value with LAVORO's products: timelessness. The thought of them feeling disposable, like fashion trends, would leave me with a sense of incompleteness. Whether it's in clothing design, music, or architecture, whenever I see or hear them, I feel that sense of eternity is the most 'ideal' state to strive for.

'til next time!



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