If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, SPY.com may receive an affiliate commission.
Most great menswear styles began as purely functional pieces before making their way into civilian life, which is how an iconic workwear brand like Carhartt is now found, well, everywhere. When Rihanna and A$AP Rocky recently stepped out to announce a surprise pregnancy, the rapper was wearing a vintage Carhartt denim jacket that got almost as much attention as Rihanna’s baby bump. Soon after, The New York Times profiled Carhartt and its unique place in the American fashion scene. And the fashion world’s obsession with Carhartt is hardly new. SPY named the classic Carhartt beanie the winter hat of the year — back in 2020.
In 2022, the Carhartt fashion trend shows no signs of stopping, and it’s the rare type of clothing brand that really can be worn by everyone. Famous hip-hop artists, farmworkers, Brooklyn hipsters, and fashionistas can all wear Carhartt and feel good about themselves. It’s the closest thing to a universal fashion statement as we’ve ever seen.
To help you get in on this trend, we wanted to put together a Carhartt style guide so you can make the brand’s clothing your own. It’s the perfect time to start wearing Carhartt, as many of the Detroit brand’s hard-working clothes are well-suited for winter (and beyond). However, the workwear brand has clearly transcended its utilitarian roots, without a doubt.
Carhartt Makes Workwear for Everyone
Yes, you need some Carhartt in your wardrobe, be it a Carhartt beanie or a Carhartt jacket. Founded in 1889 to make overalls for railroad workers, the trusted heritage work brand is now worn by rappers like A$AP Rocky and award-winning actors like Daniel Day-Lewis. At the same time, you’ll find the exact same pieces worn on ranches and oil fields.
So how did a brand that started with just two sewing machines become a celeb favorite?
how the gang pulled up to black history month pic.twitter.com/gprFgyP3Xm
— Rihanna (@rihanna) February 3, 2022
Carhartt gear is no-nonsense, hard-wearing and ridiculously well-made, which is something that everyone can appreciate, said Janet Ries, Vice President of Marketing at Carhartt. And as workwear styles have come back into vogue on runways following a rise in athleisure trends a decade or so ago, Carhartt still has a uniquely universal appeal.
“We believe that those who wear the brand also embrace and have awareness of the hard-working values of Carhartt and its connection to America’s working class,” Ries said, noting that the brand isn’t prone to chasing trends and instead wants to connect with customers via an “authentic connection through work.”
It doesn’t hurt that stars like Daniel Day-Lewis have managed to perfectly incorporate Carhartt into an on-trend wardrobe in recent years, either.
Carhartt’s bedrock products are popular for a reason among both early-rising construction workers and seriously cool celebs, and the best Carhartt clothes certainly provide warmth, durability and, yes, a touch or two of style points. Carhartt’s signature shade of brown is also highly adaptable to plenty of different style moves.
Simply put, you don’t have to think too hard about what you’re wearing with Carhartt. And at a time when fast fashion seems inescapable, Carhartt is making high-quality, durable clothing that will stand the test of time.
Carhartt Evolves with Carhartt WIP
Carhartt may have inexplicably become the “it” brand in 2022, but you have to give the company some credit. Carhartt is pushing beyond its typical utilitarian apparel with Carhartt Work In Progress, also known as Carhartt WIP.
Carhartt WIP is a division of Carhartt — it’s technically a licensee partner and was founded in 1989 (100 years after Hamilton Carhartt launched the lauded workwear brand). What does this all mean if you want to wear the best Carhartt clothes? Think of WIP as a trend-forward, more fashion-focused offshoot of Carhartt, with bolder colors, a mix of silhouettes and a strong following in Europe (plus, plenty of on-trend collaborative partners).
Carhartt WIP targets a “different audience of consumers who value contemporary designs that remain true to the quality Carhartt is known for,” Ries said.
The flagship Carhartt brand also wants to serve a key foundational role for those who value both style and hard work, regardless of how they first found the company.
“Regardless of background or walk of life, we hope those who wear Carhartt, including those new to the brand, do so with the understanding of what we stand for: the value of hard work and commitment to everyday working people,” Ries said.
The Modern Man’s Carhartt Style Guide
If you want to wear the best Carhartt clothes, you’d do well to check out our Carhartt style guide. Fortunately, there are plenty of key styles you can incorporate into your wardrobe however you please. The Carhartt beanie is a great place to start, but you can also go all-out and build an entire outfit from head-to-toe with Carhartt. The brand’s overalls and pants are a great base for a winter outfit, and Carhartt outerwear has the added bonus of being stylish and practical.
Start shopping, then layer up and get to work.
1. Carhartt Knit Cuffed Beanie
BEST WINTER BEANIE CAP
Once you try on this stylish and instantly recognizable Carhartt beanie, you won’t reach for any other hat during a winter storm. This iconic beanie is perfectly suited for a day out in the field or a night out on the town, which is really the heart of Carhartt’s appeal at the moment. If you’re wondering how to wear a Carhartt, well, then you’re already overthinking this. Wear it with anything you want whenever you’re worried about cold weather or when you want to keep your hair under wraps. If you prefer darker colors, go with a neutral color like brown, black or grey. If you’re comfortable with making more of a fashion statement, choose the fluorescent orange or yellow Carhartt beanies.
No matter which color you choose, the classic Carhartt Knit Cuffed Beanie is understated yet stylish thanks to the logo patch. Not only is it ridiculously warm, but it also looks great when paired with a denim jacket, a field coat or even a leather sherpa jacket. Best of all, it’s affordable as can be.
2. Carhartt Denim Jackets
We’re expecting to see a lot of denim in the spring fashion scene, at least, more so than usual. A$AP Rocky’s denim jacket pictured above appears to be vintage, so we can’t help you buy that exact Carhartt denim jacket (though checking your local Goodwill can be a great way to find vintage Carhartt pieces); however, Carhartt WIP has a bunch of stylish denim jackets for men we recommend checking out. In addition, if you just want to capture the overall look, Tecovas has an excellent western wear denim jacket to consider.
3. Carhartt Quilted Flannel-Lined Duck Jacket
BEST WORKWEAR JACKET
This Carhartt jacket is the stuff of legend, as are many styles from the famously weather-ready brand. It speaks to the company’s frigid Detroit roots (it’s water and wind-resistant), and it’s the kind of jacket your grandfather would be proud to wear (and maybe still does!) today. You’ll find it everywhere from cobblestone streets outside a hip coffee shop all the way back to job sites in Michigan — the brand’s signature duck cotton canvas is burly yet flexible, with a hood and jacket body lined in quilted cotton flannel.
4. Carhartt Loose-Fit Defender Bib Overalls
Did you have overalls on your 90s fashion revival Bingo card? Carhartt has almost singlehandedly brought overalls back from the dead, and it’s a surprisingly versatile look if you can pull it off. Carhartt bib overallls come in classic shades of denim as well as black and brown. So long as you have the confidence to pull off this look, you really can’t go wrong. Simply pair your new overalls with a solid color t-shirt for an understated look, or with a more vibrant tie-dye t-shirt if you’re feeling loud.
5. Carhartt Logo Sleeve Graphic Sweatshirt
BEST RUGGED HOODED SWEATSHIRT
The hooded sweatshirt is perhaps the pantheon of casual, laidback style, but the best Carhartt clothes — while still ready for lounging — dispel with the notion that all you can do while wearing a hoodie is kick back and relax. The signature Carhartt logo on the sleeve (and the patch logo) add a few “cool kid” style points, while the loose fit gives you plenty of room to layer other cold-weather staples. And because you can layer this midweight cotton-blend sweatshirt, that means you can wear it with a Carhartt jacket to take on your next outdoor project (or hit the town, A$AP Rocky style).
6. Carhartt Rugged Flex Duck Utility Work Pants
BEST GO-ANYWHERE WORK PANTS
When you’ve got a good thing going, it’s best not to stray too far from it. Take Carhartt’s legendary duck cotton canvas fabric, found in everything from jackets to ballcaps to, yes, work pants. The fabric helps them stand up to stains, spills, water, grease and grime, while Carhartt’s Rugged Flex® stretch technology makes it easy to move around in ’em. Reinforced back pockets hold your everyday carry, but as Mr. Daniel Day-Lewis proves, you can wear rugged work pants just about anywhere you please, especially if they’re teamed with hard-working leather boots and a knit beanie cap. The best Carhartt clothes, like we said, are made for nearly anything.
7. Carhartt Heavyweight Short-Sleeve Pocket T-Shirt
BEST POCKET T-SHIRT
The Carhartt name is synonymous with bundling up against frigid temperatures, but the brand doesn’t skimp when it comes to gear you can wear in warmer weather, too. They’ve cut no corners with this heavyweight pocket T-shirt, with a substantial pocket and soft, no-nonsense cotton jersey knit construction. There are no wild colors or patterns here, just a classic pocket tee ready to wear with jeans to the bar or with work pants to tackle some spring cleaning.
8. Carhartt Canvas Cap
BEST MEN’S BALLCAP
Like we said, Carhartt doesn’t cut any corners, right on down to the hat you throw on your noggin. It makes perfect sense that the brand’s tough-as-nails DNA would “carry” over, pun intended, to your daily gear carry. This isn’t your average ballcap — it really is ready for the demands of a long day on the job (the washed cotton canvas and sweat-wicking headband insert see to that). But, the Carhartt logo patch adds a dash of in-the-know style points, so throw it on for a casual day in your favorite city park. And as ever, you can score it at a great price in an iconic shade of Carhartt brown.