Popular for several seasons, the workwear style is more than a fashion, it is a way of life. And it is quite legitimate because workwear is the opposite of "being fashionable". This style of clothing gives pride of place to the utilitarian clothes worn by workers, craftsmen and soldiers. It was born during the galloping industrialization of the 19th century and the expansion of mass work. It was necessary to create robust and practical clothing to dress these cohorts of workers.
The workwear style glorifies the clothes resulting from this universe: jeans, blue work, flannel shirt (the mythical lumberjack shirt...). These are solid clothes, designed to last and created to allow those who wear them to be comfortable. The workwear pieces are not made for aesthetic purposes but for pragmatic ones. The clothes fit the body and not the other way around. This is quite the opposite of fashion as we know it, which tends to constrain the garment in a purely decorative purpose.
There are as many workwear styles as there are types of jobs. The working world gave us the so-called blue jackets, the outdoor workers popularized the flannel shirt, the army propagated the cargo pants and the navy is at the origin of the pea coat and the navy sweater.
As the working class world opened up to women thanks to the two world wars, these garments proved that they were wearable by all.
Although unisex, the workwear style has found its female icons, pioneers of the twentieth century: pilots Amelia Eerhart and Adrienne Bolland, adventurous women in the army like Geneviève de Galard or workers like Rosie the Riveter, this popular icon inspired by Naomie Parker Fraley who worked in the factories of the U.S. Navy during the Second World War.
Therefore, the workwear style can well and truly adapt to the feminine. Workwear, the sailor sweater is the symbol par excellence of the French workwear look. It can be worn in a conventional and authentic workwear look or be feminized in a more sophisticated workwear version.
Read our article Wear the navy sweater when you are a woman
The navy sweater, symbol of the workwear style
Originally, the sailor sweater was a workwear, made for the terre-neuvas, the Breton sailors who crossed the Atlantic to fish cod in Newfoundland, Canada. Its shape, details and construction testify to its primary functions.
First, let's look at its material: virgin wool allows this knit to be warm enough to face the cold and the rigors of the maritime climate during the long winter crossings. The tight knitting makes the wool almost waterproof which is ideal to face the bad weather and the waves which did not fail to crash on the fishing boats. Its form-fitting shape allowed sailors to remain comfortable in their movements and not be hindered during their maneuvers. Finally, the quadruple buttoning at the neckline makes it easy to put on.
The particularity of Le Minor sweaters lies in their manufacture, heir to a unique know-how. In order to guarantee the solidity and longevity of our sweaters, we reknit their collars: the stitch is reopened with a machine that has hundreds of small needles. The collar is then attached to the body by being sewn into the knit. This precision work also ensures a clean finish.
Robust, insulating, practical, the navy sweater is the workwear garment par excellence.
Build an authentic workwear look with a navy sweater
As we mentioned earlier, there are as many workwear styles as there are work worlds. Here we suggest you build a strictly navy workwear look with your sweater or try a more working class inspired look.
A workwear look inspired by the maritime world
To pay homage to its nautical origins, we're going to combine the sweater with other pieces from the maritime world. Choose our true navy blue navy sweater and pair it with white bridge pants. These pants have a belly flap with the buttons on the edges. Since the 16th century, these pants were used by seafarers, sailors, fishermen and merchants because thanks to the absence of buttons on the front, they were less likely to have accidents. They avoided to be hooked by the ropes or in the meshes of the nets. That's why the deck (name of the fabric flap) originally had the buttons on the inside and not on the edges.
The sailor sweater is long and close to the body, you can easily tuck it into the pants to highlight the bridge. Then, put on a light blue jacket and a sailor cap. This workwear look, a tribute to the maritime world, combines elegance and casualness.
A workwear look inspired by the working world
When we think of workwear, the worker style comes more naturally to mind. We'll compose a look from this universe with one of our sweaters.
Choose the officer sweater, identifiable with its shoulder patches and elbow patches. Wear it with raw denim jeans and red leather workboot boots.
To warm up your shoulders, you can let yourself be tempted by a camel moleskin work jacket and carry a thick canvas bag.
A feminine workwear look with a navy sweater
The workwear look being by definition quite unisex, we are going to suggest you a way to bring a feminine touch to it without going too far from the codes of the genre.
To feminize this rustic style, we will bring some color and play with accessories.
We will build a monochrome look by juxtaposing pieces in a cameo of red. And as with any monochromatic outfit, we'll alternate materials to bring depth. The base of the look is the navy and red sweater. It will go perfectly with a burgundy chino, rolled up on your ankles. Choose a leather jacket and red brown leather derbies for your shoes. Don't forget to slip them on over a nice pair of mottled wool socks, red mixed with white. A pretty golden cuff and golden chips will complete the femininity of this workwear inspired look.