Wednesday, October 27, 2010

united colours of...dickies?

by frédérik sisa

A few years ago, I got it in my head to find a pair of red pants. That’s right, RED pants, which isn’t really a violation of my all-black dress code, because the code really is: black, grey, and sanguinary colours, which includes red and purple. In any case, try finding men’s jeans and pants in colours other than the usual indigo, black, or khaki, an atrocious colour that, tellingly, sounds an awful lot like a synonym for poop.

So, Dickies (see previous post here). I don’t remember what prompted me to look them up in the first place, but I did and I found some nice, bright, fire-engine red work pants. Not for the squeamish, I admit, but when worn in the right time and place, it makes for a rather energetic alternative to the everyday. Which gets me thinking about colour. Although I rarely stray away from black – not a colour – I often wonder what men’s fashions would look like if colours were more diverse. Oh sure, there’s Ralph Lauren. But generally consider Lauren’s use of colour in preppy men’s clothes to be an attempt to make circus freaks out of us. And American Apparel? Well, they get points for trying, but their styles and colours have this weird retro vibe – just like their DIY quasi-porn advertising. Still, it’s nice to know there’s life beyond the muted colours typical of men’s fashions. Of course, maybe I’m just not venturing far enough afield. In the meantime, though, Dickies is there to provide a bit of punch to a wardrobe, and you might be surprised how it’s possible to whip up some style with clothes essentially geared towards the workplace.

Case in point: two-tone workshirts, like this one (for about $20), which are signs of design in an otherwise straightforward collection.

Alas, the grey one isn’t available in my size. But I did pick up the black and red version a year or so go, and it still serves me well.

But then something funny happened on the way to checkout. Dickies’ seemed to have discontinued their slim straight jeans in black. Since my existing pair was too short at the hem, I turned them into shorts and looked for a replacement. Instead, I ended getting something I never thought I’d ever get: skinny pants. Oh yes, those form-fitting garments that trend on and off. To be frank, I was a bit surprised at Dickies for the skinny and the fact that my curiosity was piqued. But the surprise beyond the surprise, however, was that not only they did have skinny pants (for $25), they had them in different colours (black, desert sand, deep purple, dark navy, aged brick, and silver). Colours! (You'll have to check out the website for yourself, since I wasn't able to get my hands on pics.) So I took a chance and got myself a pair in a darker, less alarming shade of red. And a pair in black.

I admit that for fashionistas accustomed to shopping with Calvin Klein, Armani, or other common fashion-oriented brands, Dickies isn’t quite walking the same catwalk. But for practical – and sensibly colourful – clothes at really affordable prices (and an easy return policy), Dickies is hard to beat. Better yet, Dickies makes it possible to achieve a sort of proletarian chic, if that’s your thing.

To all you gentlemen out there, a question: how do you fit colour into your wardrobes? What brands or stores do you turn to to inject a bit of pizazz into your wardrobes? I'd love to know!

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