Carhartt, a stalwart brand that made its name churning out hard-wearing clothes for blue-collar types, became hip by accident. The Detroit-based line (for decades the uniform of farmers, ranchers, and construction workers) gained a premillennium following of rappers, skaters, and BMX bikers without altering its iconic chore coat or other brown-twill staples. Now the 122-year-old workhorse is branching into retail, with a 3,000-square-foot Wicker Park outpost opening in April.
“We’re catering to the weekend warrior, the artisan, the avid hobbyist, and the consumer who leads an active, engaged lifestyle, as well as our core working customer,” says Lindy Mueller, a Carhartt rep. The Chicago store (Carhartt’s third in as many years, with other locations in Salt Lake City and Portland, Oregon) stocks the label’s classic work wear—such as chambray shirts, bib overalls, and dungarees—as well as modern spinoffs of its original rough-and-ready designs for men and women.
Also housed in the factory-inspired shop is Work in Progress, a limited run of heritage styles (previously available mostly in Europe) that pay homage to Carhartt’s past. Look for cuts for men and women, including distressed denim jackets ($140) and waxed cotton jackets ($145). A men’s-only denim collection, Series 1889, combines traditional details with modern washes and fits (from $60).
Gear from like-minded American outfitters will be in semiregular rotation, including watches from Timex, Duluth Pack bags, and sunglasses from Native Eyewear. (A Carhartt collaboration with New York–based menswear designer Adam Kimmel drops this month but is exclusive to Barneys.)
Gift-appropriate clothes for kids (think pintsize bib overalls) will be stocked seasonally. Accessories—including belts, gloves, and hats—will be on hand year-round. Sturdy, weatherproof boots—including hiking and safety-toe styles (from $99)—can take a beating, whether it’s on a construction site or at an outdoor music festival. All in a day’s work or play.
GO 1518 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-278-5218, carhartt.com
FIND Work wear—including the traditional duck coat ($75)—and casual separates for men and women
Photography: Heiji Choy Black and courtesy of vendors