Journal/Products/How to break in your Dickies work pants

How to soften, stretch and break in a pair of Dickies work pants

Dickies pants are made to last. That means tough, durable fabrics and blends that will outlast pretty much everything else in your wardrobe. A side effect of this toughness is that they can sometimes be a little stiff straight from the store. While that’s fine for some, others like to soften, stretch and break them in before hitting the streets. Here’s how you can dial down the stiffness and give your new Dickies more of a worn feel.

How to soften Dickies work pants

Before you wear them, wash your new Dickies work pants in the machine using washing powder and fabric softener. If you have a tumble dryer, throw in a softening sheet before the cycle starts. Always check the label on your pants for temperatures.

Another way of softening Dickies pants is to spend a few minutes screwing them up, shaking them out, rolling and twisting them. That breaks down the bonds that make the fabric stiff without affecting the integrity of the materials. After this treatment your Dickies will be pretty creased up, so give them a normal wash to return them to their smooth state.

Some people swear by soaking their new Dickies in a bucket of strong saltwater overnight. After the soak, they go into the washing machine and all the brine will be washed away, leaving a softened pair of trousers. If that works for you, it certainly won’t harm them.

Can Dickies pants be softened by wearing them?

Wearing Dickies work pants will break down the stiffness over time, especially if you’re active. However, giving them a machine wash with fabric conditioner then tumble drying with a softening sheet will get the job done sooner. If you hang them to dry, shake them every 20 minutes.

What’s good about wearing them in is that they will naturally fold and flex exactly where your body does, and the rest of the fabric will maintain its new shape. Perhaps combining one of the softening methods above with wearing them in is the optimum way to get softness and comfort in your brand new Dickies.

How to stretch Dickies

Soak the pants in warm water, then stand on the hem and pull them upwards. Once the water has cooled, re-soak them in warm water before stretching them again. You can stuff them with plastic bags to enhance the width, leaving the stuffing in place until they are dry.

Once you’ve stretched them, let them air dry at room temperature. Don’t dry them on a radiator or in the tumble drier, as that can make them shrink back. Dickies tend to have the looser fit demanded by people wearing them for work and active leisure, so most people don’t need to stretch them. If you feel your pants are too tight, most retailers will let you swap them for a larger pair if they haven’t been worn and still have the labels on.

How to break in Dickies

To get rid of the stiffness of new Dickies, wash them with fabric softener. If you have a tumble dryer, dry them with a softening sheet. If you’re air-drying, hang them up and shake them every 20 minutes. Avoid radiator drying as this can make them stiff.

Not everyone wants a broken-in pair – some prefer the crisp look and feel. But if you do, washing and wearing them will do the trick. As we’ve described above, there are a few ways you can give your new Dickies the lived-in look and feel. A wash will take away the pristine stiffness, and a bit of manhandling will break down the fabric and coating.

Your Dickies, your choice

Your Dickies will be with you for years to come and we’re sure you’ll get plenty of wear out of them. Whether you choose to soften, stretch or break them in when they’re new is entirely up to you. As long as they’re comfortable, practical and stylish, everyone’s happy.

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