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874 Original Work Pant: The History Behind the Classic
The 874 Original Work Pant is arguably our most iconic product. When people talk about ‘Dickies pants’, nine times out of ten, it’s the 874 they’re referring to. The style has been a firm favourite for over 50 years due to its superior comfort, durability and versatility. Read on to find out how our humble work pant has gone from a factory floor staple to a global fashion symbol.
The Origins of our 874 Work Pants
It’s no secret that we know a thing or two about making hardwearing pants. It’s what we’ve been doing since the 1920s. In the early days, we made them for America's burgeoning blue-collar workforce and even the US Army during the second world war. We were so confident in the quality that, in the 1930s, we offered a money-back guarantee if our valued customers weren’t satisfied.
It wasn't until April 1967 that the iconic Dickies 874 Work Pants were first released, made up of 65% Cotton and 35% Polyester cloth with X-it stain release finish. Why are they called the 874 pants I hear you ask? It’s simple really, 874 was just the next number in line following the previously released 871, 872 and 873 styles.
The 874 gave America’s workforce a comfortable, durable and accessible trouser that could stand up to the strains of physical working life, whilst still looking smart and professional. It’s no wonder that they took off as they did.
The 874’s Rise to Fame
The 874’s rise from workwear staple to fashion icon didn't happen overnight. One of the first significant cultural examples of the pant being worn outside of the traditional workplace was by Latin American’s in Southern California during the 1980s.
From there the 874 became a symbol of street cool as they permeated through various subcultures, resonating with two of the world’s best cultural drivers: music and skate.
Skaters love Dickies! They first started rocking the 874 in the late 80s and 90s because they fit in with the baggy aesthetic of the moment, and crucially, they offered a supreme level of toughness that was needed to stand up to the demands of skateboarding.
Early popularity within skating is thought to have been driven by legends like Julien Stranger and his fellow teammates on AntiHero, and by the Zero and Toy Machine teams. These days you would be hard-pressed to find a famous skate spot that doesn’t feature someone skating in a pair of 874s.
Elsewhere in the 90s, the 874 popped up in the rap scene, donned by the likes of Tupac, Snoop Dogg and Cypress Hill. Shortly after, towards the end of the 90s and early 2000s, skate-inspired punk took the world by storm with acts like Blink-182 and Sum 41 repping the Dickies brand.
The 874 really exploded into mainstream consciousness in the early millennia when pop icons like Gwen Stefani and Madonna started sporting them. Since then, the 874 has carried on in the same vein, remaining a popular fit with contemporary tastemakers like Justin Bieber, Jaden Smith and Brooklyn Beckham.
Over the years, we’ve had numerous fashion brands come knocking on our door, looking for an authentic workwear brand to collaborate with. Streetwear champions Stussy, OBEY and Wacko Maria have all put their spin on the historic pant.
How do 874 Pants Fit?
We often get asked: how do Dickies pants fit? To summarise, The 874 feature our original fit, a semi-permanent seam and straight-leg cut that gives a baggy and relaxed fit. They sit slightly higher at the waist than many contemporary trousers and are wrinkle-resistant to keep you looking fresh all day long. When thinking about what size 874s to get, we would recommend sizing up by one size as they run small.
Whilst the standard 874 has been worn by women for years, we also offer a women’s specific style called the 874 Cropped Pant.
Being work pant specialists, we offer several other different fits. One of our narrower cuts is the 872 Slim Fit Work Pant, offering a slim, tapered leg that narrows at the ankle, giving a modern update to a classic style.
Then comes the 873 Slim Straight Work Pant, Sitting between the 872 and the 874 in leg width, our 873 trousers are comfortable and flexible without being baggy. 873s are the lowest rising Dickies pant, fitting well over the hips, but just under the waist. If you want a really baggy look, then go for our Double Knee Work Pant, which is our loosest fit.
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What to wear with 874 pants
Some of the success of the 874 is down to their versatility. You can dress them up or down to suit the occasion, be that job interview, night out or skate session.
If you want a quintessential workwear look, try pairing 874s with another one of our icons: the Eisenhower Jacket. Add some personal flair by customising the fit with patches or your own artwork.
For a bold fit, opt for a white pair of 874s that more or less go with anything. We recommend styling with a black Icon Logo Tee and red and black New Sacramento Shirt.
Don’t be afraid to tuck in a tee like our Ruston T-shirt; the higher fit of the 874 creates a powerful silhouette. The cool crowd have now adopted the tucked-in look that was once reserved for the sartorially challenged.
If we could offer you one bit of timeless style advice, it’s to make sure you put the 874s durability to the test. Nothing looks better than a thrashed pair. Live, work and play in them, think of them as a canvas to your life, that, like you, is only getting better with age. Shop our full range of Work Pants now.
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