Your Guide to Carhartt Work In Progress

Known as the labourer’s uniform for over a century, the Carhartt ethos is to produce quality and affordable workwear that lasts.  With the undeniable relationship between the brand and the music, art, skate or fashion world, they launched Carhartt Work In Progress, WIP for short. 

A division that combines a refined, street-style aesthetic with the workwear authenticity of the original brand. Here is everything you need to know in our Carhartt Work In Progress buyer’s guide…

Carhartt WIP


About the Carhartt brand

1889 – Hamilton Carhartt founded Carhartt, the original Detroit clothier that made affordable workwear for railroad workers. “Honest value for an honest dollar”

1910 – The operation had expanded into several states (South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, and California) and three different countries (France, Canada, and the UK). 

1980’s – Hip-hop adopted the workwear style and it became a pop-culture icon. 

1989 – The brand arrived in Europe via Swiss designer Edwin Faeh. ‘Work In Progress’ was launched as an initial licensing deal to create a more streetwear aesthetic for the European customer. The designs were more fashion-led with slimmer fits and more premium price tags. 

1996 – Edwin had acquired exclusive rights, reducing the proportions of traditional staples and producing their own designs. 

Carhartt WIP explained?

Carhartt WIP is a modernized aesthetic with the quality and authenticity of the original Carhartt brand. Aimed at a style-oriented consumer it has modern silhouettes with less focus on heavy materials. 

Carhartt WIP has a more progressive outlook for contemporary men’s fashion while still remaining authentic to the original American heritage. The brand has deep connections with numerous creative industries and an extensive list of collaborations from independent artists and retailers, to niche brands and high fashion designers. BAPE, Patta and A.P.C are some of their most well known. 

Carhartt Watch Hat


Carhartt WIP’s most iconic clothing

The original Carhartt bib overalls and thick canvas jackets are what the brand became known for combining functionality, durability and the ability to resist harsh conditions. 

But if we are looking at the Carhartt WIP archive, the Watch Hat has become a fashion phenomenon. Originally a promotional hat it is now a brand trademark, selling 4 million each year.  

Their Carhartt WIP Hooded Active Jacket and Workwear Pocket Tee today is a staple in every man’s wardrobe. Essential basics that do not go out of fashion. 

Carhartt WIP Jacket Guide

With so many of the Carhartt WIP jackets becoming such a namesake in people’s wardrobes, we wanted to run through the top styles. Looking at the different design features and how they fit.

carhartt work in progress buyer's guide


The Carhartt WIP OG Chore Coat

This coat has one of the brand’s longest legacies, originally known as the ‘Engineer Sack Coat’.

  • Recognisable and versatile coat
  • Made from 100% cotton ‘Norco’ denim.
  • The jacket often features its signature corduroy collar as well as a blanket-lined option.
  • Its heritage work-inspired style provides a loose-fitting durable but soft denim jacket.
  • It has adjustable suffers and four front pockets with one featuring the woven label.
carhartt work in progress buyer's guide


The Carhartt WIP OG Detroit Jacket

Comparable to the vintage Ricky jackets and garage jackets the OG Detroit jacket is the popular jacket from Carhartt WIP. Originally known as the Zipper Jacket it gained the Detroit Jacket title in 1998.

  • Made from durable 12-ounce duck cotton canvas
  • Has two hand pockets, zip-up front fastening and a pointed collar.
  • For a construction workers jacket, it was the first with no pockets, however, the shorter length was designed to sit above a workers toolbelt.
carhartt work in progress buyer's guide


The Carhartt WIP OG Santa Fe Jacket

The OG Santa Fe Jacket is the brand’s American vintage-inspired bomber jacket style the brand feature.

  • Crafted from organic cotton twill
  • The durable zip-up is cut to an oversized fit and clinched with a ribbed hemline and cuffs.
  • It has two side pockets and is a more oversized style.

Men’s Carhartt Jackets Size Guide

SMALL 34 -36 28 – 30 34 – 36
MEDIUM 38 – 40 32 – 34 38 – 40
LARGE 42 – 44 36 – 38 42 – 44
XL 46 – 48 40 – 42 46 – 48
2XL 50 – 52 44 – 46 50 – 52
3XL 54 – 60 48 – 50 54 – 56
4XL 58 – 60 52 – 54 58 – 60
5XL 62 – 64 56 – 58 62 – 64
6XL 66 – 68 60 – 62 66 – 68

Woemn’s Carhartt Jackets Size Guide

XS 33 26 36
S 34 – 35 27 – 28 37 – 38
M 36 – 37 29 – 30 39 – 40
L 38½ – 40 31½ – 33 41½ – 43
XL 41½ – 43½ 34½ – 36½ 44½ – 46½
XXL 46 39 49

How to Measure

Note: For best results measure over your undergarments. Use a cloth measuring tape.

Chest: Measure just under arms and across shoulder blades holding the tape firm and level. If your chest falls between sizes, order the next size up.

Natural Waist: Bend side to side and find the natural bend in your body; this is your natural waist. Note: It may not be the smallest point

Carhartt WIP


Who wears Carhartt?

Carhartt WIP over the last 20 years has become a go-to for young people with the chunky C seen across the world. 

Becoming a subcultural uniform, skaters and graffiti artists love the rugged and understated jackets and jeans. The brand has been donned by many in the music industry from Tupac to Drake with Carhartt often influencing hip-hop. There is no denying they love merging workwear and streetwear, with baggy cuts and canvas styles. Still, today sported by Rihanna, Jamie Fox, Bella Hadid and Kanye West to name a few.

Tupac Carhartt WIP

Via: Another Man

The Detroit Jacket was even featured for its timeless aesthetic throughout Christopher Notlan’s space film Interstellar starring Matthew McConaughey. No heavy branding and the fact they look better with age, with the style never really changing over the years. 

Carhartt WIP

Matthew Mcconaughey in Interstellar (2014)



Written by Holly Thompson

Featured Image Credit – @carharttwip

Holly Thompson

Holly Thompson

Writer and expert