Menswear is rooted in utilitarianism and so many of the staples we have in our closets are, first and foremost, workwear pieces. While fewer and fewer people are doing the kind of manual labor that requires heavy-duty workwear, work pants remain one of the most foundational garments. A number of garments that we now associate with workwear are actually borrowed standard issue military garb; in the post-war years, those pieces would be worn by veterans as workwear, or make their way to Army surplus stores, where they could be purchased by workers and companies at affordable prices. Many of the pants below illustrate just how closely intertwined workwear and military wear are.

Just because you’re not chopping wood, laying bricks or painting, doesn’t mean you can’t favor a pair of painter pants or durable cotton twill cargoes.

Work pants have long been co-opted for more casual wear. Hip-hop helped bring Carhartt to the masses, as did skateboarders. That latter group has played an important role in popularizing many of the work pants below, with skaters favoring wide, straight silhouettes made from durable materials. On top of durability, often, real work pants are extremely affordable—which never hurts.

We’ve picked out the 10 essential work pants—similar in some ways, but extremely different in others—that are perfect for doing actual work or building an outfit in.

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