How to Date Vintage Carhartt | From Workwear Staple to Vintage Fashion Icon

At NEWLIFE, our passion for vintage extends to all aspects of fashion, including the iconic Vintage Carhartt. In fashion, trends often emerge from unexpected places. One such unexpected transformation has been the ascent of Carhartt from its roots as a rugged workwear brand to a coveted icon in the vintage clothing and fashion scene. What began as a utilitarian necessity for laborers has evolved into a symbol of authenticity, durability, and style.

The Origin Story

Founded in 1889 by Hamilton Carhartt, the eponymous brand initially catered to the needs of railroad workers with its sturdy overalls and coveralls. Carhartt's commitment to producing durable and high-quality garments meant that its clothing was built to withstand the rigors of demanding labor environments. This dedication to craftsmanship laid the foundation for the brand's enduring reputation for toughness and reliability.

From the Jobsite to the Streets

While Carhartt's primary clientele remained those in the blue-collar workforce, its appeal gradually expanded beyond the realm of utility. The brand's signature pieces, characterized by their rugged construction and distinctive logo, began to catch the eye of individuals seeking clothing that exuded authenticity and character.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Carhartt gained traction among hip-hop artists and streetwear enthusiasts who embraced its utilitarian aesthetic. The brand's work jackets, overalls, and beanies became synonymous with urban culture, further propelling Carhartt into the fashion spotlight.

We have also seen Cahartt integrated with high-fashion and designer brands through collaborations, or similar pieces that pay homage to the original workwear brand.

The Rise of Vintage Fashion

As fashion trends cyclical nature dictates, what was once solely for function and performace saw a resurgence in popularity as vintage fashion gained momentum. Consumers, disillusioned with fast fashion and mass-produced garments, began gravitating towards pieces with a story, a history, and a sense of timelessness.

Carhartt's heritage and authenticity made it a natural fit for this shift towards vintage fashion. Vintage enthusiasts sought out old Carhartt pieces, appreciating not only their durability but also the sense of nostalgia they evoked. Vintage Carhartt garments became prized possessions, coveted for their unique patina and lived-in feel.

How to Date 'Vintage' Carhartt

As Carhartt has become a sought after brand in the second-hand market, how can you determine if it is indeed 'vintage'? Thankfully, Carhartt is a brand that makes it very straightforward for those looking for true, authentic vintage Carhartt. Almost every Carhartt tag has a date code, most commonly written on the top left of the garment's tag. It will be 4 numbers, with the first two indicating the month, and the last two indicating the year it was manufactured in. This method applies to all Carhartt jackets, pants and overalls.

Vintage Carhartt Tags


We hope this helps you find the sought after vintage Carhartt everyone is searching for. To save you time, shop our collection of vintage and second-hand workwear sustainably with us!