Gitter Dun: Patagonia workwear jeans are built for strength and comfort. | Credit: Forest Woodward / Patagonia

For the past couple of years, my main line of work has been labor-intensive and out-of-doors. Just like with any desk job, I’ve found that dressing comfortably is key. But at the same time, my kit needs to last. Taking on the best of both, Ventura-based apparel giant Patagonia’s newest line of workwear combines the breathable durability of hemp with the comfort and look of classic denim. 

Brand-new Patagonia gear tends to look so good off the rack that you may not want to wear it for its intended outdoor use. I felt that way at first about my new pair of workwear jeans in all their unfaded glory. But I had work to do — namely brush-clearing, trail-building, and habitat restoration — and, with my ancient button-fly 501s now threadbare and torn in the crotch, I welcomed a new pair of jeans to break in.

The first thing I noticed: Not much break-in time required — as a blend of hemp, organic cotton, and mostly Lyocell, they went from slightly stiff to comfy soft after one cold wash and barely a day on the job. Other cool features you might expect from a $99 pair of jeans include seven belt loops, gusseted crotch, carpenter’s pocket, and a small flat section of added material to the traditional front pockets, where you can clip a tape measure, folding knife, or Sharpie.

As far as sizing goes, the workware’s generous cut makes room for a base layer and provides a greater range of motion without maxing out critical seams or pinching against the skin. Taking that into consideration, those with leaner builds may find better — and less-baggy — comfort in a smaller size. 

Same goes for the coats and vests. I’ve always worn coats and flannels described as boxy — wide in the shoulders and bottomed out right around my beltline. Patagonia’s all-season denim vest, on the other hand, runs lean and long-ish. In other words: size wisely. For more on that — and everything else hemp denim — visit

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