Work Wear : Blue-Collar Clothes Are Big With the Younger Crowd

Now that it's 1992, the younger crowd has gotten into a way of dressing that will take some baby boomers way back to the '50s--the Ralph Kramden look.

The Brooklyn bus driver played by Jackie Gleason on "The Honeymooners" is suddenly a role model of sorts. Teens and young adults are making his standard-issue pants, cardigans and zip-front jackets their own. Clothes for carpenters, construction workers and plumbers are also on the cutting edge, at least for the moment.

The look is classic blue-collar, with one important twist. Everything has to be gigantic--at least two sizes too big. Prices for the clothes seldom top $50, even for such big-ticket items as winter coats.

Pop stars--the Beastie Boys, for instance--wear the look. So do recent high school grads, who cruise stores that have been carrying the clothes for decades. Greenspan in South Gate and Army Navy Surplus in Wilmington top the trendy list.

Two young architects, Adam Silverman and Eli Bonerz, opened the newest shop for work wear, X-LARGE, on North Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles last fall. They got the idea after making the long drive to Wilmington to buy their clothes.

The store stocks their favorite labels: Ben Davis of San Francisco and Carhartt of Dearborn, Mich. Heavy-duty cotton overalls, vests, solid and striped work shirts, baseball hats--a must for the total look--and wool-knit beanies fill the shelves. In shoes, choose from Gorillas, the clunky brand with the corrugated rubber soles, and work boots that lace up the front. But the owners' pride is a supply of old-style Adidas tennies, the rare and coveted Super Stars.

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