Crust pants, often associated with punk, crust punk, or metal subcultures, are heavily patched, studded, and/or painted pants, typically made from jeans or cargo pants. The appeal lies in their DIY aesthetic, showcasing individuality, personal style, and alignment with a particular subculture. They also symbolize a rejection of mainstream fashion norms and consumerism.
Crust pants are a punk phenomenon that started in the 80s and occasionally comes back into style. They are sometimes called crusty pants… crusties… crust skinnies… and even crusty jeans (although there is some debate over if they can actually be called jeans).
Crust pants are basically a symbol. They’re a sign that you’re a punk. That’s why most people wear them so much. The patch on the back is from a band or some other organization/event that helped shape who they are today. The patch on the front shows what they stand for and what they are about now.
Tightly woven pants that look like they were made out of burlap were popularized by punks. In some subcultures… they are also called “crusty-Pants” or “crispy-pants”… as well as “crusty pants”. They became even more popular with the rise of stenciling on clothes.
You see them worn by lots of different people from individual punk rockers to gothic kids… ravers… skateboarders… and people who just want to be different.
The look of the crust punk is distinctive. Normally… the style is black or dark blue clothing that has been deliberately stained with filth and dirt. Some might wear a jacket or hoodie over the shirt to conceal their face from the police.
Their pants are usually very wide… held up with string or belts attached to suspenders (which sometimes have spikes on them)… and held up by one or two belts. Their shoes are usually Doc Martens or other sturdy boots… and their hair usually has dreadlocks of various styles.
They may wear face paint or piercings which have been deliberately stretched out. Sometimes they will attach patches onto their clothing that say things such as “Revenge”… “Freedom”… “Anarchy”… and “Cult”.
Do Crust Punks Smell?
Crust Punks are people who have decided to live without electricity… running water… and other modern comforts. They’re very much an “in your face” kind of people. They’re often found sleeping on train tracks and hanging out at skate parks. Most of them also smell pretty bad.
But why do crust punks smell so bad? The answer is pretty simple: hygiene! Many of them don’t take baths or showers regularly… so they end up smelling pretty bad.
The most obvious source of odor is the unwashed body. Crusties tend to be far less fastidious about bathing than your average person… in part because many of them are homeless… but also because they’re deliberately adopting a lifestyle that’s closer to nature.
Carrying all your worldly possessions with you means that you end up owning more clothes and shoes than a typical person. They also wear these clothes constantly… so they don’t have daily laundry cycles as most people do. Putting on dirty clothes is just part of the day for them.
Another major source of odor comes from their food choices. Many crusties are vegetarian… vegan… or fruitarian and choose not to eat animal products for ethical reasons. This means that they eat a lot of oily nuts… seeds… and avocados… as well as fruits and vegetables… which are grown without pesticides or herbicides (organic).
However… some claim that this is a misconception as many crust punks are in fact very clean people and this stereotype is more often than not due to the lack of bathing facilities available at squat locations.
Why Can’t You Wash Crust Pants?
Washing crust pants is a bad idea. You see… when you wash them there is a good chance that the water temperature will be too hot and it will shrink your crust pants. If you do wash your crust pants… I would suggest that you use cold water.
The best way to clean your crust pants is by hand-washing them in cold water with mild soap. This method will help to ensure that you won’t have any shrinkage of your crust pants.
Another tip to help with preventing shrinkage is to hang dry your crust pants instead of using a dryer. Using a dryer can cause more shrinkage and also rough up the inside of your crust pants making them appear old and worn out.
One of the biggest problems with crust pants is that they have been designed to be tough and abrasive. This means that they are going to be difficult to wash in a regular machine and even more so by hand. The reason for this is because crust pants usually have a wax coating on them which helps them to stay waterproof.
Trying to remove this wax using chemicals will cause the garment to fade… as well as lose some of its color and brightness. However… you can still clean crust pants without causing any damage.
Many people use vinegar as a natural alternative to chemical cleaners as it works well on many fabrics. However… you do need to test first if the vinegar will cause any damage to your garment. Fill a basin with cool water and add a capful of white vinegar. Then soak the crust pants for around 30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly in cold water. Repeat if necessary until all of the stains have been removed from your pants.
Another great alternative is baking soda… which can help soften the crust pants and lift any dirt or grime away from them. Mix one part baking soda with three parts warm water and stir it until there are no lumps left. Put the mixture inside a spray bottle and then apply it directly onto your crust pants
How Do I Make My Pants Crusty?
You’re trying to look like you’ve just walked straight out of a rebel camp. Or a crusty squat house. Or whatever…
The process itself is pretty straightforward: Wear your pants until they become crusty… then let them sit around until they become even crustier. Once they reach their peak crudeness… wash them and let them sit in the corner for a few days until the smell dissipates… then wear them again.
How Do You Make Crust Patches?
When it comes to clothes… crust punks like to complicate things. Many of the DIY projects for crust punk clothes involve a lot of sewing and fabric dying… but that’s not the case with crust pants.
Making crust pants is really easy and you don’t even need to be particularly creative. The goal is to look like a hobo… which shouldn’t be too challenging given the current state of most people’s clothing.
Get some patches from second-hand stores… flea markets… thrift stores… and anywhere else you can think of that sells old clothing. Look for patches that are about the size of your hand (or whatever size patch you decided on).
In summary… there’s no denying that there’s something oddly alluring about crust pants. Maybe it’s the fact that you could wear them for days without washing them.
For those of you who don’t know… the crust punk subculture is a branch of the punk culture that is known for its extreme views on law and order… conservative political views… apathy… nihilism… and anti-social behavior. Its members are commonly referred to as “crusties.”
Crust punks are usually associated with anarchism and straight edge hardcore punk music. While some members of this subculture reject the term “catholic” as an identifier of their beliefs… many others do not have any problem identifying themselves as such.
Crust punks can be identified by a number of factors… such as cargo pants with patches sewn in place to cover up holes (hence the name “crusty pants”)… cut-up band t-shirts… studded belts… backpacks… and flannel shirts.
Louise Wilson is an accomplished author, passionate textile historian, and renowned fashion enthusiast with a rich background in the world of apparel.
Graduating with honors in Fashion Design, Louise further expanded her skills and knowledge by completing a master’s degree in Textile History. Her academic pursuits have led her to explore the fashion capitals of the world, including Milan, Paris, and New York, enriching her insights into the global world of fashion.
As an author, Louise’s passion for fashion has found its way into her writings, where she intricately weaves narratives of style, design, and fashion history.