In the current economic climate, there is no better piece of clothing to own other than overalls. Not only is it incredibly durable and therefore a thrifty buy, but it is also in tune with an early century look. The overalls’ industrial age attitude is exactly what our culture needs to emulate when thinking of what to dress in: rugged, youthful, and durable.
These aren’t the OshKosh B’Goshes that you wore in elementary school but the youthful sentiment remains. There are, in my opinion, three different types of must-own overalls. Your standard bib and brace that typically (and for my money, should) come in denim. The shortall, whose ridiculous gender specific treatment I’d like to see diminished this time around. And, finally, the boiler suit or coverall is the most challenging to pull off as it is the most encompassing of the three. What better way to raise up a cold beer to your working class brethren of another depressions (emotional or economic) than to imitate the work uniform of the men and women who paved the way, whichever path that may be.
Bib and Brace: The Original Gangster
As I mentioned before, leave these denim. I’ve rarely seen them in any other sort of fabric besides corduroy but, for those of us who aren’t distracted by the noise, I’d store them for now and whip them out come late September. Back to the denim portion: the type of wash, I suppose, is up to you but I would definitely advise to try a light wash. Something a bit distressed and older is ideal but if you don’t have anything that would fit you in 2010, try going to a thrift store for something that could fit you from 1990. The whole point of bringing the overall back this early in the decade is to make it as authentic as possible. As I mention often, be sure to wash these recycled, pre-loved garments. Denim can get either very rough or fall apart so if you want to get more than one pair of them, do it. It’ll be hit and miss but eventually you’ll find the hit. Also, this is a perfect transitional item. Initially, you can wear them with the legs slightly rolled up and as the temperature goes down, so do your rolled up hems.
Shortalls: Legs for All
Now, I understand your concern. It’s scary, I know, but I’m going to talk you through this. It’s the same thing I said about platform shoes. Men should get in on these trends because why let women have all the fun? Shortalls are an extremely airy and comfortable piece to wear. Now, obviously, if your 600 lbs and they need a crate to get you out of your house or prison or whatever you like to call it, you should not wear these. Outside of that extreme, could you be man enough to embrace the comfort of the shortalls? If it’s the daintiness of it all that’s making you hestiate, you can wear them exclusively in denim. For the more adventurous of men and the women, shortalls are a great conversation piece because, unlike overalls, these can extremely go either way. Linen, corduroy, leather, polyester- it’s a cornucopia of function! Now remember, there exists a difference between the romper and the shortall. It’s a very thin line so I’ll let you decide and if you got it wrong, trust me, you’ll know. Especially if you’re a dude.
Boilersuit/Coveralls: Not as Creepy as it Sounds
Don’t wear these now, I repeat: do not wear these now. I wouldn’t want you to sue me because of your heatstroke. The thing about coveralls is that they really do coverall. You might think I’m joking or crazy but, it’s a fun alternative to just sweater, shirt, pant, shoes. The style is a bit antii fashion so combat boots would go very well with these. And ladies, nothing looks stupider than coveralls with some high heels. If you do have the ovaries to try and pull that off. . . no. Just don’t do it. Coveralls can be worn in a variety of colors and templates. Since it’s late summer/early fall, I would suggest starting out with lighter greens, even softly transitioning into an orange hue. Remember, this is to be worn simply. The suit will do the talking, and often times, it won’t know how to control the sound of it’s voice.
Now, a few rules do exist when wearing overalls. I’m not just going to let you run amok, looking all types of foolish and tell people that I dressed you like that. I think not, good Sirs and Madams! Here’s the business:
1) Men, I don’t care how ripped you are or, ahem, think you are but if you plan on wearing overalls shirtless, you might as well get on the Belmont bus and stop at Halsted. Nine times out of ten that’s where you were headed anyway. However, my gay brothers, you too should refrain from this bitterly camp exposure. You may look great, but I don’t need to see it on public transport.
2) Women, you can go topless, with a simple bra, in your overalls but please make it a simple neutral color or black. No white bras. Those are for job interviews and first dates.
3) Parents, do not wear your overalls while your children are. There is nothing sadder or more ’90s than that (I understand I’ve been chewing everyone’s retina off with ’90s references but, we don’t need to bring everything from the ;90s back. I mean, Home Improvement?).
Well, I’m out so as always: don’t be a stranger, but do be stranger.