The History of the Overshirt

Style AdviceA classic workwear garment initially designed to hold tools is now a wardrobe cornerstone and one of our signature products.

A classic workwear garment initially designed to hold tools is now a wardrobe cornerstone and one of our signature products.

The overshirt has gone from being a working-class garment worn by French railway workers and engineers to a modern everyday essential. With emphasis on practicality, the overshirts were traditionally produced from hardy cotton drill or moleskin for the purpose of being long lasting and easy to move in during long days of labour. Correspondingly, the large pockets were perfect to stash tools and smaller equipment in for the everyday labourers of the early 20th century.

Today, the overshirt pockets are just as convenient but the shift in era has seen the replacement of tools with more digital and contemporary items such as phones, keys and even cameras. A prime example of the modern overshirt is seen through the prominent New York photographer Bill Cunningham, who made it a defining garment in his signature workwear during his 40 years of capturing street style trends in various fashion-forward cities.

Bill Cunningham in his blue overshirt.

The overshirt have throughout the years remained the creative's uniform of choice. Paul Newman wore his famous blue overshirt on and off set of the movie Cool Hand Luke back in the 1960s and contemporary artists like Tom Sachs is rarely seen without his navy canvas overshirt. "The pockets are just the right size for the odd things that I put in them" he tells The Wall Street Journal when asked why he wears the garment on a daily basis.

Tom Sachs in his studio in Lower East Side on Manhattan.

Our Original Overshirt was introduced in the 2015 fall collection. Since then, we’ve made a number of updates on details and fit to add comfort and to better refine the model. The classic garment is now known as one of our signature products.

The ‘shacket’ as it’s also called due to its clever nature – one-part shirt, one-part lightweight jacket – is a great layering piece, and works as well with a simple white tee in summer or under a coat in winter. You can either button it up or leave it as it is for a more casual appeal. In addition, it can be a segment of workwear attire by replacing the traditional blazer, opting for a less formal look that still works around the office. For a more modern and casual look, it is best worn with denim, classic sweats and fresh sneakers.

One overshirt - two styles.

Needless to say, the design and versatility of the overshirt is probably the biggest reason it has grown in popularity among city dwellers: it’s an easy way to dress up or down almost any outfit, remaining relevant from day to night, for every occasion, and through all seasons.

Shop our overshirt collection.


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