f ²: Overalls Are a Girl’s Best Friend
Where my clothes are concerned, I am an unabashed comfort seeker. Still vain enough to prohibit the “comfort creep” from over ruling style though, I have worked hard to build up a wardrobe of a few beautifully cut loose tops and baggy trousers. Perhaps most emblematic of my sartorial philosophy where comfort and style happily coexist are my beloved overalls. I own 3 sets for seasonal and dressing-up reasons but my signature pair transcends all seasons and occasions — like magic — bar the most formal.
Purchased in Spitalfields Market a little over 4 years ago from a trader of vintage French workwear, my signature overalls used to belong to a French railway worker. And from the way they have been patched and re-patched — I’ve even added my own — these were possibly his only pair. They started as what can only be described as French blue and through many hundreds of washings, they are now many variations of blue from faded French blue all the way to hues of darker royal blue found in the patches. Which means, of course, that no matter what you wear with them, it will match.
I have worn these overalls everywhere and with everything — from white T’s to black silk blouses, trainers to heels. A slight adjustment in accessories can change the entire look. And their ability to incorporate layers results in a micro-climate bespoke to your own personal design. Their versatility means I have donned them for lunch, dinner, the cinema, the theatre, grocery shopping, market shopping and even Bond Street shopping. On one occasion, I wore them for twelve continuous hours going seamlessly from an all day art class to an evening Halloween party.
Putting them on always guarantees a couple of compliments as well, especially from young shop assistants or the female friends of my twenty something sons. So I guess they’re on the right side of trendy too.
I bought my first pair of overalls when I was fourteen — gray and white ticking-striped OshKosh B’gosh’s. Remember those? I have tried in vain to source some more but have not been successful as of yet. I have found many others that I wouldn’t mind wearing but in the spirit of the French railway worker, a girl only needs so many pairs. So as not to let me research go to waste, here are a few I have been admiring should you be inclined to join the overall-wearing brigade.
- Jackie Parsons, founder of Scobel Clothing, has copied this pair of Denim Dungarees, dating from the 1920’s and inherited from her grandmother. Similar to mine, her original overalls have been over patched as well — only hers are with various types of gingham.
- These denim ones from American workwear brand Carhartt come in two denim washes — Dark Stone Washed and Light Stone Washed.
- This pair in Black Canvas from French eco-retailer Baserange will definitely take you from day to evening.
- Many Vintage Styles , but alas not my striped OshKosh B’gosh’s, can be found at Rokit.
P.S. And for those of you who are practically inclined and a fan of pockets, overalls — like a best friend — have always got you covered.