On Overalls — Not In Them.

posted in: Fashion, Rant 10
Where do I start?
Where do I start?


The mere mention of overalls on women in yesterday’s post inspired comment from both sides of the pant leg. I had no idea this would be so polarizing an issue!

The issue: Can a grown woman wear denim overalls and be taken seriously?

We could phrase the question many different ways. I initially conceived the issue to be, “Can a grown woman look attractive in denim overalls?” but that’s easy: Of course she can. A woman in love can look stunning in a paper sack.* A happy, healthy pregnant woman in denim overalls can look glowy and radiant, too. And if you’re someone with a thing for it, you’ll find any female in overalls (that original onesie) to be straight up hot. To each his own sartorial kink.

We could also ask, “Is there a grown woman on the planet who feels attractive in denim overalls?” but this shows my personal bias. When I have worn overalls, I have felt about as attractive as a caterpillar’s ass. This is due to the realities of my body shape. I have an ample bust and a derrier to match but I do possess a waist — for this, I thank Zeus every day. What overalls do to me is cruel. They eviscerate any hint of a waist. I become a stovepipe. A meaty, Viking, insty-stovepipe who looks like she ought to be butchering a moose with one hand while folding lard into biscuit dough with the other, all while sweating something smelly, like…goat’s milk. None of what I’ve just described makes sense. But neither do overalls on women in urban places in 21st century America! They’re confusing! They don’t understand their reference point! There’s absolutely nothing that works, here!

Are you working? In dirt? No!

Do you have breasts? Yes! You do! A square panel that rests mid-boob is uncomfortable and aesthetically problematic!

I have worn high heels that were impractical and painful but man, did my legs look fabulous because the shoe’s shape elongated my leg. I have donned chandelier earrings from time to time because dammit, I look like Cleopatra in them. Fashion is frequently impractical and silly, but in the case of almost anything other than denim overalls, there are reasons we suffer. Lines are lengthened. Curves are accentuated. The female shape is celebrated or made more mysterious. I’d like to challenge any female on earth — yes, every last one of you — to make denim overalls look mysterious.


Mm-hm! Didn’t think so.

Every few years, Fashion declares that overalls (“coveralls” if you hail from certain farming communities in the Midwest where such garments make perfect sense because that’s who they were designed for) are “back.” Pictured above, overalls currently on offer from company that I adore. Reformation makes clothes out of materials considered “deadstock” by other fashion companies: when clothing manufacturers and designers order way too much fabric (this happens all the time) Reformation will use that material for their designs rather than have more made/shipped, etc. It’s a green strategy and the clothes are so great.**

But Reformation. Come on. That model is so pretty. She is so thin. And those overalls are made of nifty denim, possibly taken from some high fashion house like Isabel Marant or Band of Outsiders. You all have done your best! But… I mean… The crotch. It’s so squinchy. And this young woman, she has such tiny boobies, but they are still managing to slowly seep out the sides of her little denim overall’s…frontispiece. I reject your stylist’s choice of shoes here, but could I do any better than that plasticky clog? What is better? Sneakers? A strappy sandal? No! Nothing works. Nothing works because the overalls are all wrong.

I open it to you, reader. Defend your position. Because I’m over(all) it.

Get it? “Over” it? “Over(all) it”? #stoptyping

*I love to think about a woman so in love, she forgets to get dressed when she leaves her lover’s house in the morning. The baker sees her, gasps, and hands her a number of paper sacks to put on. All day, everyone wonders where she got her outfit, if she’s lost weight, what’s new with her, etc.

**I’m wearing a polka-dot Reformation skirt as I write this. I feel very attractive in it!

10 Responses

  1. Lois
    | Reply

    My aunt has a variety of overalls. She wears them because of her ostomy bag.

  2. Michael Holmes
    | Reply

    Well as an Iowa boy there is a time and place for overalls, when your working in the gardens or the fields, or doing lawn work. Also insulated Carhart overalls for working out in the snow.

    But unless your Ouiser Boudreaux, I’m not sure that overalls are a good look for anyone. If you like them and want to wear them, by all means do. But in my opinion, unless you need them for a utility purpose, they don’t really belong in a regular wardrobe.

    Just my 2 cents. 🙂

  3. Lesley
    | Reply

    I’m totes with you on this. I think overalls only belong on old men farmers. Therefore, the only proper shoe to wear with overalls is clunky John Deere waterproof boots.

  4. Ann Becker
    | Reply

    I always wanted a pair. But every time I tried them on and looked in the mirror they looked ugly on me. Sigh*. Now all I can say is.. Nope don’t want or need them. I think women look ridiculous in them.

  5. HelenMarie
    | Reply

    Overalls? Ick. Fitted jumpsuits? Sexy! But neither is comfy in the average “rest room”. Unless you carry a plastic drop cloth with you….just being real.

  6. Jean
    | Reply

    Ladies, ladies, ladies!!! I love overalls! They need to be just the right kind of snug on the rear end area to artfully display (but not camel toe skin tight) and a little worn and comfortable. I am a woman of a “certain age” and back in the day, when everything was perkier, I had a pair of lightweight denim ones. They were embroidered and bejeweled and painted. I could wear them with a thin tank top underneath and get away with going bra less and not having everything on display. I thought I looked hot and all my girlfriends did as well. Maybe it was the time (60’s), the location (Boston), the coming of age of awareness and women’s lib, but I wore them a lot and had some wonderful experiences in those things. If I could get away with it, I would wear them again. I will enjoy reminiscing with my memories!
    Oh, we wore boots with them, the coveted boots back then were Frye. Sigh….

  7. Liz Flaherty
    | Reply

    I loved them the last time around and had (and wore out) several pairs. I didn’t have a waist even then (when I was mucho thinner) so there was nothing to hide. I just loved the comfort of them. If I were younger–and yes, thinner–I’d get me some more now.

    Growing up as an Indiana farm girl, it must be said, neither I nor anyone else I knew wore them.

  8. Naomi
    | Reply

    No… I disagree… sometimes things are worn for functionality as much as looks… APRONS? Hats! Hospital scrubs! But it doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy wearing them! Sometimes the feeling you get from wearing something fugly gives you a unique freedom to be yourself… Hoodies! Sweatpants (or trackie bottoms as we call them here in EU!)…. I loved sinking into myself wearing Overalls-which again we call Dungarees! I felt a devil may care attitude in the comfy denim strait suit of Overalls… Sometimes I feel pretty and want to wear a skirt and sandals, sometimes I am tired and don’t get out of my jammies all day and sometimes I wanna wear overalls-perhaps with Crocs and a bandana cos Im having a bad hair day and cant find my skechers…. Maybe its because they were “in” when I was a teenager and I am rewearing the feelings of my youth. I don’t know but I like em! So put that in your pipe and smoke it!

    • Mary Fons
      | Reply

      Naomi, you can wear overalls all you wish. You are Naomi! Approved! By the Council of Overalls. I mean it, too. Excellent case made. 🙂

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