Knowledge Modern overshirts are inspired by functional workwear and utility garments, including the French blue work jacket, military jackets, and artisan smocks.
The versatile overshirt is a synthesis of several different utility and workers’ garments – worn by artisans, farmers, engineers, and officers, to protect their clothing from stains and wear, or as an insulating layer in cold weather. Wool and flannel versions have their origins in mid-20th century naval ‘CPO’ shirts, while lighter multi-pocket cotton shirts borrow designs from the French ‘bleu de travail’ and similar chore jackets. Traditionally, labourers and engineers wore blue jackets; black was used for carpenters’ and roofers’ clothing, while stonemasons, bricklayers and painters were dressed in white.
Minimally detailed and cut with extra room, the modern overshirt can be layered over shirts or knits as an adaptable alternative to tailored jackets.