WHAT? Dungarees, overalls whatever you call 'em, all-in-one sartorial brilliance.
I dungaree, do you dungaree?
To say I enjoy dungarees would be a total understatement, I have long loved the comfort and simplicity that comes with overalls. An instant outfit only wanting a t-shirt and shoes to complete, no-brainer. And the pockets, all the pockets for all the things - snacks, phones, purses, lip balm, tickets and beyond, honestly leave your handbag at the door.
I think it's fair to say I was practically born in dungarees, a style staple introduced to me by my mother who was introduced to them by her mother. I'm rather proud to come from a long line of dungaree-donners to say the least. Dungarees have had a rather 'okey-cokey' relationship with fashion, in an 'in/out, in/out shake-it-all-about' kinda way. In my thirty years on earth dungarees have had their occasion every decade and it's much the same if you trace the style back; 1940's WW2 utility vs 1990's over-sized, one strap down - you catch my drift.
So where did it all start? According to the 'History of Jeans' the term dungaree was first listed in the 17th century in reference to a calico-esque textile called 'dungri', exported to England from Bombay to manufacture cheap work wear. Dungri soon became dungaree and farmers, rail road workers and service men across the UK and beyond were wearing them. World War 2 saw the dungaree adopted by the United States Navy and later the female workforce and we haven't looked back since.
There's something brilliant in taking a item of men's work-wear and making it our own, a quiet confidence I find totally captivating - whether it's a tuxedo jacket or army fatigues it's all the same Annie Hall equation. In the 1990's the dungaree got a tomboy cool upgrade and became the epitome of the girl-next-door American classic. We had cute cut offs styled with pumps for preppy casual cool and big and baggy with one strap down for the fly-girl tribe. Dungarees have also long been a staple for pregnant women, accommodating growing bumps and boobs and when our kids are born we chuck them in a pair too. Why? because they grow with us, handed down by generation to generation each time revived with a new twist every decade. Queue the highlights....
Photographer Lee Miller captured in Yraide Sailcloth Overalls
1940's Utility-chic; fitted waist with slack trouser
Counter-Culture Corduroy; flares with zip-bib front
American Classics; Preppy Rachel and Dawson's Joey, big and baggy with TLC, Winona on the cover of Rolling Stone and *that Kate Moss x Corinne Day shoot.
Every which way goes; vintage revival a'la me in my eighties
Dungarees, overalls whatever you call them you can't deny are a style staple that have truly stood the test of time. In the past 80 years alone they have transcended the field to high fashion - as ever it's all in how you wear it.
My current go-to favourites? A simple breton tee or team with a peasant blouse and clogs for easy-summer style.