Vintage Denim Overalls

Cult Bravery always have a fresh batch of overalls, ready and waiting to find the perfect home. Overalls have always been an iconic wardrobe staple throughout the years and are very versatile. Everyone from tradies to celebrities, to activists and adventurers choose overalls to tackle their day in. If you keep a pair in your wardrobe, you will always find a time when they will be the perfect choice to wear.

Overalls are also versatile because they are transseasonal. It’s best to buy them with a roomy fit, so in Summer you can wear them with a crop top or singlet top underneath and one strap undone, and in winter there is space to wear thick jumpers underneath them. 

Overalls have played a major part in Western cultural history and many different groups have identified with them and referenced them. They are no longer just a symbol of the working class, although that is where their history begins.

History of Vintage Overalls Online Australia

The name Dungarees, which is an alternative name for overalls, came from India in the 1800’s , and was the English name for a hard wearing, durable cloth made in India, used to make work wear trousers.

There is evidence of slaves wearing overalls as early as 1776, but it wasn’t until 100 years later that it was developed on a commercial scale.

In the 1890’s Levi Strauss, Lee and Carharrt began developing workwear in protective hard wearing fabrics for the gold rush and industrialisation of America. They added a bib and braces to the top of trousers, to hold them up and store things in and add further protection and durability. They became the uniform for hard labour with their hardy trousers and a top and no need for a belt. When overalls first became ubiquitous in America, the colour worn depended on your profession. Striped overalls were the uniform of railroad workers, painters wore white, and blue denim, like we know it today, was for everyone else. 

Overalls were not just worn by men, even early on in 1914, as captured in an American movie from the time, women were wearing them. too

During the 1920’s, in the United States, groups of people disgruntled with the rising price of clothing and profiteering in the clothing industry 

formed “Overalls Clubs”, and wore soley overalls, as a symbol of their protest. 

Then in the second world war, Rosie the Riveter famously wore them on “We Can Do It” posters, representing the millions of women who worked in factories, helping for the war time efforts.

Bib overalls become a popular fashion choice with the the youth, both guys and girls, from the 1960s onwards. After World War 2, more fashionable overalls for women began to emerge. Less practical and more fashion orientated details such as sweetheart necklines, waist-cinching, dainty pockets and flared leg styles started to appear, details which were more suitable for fashion over function. Overalls designed for fashion purposes only, started to use more light weight cottons, instead of denim or canvas, both of which were still only regarded as work wear fabrics. The separation of workwear and fashion overalls still continues today.

Vintage Denim Overalls Online

Activists since the 1960’s have worn overalls as a symbol of connection and solidarity with black communities during the civil rights movement. To wear denim during this time was to directly support the equality of the black community and visibly protest against the old ways of the world. This controversial look was then picked up by the mainstream and marketed as a fresh and casual look for the youth. This erased the original intention that the civil rights activists wore them with, but perhaps began to reduce the divide the class divide that fashion expressed in earlier generations. 

The popularity of overalls has come in waves over the years, each time being reinvented and reinterpretted for a new generation. In the 1960’s it was activists who wore them, before that the factory workers and road gangs of convicts and sadly, slaves before that. In the 1970’s hippies wore them with bell-bottoms. In the 1990’s rappers and boy bands took them up as a uniform, with only one strap fastened. Overalls have been a clothing staple not just through the decades but over the centuries. They’ve been the basis for other garments such as pinafores, shortalls, coveralls, boiler suits and even jeans. They’ve been worn in factories, casually, by soldiers, for winter sports and activism

On the market today you will still find durable overalls for work made from duck canvas or heavyweight denim, but you’ll also find fashionable linen and light weight denim overalls in an array of colours and prints. Ironically, for a garment with such humble beginnings, overalls have evolved in to the high fashion scene in recent years, with designers selling them for over $1000 a pair.

read more