I can bet at least 40% of readers will have switched off just by looking at the title of this blog, because dungarees split opinions more than most items of clothing ever will. So, if you are still here, welcome to my gang. Some feel they are only for children under 5, Mr Tumble or Factory workers from the 1940s but I’m not one of those people. Did you know that Levi Strauss were the pioneers of making Dungarees? In fact the first pair of ‘jeans’ they invented back in the 1890s were not really the jeans we know today, they were actually ‘overalls’ (to use the US term), consisting of braces attached to denim trousers with buttons but with no top part with a bib.
As they were made for municipal workers, I’m guessing the bib part was added pretty soon so they had somewhere to pop their pencil, their ruler and maybe a pack of filterless Woodbines for break time. Also, dungarees were made just for men originally, with a zip fly so they never really had the ladies ‘toilet situation’. I’ve perhaps spent too much time thinking about the ‘toilet situation’, it will always be an issue. You do have to be committed to the dungarees cause.
I have worked out a way to go to the loo while wearing Dungarees without dropping one of your straps into the toilet. I did that once at a festival (pre-flush), it was not pleasant. What you need to do (if the style allows) is to keep the straps attached, just slip them over your shoulders then you don’t run the risk of them being covered in piss. Live and learn. At least with Dungarees you’ll be wearing something underneath, unlike a jumpsuit, so you don’t run the risk of someone busting when you’re on the loo and you’re naked from the waist up. Every cloud…
I asked 4 other very stylish ladies how they feel about Dungarees. I wanted some back-up on this so you don’t just have to take my word for it.
SARAH CLARK (@LITTLESPREE)
Sarah is a stylist with a long history of working at high fashion magazines and styling shoots for big name brands. She also writes an amazing blog called Little Spree. We went to fashion college together, but I’ve also known her since we were kids and our parents live 2 streets away from each other. That’s my potted Sarah history, but she’s also one of the most stylish ladies I know and a lover of dungarees. Side note, and I hope she won’t mind me saying this, she has a decent set of bangers, so for anyone fearing they can’t wear dungarees due to this — take heed…
“I’ve been ‘back in dungarees’ for quite a few years now (I think I first rediscovered them around 10 years ago). They are just so easy/versatile! Personally, I like to style mine in a more feminine way — layering pretty tops/blouses (with frill/ruffles/bows/broderie anglaise) underneath. I also like to wear mine with classic ballet pumps or flat sandals instead of boots or trainers. Also I tend to gravitate towards the styles with a slim/slimmer leg, as I generally find them more flattering. Then I usually add a jacket or blazer if I’m going out (not to be confused with ‘out out’ — I’m just talking about a trip to the Sainsbury’s Local…). When I did actually go ‘out out’ I would add a high, strappy sandal (usually Isabel Marant) to make my black dungas evening-ready. I always find that front pocket very handy for my phone!”
“ps: style hack. Dungarees are great for wearing with all those tops that might ordinarily be slightly too short to wear with your jeans (generally ones that I have accidentally tumble dried and shrunk).”
NATASHA POLISZCZUK (@WEARANDWHERE)
Natasha is a writer and journalist, currently books editor at You Magazine. She’s barely ever seen out of a frilly white blouse. I wouldn’t even dare to ask how many she owns. She’s also a petite lady, so for anyone under 5’3, yes you can wear dungarees without looking like a child. Here are her thoughts.
“Ah dungarees. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. They are my default easy option: I just add a classic knit (crew or polo) for acceptable wfh chic — at least in my book. Or I prettify them with a blouse — which is my usual chosen course (you know my white blouse weakness): The dungarees stop the look from being *too* sickly sweet and girly. Mind you, it took me a few false starts before finding The Ones — I look like my 10 year old daughter or a Cbeebies presenter in baggy dungas — though I love this look on others.”
1. White Stuff Slim Leg Denim Dungarees
2. Anthropologie Shimmer Hair Scarf Scrunchie Set
3. Monki Green Spot Puff Sleeve Blouse
4. & Other Stories Floral Embroidery Cable Cardigan
5. Gola Tennis Mark Cox Trainers
NICOLA ST LOUIS (@THESTLOUISREVIEWS)
Nicola is an amazing creative retail stylist and has her own, most incredible style. She’s not afraid to clash prints, mix up high street and designer and scour Ebay for vintage pieces to turn into catwalk homages, but she also favours a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt! She knows the power of a designer sock and a love of an all-in-one..
“I consider dungarees the Younger, cooler sister of the jumpsuit, and 2 for the price of one as I often wear them with the bib hanging down…so like a pair of trousers or jeans with an extra tummy warmer. They’ve got all the convenience of a dress with the added warmth of trousers. Kind of like your buffet dress for cold legs! I also like how versatile they can be. Dressing them up with a proper blouse up top — with pussybow if you please - and that leaves options for a heel or trainer down below. Also, Dungarees were my fave thing to wear when I was little, so maybe I never grew up!”
FRAN BACON (@THEFASHIONLIFT)
Fran is a writer, designer and creator of the ‘Fran’ instagram shot (see above!), I still cannot work out how she does this to get the whole outfit in. She’s a big fan of dungarees and has a knack of making them actually look pretty…
” Love dungarees for many (deep) reasons.… but mainly because they are practical, I am not a big fan of waistbands and if you get the right fit for your shape they can be incredibly flattering. I wear them for me and not to please anyone else and I love that!”
I had to include myself in this group obviously. I am Kate, nearly 48. Still loving the wearing of dungarees on a weekly basis. More so now that I don’t go to an office. I never really considered them office attire. I concur with all my ladies on their points. Particularly that I don’t wear them to please anyone but myself. I find them to be super comfortable, no fear of a waistband to unbutton or a top to roll up and expose unsightly flesh.
Sometimes I like to wear mine with pretty blouses, but also with form fitting (or shrunk in the wash) jumpers. I like both slim fitting and baggy styles depending on my mood. I even have a white pair for the summer that makes me feel like Jacko from Brushstrokes (who I once met in a Coffee Shop in Amsterdam with Ray Winstone, but that’s another story altogether)…
I hope you enjoyed this one. If so I may think about canvassing further opinions from more stylish ladies in the future.