Before I regale you with a tale about the glory of overalls, I want to start with some data. I have five pairs of overalls (this doesn’t include jumpsuits and boiler suits). Four of them are classic blue denim with different pant legs and straps, and the other two are black and green with torso length zippers as the main feature. All of them serve a purpose and are uniquely special to me.
One pair, an oversized pair of wranglers that I bought while vintage shopping with a friend after skipping out of work early, are my go-to comfy overalls. Another pair has wide legs, and I consider them my statement overalls – someone always says something about them. I have a deep blue straight-leg pair that I have dubbed “my summer overalls” because the denim is so light, and I love wearing them with a white tank top. My green ones were obtained in some impulse shopping a few years ago in Los Angeles; they’re unique because they are an outfit on their own.
The one pair that I want to talk about, though, is the pair that led me to this story: my black denim kick flares.
The other night, I was going out to dinner to a new restaurant that, by the looks of their tagged photos, had all the makings of a specific type of coolness that intimidated me and bring out a snobbishness in me as a result. On top of that, going out to eat has been a rarity these last two years, and I, for one, am still getting used to the dressing portion of the evening. So, about an hour before we had to leave, I had a meltdown. What do people wear at restaurants? Am I going to look underdressed if I wear jeans? Would something else look overdressed? What if I’m seated far from the bathroom, and then I have to walk through the entire restaurant while people turn and look at me because my movement disrupted them? You know those kinds of things. I sat on my bed staring at my closet, willing something I hadn’t worn in a while to stick out. No luck. I stared a little longer. A little harder. Then finally I saw the bottom of the frayed black denim kick flare of my overalls.
Now this was not the new outfit I was hoping to wear at all. I bought them a few years before to wear to a special interview I was doing with some people I admired. I knew then that overalls are the one piece of clothing that makes me feel comfortable and I wanted to be my most me. They were cool because they were fitted and high on the torso, so you only need a simple top below them. That day I chose a striped bodysuit. Other times that I’ve worn them, its been with a t-shirt or a black turtleneck, and though they are denim, with the right pair of shoes, they can look really dressed up. For this evening out, they would be perfect.
It was right then that I understood these overalls were like a security blanket for me. As much as I love fashion, I have resigned to the fact that I’m a pretty simple dresser. “Utilitarian” is what a trend story might label it. I love denim, I love boots, and I love a one-stop-shop outfit in a pair of overalls. Fashion is intimidating to me still. I always think other people look incredible, and then when I look down at myself, I can pick apart twenty things I wish I did differently. Not in overalls, they bring out something in me that I haven’t found in anything else.
I’m not saying that if you’re feeling weird you should go buy overalls (but also, yes but overalls are so easy to find secondhand). I am saying you should find your closet security blanket and don’t be afraid to repeat the outfit over and over again.