Iconic Workwear

The Chore Coat Moves from Blue-Collar Field Work to Urban Style


January 20, 2016 Style : Clothing By Photo by Chase Pellerin
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The resurgence of workwear pervading global menswear has inspired no shortage of familiar, utility-driven garments — Red Wing boots, selvedge chinos. One you may not not have heard of is the chore coat, which emerged in the early 20th century, worn by the blue-collar classes of American farmers and factory workers. The archetype, with a boxy, loose-fitting silhouette, is adorned with four pockets (two on the breast, two near the hip); an extended collar, sometimes flipped to protect the neck from sunburn; and a front-buttoned enclosure. The sum of these parts falls somewhere under the “anti-style” category of stylish. But today, manufacturers old and new are bringing this iconic template forward, making chore coats slimmer, sleeker and more distinct, producing them in a variety of different fabrics, from denim to canvas to wool. Layer one through the shoulder season, or drape it over a white t-shirt during cool summer nights.

Pointer Brand Indigo Blue Denim Chore Coat

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Pointer Brand has been making rugged workwear for over a century in its storied factory in Bristol, Tennessee. This budget-friendly chore coat, constructed from indigo-dyed cotton with triple-stitched seams, features polished nickel buttons and four large pockets to accommodate that everyday carry.

Gym Standard ‘Shacket’

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Eclectic footwear and design shop Gym Standard is based in San Diego. The “shacket,” a highlight from the house brand, falls between a traditional chore coat and a Japanese noragi, constructed from lightweight twill, with three front pockets and no front enclosure hardware. Contact hello@gymstandard.com to inquire about availability; retails for $125.

Ginew x LC King Manufacturing Un-Lined Heritage Coat

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Ginew, based in Portland, Oregon, is the brainchild of husband-and-wife duo Erik and Amanda Brodt. Manufactured in the same Tennessee factory as Pointer Brand, the Heritage Coat features a Pendleton blanket inlay under the collar, four front pockets and solid brass buttons.

Aether Bowery Jacket

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Known for sleek outwear, Aether’s chore coat, the Bowery, falls in line with the brand’s technically driven aesthetic. It’s constructed from breathable, water-resistant brushed cotton with a unique storm flap covering its main enclosure. Three pockets adorn the jacket’s front exterior, as well as a zippered pocket on the left sleeve.

Rogue Territory Ridgeline Supply Jacket

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Los Angeles brand Rogue Territory got its start in 2008 making bespoke pieces for select clientele, broadening its reach in recent years to focus on its ready-to-wear collection. Hand-constructed from 10-ounce waxed canvas, the Supply Jacket, available in several different colors, falls above the waist and features three front pockets and one interior chest pocket.

Apolis Indigo Wool Chore Jacket

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Constructed in California with an indigo-dyed wool fabric from Italy, Apolis’s take deviates the furthest from the classic chore coat silhouette. Raglan sleeves give it a slimmer fit around the shoulders, while the rounded collar and buffalo-horn buttons boast a European flare.