Iconic Workwear

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

January 20, 2016 Style : Clothing By Photo by Chase Pellerin

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

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’

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

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

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

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

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.

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