Workwear has been a recurring trend for the past few seasons, even at a time when sneakers have dominated the zeitgeist. The downtown set is as likely to wear function-first brands like Carharrt and Dickies as they are the latest “it” designer. If you’re looking to embrace the workwear trend without looking like you just stepped off the construction site, a great place to start is with a work jacket.
One style of work jacket worth investing in is the chore coat. While workwear is intrinsically associated with Americana, the chore coat actually comes courtesy of the French.
French work jackets are traditionally dyed a blue color, and they have three pockets sewn onto the outside of the jacket: one at the breast and two at the hips. Chore coats almost invariably feature button plackets, rather than zippers. French-style chore coats are typically unlined and lightweight, making them great options for springtime or layering.
There are other chore jacket styles that are distinctly American as well, such as the Carharrt Michigan chore coat. Carharrt’s take on the style is more burly and has four patch pockets instead of three, as well as features like rivets and a button-down flap on one of the breast pockets.
Another style worth considering is the zip work jacket. The best-known style is the Dickies Eisenhower jacket, which has a lightly padded body, two hand pockets and a pencil pocket at the upper arm. Zip work jackets are basically the construction worker equivalent to a bomber jacket.
Whichever style you choose, work jackets are hardwearing and typically have plenty of pockets. While these pockets are great for tools, they also work great for your phone and sunglasses (and these days, your face mask and hand sanitizer). These are the work jackets to get.
1. Carharrt WIP Blanket Lined Michigan Coat
Carharrt WIP is Carharrt’s fashion-focused sub-label, and their Michigan Coat takes the classic and updates it with a more streamlined fit and premium details like 100% organic cotton construction. But just because this jacket is fashion-focused, that doesn’t mean function is sacrificed. This coat is blanket-lined for comfort and warmth, and the patch pockets offer plenty of convenient storage. The 12-ounce canvas fabric is hardwearing but lightweight enough to wear to the bar.
2. Everlane The Chore Shirt Jacket
THE MODERN CLASSIC
If you somehow still haven’t heard of Everlane, the brand has revolutionized fashion with its focus on pricing transparency and simple but stylish offerings. This shirt jacket has two open waist pockets for easy access and two button-flap chest pockets for more secure storage. The jacket is 100% cotton, and colors include navy, ochre and pine.
3. Club Monaco Chore Coat
Despite the name, chore coats are often made from a light, shirt-like material. Club Monaco’s chore coat updates the style with a warm, wool-blend fabric, making it feel more like an actual coat. The workwear details are still there, though, thanks to the spread collar and patch pockets on the chest.
4. Uniqlo Jersey Work Jacket
SOFT EVERYDAY LAYER
Instead of stiff canvas, Uniqlo updates the classic chore coat style by fabricating it from a soft, stretchy jersey material. Fabric aside, the classic chore coat details are all there, including three patch pockets on the outside of the jacket. There’s even a handy interior pocket if all that exterior storage wasn’t enough. It’s lightweight enough to layer. Wear it in warm weather over a T-shirt or in cold weather under a coat.
5. Dickies Eisenhower Front-Zip Jacket
TOUGH AND INSULATED
This insulated jacket from Dickies is made from a substantial polyester/cotton blend fabric, and the simple silhouette is stylish and versatile enough for a variety of outfits. It has two hand pockets and a pen pocket on the arm. There are also button-tabs at the back of the jacket to tighten it to make the jacket more fitted and insulated. The jacket comes in a range of colors like black, navy, olive and red. If you’re looking for a jacket you can actually wear on the job site, the Dickies Eisenhower jacket is hard to beat.
6. Alex Mill Work Jacket in Boiled Wool
CHORE-COAT STYLE, CARDIGAN COMFORT
This work jacket from Alex Mill takes the classic chore-coat silhouette and reimagines it in soft merino wool, making it something of a hybrid between a chore coat and a cardigan. While you wouldn’t wear it to work on a railroad, it’s utilitarian enough for your morning commute and soft enough for lounging on the weekend.
7. Levi’s Men’s Sherpa Trucker Jacket
BEST FOR COLD WEATHER
Levi’s classic trucker gets even better with the addition of faux-shearling and insulated sleeves, making it warm enough to wear in cold weather. The denim exterior makes it hard-wearing yet stylish, and it has plenty of pockets for storing all of your essentials. There are two hand pockets, two button-down chest pockets and an interior pocket. The sherpa version of the trucker swaps standard buttonholes for convenient snaps, making it easier to take on and off.
8. Madewell Denim Chore Jacket
If you love denim but want something more unique than the standard trucker, consider this chore jacket from Madewell. It features three exterior patch pockets and one interior pocket, and the jacket is made from 100% cotton in a nice medium wash that’ll only get better with age. Denim heads will also love that this jacket was made from fabric from the legendary (and sadly now-defunct) Cone Mills Corporation.
9. NN07 Oscar Linen Jacket
BEST SUMMER LAYER
This chore coat from Danish brand NN07 brings a Scandinavian sensibility to summer vacation. Instead of sturdy cotton or wool, this jacket is constructed from lightweight linen, making it a great option to wear on warm summer evenings. Like traditional chore coats, it has three pockets sewn onto the outside of the jacket. The Scandinavian minimalism comes through thanks to a hidden placket which keeps the jacket looking streamlined.
10. The Workers Club Cotton-Corduroy Overshirt
BEST SHIRT JACKET
Need a work jacket? Why not ask The Workers Club? This option is more of a shirt-jacket, thanks to its light but sturdy corduroy construction. It has three exterior pockets, and the camp collar makes it great for layering over T-shirts.