The Chore Coat Is the Ideal Fall Outerwear Style
Plus 11 of our favorites, from brands like Wellen, Lee and Taylor Stitch
We’ve been talking about Fall Style quite a bit around here lately, and while it is true that, like so many other people, we are genuinely giddy with excitement about the prospect of being able to wear things like flannels, crewneck sweatshirts and corduroy pants, it’s really the outerwear we’re most into. And more often than not, we find ourselves reaching for a chore coat.
Originated in 19th-century France, they were first worn by farmers and other laborers, and they were generally made from moleskin or cotton that had been dyed bright indigo — what the French call bleu de travail, or “work blue.”
Today’s versions are generally made of some sort of hard-wearing canvas material, and stay true to the original design: most feature three oversized patch pockets and durable button closures, and they tend to hit somewhere right below the waist.
We find them to be among the most versatile outerwear options in our closet, as they’re easily dressed down when layered over a T-shirt, but then nicely fancied up over a button-down or even a light sweater. And since they’re meant to be worn by people performing actual labor, they’ll obviously be able to standup to the rigors of your next apple-picking outing with the kids.
Below, 10 of our favorites.
Wellen Double Cloth Chore Coat
Ever since the season’s first chill hit a few weeks back, we’ve been wearing Wellen’s Stretch Chore Coat, which is currently on sale for well under $100 and is a very nice, very traditional take on the style, even with its construction of hemp canvas. We recommend it without reservation for milder temps. But it’s extremely lightweight and not likely to stand up against the colder weather, which is where this Double Cloth version comes in. It’s got a softer outer later and a layer of insulation that ups the coziness factor while maintaining the workwear silhouette and overall vibe.
Taylor Stitch Ojai Jacket
Taylor Stitch makes its signature chore coat in a wide range of colors and fabrics, and it’s the kind of garment that’s so well-made and so perfectly and authentically designed that it it’s not difficult to imagine wanting to invest in a few different ones. We’re partial to this charcoal color, which stands out just enough from the sea of blues and tans you tend to see.
Snow Peak Takibi Duck Chore Coat
The Takibi from Snow Peak has all the classic Chore Coat stylings you’re looking for, plus added features like a corduroy collar a handful of discreet extra pockets and, most notably, fire-resistance thanks to a flame-retardant material called Kanecaron, for when you’re tending to those fall campfires.
Lee European Collection Loco Jacket
When it comes to traditional American workwear, you’re not gonna do a whole lot better than Lee. And when it comes to Lee’s interpretation of this traditional French style, well, you’re gonna wanna look to the brand’s European Collection for this classic take. We’re fond of the snap buttons and slightly oversized collar.
Flint and Tinder Chore Coat
It should come as no surprise that Flint and Tinder’s making a really great chore coat right now. They’ve emerged as one of the preeminent carriers of the American workwear torch, with hard-wearing items like their Flannel-Lined Waxed Trucker, and this piece is every bit as stylish and durable as you’d expect.
Outerknown’s take on the Chore Coat is called the Tradesman, and it’s admirable in its simplicity, boasting a no-frills design and a relaxed, comfortable fit. It’s made from organic cotton that you can tell is going to get cozier and cozier with wear.
Everlane Chore Jacket
If you’re on a budget and you’re looking to get into the chore coat game, or if you’ve already got one or two and you’re looking to add another, consider Everlane’s version, which is ab absolute steal at just $78.
Todd Snyder Japanese Indigo Rinse Chore Coat
Todd Snyder’s take on the chore coat features premium lightweight Japanese denim, historically accurate patch pockets and not a whole lot else — just the way it was intended.
Wallace and Barnes Chore Jacket in Duck Canvas
J.Crew’s long-running in-house workwear brand Wallace and Barnes has been as instrumental as anyone in bringing the chore coat back to prominence, and their current version is exactly what it’s always been: simply designed, made of durable duck canvas and available in the pitch-perfect Night Sky (pictured) and Sky Blue shades.
Uniqlo Washed Jersey Work Jacket
Full disclosure, we have no actually worn this jacket, but, you know, $40 is $40.
Patagonia Iron Forge Hemp Chore Coat
Patagonia claims the “Iron Forge Hemp” canvas material used in the construction of this piece is 25% more durable than traditional cotton duck canvas and doesn’t require any break-in time. We’ll take them at their word, and we’ll add that is is also exceedingly good looking.
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