All Hail the Chore Coat, Official Outerwear Style of Spring
15 of our favorites, from brands like Todd Snyder, Universal Works and more
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Spring style has been on our minds 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 Patagonia baggies, crisp white sneakers and the odd heavyweight tee, it’s really the outerwear that we’re so revved up about And more often than not, we find ourselves reaching for that certain tri-pocketed lightweight layer. You guessed it: call us basic, but the lowly chore coat is (in our books, at least) the best that spring has to offer.
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Are you more of a chore coat cat or blazer bro? You're about to find out.
What Is a Chore Coat?
Originating in 19th-century France, the chore coat was 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.” Built to handle weather and work alike, the jacket is sturdy by nature, a layer for the chill and grime of transitional seasons.
Today’s versions are seen more in coffee shops and trendy restaurants than out in the fields, but, true to their origins, are generally made of some sort of hard-wearing canvas material, and emulate the original french design: most feature three oversized patch pockets and durable button closures, and they tend to hit somewhere right below the waist.
How to Wear a Chore Coat in 2023:
We find chore coats to be among the most versatile outerwear options in our closet, specifically 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 stand up to the rigors of your next park days with the kids or work post-work bar crawl.
Below, we’ve highlighted 15 of our favorites, a challenge when it comes to the beloved style. From Todd Snyder to Universal Works, these chore coats stand the test of transitional conditions, all while making you look like the stolen-valor workwear hero you are. Below, the 15 best chore coats for men to wear in this spring.
The 15 Best Chore Coats For Men in 2023:
Ever since the season’s turn, we’ve been turning to Carhartt’s Work In Progress (WIP) division for their Michigan Chore Coat. We recommend it without reservation for milder temps: a midweight twill insulates you for potential chill and can take an absolute beating, whether strolling through the park or frying up dogs at the backyard soiree.
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 sage color, which stands out just enough from the sea of blues and tans you tend to see.
Central to Universal Works is the idea of “contemporary menswear”, which manifests in a variety of inspired workwear from the U.K.-founded label. We particularly love their tentpole Bakers Chore Jacket Style for its not-so-subtle colorblocking and boxy fit — double up on with some tastefully tight shorts and you’ve got quite the spring ‘fit to be reckoned with.
Small French family-owned brand Le Laboureur has been producing traditional workwear since the 1950s, and every ounce of European quality shines through in their ultra-traditional French Cotton Work Jacket. It’s not as streamlined or tech-heavy as other modern chore coats, but that’s part of the beauty: it’s the pinnacle of the OG design, made by experts and ready to be worn every day this spring (and beyond).
A stark white, affordable chore coat — like this boxy offering from Rhythm — feels like the appropriate way to kick off spring, no?
When it comes to traditional American workwear, you’re not gonna do a whole lot better than Dickies. And when it comes to Dickie’s interpretation of this traditional French style, well, you’re gonna wanna look to the brand’s Denim Chore Coat for some serious coatage. We’re especially fond of it’s oversized look and unlined denim finish.
Got a couple grand to blow? Drake’s Heavy Suede Chore Coat is immaculately crafted in a gorgeous Italian crosta suede that will patina into a bona fide art piece…and make you the best-dressed guy in any room in the meantime.
Gone are the days of boring J.Crew, which means gone are the days of a boring J.Crew chore jacket. Instead, the Babenzian-directed spring collection features a funky, 100% cotton plaid joint — complete with new details like functional buttons at the cuff and an additional chest pocket — for a distinct evolution from the traditional 19th-century French workwear.
Alex Mill’s Recycled Work Jacket is just a bit of a cop-out for this list since it’s not technically a chore coat, but it’s french inspired utility and classic garment-dyed hue making it as close to the real thing as you’re going to get. It’s also just about the perfect weight for spring — not too thick, not too thin, and layer-able as all get out.
Heritage label Barbour is unparalleled when it comes to functional, classic-looking garments that will undoubtedly wear in beautifully. Much like their unrivaled waxed jackets, their take on the Chore Coat sports a handsome contrast collar and appropriately sized pockets, for all your potential goodies.
Todd Snyder’s sophisticated take on the summery chore coat features premium Italian-milled seersucker, historically accurate patch pockets and not a whole lot else — just the way god intended.
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 a pitch-perfect Mystic Sea vibrancy.
When Wellen says blanket, they mean it — much akin to Outerknown’s best-selling Blanket Shirt, Wellen’s cozy chore coat style feels more like wearing a snuggly robe than a chic french work jacket. Bonus points for the striped jacquard pattern.
Alex Crane’s take on the Chore Coat is called the Kite Jacket, 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.
La Paz’s linen Baptista Chore Jacket may be one of the lightest styles on this list, but don’t let that deter you. After all, its straight-cut and oversized corozo buttons pair shockingly well with some outstated kicks.
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