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.
Recommended picks by Gerald Ortiz.
Portuguese Flannel Labura Chore Jacket
Just Get This
Straightforward. That's what the Labura Chore Jacket is. Straight up quality brushed cotton fabric that's not flimsy, corozo buttons, three outer patch pockets, one inner pocket, and a solid price.
Carhartt Duck Chore Coat
Carhartt's quality pedigree is well-documented in duck canvas and denim. Its Chore Coat is a canonical garment and it's still rendered in the brand's famously stiff 12-ounce canvas material, so you know you'll have to earn your way to comfort. But it's well worth the work. The fabric is as durable as they come and is outfitted with riveted patch pockets, brass buttons, a plush corduroy collar and a cozy blanket lining.
Imperfects Cunningham Blazer
This chore coat from Southern California-based brand Imperfects is the step-up in every aspect. It's made from an all-cotton Japanese-woven selvedge left-hand twill fabric that's been washed for softness. Two extra-wide waist pockets, a chest pocket with a pen slot, and three more hidden pockets give you more storage than you'll probably ever need. They've gone the extra mile to also ensure that every seam is finished, inside and out. And if the corozo nut buttons weren't good enough, they've also made them removable to prevent them from getting damaged in the wash.
Uniqlo Washed Jersey Chore Jacket
Uniqlo's distilled the classic chore coat into its most identifiable elements: three patch pockets, button placket, pointed collar and not much else. The triple-needle seams are an unexpected touch that dips into classic workwear traditions, but the fabric —equally surprising — is a comfy jersey material, so it feels more like a thick shirt. Raglan sleeves make it comfy to wear and the relaxed fit means you can layer it as god intended.
Stan Ray 4-Pocket Jacket
Stan Ray's entry may branch toward the military side of design, but it's definitely still a part of the chore coat family tree. It's made out of a lightweight and durable ripstop fabric, features four buttoned flap pockets to keep all your personal effects secure. Plus, you can check out for under a hundred bucks to keep your wallet happy.
Tellason Stock Coverall Jacket
Made in the San Francisco using Cone Mills fabric and just under a bone and a half? Tellason's popular Coverall Jacket has its own non-selvedge version which brings the price way down without sacrificing the rest of the utility.
Vetra Linen Chore Coat
If you want something a little closer to the tree, Vetra's been making top-notch French workwear like the chore coat since 1927. This one's rendered in an deep navy linen fabric that's substantial enough to hold its own well into the cooler months.
Alex Mill Boiled Wool Work Jacket
Some might call this a cardigan moonlighting as a chore coat. We like to think of it as a chore coat in sheep's clothing. Unlike most chore coats, this one is knit instead of woven. It's made of boiled wool that's soft from the get-go and comes with the requisite chore coat details. You might not want to take this to task, but you will want to take it everywhere else.
Taylor Stitch Ojai Jacket
Removable buttons, lightweight eight-ounce organic cotton double sateen fabric are the key details that make this jacket a crowd favorite. But if you gripe about the fact that most chore coats don't have proper hand pockets, you'll find that your grievances aren't directed toward this jacket.
Le Mont Michel Genuine Work Jacket
It doesn't get more genuine than Le Mont Michel. Its Genuine Work Jacket is the archetypal chore coat and this one comes in tough cotton moleskin fabric, the likes of which are still kicking around vintage shops even after a century. And why not go all the way real deal and cop the one in the inimitable French blue?
And Wander Rip Shirt Jacket
Made in Japan, And Wander's Rip Shirt Jacket takes the chore coat to the technical side of design. It's made with Coolmax cotton ripstop fabric which is both durable and lightweight, and prevents your body from overheating. It features snap buttons, a drawstring hem, reflective branding and a key loop at the chest pocket.