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 colder season, or drape it over a white t-shirt during cool summer nights.
Founded in France in 1913, Le Mont St Michel makes work jackets. More specifically, they basically invented the chore coat category with their signature Work Jacket, which has gone largely unchanged since its initial launch. Cut from 100-percent cotton moleskin, it's comfortable, hard-wearing, and comes with a subtle "Vetements de Travail" stamp above the left hip pocket.
Named after Universal Works founder David Keyte’s Dad, "who was a Baker and always wore a simple chore jacket while working," the brand's Bakers Jacket comes cut from medium-weight cotton twill. Black all over save for contrasting buttons and a single yellow angled buttonhole, it's a basic top that can be worn casually or dressed up.
Australian brand Rhythm makes excellent surf-lifestyle-inspired clothing. Their 100-percent cotton twill chore coat isn't necessarily surf-oriented but it shows how versatile (and far-reaching) the template remains to this day. It works for everyone: from farmers in the south of France to surfers in coastal Australia.
Carhartt WIP reinvents Carhartt's classic styles for a style-minded audience. This Michigan Coat remains largely unchanged from the original, except for its organic cotton canvas construction, luxe cord collar, and trimmer fit through the body.
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.
Made from upcycled twill cotton, Alex Mill's garment-dyed Work Jacket proves durable, but also modern. Tailored, taut in the shoulders, and not too long, it's an option that can be elevated for more formal occasions.
Outerknown constructs its Tradesman Chore Jacket from lightweight organic cotton. Plus, it's unlined. As such, it's a breathable top designed to be layered in the cooler months and matched with a T-shirt in summer. Mixing vintage softness and modern proportions, this option is undoubtedly a sold one.
Shockoe Atelier manufactures ultra-classic chore coats from rinsed 11oz. Japanese Duck Canvas. The khaki color works well with most outfits, and this iteration is bound to last forever.
There are certainly chore coats that can stand in for a blazer. This Buck Mason one may be the easiest switch, if I'm being honest. Made from boiled Merino wool, it's soft, boasts the same shape as a blazer, and has a lapel collar to boot.
Dickies doubles down on the workwear aesthetic with a classic chore coat silhouette and denim workman stripes. Boxy but not too oversized, theirs comes with four snap closure pockets (as opposed to patch), and brass buttons.
Made in the US from 100-percent selvedge denim, this Khaki Chore Coat by twin sibling design duo Warner and Waverly Watkins was a highlight from their label's, Brownstone, FW19 collection.
Inspired by the brand's #91-J or "Loco Jacket," Lee's Heritage Chore Coat comes with an abundance of original design elements. From double button cuffs to the longer body, it's all here — and been tweaked a tiny bit for a new crowd.
Japanese outdoor brand Snow Peak makes clothing, too. Their Takibi Duck Chore Coat, for example, is an extension of their other lines. How so? Well, it follows the design principles set by their other categories: clean, considered, and yet completely (to an impressive degree) functional. This option's fire-resistant.
Taylor Stitch's Ojai Jacket has seen incredible success since its launch via the company's Workshop hub, where buyers can fund an item's production (and receive their own in return). This iteration trades cotton or denim for Natural Boss Duck, a 12 oz blended fabric made exclusively for TS.
Filson's product designs are informed by almost a century of production. Originally launched to protect "loggers, foresters and outdoorsmen back in the 1930s," the brand's Tin Cloth Ranch Jackets resists rips and abrasions and repels water and stains. Dubbed dry, this particular model comes without the usual wax finish.