The History of Overalls: Part Two

Overalls are not just a piece of clothing or a fashion statement. In our previous blog, we talked about the humble beginnings of overalls. In today’s post, we will continue to learn about how overalls came to be the fashion icon that they are today.

Today, overalls come in a variety of colors, prints, and styles. However, the original overalls were made sturdy in order to stand up to the hard work of the people who wore them. If you’re in the Dresden area and you’re in need of a strong pair of workwear overalls, stop by E.T. Reavis & Son! As a family run business, we have withstood the test of time, and we are still your one-stop shop for all of your basic needs. From women’s western wear and boxers with buttons to our popular workwear overalls, we’ve got it all! Visit our store or shop online now!

World War I

Overalls played a large role in World War I. American soldiers wore Lee’s® Union-Alls during the war. In fact, the government specifically chose this garment because of its strength and durability. Mechanic and supply units were also given Union-Alls to wear as they helped protect their clothing from dirt.

Just as women took the place of men in the factories while they fought for our country, workwear overalls replaced their dresses and skirts. The loose clothing that women wore on a daily basis was decidedly too dangerous for a factory setting, and overalls consequently became the attire of choice.

During this time, many people started calling overalls “women-alls” due to the fact that women were wearing overalls in the factories. However, this term caused controversy, as many men still felt uncomfortable with women wearing pants. However, to honor the women, Lee® and Levi’s® made khaki colored overalls in 1914 and 1918.

The Great Depression

During the Great Depression, the vast majority of laborers would wear overalls, including miners, loggers, farmers, and railroad workers. Because of the durability of the fabric, overalls were great for those who had tough jobs.

A Symbol Of Feminism

After the Great Depression, overalls were mainly worn by children. The overalls acted as a protective cover for nicer clothes underneath and their durable fabric and mobility made them ideal for the fast-paced and adventurous lives of children. During this time, it was still seen as unacceptable for women to wear pants, however, in the late 1960s that all changed.

During protests, women could be seen wearing overalls, because they represented an “anti-female” garment. Overalls allowed women more freedom of movement, and the non-form-fitting style was unlike the clothes women had commonly worn up until that point.

Overalls Today

In today’s society, overalls are mainly worn by women and children. Many high-end designers and clothing stores have made the overalls a fashion statement as opposed to a symbol of labor. Overalls have evolved to include various patterns, cuts, and colors. Overalls have morphed into dresses and shorts as opposed to pants.

While sturdy, workwear overalls are still used today by those performing manual labor, overalls have become more of a fashion statement than a practical piece of clothing. In fact, the majority of our society now finds it unacceptable for a man to wear overalls unless they are part of a uniform.

At E.T. Reavis & Son, we understand the practicality of a sturdy pair of workwear overalls. If you’re in the Dresden area and you’re in need of clothing that will withstand the test of time, look no further than E.T. Reavis & Son. Whether you’re looking for a pair of workwear overalls, long johns, or surplus tactical gear, you’ll find it all at our store. Stop by today or give us a call!

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