Dickies Ekwok Bib Overalls; Harmony T-Shirt Light Pink
Dickies Ekwok Bib Overalls; Harmony T-Shirt Light Pink

Why dungarees should be your first post-lockdown purchase

The denim all-in-one is top of our spring style shopping list, says Katie Wright.

Katie Wright
Thursday 01 April 2021 08:15

As lockdown restrictions begin to ease (woohoo!), it’s finally time to say goodbye to sweatpants and get excited about fashion again. That doesn’t mean you have to pour yourself into a skin-tight dress and shove your toes into a pair of high heels, however.

The first phase of socialising is still going to involve lots of outdoor activities, whether it’s al fresco dining, barbecues in the garden or picnics in the park – and for that you’ll need something a bit more practical.

The answer to your spring style conundrum? Dungarees. After months of avoiding denim like, well, coronavirus, the hardwearing fabric is back – and an all-in-one is all you need for spring.

Dungarees have made a high-fashion comeback in recent years, with big name brands like Balmain, Burberry and Celine all putting them on the autumn/winter catwalks.

For spring/summer 2021, Ulla Johnson and Isabel Marant are all about overalls (as Americans call them), with some very jazzy metallic variations seen at the latter’s Paris Fashion Week show.

How did dungarees go from utility wear to fashion favourite? The term is believed to originate from ‘Dongri’, the name of a village in India that produced a thick calico fabric of the same name in the 17th century. The fabric was imported and used to create workwear trousers in England, the garments given the anglicised name of ‘dungarees’.

On the other side of the pond, Levi Strauss started making denim ‘waist overalls’ (essentially jeans with suspenders attached) in the 1890s, then in 1911 Harry David Lee (of Lee Jeans fame) created bib-style overalls like the ones we wear today.

Dungarees in a check design worn with a polo-neck jumper by Anne Corfield. They were shown at a presentation of children's and teenage fashion in 1972

Since then, dungarees have been adopted by everyone from rock stars (Elton John and the Rolling Stones sported them in the Seventies) to royalty (Princess Diana was a fan).

Baggy styles were a massive trend in the 1990s, popularised by rappers and popstars, so is it any wonder the denim onesies is back in fashion now, when Nineties mania continues to dominate fashion?

Denim dungarees on the Tommy Hilfiger catwalk in 1996

So how do you style dungarees for SS21? The great thing about the denim staple is it’s versatility. While it’s still chilly you can team your overalls with a chunky knit and trainers, then on sunny days, layer them with a cotton tee and on-trend sporty sandals.

Here’s our pick of the dopest dungarees of the season…

Hush Brier Cotton Twill Dungarees; Bria Boxy Cotton T-shirt; Doby Chunky Sandals

Hush Brier Cotton Twill Dungarees, £89; Bria Boxy Cotton T-shirt, £27; Doby Chunky Sandals, £110

Baukjen Organic Stretch Dungarees; Ashley Organic Cotton Top

Baukjen Organic Stretch Dungarees, £149; Ashley Organic Cotton Top, £59 (shoes, stylist’s own)

Oliver Bonas Denim Blue Frill Dungaree Jumpsuit

Oliver Bonas Denim Blue Frill Dungaree Jumpsuit, £71.55 (was £79.50; other items stylist’s own)

Dickies Ekwok Bib Overalls; Harmony T-Shirt Light Pink

Dickies Ekwok Bib Overalls, £90; Harmony T-Shirt Light Pink, £35 (shoes, stylist’s own)

Free People Ziggy Denim Overalls

Free People Ziggy Denim Overalls, £91, Revolve (other items, stylist’s own)

Fatface Lewes Dungarees Pale Wash

Fatface Lewes Dungarees Pale Wash, £59.50

Bonprix Collection Denim Dungarees

Bonprix Collection Denim Dungarees, £45, Freemans