Finding outfits suitable between the seasons like spring to summer, summer to autumn, or autumn to winter can sometimes be difficult. You’re consciously aware that you need to dress in a way that will keep you warm enough for when it gets a bit cold outside but also cool enough for when you’re indoors in a warm environment. It’s a problem we all face every few months as we transition through the seasons.
However, there is an answer…… the Overshirt!
A men’s overshirt can conveniently fill the gap between shirts and jackets and can also be a great alternative to other casual outerwear like hoodies and sweatshirt. It’s a piece that should be the staple for every man’s wardrobe as it offers that premium look in a casual setting.
So what is an Overshirt?
An overshirt is a hybrid between a shirt and a jacket; hence, the rather unsuccessful attempt to call it a ‘shacket’ in some areas of the industry. The versatile ‘overshirt’ is typically made of a slightly thicker material than what’s used in regular men’s shirts, and it is understandably heavier and more durable. In some instances, overshirts can be made of non-traditional type materials dependant upon the retailer and the style.
A men’s ‘Shacket’, if you want to call it that, is much lighter than a full-fledged jacket and is meant to be worn over a regular shirt when the weather outside is cold. A Shacket will not be cut and made to fit like a regular shirt and is somewhat worn looser often with an oversized fit.
The qualities we’ve written of above make men’s overshirts essential wardrobe staples. They’re also suitable for all shapes and sizes, whatever their build, height, or weight.
Where did the Overshirt style come from?
It is believed that in the past railway workers and engineers in France wore overshirts made of durable cotton drill or moleskin. These overshirts were light enough to make it easy to move while working yet were hardy enough to last a long time. To suit their line of work the overshirts were also fitted with large pockets designed to make stashing small devices and tools easy and convenient.
A more detailed account of the history of the overshirt traces its roots to more than one source.
- Twentieth-century European workwear: labourers, artists, and crafts persons wore overshirts that could cover up and protect their regular daily attire. These overshirts featured a breast pocket for keeping small tools.
- British soldiers’ shirts: British troops deployed in Europe were given shirts made of cotton drill or flannel, while those sent elsewhere were issued lighter cotton khaki shirts. Both types featured chest or hip pockets.
- Safari shirts: closely modelled after military shirts, safari shirts are made to be worn in tropical or hot climates. They usually feature several utility pockets for holding a multitude of items, including a water flask, map, compass, whistle, a lighter or box of matches, shotgun cartridges, etc.
Whatever may have happened in between leading to the metamorphosis of these different shirts into the overshirt we know today, it no longer matters. We’re just pleased to have overshirts.
What’s the celebrity take on Overshirts and how are they styled?
Like hoodies, men’s utility jackets, and sweatshirts, men’s shirt jackets have had their fair share of celebrity fans through the years. Our favourite David Beckham leads the pack of men’s overshirt lovers– whether he’s walking along the streets of London or New York or hopping from one airport to another you can almost guarantee Becks will be wearing an overshirt.
Another favourite of the overshirt is ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘The Crown’ star Matt Smith who can often be seen styling his overshirts in alternative fashion – keeping the top button all buttoned up while leaving the rest open to reveal a simple white tee.
Another way to wear overshirts is by wearing one with a zip-up front like Hollywood Super Star Ryan Gosling. The addition of a zip adds to the ease and versatility of wearing this type of overshirt.
Other celebrities who’ve been spotted wearing overshirts include John Legend, Mark Wahlberg, Zac Efron, Scott Disick, George Clooney, Matthew McConaughey, Orlando Bloom, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Ricky Gervais, John Krasinski, Benedict Cumberbatch, and basically everybody else – that’s just how popular overshirts are.
Some key pointers in styling your Overshirts…
As we’ve explained so far in this blog, the Overshirt is an in-between casual dressing option, overshirts are essentially heavier than your casual shirt and are not made to fit like one either. To make sure the fit is right for you and is styled as you expect we suggest you consider the following:
- Shoulder fit:The shoulder width should ideally be closer to that of a blazer, with the seam sitting just below the area where the arm and shoulder meet. To ensure a good fit, wear the undershirt with a tee. You should also try it on with a sweatshirt to ensure it would go with any weather.
- Collar fit:Overshirts may be worn closed or open, but never ever with a tie. So, treat the collar area the way you would a casual shirt, and ensure there’s plenty of room around the neck area.
- Sleeve fit:The sleeves should be comfortably loose to make room for the sleeves of your undershirt, jumper, or casual tee, so they are never snug. The tip of your sleeves should sit at the end of your wrist. So, when you wear your undershirt with a jacket, the tips of the sleeves won’t be visible. However, the sleeves should completely cover a jumper.
- Chest fit:Since an overshirt can work as an outerwear or underlayer, it should be loose enough to accommodate another garment underneath. However, it should still lie flat on the chest area when fully buttoned up without being hideously form-fitting.
Fantasize about the fabric and make the right choice…
Overshirts come in a wide array of fabrics, some are simply perfect others not so much, always think hard about how you’re intending to wear your overshirt before deciding on the right fabric.
Flannel material is still popular, especially in the colder months, you’ll often see designers incorporate bold patterns or traditional check but all in all, flannel still works. Other traditional fabrics that still work in the modern market are moleskin, twill, and denim.
There’s ever-reliable breathable and comfortable cotton that’s great for all-weather wear, especially with the versatility with weights too. Made from different versions of cotton, men’s khaki overshirts and men’s corduroy overshirts never go out of style either. Overshirts made of technical fabrics like nylon are typically more of a sports-style while polyamide overshirts are usually constructed with a modern twist and often come with zippers.
How to create a smart look with my Overshirt?
Wearing an overshirt to a date or the office? No problem! We’d recommend you opt for a dark block colour to achieve a smarter look, Khaki can be a great choice paired with smart black trousers or jeans whilst lighter colours can coordinate brilliantly with lighter coloured trousers.
One combination that isn’t always considered is wearing your overshirt over a knitted jumper finishing the look with tailored trousers and lace-up shoes, a perfect winter look that retains an element of class.
For work, a collared or any low-bulk inner shirt, your overshirt, dark trousers, and polished boots would make the perfect combo, you can even consider bringing boat shoes into the equation with some tailored jeans or trousers for a styled look that still retains class in the workplace.
How to create a casual look…
It’s simple, pair a dark-coloured overshirt, T-shirt in neutral colours (grey, white or navy blue), Jeans and Trainers. It really is that simple to perfect the casual look incorporating an Overshirt.
An alternative option as well is to wear a grey, white, or navy blue inner shirt, layer it with a dark-coloured overshirt, and pair this top with jeans and comfy shoes and you’re good to go!
How to create a smart casual look…
The same casual outfit suggested above paired with neutral-coloured chinos and classic Oxford leather shoes can take you from super casual to smart casual in minutes. However, straight-cut jeans in a dark wash will work, too.
Warning…Don’t overlayer gents!
Even when men’s overshirts are meant for layering, please be mindful that you do not overlayer. Try to limit your ensemble to two to three layers. With two layers, you’d have an inner shirt under an overshirt. Three layers could mean an inner shirt, overshirt, and a jacket. The rule of thumb here is to ensure every garment you layer can be worn on its own.
How to wear a khaki overshirt?
We love Khaki as a colour, especially in an Overshirt. It brings out that Military style silhouette which can be worn in so many ways. Our suggestion is to style a khaki overshirt in any colour in a smart casual way by pairing it with a fine knit polo neck and striped tailored trousers. This is the perfect ensemble for coffee or a lunch meeting. For a more casual getup, replace the trousers with black jeans and lace-up ankle boots.
Overshirts are the perfect addition to any mans wardrobe, versatile to style in any way you see fit. For the casual looks, for the trendsetters and for those wanting to make their own mark on smart casual.