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Are Dungarees Back in Fashion?

Posted by Paul Clapham on
Man  wearing dark denim dungarees.

1. What are the Origins of Dungarees?

Read on to find out more about the origins of Dungarees or 'Bib-Overalls' as they're called in the States...

Where do Dungarees Come From?

There are various explanations as to the origins of the term ‘dungarees’. Some say it refers to the fabric which was originally produced in India as far back as the 17th century. This fabric was called ‘Dungri’ - a coarse, hard wearing fabric used to make work clothes. Gradually the cloth name "dungaree" came to denote a style of work clothes which consisted of a pair of trousers with a bib and adjustable straps over the shoulders.

Why were Dungarees Invented?

Dungarees were ideal for labourers as they were durable and comfortable often with reinforced knees and triple stitched seams. The practical styling with multiple pockets, hammer loops etc. facilitated the carrying of tools and eliminated the need for waist belts. Dungarees as a work garment grew in popularity particularly in the United States and they increased in popularity in the twentieth century with tradesmen and labouring men who worked in agriculture and industry.

Some women also embraced dungarees for workwear during the war years and young children have worn them for playwear since the mid-twentieth century.

What are Dungarees Called in America?

In the USA the term “Dungaree” usually refers to, what in the UK we call “jeans,” ie casual trousers made of denim, most often blue in colour. However in the USA trousers (pants) made of denim with a bib are called ‘Bib-overalls’ or more often just ‘Overalls’, even sometimes ‘Bib-and-Brace Overalls’.

Read on to find out more about the eras of peak Dungaree popularity!

Dungarees in the 1960’s and 1970’s

In the 1960’s and 1970’s denim and blue jeans were ‘all the rage’, as was unisex clothing, so dungarees were embraced by young men and women, especially by college students in America. Apart from blue denim, dungarees made from corduroy and colourful cotton were popular as were those dungarees with the flared leg style of the sixties and early seventies.

Dungarees in the 1980’s

In the eighties dungarees and bib-overalls were essential fashion wear for everyone from Princess Diana to the guys from boyband New Kids on the Block. These were the days of oversized overalls, oversized shirts and big hair!

It's impossible to mention the eighties dungaree look without mentioning Dexy’s Midnight Runners. They styled their distressed denim uber baggy dungarees cinched at the waist with a heavy leather belt, with neckerchiefs and tam o’ shanter hats for guys and girls alike. Take a look at the video for their biggest hit ‘Come on Eileen’ and admire this blast from the past!

Dungarees in the 1990’s

Grunge and minimalism were major fashion styles in the nineties as well as dungarees which were awesome whether you rocked them with one strap or both straps down! No longer just for farmers and tradesmen, the ’90s embraced dungarees as a casual and comfortable wardrobe staple. If you want to rock dungarees in pure ’90s style, team a pair of classic blue denim dungarees with a crop top and your favourite sneaks.

3. Are Dungarees in Fashion in 2020?

It would appear so! According to Vogue ‘dungarees are making a big fashion comeback, and have become the number one must-have of the season’ for Summer 2020.

In our experience at Dungarees-online, in 2020 women, men and kids of all ages love the look of the all-in-one garment that can be styled in so many different ways.

If you want some 2020 Dungaree styling advice check out this video on YouTube for some tips on ‘How to wear Overalls & for Summer 2020’

Dungarees have evolved over the years and in 2020 there are a vast range of colours and styles to choose from. You can stick with traditional blue denim bib-overalls or try the new wide leg styles, cord dungarees or even embrace your inner Bohemian with some colourful hippy boho harem pants style dungarees.

If you don’t have at least one pair of dungarees in your wardrobe then check out the range of bib-overalls at Dungarees online.

4. What Types of Dungarees are Currently Available?

There are so many styles of dungaree out there for ladies, men, teens, boys and girls which include a mixture of the following characteristics:

Different fits of Dungarees

Regular fit (a comfortable but not baggy fit with a straight leg), loose/baggy fit (a relaxed fit with plenty of room), skinny fit (close fit with a narrow leg and restricted leg opening – they often have some stretch so you can get them over your feet!), carrot fit (Carrot Fit is exactly like the shape of a carrot, where it is loose at the crotch and then slimmer and fitter at the calves), wide leg (wide from the thigh to the hem, culotte style (cut with full legs to resemble a skirt).

Front shot of men's pale wash denim overalls with abrasions.

Different Dungaree Leg Shape

Straight, flared, narrow leg, wide leg, drainpipe, roll-up leg with tabs.

Different Bib Configurations

Narrow bib, wide bib, detachable bib, bib with zip pocket, bib with button pocket, bib with no pocket, zip front bib, button front bib.

Different Fastenings

Traditional both side button fastening, double row of button fastening or elasticated sides on maternity dungarees, one or both side zip fastening

Different Pocket Styles

Classic 5 pocket style (two front pockets, two back pockets and a bib pocket), dungarees with cargo pockets on legs, dungarees with rule pocket on leg – mainly found in work dungarees

Different Ways of Tying Dungaree Straps

Traditional buckle and clip fastening, D ring, knot tie, adjustable button strap.

Different Types of Fabric

Traditional 10oz blue denim, lightweight denim, organic cotton, destroyed/distressed denim, cotton duck, black denim, corduroy, cotton twill, cotton jersey, linen, lyocell.

'Amber'- style khaki cotton jersey wide leg ladies dungarees.

Dungarees for Different Purposes

Fashion, comfort, leisure, maternity, workwear, gardening and DIY, kids’ playwear, cosplay/fancy dress, have we missed any?

5. Dungarees – Where is the Best Place to Buy them?

Obviously, there are High Street shops who sell dungarees when they are popular, but if you want a go-to dungaree specialist with a large range of sizes and styles you may want to look online. Buying dungarees and overalls online is very easy and convenient – you can compare lots of styles and price points to find your perfect pair of dungarees and then have them delivered right to your door!

Various denim dungarees on a rail.

Check out the range of dungarees from Dungarees Online who have had an online store since 2006 – they not only stock a large range of traditional dungarees for men, women and children (from brands such as Carhartt, Dickies and Uskees) but also have a range of fashion and leisure dungarees, dungaree shorts, dungaree dresses, jumpsuits and cool denim aprons! If you want to keep up with all of the latest styles of dungarees and special offers then why not sign up for the newsletter on the Dungarees Online website.

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