Utility wear is more on-trend than ever. The chore jacket — also called a utility jacket, workwear jacket, swing jacket or overshirt — is making a fringe debut. It’s not a mainstream trend. My guess is that it will stay fringe because it’s not the easiest silhouette to feel fab in.
The chore jacket is a boxy, long-sleeved, casual jacket with utility detailing like patch and carpenter pockets, topstitching, carpenter loops, zippers, and a structured collar. The fabric is usually thick and stiff, like on an authentic workwear jacket. The silhouette is fitted through the shoulders, but stands away from the rest of the body. The cut is straight on the side seams, and the hem does not taper back to the body. The sleeves are fluid or oversized. The back is plain, or slightly trapeze with the help of a box pleat. The length of a chore jacket varies from cropped to hip length. The jacket can be worn open or closed.
This collection showcases a set of examples.
The boxy silhouette is not reserved for slim bottoms, although they are an intuitive pairing and a good way to go. The idea is to wear the jacket over just about anything, thereby creating as little or as much volume as you’re comfortable sporting. Wear the chore jacket with jeans, shorts, chinos, wide crops, flares and palazzo pants, and all sorts of skirts and dresses. When worn open, the vertical integrity of the outfit is increased because of the line that is created down the centre front of the outfit. This draws the eye up and down, which elongates the outfit. The shorter the jacket, the more structured the silhouette. The shorter styles tend to work well with dresses and skirts because they visually lengthen the leg line from the waist down.
My clients have mixed feelings about the chore jacket. Generally, it’s been more popular on straighter and apple body types. Some adore the avant-garde appeal. Some appreciate that it’s new, different, and adds a tough edge to their style. Others like the idea until they fit on the jacket. They tear it right off because of its blocky, wide, and bust-enlarging effect. The length can be tricky if it hits you at your widest part, thereby visually increasing the width of the body. Others could do without the masculine integrity, or simply prefer tailored toppers.
I like the chore jacket because the swingy box-pleated back on some of the styles have a Modern Retro appeal. I appreciate that it’s different to a casual moto and denim jacket. I’ve chosen a trapeze version in pink with crisp white buttons and back box pleat to amplify the pretty. It’s a little more tailored to fit my narrow shoulders, not that long, and works well with my white pearls and footwear. I LOVE it!
Over to you. What’s your take on the chore jacket?