A boiler suit is a one-piece that combines trousers with a jacket or shirt. Inspired by workwear coveralls with a strong utility vibe, the boiler suit is a type of jumpsuit that has been a fringe trend for a while. Some retailers refer to the boiler suit as a coverall. The silhouette is an acquired taste that I don’t expect to go mainstream like it did back in the ‘80s. 

Boiler suits usually have long sleeves, but some have short sleeves. They are made of substantial fabrics, like cotton twills, corduroy, and thicker technical fabrics. Denim is a good fabric for a boiler suit because it’s thick, robust, and a little stiff. Some versions have belt loops, have some waist definition, and look quite tailored. Others are straight, and more voluminous. The pant silhouette is narrow or straight, and usually tapers back onto the ankle.

Here are some examples of fashionable boiler suits.

Jumpsuits in general have their pros and cons. On the one hand, they are an easy one-piece pull-on-and-go that requires little thought and styling. They have a playful and fun Modern and Modern Retro integrity, and make a unique and interesting statement because there are fewer people wearing them. On the other hand, they can sometimes look too juvenile. They can be hard to fit because the length and width of the waist has to be in exactly the right place. And most importantly, they are extremely impractical when you need the loo.

When it comes to the boiler suit type of jumpsuit, it might look too stiff, covered, utilitarian and unflattering to look fab to your eye. Not to mention physically uncomfortable and impractical to wear. Some of my clients would agree with you and vote nay. To others, it’s a fun and unique workwear vibe that can be dressed up or down, is quite comfy to wear, and flattering if there is structure in all the right places.

Personally, I think boiler suits are super cute and vote yay. I really wanted a pink or red one complete with shoulder pads back in the early ‘80s, but it never happened. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to the bright lime green and pink ones. They have the pretty and playful factor that I look for in garments, despite being workwear coveralls. Of course, they also look more child-like in the candy colours, which makes me wonder if I’d look and feel adequately grown-up wearing them. I would not be wearing them with dressy high heels, which amps up their juvenile integrity. The dressiest I would go is with low-heeled white ankle boots, and add my pearls. Most importantly, the fuss in the loo is off-putting. Yet, I keep on thinking about these fun darlings, and maybe it’s not as bad as I think. There’s only one way to find out.

Wildfang The Essential Coverall

Over to you. What do you think of the utilitarian boiler suit? Would you wear one? If not, do you like the look on others?