Like most college girls in the early 90s, I owned the requisite denim overalls and wore them religiously with my flannel shirts & Doc Martens while listening to Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Several years after college, I revisited overalls as maternity wear while pregnant with Hayden. And while the denim in both instances were long ago sent off to Goodwill, I recently rediscovered my love of this garment (and the fact that they can, in fact, be a very versatile piece beyond disguising the Freshman 15 and baby bumps!). Here are some of my favorite ways to style this denim standard.
Since overalls are essentially very utilitarian and masculine - and neither are adjectives I'd like my outfits to elicit - I always try to balance their ruggedness with more feminine elements. For this outfit, I added a flower print tee, striped flats and classic bag that dress up the distressed denim (and it should be noted I never pass up an opportunity to mix floral & stripes!) The ladylike pieces give the outfit a bit of polish but the casual nature of the shortalls keeps the outfit unfussy.
While overalls will never be appropriate for uber fancy events, you can certainly dress them up! I love the contrast of a silk shirt and heels with worn denim. This pale pink button down shirt is perfect with shortalls because it's lightweight and drapey and hangs nicely under the denim. More substantial fabrics can be stiff and bunchy, so I like to keep the pieces underneath light to avoid adding extra bulk. (There are better ways to add bulk - like eating cheeseburgers!!)
One of my favorite ways to change up the look of overalls is by layering something over the top, especially if the piece is more structured. A tailored blazer or belted jacket adds shape to baggy overalls by defining the waist and breaking up the denim front. A jacket is also a great way to wear shortalls into the fall season - just pair with some opaque tights and you have a fabulous look for cooler weather.
I'm not sure the 90s version of me would have believed denim shortalls could work for more instances than keg parties and late night Taco Cabana runs, but I think these outfits could convince her of the constantly evolving state of style. (And if there happened to be a TC within a 50-mile radius, I'd totally wear one of these ensembles to pick up some bean and cheese tacos...because unlike style, my cravings for those tacos will never change!)