The Ultimate Guide To Men’s Overshirts
The overshirt, shirt-jacket, shacket... whatever you call it, here's why you need one in your wardrobe and the best versions to buy right now.
Few garments combine practicality and style as effectively as the overshirt. Whether being used as a layering piece in winter or lightweight outerwear in spring and fall, this shirt-jacket hybrid is practical, easy to style and incredibly versatile.
If you’re looking to invest in one yourself, here’s everything you need to know, from the key types available to the best overshirt brands for 2024.
What is an overshirt?
The bastard child of a shirt and chore jacket (hence its other name: the ‘shacket’), the overshirt has roots in workwear and is defined by its turn-down collar, chest pockets (whether single or double) and full-length button fastening.
In terms of construction, overshirts are typically found in heavier cloths than your everyday shirting. Cotton canvas, corduroy, flannel and wool are the most popular options, all of which are more durable than the fabrics used to craft your Oxford button-downs or dress shirts.
This, along with the fit of an overshirt, which tends to be slightly boxy and relaxed, is a nod to the chore jacket’s working-class roots, when it was often worn by factory staff and those with manual jobs.
Today, an overshirt is a modern-day wardrobe essential that will bring a sense of effortless cool to any outfit, whether your coalface is a computer screen or building site.
The key types of overshirts
Flannel overshirts are a great choice if you want to introduce a splash of color to your wardrobe. Although plain, block-color flannels are available, they more typically come in check patterns that incorporate two or three shades.
Classic options include lumberjack checks and tartans but keep an eye out for houndstooth designs for a more alternative take on this timeless menswear motif.
Cotton twill overshirts
A cotton twill overshirt is the best choice for year-round wear. With its distinctive diagonal weave and mid-weight, this type of overshirt is breathable enough to perform as a mid-layer in cold weather yet heavy enough to wear as a makeshift jacket on balmy days.
Cotton twill is also incredibly durable and often used in actual workwear, meaning it will stand up to a beating. Go for one in a dark, muted shade like navy, black or olive green and you can throw it on over pretty much anything.
Although similar in appearance, worker overshirts often boast additional design details that make them better suited to a hard day’s graft.
Expect things like zipped interior pockets, indestructible cotton/poly blend fabrics and larger chest pockets that are perfect for carrying tools (read: pens and phone), note pads and other daily essentials.
With its soft handle, subtle sheen and natural ribbed texture, a corduroy overshirt makes for a comfortable yet luxurious option. Don’t let its velvet-like appearance fool you – cord is an extremely hardy material that only gets better with extended wear.
Naturally weighty and insulating, a corduroy overshirt is better suited to the fall and winter months, but it will still get good use on those cooler spring evenings.
Originally designed for use in jeans and jackets worn by blue-collar laborers, denim is synonymous with workwear. So using it for an overshirt makes perfect sense.
Like with a pair of jeans, an overshirt in raw denim will take a while to break in, so look for something that’s been washed if you want immediate softness straight off the rack.
Due to the popularity of the overshirt, many contemporary brands are now experimenting with the style, bringing it bang up to date via advanced fabrics that add a layer of performance to what is already an extremely practical garment.
Lightweight nylon blends are popular with those seeking a more technical, streetwear-inspired look, while treated wool and cotton are an option if you’re looking for something water-resistant.
The best men’s overshirt brands
Sustainable British label Neem creates overshirts from recycled fabrics – not that you can tell. Each piece looks and feels plush, the brand bringing a tailored smart-casual vibe to its overshirts.
The extensive collection also takes in a broader range of hues, patterns and fabrics than a lot of labels. Pick out an overshirt in recycled Italian flannel, or one adorned with dapper Bengal stripes, or one in a deep red wine color. Any one of them would look great with a pair of tailored trousers.
ASKET specializes in classic garments that are essentially interchangeable with each other. It’s the kind of brand that lets you get dressed in the dark with and still look good.
Its overshirts are available in either 100% organic cotton, featuring a 3/1 twill for plenty of texture, or recycled felted wool for added warmth and comfort. Both versions are 100% traceable and ASKET proudly breaks down the cost of each garment, so you know exactly where your money is going.
For relaxed, effortlessly cool designs that look good year-round, Folk should be your first port of call. The brand made a name for itself off the back of its minimal design ethos and quality fabrications, making its overshirts some of the best around.
Coming in flattering cuts with no extraneous detailing, Folk’s overshirts work well with similarly laid-back attire like denim jeans, sneakers and Cuban collar shirts, but they can also be dressed up with tailored trousers and leather Derbies, such is their versatility.
If you value craftsmanship, quality and outstanding materials – which range from seersucker and cotton twill through to the softest wools – Portuguese Flannel should be your go-to.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the brand’s flannel overshirts are a highlight and will quickly become a core part of your fall rotation thanks to their perfect blend of medium weight and unparalleled softness.
A Day’s March
If you’re in need of overshirt inspiration, it’s well worth browsing A Day’s March’s extensive range. The brand’s shcaket collection consists of everything from classic twin-pocket utility shirts cut from ripstop nylon through to patch pocket overshirts made from heavyweight linen.
The color palette is consistently muted, making them easy to slot into your existing wardrobe, while the quality and fit belie their modest price tags.
When it comes to denim, A.P.C. is virtually unmatched. The French brand made its name on its unique raw denim fabric, which remains a secret as to where and how it’s actually produced.
While typically coming in the form of its expertly made jeans (a fashion insider favorite), A.P.C.’s overshirts are often cut from its signature denim blend. Well known for being incredibly stiff and difficult to break in, it might be worth considering a washed version if you’re looking for something a little more comfortable.
The in-house label of luxury emporium MR PORTER is renowned for giving classic pieces a contemporary twist, with its designers continually tweaking and playing with timeless wardrobe silhouettes. Its overshirt offering is no different.
Expect everything from garment-dyed pastel fabrics through to luxurious suede designs, all of which boast minimal detailing and quality construction.
Reiss’ suiting is among the best you’ll find at the mid-price point level. And the British brand’s overshirts borrow plenty of what makes its tailoring so good, from expertly chosen fabrics to the slim, streamlined cuts and considered design elements.
British brand Percival is renowned for its mod-inspired, button-through polos. And for its overshirt range it takes this successful design blueprint and renders them in heavier weight wools and cotton twill.
Featuring distinctively pared-back styling, the collection runs the gamut from neutral workwear versions to bold-colored and patterned options. So whether you’re looking for a versatile everyday layer or seeking more of a statement, you’ll be well catered for.