To say that workwear – the non-suited kind that takes its wearer to places where furnaces are fuelled, wrenches are turned, and paint, grease and sweat are just as much applied daily as is a splash of aftershave – has become for men a sartorial look to be aspired to would be something of an exaggeration. A pair of rugged, industrial coveralls may have a certain manly appeal, but when such a cut takes to the runways of Milan or Paris they’re not quite what you expect to see.

In 2011 none the less this type of attire did enter the designer realm. A far smaller subset than the polished tailoring and casual weekend looks that more than dominate, it’s a shared inspiration still prominent enough to be dubbed a men’s trend. One that we saw amongst fall 2011’s fashions and one with potential to carry into spring 2012.

Read on for full details on including details on the designers and labels behind it. And don’t forget to subscribe to’s newsletter or RSS feed if you’d like to keep up to date with all the latest men’s and women’s trends and how to wear them.

fashionable workwear
Industrial coveralls at G-star RAW A/W ’11

Workwear trend for men: what is it?

For autumn / fall this year, there’s one key piece which defines the workwear-as-casualwear fashion statement for men: the one-piece. Boilersuit, overalls, coveralls, dungarees; whatever label you give it and whatever variation – sleeved or sleeveless, heavy duty or light-weight, denim or otherwise – the end result is the same. The one-piece makes for an unmistakable homage to workwear, hence why it’s the key look. Should you wear this men’s fashion statement yourself, just make sure that whether whether you do so with a functional or luxury lean, the overalls you war maintain their hardworking heritage.

fashionable overalls
Fashionable overalls at Buckler A/W ’11

Where the workwear has been seen

And we don’t mean at a factory.

Marni’s effortlessly cool interpretation of the boiler suit had overtones of the two-piece; seemingly a jacket and pants combination from the front, it’s a boiler suit that is in fact joined at the back. G-Star RAW sent out industrial coveralls that were akin to safety suits, and ones that further hinted at workwear by way of embossed tool motifs. Meanwhile on the streets of New York, Buckler gave a casual denim streetwear a worker’s twist by elasticising the cuffs of their overalls.

Marni’s A/W ’11 split boiler suit

Where the men’s workwear trend is headed

While we don’t expect blue collar workwear to take over as a dominant men’s trend, we do expect that it will marry with elements of relaxed tailoring and diverge down a path where utility details find a key place: like toggles, zips and external pockets overlaid onto sharper pieces. For now though it’s all about shunning a look too polished and instead making it clear you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, get tough and get your hands dirty.

Overalls at G-star RAW A/W ’11

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