Summer trends can be cruel. This year, I can’t seem to find a sundress that hasn’t gone backless. (Don’t they know some women still need to wear bras?) All the casual sandals resemble Birkenstocks on steroids. And does anyone happen to sell a pair of denim cutoffs without an 11-inch rise and a ½-inch inseam these days?
But this spring, I’m really digging all the overalls. They’re a polarizing trend for sure, and in that regard, not for everyone. Overalls fell back into fashion within the past year and like some of the most horrible cyclical trends — think leggings, creepers, and cropped tops — the longer we’re exposed to them, the more wearable they seem. And as a result, the more we want them.
Do I need a pair of overalls? Probably.
Today’s overall is designed to be totally on-trend. They’re a perfect, obnoxious storm of normcore/early-’90s/music-festival-ready fashion that we can’t quite seem to escape. The leg has a similar fit to your favorite slouchy skinny jean (somewhere between a boyfriend and a pencil fit) and is meant to be pin-rolled at the hem. The effect is quite flattering and an exposed ankle looks chic with a low-heeled oxford or suede bootie.
The concept of the “new” overall sounds great — but if you want to try this trend, two things must be kept in mind:
1. The fit is no one’s best friend. Unless you’re pin thin, a realistic bust-to-bum ratio needs to be considered when buying a one-piece ensemble with no waist cinching and minimal movement cut into the leg and chest. The unforgiving nature of the overall usually forces the average woman to go a size or two up.
2. Overalls can be dishearteningly expensive. A walk through the mall led me to the premium denim section of a department store where a pair of overalls rang in just under $300. (My jaw dropped, too.) While I stand by my belief that they are very cute, the “new” overall is not a trend worth splurging for.
Luckily, fast fashion has an affinity for trends like these. They know you’ll never spend more than $60, but you’ll definitely spend $30. Forever 21 held the key to my own slave-to-fashion heart with $29.80 slim-cut, sun-washed “Railroad Cutie” overalls that were sold out at the Newbury Street location when I tried to find them.
Sold out! I’m onto something — I told you.
And because I know you’re wondering, these are things that you should not wear under a pair of overalls:
Nothing. (You are not Elisabeth Moss on the cover of New York Magazine no matter how badly you want to be.)
Plaid, of any kind: Madras, gingham — or God forbid, flannel.
Only a bra, bandeau or otherwise.
What you should wear under overalls:
Literally anything else.
There seems to be a misconception that overalls are unlike any other denim staple in your wardrobe. They can be just as versatile as your favorite jeans. Sarah Jessica Parker once paired hers with a gray crew neck sweat shirt. Kiera Knightley liked Breton stripes. Rihanna did an off-the-shoulder tee. Alexa Chung tried a flowy, white bohemian blouse — and even that looked kind of great.
Give overalls a chance. They are an easy-going, low-maintenance fashion trend that have made themselves all too available this season.
Rachel Raczka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.