Similar to other items of clothing like the sweatshirt and denim jeans, the worker jacket’s roots lie firmly in the functional. Originally created for those with manual jobs the likes of labourers, factory workers and farmers, worker jackets (or chore coats as they're otherwise known) took years of abuse before they became a menswear staple.
Designed with a multitude of pockets and usually made out of durable fabrics like cotton drill or moleskin, the chore coat is the ideal layering piece but works as well on its own as it does worn under a heavier piece of outerwear. Here are the best worker jackets you can buy.
What is a worker jacket?
A worker jacket is defined by its shape and pockets. It’s traditionally cut with a boxy fit (to allow its wearers ease of movement while operating machinery), and comes with three exterior patch pockets for storing tools and the like.
Worker jackets tend to have a slightly longer length than regular shirts, finishing below the waistline, and are made from hard-wearing fabrics befitting of their heritage. Originating in France, chore coats are known as bleu de travail in their native land, thanks to the bright blue colour they were dyed in there.
As such you can find plenty of blue French worker jackets on the vintage market, but many contemporary brands have reinterpreted the style in their own shades, cuts and finishes. The worker jacket is one of the most popular styles of outerwear today, and for good reason.
It's a durable, versatile piece of clothing that works with a range of personal styles, so whether you're into your workwear or prefer a more minimal take on dressing, it could be for you.
Best worker jackets
Percival does workwear with a twist, often injecting its own personality and charm into staple pieces. The brand’s chore jacket has been given a spin, with a slightly slimmer fit than usual and unique slanted pockets in place of the traditional patch pockets.
Native North isn’t shy when it comes to putting its touch on tried and tested designs, but for the brand’s worker jacket its kept things simple. Made from a herringbone cotton, with a boxy fit and three large external patch pockets, it’s about as classic as it gets. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Far Afield keeps things simple with its take on the worker jacket, but a couple of subtle additions update the style. There’s the rounded, club collar which adds a playful edge as well as the use of corozo buttons, which contrast well against the traditional French blue of the cotton twill fabric.
Private White V.C.
Private White V.C. is unique in that it owns and operates its own factory - every garment is designed and produced in-house for ultimate quality control. This worker jacket is a case in point, demonstrating the brand’s attention to detail with its Cuban style collar, relaxed fit and trio of large external patch pockets.
Ideal as a layering piece, Flax London’s Midweight Railway jacket is designed to be as versatile as possible - wear it over a T-shirt, a jumper, or under a heavier jacket for added warmth. Made in London from 15oz linen, its unstructured cut and hand-finished detailing ensure it’ll be a staple piece in your wardrobe for decades to come.
Made in Portugal, ISTO’s chore coat is cut from heavyweight 380gsm cotton, and does away with the chest pocket for a more minimal, structured take on the classic style. In this subtle shade of green it’s surprisingly versatile, and will pair well with jeans, penny loafers and a stripey T-shirt.
For more on men's workwear, check out our guide to the best overshirts for men.