As is the case with certain items of clothing such as the classic sweatshirt and trusty denim jeans, the men's 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 (also known as chore coats or utility jackets) took years of roughing up 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 an ideal layering piece and a staple in any transitional wardrobe. It works just as well on its own as it does worn under a heavier piece of outerwear. In warmer months, wear it over a T-shirt as a summer 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. First worn by railway labourers and engineers in France in the late 1800s, 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 minimalist take on dressing, it's the perfect go-to. Keen to elevate your wardrobe? Scroll on for our pick of the best men's worker jackets to buy now.
Percival does workwear with a twist, often injecting its own personality and charm into staple pieces. The brand’s classic chore jacket has been updated in a luxurious Italian Casentino wool, meticulously crafted in London. It comes in an array of hues, but the forest green gets our vote. It's perhaps the perfect spring jacket.
Unrecorded has kept things classic with its take on the worker jacket. Crafted from heavy cotton twill and cut for a straight fit, it's ideal for year-round wear as an overshirt or jacket, teamed with selvedge denim jeans and boots for a workwear-inspired look. The classic dusty blue colour pays tribute to the classic French bleu de travail work jackets.
Ideal as a year-round layering piece, Flax London’s mid-weight 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 canvas 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 work coat is cut from heavyweight 380gsm cotton, and does away with the chest pocket for a more minimalist, structured take on the classic style. In this subtle shade of khaki, it’s utterly versatile, and will pair perfectly with jeans, penny loafers and a striped T-shirt.
If any brand excels at workwear, it's Carhartt. Epitomising its expertise, the brand's iconic Detroit Jacket in water resistant canvas is as sturdy as they come. The plain black colour lends it ultimate versatility while a corduroy collar and striped lining add a touch of character. Look to combine with streetwear staples like hoodies, worker pants and baseball caps.
A contemporary workwear aesthetic underpins Wax London's premium menswear offering, and the label's classic Chet jacket is no different. It's sturdy and hard-wearing, crafted from heavy duty 100% Portugese cotton twill with a boxy silhouette and utilitarian-inspired patch pockets.
British menswear label Form&Thread is renowned for its season-less staples that are designed to look as great now as in a decade. Case in point: this versatile graphite utility overshirt that doubles as a lightweight jacket. Crafted in Portugal from super soft mid-weight cotton, it's as sturdy as it is stylish.
German label Closed is always taking design risks that, evidently, pay off. This leather-worker hybrid jacket is proof. It offers the best of both worlds, boasting super-soft cowhide construction and a sleek, workwear-inspired cut. Dress it up with elegant tailored trousers or layer it over a hoodie for an elevated sportswear look.
Swedish menswear label A Day's March is renowned for its distinctively Scandinavian take on workwear staples, characterised by pared-back detailing and clean silhouettes. Its minimalist Welt Pocket Wool Jacket is a versatile transitional piece, perfect for layering over a tee in spring or under a heavier coat in the colder months.
ASKET specialises in versatile seasonless staples that are made to last. This timeless, trend transcending denim worker jacket is one of the brand's core essentials, ideal for forming a capsule wardrobe around. Wear it with a plain white tee, black jeans and Chelsea boots for a fail-safe everyday look.
Artknit Studios' mastery of knitwear is evident in every piece it creates, including this carefully-crafted Wool Overshirt Jacket. Made in Italy from extra-fine merino wool, it's warm, breathable and temperature regulating. Its minimalist style makes this jacket a wardrobe hero that you'll reach for time and again.
NYC-based menswear brand Corridor never fails to disappoint with its timeless yet contemporary wardrobe staples, such as this wool military jacket, which has been responsibly crafted in India. With its functional pockets and boxy fit, it's an easy-to-wear workwear-inspired staple that nicely occupies the space between smart and casual.
Made in a solar-powered factory from 100% organic cotton, this genderless overshirt-worker jacket hybrid from British brand WAWWA is a sustainable wardrobe addition for those looking to consume more consciously. Its relaxed fit makes it a trusty layer to throw over a plain tee, no matter the season.
For more men's workwear, check out our guide to the best overshirts for men.
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