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.
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. 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.
Best men's worker jackets to buy in 2023
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.
This selvedge denim work jacket from responsible denim label non combines minimalist utilitarian style with sustainable design and production. Crafted from a 50/50 blend of recycled and organic cotton, it's a purchase you can feel good about. Style it with straight-leg trousers and canvas high-tops for an effortless weekend look.
Ideal as a year-round layering piece, Flax London’s 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 premium Belgian linen, its unstructured cut and hand-finished detailing ensure it’ll be a staple piece in your wardrobe for decades to come.
Danish label Forét presents this minimalist take on a workwear classic. Made from 100% organic cotton twill, the Heyday Overshirt is durable yet refined. Typical utilitarian details include a corduroy collar and metal buttons. Complete the look with a baseball cap and baggy jeans.
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 patchwork Whiting overshirt is no different. It's sturdy and hard-wearing, crafted from heavyweight organic cotton twill with a boxy silhouette and utilitarian-inspired patch pockets. Its patchwork design offers the perfect way to perk up an otherwise-average outfit.
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: the versatile Gallery Jacket, an essential layering tool that can be effortlessly dressed up or down. Crafted in Portugal from a weighty 8-wale cotton corduroy, it's as sturdy as it is stylish.
German label Closed is always taking design risks that, evidently, pay off. This men's worker jacket, innovatively made from regenerative cotton, is proof. It nicely occupies the space between smart and casual, combining a luxurious, super-soft feel and a sleek workwear-inspired cut. Dress it up with elegant tailored trousers or layer it over a hoodie for an elevated sportswear look.
ASKET specialises in versatile seasonless staples that are made to last. This timeless, trend transcending denim worker jacket - sitting somewhere between a trucker jacket and chore coat - 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 Merino Wool Knit 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.
For more men's workwear, check out our guide to the best overshirts for men.