I’ve Got Eleven Pairs of Dungarees, and I Don’t Care What You Think!

In defence of practical clothing

Originally published in the haven: https://medium.com/the-haven/ive-got-eleven-pairs-of-dungarees-and-i-don-t-care-what-you-think-9a742469ec65

Me in my favourite dungarees as a child kicking it in the park — Photo credit Dad.

Please note — I believe in the USA you may call them overalls.
Full disclosure I thought it was 10 pairs but on further counting, can confirm it’s eleven.

I have always been a dungaree wearing girl. I lived in them as a toddler, check out the stripes around my ankles in the photo where my mum had turned them up then let them down multiple times.

Look at how happy I am in them; I am unstoppable, I am owning that climbing frame!

Every time they come back into fashion, or I stumble across a pair in a thrift store I grab them, I don’t really need any more because they are very durable and last forever, but I love them so much that every time I see a different pair, I cannot help myself!

The Collection (if you care… you might…)

I have trousers, shorts, dresses, culottes, prints and fabrics for every occasion, light denim, dark denim, tight fit, patchwork, wide leg. They can be chic, casual, comfy, scruffy; whatever you need them to be, it’s all about the accessories.

I also have three boiler suits, but let’s focus here.

Not from Gap kids, not a plumber. Photo credit by author.

So why am I writing about this? Who cares? So what — I have a massive dungaree collection, good for me.

Well, I am writing it because of those people, you know THOSE PEOPLE… The bad, bad people… The ones that do not understand.


I am writing this in protest, in the name of my dear dungaree wearing friends, for those who choose to wear awesome practical clothing and would quite like to do so without a cliched rebuttal each time. This is for you.

‘Are you coming to fix the plumbing love?’

OHMYGOD you are so witty, where did you go to learn to come up with these gems, I have never heard anything like that before, you are so original. Yes, I am coming to fix the plumbing, in my little pointy shoes with the bows on them, and my jewellery and a full face of makeup in the office where I work as a designer, that’s exactly why I am dressed like this, wow you are so sharp well done, high fives all round.

‘Did you find them in the kids department at Gap?’

I actually can fit into kids clothes at Gap as I am tiny, but still yes, this is where I buy all my clothes as I am very fond of dressing like a 5-year-old, check out my sparkly pumps and my unicorn t-shirt; actually, I am not your employee at all, I am a child, this is child labour and Mister you’re in big fucking trouble now.

So yes, it occasionally gets me a bit fired up. You would think after wearing the said piece of clothing for my entire life that I would, first of all, be used to this, and second of all not really care, but sometimes I do care, and sometimes it takes every fabric of my being to not retaliate with what I really want to say, which is basically a spew of swearwords so aggressively outrageous I would surely be escorted from the premises.

Tell me — why do people say such utterly stupid and ridiculous things? Who laughs at these things? NO ONE, at best people shuffle about looking uncomfortable, occasionally someone tries to support the dungaree wearing helpfully, but for the most part, just the shuffling.

I can fit 1 cat in each pocket! Photo credit by author.

It’s Jealousy

Well, I am pretty sure I have worked it out.

People are jealous.

There I said it!
They don’t own any dungarees of their own, and they can see why they are fun and functional, and they don’t know how to make the crossover, where to get them from, how to style them, you know, all that stuff.

They realise they are missing out on one of life’s great fashion and practicality staples, and they want to come along for the ride, but instead of asking for help, they retaliate.

The type of people that make these cringey statements and comments are the type of people that wear smart shirts tucked into their jeans and loafers; for them to make the transition to the dungaree is huge, it would cause a kerfuffle, they might have to deal with people making stupid comments too.

So the next time I get one of these mind-numbing comments I am going to smile sweetly and think of how they are missing out on one of life’s greatest clothing inventions.

Why Dungarees?

I mean, where do I even start here?

I could write an essay on all of the adventures I have had in my many pairs of dungarees, how they have often saved the day due to their ultimate multifunctionality.

As they often have so many pockets, you may be able to leave the house without a bag, and we all know what that feels like right? FREEDOM! Another joy of having so many pockets is you will often find surprise treats you had long forgotten about.

You want to dress them up?

Well, you go right ahead— dungarees look great with heels. I am telling you. A pair of flares with wedges, skinnies with pointy pumps or heeled sandals, wide-leg look great with a vintage clog. I am telling you, the possibilities are ENDLESS, and before you ask — YES!!! You can take them from day to night by throwing on a necklace, some earrings and a pair of heels.

Are they acceptable for a board meeting? FUCK yeah!
(I mean I guess it depends on your profession, you may want to check that one out, I don’t want anyone getting fired over one of the single best clothing inventions ever)

You know what else? They are often made of denim; you know what is awesome about denim, it’s really fucking strong. So all the times I have accidentally become hooked onto random things by a stray strap, or hooky thing, (I don’t know what the hooky things are called) on trains and planes as I pass through the cabins and carriages, not one pair has been broken. See BULLETPROOF (almost) — please do not use your dungarees to protect you or anyone else in the line of gunfire.

Let me summarise some of the unique selling points of the dungaree:

Photo credit by author. These now have many more patches and some sashiko.
  • Pockets (for phones)
  • Pockets(for pens)
  • MORE Pockets (for cats and kittens)
  • Loopy things to hang stuff on
  • You can wear them many times, and no one will know any different
  • If you get paint/oil/dirt on them you can: a) pretend you are decorating. b) say it’s an edgy new designer and it’s bang on trend
  • They get better with age
  • You can patch them until there is no original fibre remaining — the more patches, the more credibility you have
  • You will look cool (or like you are from Dexys Midnight Runners — but let’s face it they were fucking cool so either way it’s a win)
  • You can wear them with any shoes, no shoes, dress them up or down
  • All those t-shirts that have stains down the front… TA DAAAAA (you’re welcome)

You go forth, and you conquer in your dungarees you brave fashion heroes, you take them from day to night, you dazzle with your Mary Poppin-Esque endlessness of pockets, be proud of your excellent and practical clothing choices, you pioneers, you outlaws, I salute you, we must stand united as a tribe and feel sad for all those who are missing out!

Good luck!

More fundamental advice on life from an absolute expert *sarcasm*

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