Coverall or Overall- Definitions of Clothing Terms presented by Apparel Search

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An overall is usually used as protective clothing when working, but they have sometimes been items of fashion, especially in the 1990s. Some people call an overall a "pair of overalls" by analogy with "pair of trousers".

The word "overall" is also an adjective meaning "above everything".

Protective clothing

There are two sorts of protective garment called an overall.


These are trousers with an attached front patch covering the chest and with attached braces (or suspenders in the US) which go over the shoulders. Some people use the word "overall" for this garment only and not for a boilersuit. In British English such a garment is usually referred to as a pair of dungarees.

Bib overalls are generally made of blue denim and often have riveted pockets, similar to those on blue jeans. Bib overalls have long been associated with rural men in the U.S. South and Midwest, especially farmers and railroad workers. They are often worn with long johns or a red union suit underneath, or with a T-shirt or no shirt at all in warmer weather. Since the 1960s, different colors and patterns of bib overalls have been increasingly worn by young people of both sexes, often with one of the straps worn loose or unfastened along the side and under the arm.


This is sometimes called a coverall. In American English, it is nearly always referred to as coveralls. It is a one-piece garment with full-length sleeves and legs like a jumpsuit, but usually less tight-fitting and worn as protective clothing over "street" clothes at work. Its main feature is that it has no gap between jacket and trousers and no loose jacket tails. It often has a long thin pocket down the outside of the right thigh to hold long tools. It usually has a front fastening extending the whole length of the front of the body up to the throat, with no lapels. This fastening can be:


A zipper.

Velcro, as nowadays in the British Royal Air Force (RAF).

Snap fasteners or press-studs.

They are often issued by factories to their workmen, with the firm's badge on.
The French police unit called CRS use boilersuits as uniforms.
A dark blue coverall is the current working uniform of the U.S. Navy, with the owner's name and "U.S. Navy" on the chest, and rank insignia on the collar points.

Military overalls

In the British Army, male Officers' mess dress in most regiments includes a pair of very tight wool trousers which extend above the waist and are worn with braces. These are properly known as "overalls". Essentially all regular officers have their mess dress tailored for them, along with their other formal uniform (the Sandhurst timetable includes time for this, and an allowance is paid for the cost) but donning the overalls for the first few times can still sometimes be difficult. Stories are told of officers being fitted into their trousers by two friends lifting them into the air by the waistband and bouncing, though in truth this is rare and more likely the result of weight gain some years after finishing training (most military tailors allow plenty of room to "let out" clothing over the years). Certainly it may be difficult to bend over in a new pair of overalls, but the wool soon stretches and becomes more comfortable.


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The above article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (  Modified by Apparel Search 2/2/06

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overall / coverall / bib

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