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The most beautiful items in any closet are those that can be worn in an array of different ways. For some, these go-to’s are leather pants, fluffy cardigans or sleek button-downs. For me, they’re overalls. Specifically, drop-waist, drop-crotch, almost shapeless overalls that inspire loads of new overalls outfit ideas every time I look at them.
My quest to find the perfect pair of overalls began in high school. And at times, it felt almost unending. I first searched for a pair of thrifted, short overalls—the kind I’d seen every Cool Girl in my class wear. Once I finally found some, I was quickly reminded I’m not a shorts person (at all), and my dreams were dashed. After that, I gave the skinny-leg, dark-wash overall a try. I thought they’d become a staple in my professional wardrobe, but they proved less versatile than I anticipated—and also, a little too short for my lanky legs. (Finding appropriately long skinny jeans is a consistent challenge.) I then tried a more classic iteration: the boot-cut overall. These fit properly, and they became a favorite of mine during the winter. But every time I wore them, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was channeling a train conductor—and not in a particularly fashion-forward way.
My woes ceased when Zara began stocking Scandi-style overalls—overalls that were crafted from softer textiles, that were rendered in dark neutrals, and that boasted a decidedly amorphous silhouette. They felt at once sleek and trendy—elegant and low-key. I promptly bought two pairs: one in charcoal corduroy, and one in beige linen.
These overalls have proved superior to just about every other pair I’ve tested over the years. The corduroy pair, which fits a little tighter, plays particularly well with tailored button-ups, fitted tees, and lightweight sweaters. The linen pair, which fits a little looser, has become a mainstay in both my summer and winter wardrobes. It’s acted as a perfect poolside cover-up during the calendar’s warmest months, and doubled as an excellent layering piece during the cooler ones. No sweater is too bulky to throw under the top, and no pair of leggings is too thick to covertly slip under the bottoms.
Perhaps the most beautiful thing about these overalls, though, is not their versatility. It’s not the fact that they’re incredibly practical, endlessly cute, or next-level cozy. It’s that they make everyday clothing feel a little more special. Throwing on a turtleneck and jeans hardly feels like assembling an outfit. But swap those jeans with a pair of Scandi-style overalls, and you’ve got a bona fide ensemble on your hands.
The same applies to just about any other basic. T-shirts. Turtlenecks. Sweatshirts. V-neck sweaters. These standards aren’t inherently statement-making, but paired with Scandi-style overalls, they feel elevated, chic, magical. Getting dressed stops feeling like a monotonous process and begins feeling ceremonious, instead.
The beauty, of course, lies in this balance of excitement and ease. Slip into a pair of Scandi-style overalls, and you’ll near-instantly feel Instagram-ready. And you won’t have exerted much effort to get there. For starters, you’re still sporting your coziest duds. Plus, the sartorial formula is so simple that the overalls outfit ideas practically dream themselves up.
top: & Other Stories; overalls: Zara; necklaces: Walmart; earrings: Walmart; shoes: Converse
I first assembled this outfit for a party my dad was hosting. The dark palette lent the look some sleek sophistication, while the layered necklaces, trendy hoops, and well-worn Converse kept the outfit feeling more low-key than over-the-top. I wanted my outfit to seem put-together but not effortful, and I also wanted to feel comfortable standing for hours on end. This ensemble checked all my boxes, and works just as well during the summer (when I first wore it) as it does during the winter (when I most recently wore it).
top: Z Supply; overalls: Zara; boots: vintage; earrings: & Other Stories
Those who know me well can surely attest that my winter wardrobe is pretty formulaic. I’m almost always in some kind of turtleneck. I’m never not wearing ankle boots. And my hair is pretty reliably tucked away in a side braid. These go-to’s are both practical and presentable, but they leave my day-to-day look feeling—shall we say—repetitive? Boring? Tired? Given this, statement-makers, like these linen overalls, save me from myself.
Sure, I may be tempted to pair my turtleneck with my comfiest high-waisted jeans. And sometimes I do. But that doesn’t feel like an outfit—it feels like a slight upgrade from stepping out in a flannel shirt and leggings. When I’m in the mood to look genuinely fashion-minded, these overalls are a perfect pinch-hitter. Even if all I’m doing is stepping out to brunch.
sweater: vintage; overalls: Zara; boots: Everlane, $225; necklace: vintage
Some have lovingly called this outfit “the kind of thing a fashion-conscious kindergarten art teacher might wear.” And I don’t really disagree with that assessment—nor do I object to channeling that aesthetic. Fashion’s at its best when it’s fun, so one of my favorite things to do is throw together bold pieces in a borderline-nuts way.
Here, the corduroy overalls act as neutral complement to my statement necklace/statement sweater combo. The palette keeps things from veering too maximalist, while the silhouette adds a little visual interest. If my personality could be encapsulated in a single outfit, it would probably be this one.
top: special-edition French Connection; overalls: Zara; necklaces: Walmart; earrings: Walmart; shoes: Converse
This outfit became a go-to of mine during the summer—it’s comfy, breezy, and decidedly trendy. And I love its inherent simplicity. If I traded my overalls for a pair of high-waisted jeans, this look would be little more than an unsurprising tee/jeans/sneaker combo. But worn with overalls, it feels like a veritable fashion statement.
top: FRAME; overalls: Zara; boots: Urban Outfitters; earrings: Urban Outfitters
One of my favorite things about overalls is how well they pair with button-ups—particularly, button-ups buttoned all the way up. This silk top feels incredibly fancy, and I love the idea of dressing it down just enough to wear on the daily. Here, the overalls serve that function. They render the top a little lower-key, without clashing with its sleek sophistication. The result is an outfit I’d wear to job interviews, dinners, and slightly fancy parties.
top: Tommy Hilfiger; overalls: Zara; boots: vintage; earrings: Urban Outfitters
Admittedly, I’m still figuring this one out. The linen overalls play so well with turtlenecks and T-shirts that it’s hard to imagine pairing them with anything else. But since the corduroy overalls looked magnificent alongside my navy silk button-up, I wanted to give the linen overalls a button-up combo of their own.
I love how the colors combine to feel light and almost casual—and I love that the textiles do the same. Unfortunately, when photographed inside my home in the middle of winter, the ensemble skews a little “hipster bartender.” But worn in the park in the middle of spring? I think this outfit would shine.
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