When people think of outerwear, they normally think of big, warm coats or hyper stylish jackets, but there’s an overlooked garment that has long been one of the most useful pieces of outerwear in the modern era. We’re not talking about field jackets, we’re not talking about trucker jackets, we’re talking about the humble chore coat. This lightweight yet durable garment is about as purpose-built as purpose-built gets.
While it got its start as a genuine workwear garment, the chore coat, like many articles of clothing, evolved to become a fashion staple. It’s versatile, comfortable, great for transitioning between seasons, and durable as all get-out. To celebrate this time-honored garment, we put together a list of the 15 best chore coats men can wear as we head into the warmer-yet-still-chilly spring season. But before we get into our list, let’s learn a bit about this great garment’s history.
What Exactly Is A Chore Coat?
Minimal Frills, Maximum Utility
The chore coat, as we know it, is one of the first-ever purpose-built jackets. We can trace the chore coat’s lineage to nineteenth-century France, when outdoor laborers such as farmers and railroad workers needed a warm, light, oversized jacket to throw on over their workwear. To this day, chore coats are still made with heavy twill, denim, or canvas fabric, and almost always from cotton. Chore coats typically also have one to two chest pockets, two oversized hip pockets, a pointed collar, and a button front closure. You’ll find different variations on the form here and there, but these are the primary characteristics we looked for when curating our list of best chore coats.
Lee Chore Coat
When you’ve been making quality garments for over 130 years, you develop an iron reputation for craftsmanship. Such is the case for Lee Jeans, which makes a chore coat that’s as timeless as the brand itself. With a vintage style dating back to the 1920s, it’s safe to say that this coat’s design transcends generations. Everything about this chore coat is classic, from its four large front pockets to its triple stitching to its available sherpa lining. This coat epitomizes purpose-built utility while offering enough style points to amp up virtually any wardrobe.
Levi’s Washed Cotton Two Pocket Military Jacket
It’d be a sartorial sacrilege to exclude Levi’s from this list. One of the great American clothing brands, Levi’s makes a host of quality, purpose-built outerwear items, and its Military Jacket epitomizes the quality and craftsmanship that have made Levi’s a staple brand. The jacket features a rugged silhouette and a cotton construction for warmth and comfort. Its two front pockets feature snap closures for enhanced security, while its welt chest zipper pocket, two lower welt pockets, and hidden interior pockets offer plenty of storage. Add to its well-thought features a hidden front zipper and epaulets on its shoulders and you have a jacket that adds form and function to your wardrobe.
Uniqlo U Flannel Work Jacket
A quintessential Japanese clothing brand, Uniqlo may be best known for being an affordable and quality destination for a wide range of basics, but its outerwear offerings are nothing to sneeze at, either. The brand’s Flannel Work Jacket from its Uniqlo U line is a textbook example of a quality chore coat with the contemporary, fashion-forward flair we’ve come to expect and love from Uniqlo. The jacket features a construction of brushed soft polyester-rayon flannel for enhanced warmth, and an oversized, understated silhouette that’s perfect for layering. As expected from Uniqlo, the brand has reinterpreted a classic staple through a modern lens with a relaxed, elevated casual style to it.
Everlane The Flannel Chore Jacket
If you’re looking for a brand that specializes in modernizing timeless garments in a stylish and sustainable manner, then Everlane is the brand for you. Its Flannel Chore Jacket is a no-frills coat with a streamlined silhouette and slimmer design. Everlane made the entire jacket out of 100% organic 10.8 oz cotton that’s certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard. It sports a point collar, a four-button front, and three sizeable pockets, which add versatility to its hardy, warm weight. This jacket is a perfect way to elevate your casual wardrobe with minimal effort.
Gap Khaki Denim Chore Jacket
The Gap is one of the most household names in the fashion industry, so it’s no surprise at all that it makes a stellar chore coat. Its Khaki Denim Chore Coat is rugged, simple, and head-turningly fashionable. The coat has a relaxed fit and silhouette, which are extensions of its cotton construction. This jacket has all the hallmarks of a classic chore coat like its three front pockets and cotton construction, however, its corduroy collar provides a modern accent as well as a welcomed level of textural contrast. People may sleep on Gap’s style because it’s a common mall brand, but this jacket is proof of the company’s undeniable craft.
Carhartt Duck Chore Jacket
It’s criminally difficult to pick just one example of Carhartt’s stellar workwear, but as far as chore coats are concerned, its Duck Chore Jacket is far too iconic to pass up. This rugged jacket is one of the premier offerings from the brand, featuring a 100% ring-spun cotton duck construction and quilted lining in the body and sleeves to keep you warm, cozy, and insulated. Its corduroy collar with under-collar snaps provides a nice level of textural contrast while the four front pockets offer both the classic design and useful storage that make this jacket a winner.
Orvis Montana Morning Chore Coat
Orvis certainly knows its way around a good jacket. The Vermont standout offers a host of stellar outerwear garments that effortlessly combine style, versatility, and comfort. One example of Orvis’ killer craftsmanship is its Montana Morning Chore Coat. Its lightweight cotton and stretch canvas construction enhances its durability while also granting the user greater mobility. Furthermore, its oversized and light build makes it perfect for layering when it’s colder outside or sporting solo when you just need a base layer. In other words, this garment is basically the Swiss Army Knife of chore coats.
Madewell Denim Chore Jacket in Vancleese Wash
Madewell cut its teeth as a bona fide raw denim company, so it’s no surprise at all that its Denim Chore Jacket is a work of sartorial beauty. Simple, durable, and relaxed to the nth degree, this jacket is made from 100% cotton denim and has a classic, rugged silhouette. Its slimmer design and phone-sized interior pocket provide a nice contemporary touch, which subtly contrasts with the traditional front four pockets. If you’re looking to replace your jean jacket with a stylish and utilitarian garment, look no further.
Patagonia Iron Forge Hemp Canvas Chore Coat
Most people don’t think of Patagonia when they think of traditional workwear, but it’s an undeniable truth that if the Ventura-based company is going to make a garment, it will knock it out of the park. Such is the case with its Iron Forge Hemp Canvas Chore Coat, which, aside from having the coolest name ever, is one of the best chore coats on the market. This functional work of art is made from 12.9-oz Iron Forge Hemp canvas, which is “25% more abrasion resistant than conventional cotton.” What’s more, the coat also contains recycled polyester for a welcomed touch of sustainability. Add in its left drop-in pocket on its chest, the two front snap-fastened pockets, zippered interior pocket, and two hidden side-entry pockets, and you have a wondrous piece of workwear.
Taylor Stitch The Ojai Jacket
Taylor Stitch built a well-earned reputation by reinterpreting timeless classics through a modern, rugged lens, and its Ojai Jacket is proof the brand has mastered its craft and then some. This handsome piece of workwear features a washed organic cotton construction that feels broken in on its first wear. While the Ojai is definitely faithful to classic chore coats, its dual-entry front patch pockets and dapper ring-back buttons are subtle yet nuanced additions that add style and versatility to this staple garment. Simple in concept and masterful in execution, the Ojai Jacket truly elevates the chore coat.
Buck Mason Felted Chore Coat
Leave it to Buck Mason to reinvent the chore coat while also staying faithful to its roots. Its Felted Chore Coat is one of the heaviest picks on this list, sporting a 340 GSM felted merino wool construction for comfort, durability, and warmth. The California brand designed the cut to be leaner in the arms and more billowy in the chest, giving it a modern fit, and the three patch pockets provide ample storage with heavy cover-stitching around them to ensure that they’ll never burst at the seams. To top it off, the real horn buttons add textural and visual contrast to complete this fantastic garment.
Knickerbocker Four Pocket Chore Coat
One of the standout boutique brands in the fashion space, Knickerbocker makes fashion-forward versions of classic staples. Its Four Pocket Chore Coat perfectly encapsulates the Big Apple brand’s ability to make hyper stylish iterations of timeless garments. It’s made of 10 oz. 100% cotton denim from Candiani Mills in Italy, which acts as a deep, rich canvas for the resplendent white stitching to pop. The bottom two chest pockets mirror each other while the top two chest pockets introduce a subtle level of asymmetry to make this jacket one of the more adventurous takes we’ve seen on the form.
B. x Le Mont St. Michel Stone-Washed French Worker Jacket
Well, folks, this is it. The genuine article, the real McCoy, the original chore coat from 1913. There are many like it, but this one is the template of modern chore coats as we know them. Given its prestige and heritage, we’d be remiss to exclude B. x Le Mont St. Michel’s French Worker Jacket. This chore coat is so iconic that it transcended workwear to become a fashion staple. It still sports the original straight hem, cotton construction, spread collar, and three front patch pockets that it’s always boasted. The beauty and genius of this jacket are that it has never needed to change its design or functionality. It epitomizes the age-old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and something this perfect would never need fixing.
Todd Snyder Italian Corduroy Chore Coat
Todd Snyder is one of the great designers of the modern era, creating fashionable yet understated twists on everyday American classics. His Italian Corduroy Chore Coat is effortlessly fashionable and can raise the style quotient of any casual ensemble to instantly become more upscale. This dapper chore coat is made of medium wale corduroy for a rugged yet elevated design, and it features classic bleu de travail design cues such as its two large patch pockets, chest pocket, and buttoned cuffs. Snyder added his own flair to this timeless classic with the addition of an interior pocket for a phone or wallet, along with a locker loop on the back for tools.
Snow Peak TAKIBI Duck Chore Coat
If you’re looking for an honest-to-goodness brand that makes heirloom quality gear, then Snow Peak should be the first brand you look up. Its TAKIBI Duck Chore Coat is the embodiment of great gear, featuring a duck canvas construction that’s blended with a fire retardant material called Kanecaron which also enhances the coat’s durability. For storage and even more versatility, the TAKIBI offers four front pockets, an interior pocket, and a back pouch pocket with a snap envelope flap for security. This jacket stands atop the workwear mountain as one of the great pieces of purpose-built outerwear you can buy today.
The 15 Best Crewneck Sweatshirts for Men
Looking for even more cold-weather casual wear? Then be sure to check out our roundup of the best crewneck sweatshirts to throw on this year.
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