How To Wear an Overshirt

Written by Dan | 03/02/2023


If you’re looking for a way to upgrade your wardrobe with minimal effort, look no further than the humble overshirt. These versatile garments can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion and your mood.

Whether you’re going for smart casual at work or just want something comfy to lounge in at home, men’s shirt jackets fit the bill. Read on for our guide on how to wear an overshirt like a pro and check out some of our favourites along the way!


What Is an Overshirt?

Let’s start at the beginning. An overshirt is a loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirt jacket that’s usually made from heavier fabrics like denim or corduroy. They’re designed to be worn open over another garment, such as a T shirt or a fine knit polo neck, making them ideal for layering up during colder weather.

Some people, in their infinite wisdom, tried (and failed) to get the word “shacket” to stick. We can’t imagine why that didn’t take off…


Tommy Jeans Solid Overshirt

Tommy Jeans Solid Overshirt


Where Did The Overshirt Come From?


The overshirt is a classic piece of menswear. It was first designed by British countrywear designers in the 1950s and has since been associated with Ivy League style, as well as influences from 1960s mod fashion. Its humble beginnings led to its popularity in twentieth-century European workwear and the rest is history.


Men’s Khaki Overshirt Origins

Some styles clearly show inspiration from military shirts and particularly the distinctive British soldiers’ shirts worn abroad in tropical or hot climates. Utility pockets and all-weather wear are the hallmarks of men’s utility jackets.

However, its popularity has seen a major resurgence in recent years – it’s now one of the most versatile items any man can have in his wardrobe.


Calvin Klein Jeans Cargo Overshirt

Calvin Klein Jeans Cargo Overshirt


Choosing Your Overshirt

An overshirt should fit comfortably over whatever you’re wearing underneath, so it’s best to err on the side of caution when choosing one.

Stick to neutral colours like greys and blues to get maximum versatility. If you want something a little bolder, try a subtle check or striped pattern.


Replay Checked Long Sleeved Overshirt

Replay Checked Long Sleeved Overshirt


Now that you’ve got your overshirt, it’s time to style it!


How To Style an Overshirt?

Now for the fun part – styling your overshirt. This garment is incredibly adaptable and can be dressed up or down, depending on what you’re wearing underneath and how you accessorise.

If you’re going for a smart-casual look, try wearing your overshirt with tailored trousers and a crisp white shirt. Finish off the look with some loafers or brogues and you’ve got an effortless yet sophisticated ensemble (in a smart casual way).

Lyle and Scott Check Overshirt

Lyle and Scott Check Overshirt


Alternatively, if you’re looking for something more laid-back, pair one with dark blue jeans, hi-top trainers and your favourite casual tee for a cool streetwear vibe. Throw on a baseball cap and you’re good to go.

You can also add an extra layer of warmth by layering a cotton overshirt under other casual outerwear, such as a classic pea coat or leather jacket. This is the perfect look for chilly days when you want to stay cosy but still look stylish.


Styling Tips When Wearing An Overshirt


Button up your collar, or don’t – the choice is yours. The main thing to remember is never to wear a tie. Okay, maybe that was obvious but still…

Clashing Colours:

Don’t be afraid to clash colours when styling an overshirt. A checked shirt looks great teamed with dark trousers and a printed tee.


The chest and sleeves should fit comfortably, but the hem should be slightly longer so it can be left untucked. If you’re wearing a lightweight cotton overshirt, try rolling up the sleeves for a more relaxed look.


Complete your look with designer accessories such as hats, scarves or sunglasses – they’ll take your outfit to the next level!


Fred Perry Wool Blend Overshirt

Fred Perry Wool Blend Overshirt



Can You Wear an Overshirt Over a Shirt?

Yes – in fact, it’s a great way to add another dimension to your look. A classic white or navy-blue inner shirt works well underneath and will instantly smarten up any outfit. Think casual shirt under a denim jacket and you’re on the right track.

Don’t forget that you can also wear overshirts layered over other garments such as sweatshirts or a knitted jumper if you want something cosier. The possibilities are endless!

Once you’ve mastered the art of layering these classic shirt jackets, you’ll be able to create stylish and versatile looks for any occasion. They’re an essential piece for any man’s wardrobe.


Pretty Green Blake Chore Overshirt

Pretty Green Blake Chore Overshirt


Are Celebrities Wearing Overshirts?

Yes, members of the A-list often wear men’s overshirts. Many famous faces have been spotted wearing layered casual outerwear, including Justin Timberlake, David Beckham and Ryan Gosling.

House Of The Dragon and Doctor Who megastar Matt Smith is often spotted wearing overshirts paired with black jeans and a simple white T shirt, showing that it’s the perfect balance of chic with a more casual getup.

He does like to do up his top button though while leaving the rest open. We’re not sure we’d recommend that…


Barbour International Link Overshirt


So, there you have it – everything you need to know about men’s overshirts. Whether you’re looking for a smart-casual style or something more laid-back, this timeless piece of outerwear will complete your look in no time. Just remember to choose the right fit and colour, and don’t be afraid to mix and match with other items in your wardrobe. Good luck and happy styling!



Discover the full range of men’s designer overshirts at Mainline Menswear


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