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The History of Overalls

Overalls have their roots in 17th century colonialism. When the British arrived in India, they appropriated a cloth called “Dungri” and used it to make workwear trousers, or "dungarees." Later, Levi Strauss added a bib to workwear trousers, creating overalls. Originally, these garments were for workers and were often color-coded depending on their profession. However, during World War I and II, women moved into factory jobs and durable, lightweight, and more fitted overalls were created to meet their need for a work uniform. In the 1960s, civil rights activists often wore denim overalls to symbolize how little had changed since the days of the exploitative practice of sharecropping. In the 1990s, denim overalls started to lose some of their symbolism and instead became simply a style choice for many Americans; at the time, light washes were favored and usually worn with one strap undone. Today, overalls continue to function as both a popular fashion item and a practical clothing option for all genders.

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