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How an overshirt should fit

How an overshirt should fit

When is a shirt not a shirt? It might sound like a riddle, but it’s actually the key to getting dressed right now. It used to be that by the time the clocks went back, the colder weather was here to stay. But this year, you’ve probably not dusted off your coat yet. Which means you need something that’s going to keep out the chill without cooking you on your commute.

“The overshirt a really easy item to wear,” says Thread stylist Alexander McCalla. “Like a lot of the best menswear it has its origins in the military as a fatigue shirt, but that means it suits literally every guy.” Since it’s got ideas about being a jacket, overshirts are significantly heavier than the shirts you wear to work. That means it shouldn’t fit like a shirt, either. “To work as an in-between option, it needs to sit over a tee or sweatshirt and go under an overcoat when the weather cools.” Here’s how to get it right.


One of the best things about overshirts is their ability to be worn open or closed, so you need to treat the collar like that of a casual shirt and leave some room around the neck. You won’t be wearing it with a tie, so at least a couple of fingers-worth.


Think closer to a blazer than a shirt when it comes to the shoulders. The seam should sit on or just below where your shoulder meets your arm, with the fabric flat along your shoulder. Try it with a tee and then a sweatshirt to make sure it works in any weather.


Because the overshirt can either be outerwear or underlayer, you need it to lie flat on the chest when done up but with enough room for something to go under. You want flattering, form-fitting.


Other than being big enough for your arm to fit in comfortably, the best way to judge the fit of the sleeve is where it falls on your hand. It should end just at the end of your wrist, so that it sits under a jacket but covers a jumper.


Much like a casual shirt, the hem should finish just below the waist but above the top of your hips. Think denim jacket territory.