90s Retro: The Return of the Overall

Last Thursday, as I was leisurely strolling through the GAP, I came upon something that quite literally made me gasp as I stopped in my tracks: overalls. There were both shorts overalls and a dress overall—just… hanging there like it was 1991. I was totally taken aback. I don’t know exactly how I missed the memo on this one, but apparently fashion literature was aflutter with the news back in April.

You remember the overall, don’t you darlings? Originally rocked by farmers the nation over, it got a new twist in the 90s. It became a fashionable fad in the ABC/(Another Bad Creation) / BBD (Bell, Biv, DeVoe) / Kris Kross/  Boys II Men’ era of the early 90s, and it quickly became the clothing item of choice for youngsters everywhere, including myself. It received various styling incarnations from: one shoulder on/one shoulder off, to criss-crossed straps, to both straps down and the front flap folded, to the most daring…backward. Some overalls had leather added or various patches of color. If you were in the tri-state (NY/NJ/CT) area at the time as I was, you saw the graffiti of the 80s experience a brief rebirth by being peppered across the bottoms of overall-wearing girls with nicknames like “Rosie” and “Hottie” in accompaniment to their crisp white Nikes.

It is my high hope that our styling sensibilities have evolved past colored leather patches and graffiti, and it is with this hope that I admit the following: I actually feel a tinge of excitement at the rebirth of the overall trend. Upon further investigation, I have discovered that new twists on overalls appeared on the runways of the likes of ChloƩ, Cavalli and Gaultier...

..and I stumbled across very cazh cute incarnations of this look on celebrities like Rihanna and Katie Holmes. Though I am not a fan of Rihanna’s total look, the idea of the layered chains and lace gloves is a pretty fly way to give her one-piece some personality. I love Katie’s functional layered look with the rolled pant legs for a day of shopping. 


Though I’m not sure my grown-up body type will be ideal for overalls, I am quite intrigued by the possibilities. Elle.com published a functional guide on ways to style them that look very modern and feminine. What do you think about this old/new trend? Will you rock the overall?