CALL US NOW: 0207-700-2354
FREE UK shipping on orders £40+ (excl. sale items)

Work clothes 101: What Are Dungarees Jeans?

January 13, 2019


If you are wondering what Are Dungaree Jeans, you’ll need to take a trip back to the history of work clothes – as far back as the 17th century!


Port at Dungri

Port at Dungri

Dungarees jeans evolution

To truly appreciate what dungaree jeans are, we must understand how common work wardrobes, like denim pants, Dungaree jeans evolved over time. And as that evolution took place, names of popular work clothes evolved too – including the changing of the term dungaree into what we call jeans today.

Dungri Museum

Dungri Museum

Dungaree Jeans – Turning back the clocks in time

So, what really is the difference between dungarees and jeans – or are they really the same? Well, the answer is “yes”! Confused? Let’s explore and clarify.


Both jeans and dungarees are work clothes that have established themselves as the common persons choice for rugged wear. So, in that respect they are indeed the same. Way back in the 17th century, long before what we call jeans today were invented, Indian labourers in a village called Dongri wore rugged clothing made from thick, coarse cotton fabric called Dungri.

Dungaree jeans - Visual record of the March of the 'Dungarees' in November 1915.

Visual record of the March of the ‘Dungarees’ in November 1915.

Dungaree Jeans – dungri-cloth

Like the ubiquitous denim pants worn today, dungri-cloth clothing was seen everywhere – in the streets, in factories, on the docks and in warehouses. Soon, because of its rugged and durable qualities, Dungri was exported from India to England, and later to the US and the rest of the world – and the rest, as they say, is history.


Work clothes made from Dungri were used in the British Army, and soon those clothes earned a name of their own – Dungarees! Their dark blue colour meant they were dirt-resistant, and their ruggedness meant they didn’t wear off or tear easily.


Before what we call Dungaree Jeans today became common sight, the Dungaree had assured its place in the every-day working mans (and in some cases woman’s!)  wardrobe. Later – much later – the Dungaree would inherit additions, like shoulder straps to hold them up. But for many decades leading up to the designing of denim pants, the Dungaree held its position as the undisputed king of work clothes among common folks!

90s Cropped Dungaree jeans

90s Cropped Dungaree jeans

Cutting to the chase

So, for anyone wondering what are  dungaree jeans, let’s cut to the chase. Whichever way you slice it, both terms refer to work clothes that were popular (and still are!) among the masses. While the former (dungarees) is a name from 17th century India, it subsequently evolved into what we call Dungaree jeans today.


However, the plot thickens – just a bit – as we fast-forward from the 17th and 18th century to today. Today, anyone wondering what dungaree jeans are, will be confronted with an interesting twist in the evolution of the humble dungaree. Today, what many in England call the dungaree has shoulder straps and a bib attached to it. While still popular, like denim pants and khakis, as working outfits for the masses, today’s dungarees are very reminiscent of that hero among American work clothes: The Overall!


Links [i] [ii]






Vintage Workwear

Five classic vintage workwear styles that are making a roaring comeback!

Bleu de travail French work jacket – A fashion statement worth making

Flashback: The origins and revival of vintage mens workwear

Vintage workwear brands and work clothes over the ages

A look at what are the best workwear jacket brands available today

What are the best vintage workwear brands, and why?

What are the best motorcycle jacket brands in the world, you ask?

Let’s find out who makes a high quality pea coat for men

Classic British workwear clothing through the decades

Blue blooded denim hunters and jeans culture backstory

1950s Womens workwear classics that stand the test of time

Is denim an American Story? The answer is an unequivocal Yes!

A look back at vintage mens workwear collection over the years /

Denim Dudettes – a perfect street-wear companion to Denim Dudes

Vintage American workwear reimagined as fashion statement

A revival of vintage style workwear in UK establishments

Thoughts about what work clothing always stays fashionable

Donning vintage office wear is back in style today – and easy to do!

Understanding what explains the resurgence of selvedge

The French work jacket in the UK – A fashion icon worth owning

A revival of vintage style workwear in UK establishments

Denim is an American Story embedded in the Fabric of the U.S.A.

The versatile vintage French work jacket making a comeback!

Retro workwear that is timeless, fresh and always in style

The Vintage Workwear Jacket Done the Quintessentially French Way

Pulling off the right workwear vintage look just got easy!

1800s Vintage French workwear moves beyond “chore wear”

The inside scoop on workers denim and how it evolved

The joys of wearing vintage workwear in UK workplaces

Choosing fun-looking vintage work clothes isn’t so difficult

Easy vintage workwear clothing ideas for men in any work place

Vintage Workwear Style Rocks and Rolls Denim Every Which Way

Vintage workwear for sale and where to buy it

Where to buy a vintage canvas anorak for outdoor wear?

The right work jacket can deliver water resistance, wind protection and practicality

How to make your workwear jacket the centrepiece of your wardrobe

Straight or skinny jeans lovers: What jeans are the most durable?