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Take a French chore jacket for a fashion spin today!

November 23, 2019

The classic and timeless French chore jacket never goes out of style, so find one that speaks to your fashion personality and take it for a spin from day to night today.


If you thought the chore jacket is a clothing option from decades past, think again. This heritage classic never went out of style and has evolved from a workwear work horse to a cultish trendy look that works from casual to formal wear every day. 

reconstruction of the formwork workshop founded in 1880 by Hyacinthe Moureau

reconstruction of the formwork workshop founded in 1880 by Hyacinthe Moureau

Chore coats as timeless workwear


Originally worn as a work jacket in the 1920s by construction and other hands-on workers, the French chore jacket has emerged 100 years later as a versatile style statement that goes with everything.

Two workmen examine earth boring equipment

Two workmen examine earth boring equipment

What is it?

  • What is a French chore jacket? The chore jacket was created as an item of French workwear in the early part of the 20th century, designed to be used by mechanics, engineers, construction workers, farmers and the like.


  • Best chore jacket style signatures: The essence of chore jacket style is a loose boxy cut, patch pockets as front pockets, durable fabrication like moleskin, twill or cotton and a front-button closure.


The two large patch pockets on the front were designed to hold a worker’s tools and gadgets, while the boxy cut made the jacket easy to move in and wear over layers like undershirts and shirts.


The French chore jacket also includes a large collar that could be worn up as added protection from the weather.


  • Chore jacket backstory: Extending over a 100 years, the legacy of this French workwear essential is part of its timeless appeal

Two workers at construction site, 1925

Two workers at construction site, 1925

Heritage workwear brands

In the early 1900s, traditional heritage workwear brands like Carhartt and Dickies advertised chore coats as “engineer sack coats”.


These chore coats were constructed out of heavy, sturdy fabrics like denim and canvas.  As the French chore jacket grew in popularity and use, additional features like blanket linings and bi-swing shoulders were added.


Later in the 20th century, the chore jacket in France moved beyond the confines of French workwear and into the realm of street style. The chore jacket evolved into a cult favourite worn as a casual outer layer for evenings and weekends.


And then there were hard-core le laboureur aficionados, like the world-renowned photographer Bill Cunningham, who made the French chore jacket an essential element of his everyday working “uniform” for its ease of movement and roomy front pockets.


Designer workwear brands reinvented this classic in a slimmer fit and modern fabrication to be worn as a business-casual layer or for informal evenings out on the town.


No matter the changes through the fashion decades, the French chore jacket retains its essential design elements that make it a timeless style that transcends temporary fashion trends.

French Office of War Information poster, early 1940s

French Office of War Information poster, early 1940s

Styling your French chore jacket

There are so many ways to rock your choice of French jacket in today’s world. Here are just a few ways to use this heritage staple to add a dash of throwback style to your look.


  • Casual-chic spins on the French style chore jacket: think of your French worker jacket as an unstructured jacket and pair it with your favourite plaid, check or pin-stripe trousers and Oxfords or Chelsea ankle boots in brown or black for a casual-smart mashup.


Another cool way to elevate your jacket a la Francaise is to layer it over classic black turtleneck and slim-fit black trousers, then finish your look with sockless black loafers for some vintage French flair.


  • Dressed down French chore jacket:  The best way to style your chore jacketis as a casual outer layer, replacing your usual denim or corduroy jacket and pairing with your favourite jeans, chinos, cargos or Khakis.  Add classic white sneakers for a polished yet laidback street style look.


Try unexpected fabrications for your casual choice of chore jacket, like wool or flannel.  Wearing your chore jacket in a textured fabric adds style interest and elevates the chore jacket from its more traditional cotton version.


These are just a couple of ways to mashup your French chore jacket with current pieces in your wardrobe, so start with this inspiration and then let your imagination guide you to next-level dressing.

Blue jacket and blue denim dungarees

Blue jacket and blue denim dungarees

Sourcing your French chore jacket

You can find great deals at ASOS, Etsy, Fashionbeans and sites like and The Nautical Company. But these are other places to find either an original vintage French chore jacket or a modern spin on this classic, whatever your taste runs to.


  • Carhartt: One of the oldest and most recognized of workwear brands, Carhartt is a U.S. company that specialises in French workwear, designed for utilitarian use in both Europe and North America.


This type of French jacket has a long and storied history at Carhartt and you can find it reimagined for today in modern fabrics and finishes without a loss of its classic heritage style.

Dark blue chore jacket

Dark blue chore jacket

  • Levi’s: The world’s most famous denim brand, Levi’s is also a purveyor of chore coats targeted to its American consumers.


As you would imagine, Levi’s has reworked the classic French chore jacket in a variety of denim options, from traditional dark blue wash to bohemian pale wash colours that pair perfectly with classic khakis for cooler Spring and Fall weather.

Navy French Chore Jacket

Navy French Chore Jacket

  • Mango: The Spanish brand Mango offers elevated versions of the chore jacket styled the French way.  In refined fabrics like linen blends and in classic neutrals like beige and other earth tones, Mango’s chore coats have a Latin flair that stand out from the crowd.


  • Dickies: Another one of the classic, traditional workwear brandswith its roots in the early 1900s, Dickies is known for the high quality of its chore coats and other workwear offerings.


The Dickies version of the French chore jacket, also known as the blue de travail jacket, is typically made of rugged canvas and designed with reinforced seams and rivets on its patch pockets to ensure durability and longevity.

  • Filson: From catering to the early gold rush workers in the Yukon to offering modern versions of the classic French chore jacket, Filson has a rich and respected history in the space of workwear brands.


The Filson version of the this style of jacket includes 9 pockets, fabrications like moisture-resistant wool and other signature touches that make a Filson chore jacket something really special.


Armed with knowledge of the top workwear brands to source your French chore jacket from, it’s time to bring this timeless classic into your wardrobe for a soupcon of French fashion flair.