How to look hot in a boiler suit

  • It’s more relaxed than the jumpsuit, and far less sexy than its sibling, the playsuit
  • READ MORE: Shortcut to chic? Go monochrome

The other day I wore a boiler suit out to lunch. The men at the table laughed and made the usual comments about whether I was looking for a car to service – though admittedly it was Kwik Fit Blue.

The women, meanwhile, oohed and aaahed, understanding full well the appeal of this long-overlooked item of clothing. So what exactly is a boiler suit? 

Well, it’s more relaxed than its cousin, the jumpsuit, and far less sexy than its younger sibling, the playsuit.

It has none of the comical undertones of its in-law, the onesie; neither does it have the more formal whiff of its colleague, the ‘all-in-one’. 

Given boiler suits were originally a hard-wearing uniform staple for tradesmen in the 1920s, they usually come in an array of utilitarian fabrics – denim, cotton, occasionally corduroy. 

Brown denim short-sleeved, £118, free; adidas trainers, £80, schuh.; jumper (around waist), £29.90,

They are a relaxed, easy fit which makes it every women’s friend, no matter what her shape or size.

One might, in short, be the hardest working item in your wardrobe. First, there’s the ease: no having to think about trouser and top combinations. 

Then, of course, there’s the layering possibilities. You can do a chunky jumper over a boiler suit, or a slim knit under it. 

Anyday jumpsuit, £48, johnlewis. com; white sandals, £23.80, prettylittle

Organic denim, £165,; suede mule, £159, penelope; jumper, £29.90,

Pink utility shortsleeve, £95,; leather sandals, £159, penelope

You can belt it with a cardigan to add an instant waist, or sling it over your shoulders for a relaxed, French vibe. Boiler suits can be casual and low-key or upmarket and sexy.

A boiler suit in pink such as the Oliver Bonas one or yellow, like the Asos one, will serve you better than any Breton T-shirt – though both would look fabulous with a navy Breton layered beneath.

Leg shape is worth considering, since boiler suits, a bit like jeans, come in a surprising variety of shapes. 

Yellow twill, £55, asos. com; trainers, £80, schuh.

Dark-blue denim flared, £240, 7forallmankind.; cork sandals, £299,

A relaxed, mom-jeans-style leg feels super casual, especially when paired with trainers.

A super-wide leg in a soft chambray, like the Anyday jumpsuit from John Lewis can be lo-fi with a flat sandal, or high style with a heel. 

As for a high-waisted, slightly flared leg (above in 7 For All Mankind’s denim), it’s as much at home for a fancy meal out as it is a day at home.

So this spring, do yourself a favour and invest in fashion’s greatest unsung hero – the boiler suit.

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